The source of bovine TB is farmed animals like our milking cows, which have infected wildlife; cows confined to barns, where coughed up, aerosolized sputum can spread TB, but swallowed and then as fecal contaminated dust is more potent.

One cow can produce 38 million bacilli a day in 30lbs of dung. Badgers’ urine can contain 300,000 bacilli per millimetre, which is quickly disinfected by ultraviolet light, while badgers worming under cow pats have a much greater chance of being infected.

Until the source is tackled, it’s counterproductive to carry on scapegoating our wildlife.

Yet for 40 years, various governments have been blaming badgers, killing thousands of them and cattle, compensating farmers at a huge cost to tax payers and worry for farmers. Not very cost effective. All to save the so-called TB-free status export market.

When the Tories were in government, Agriculture Minister Virginia Bottomley tried to avoid paying farmers compensation by changing the dates for when cattle qualified for payments.

Now Owen Paterson is still dodging the issue, blaming badgers and wanting to kill more instead of accepting the reality that we cannot carry on killing any wildlife which has been infected, but have to deal with the source.

He, David Heath and co. are siding with the chemical industry in not supporting a two-year ban on some pesticides, in order to see if this is one of the causes of bee decline as the science indicates.

The excuse used is that such pesticides are vital to food production, yet many farmers are producing good crops without such chemicals.

It’s all about money/profit. Animal welfare and the environment are secondary at the best.

David Thomas, Hisomley, near Westbury.