IN YOUR report on the upcoming badger cull (Standard, June 21), you describe it as 'a pilot scheme to determine whether culling can eradicate bovine tuberculosis in cattle'. How very reasonable it all sounds - until you look at the detail.

The criteria for the badger cull is as follows: shoot 70 per cent of the badgers in an area of 150sq km, regardless of their age or state of health, within a six week period. Leave a randomly reprieved 30 per cent and don't ask where's the sense if these badgers harbour bTB anyway. ( Natural England - Badger Cull Criteria , page 5, para 10.c ) And it's a mystery how they intend to monitor the 'success' of the cull when we've seen no evidence that it's the health status of particular herds determining the choice of cull site but rather a case of which compliant landowner has a large enough estate to meet the acreage requirements.

Scant regard has been given to the fact that a sudden reduction in the number of one species creates an ecological imbalance and neither have we seen any consideration given to the late spring and the risk posed to dependent young.

Even those farmers who want some form of badger control have expressed concern about indiscriminate shooting without identifying those that are infected first but the NFU and Defra are elbowing their way through regardless. ( , BTB workshop reports) One could be forgiven for thinking that a badger shoot was a promise and the case to excuse it an afterthought.

G E Purser Clapton-on-the-Hill