AN animal welfare charity is calling on people opposed to the badger cull to fight against a potential second phase.

The controversial pilot cull, aimed at reducing the spread of tuberculosis(TB) in cattle, was carried out in West Gloucestershire on the Gloucestershire- Worcestershire border last year.

The RSPCA is concerned the "farcical and costly badger cull" could very soon be extended across the country and is calling on people opposed to the cull to sign a petition.

It said the threat is more imminent after landowners in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Worcestershire, East Sussex, Shropshire, Cheshire, Wiltshire and Herefordshire were invited to submit applications for badger cull licences.

David Bowles, RSPCA Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns, said: “There is no justification to continue with these misguided plans, let alone extend them.

"We care about both cattle and badgers but science has shown the cull is not the answer to bovine TB in cattle, and the pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire last year were a catalogue of errors from start to finish.

"We would urge anyone who does not want more such deaths to contact their MP, vote against the expansion of the cull and urge their councillors to stop local authority land from being used in any cull.”

An eight-week extension was granted until December after just 708 of an estimated 2,350 badgers in the area were killed – about 30 per cent of the total - in the first six weeks.

But this was cut short due after culling contractors told Natural England a significant reduction in badger numbers by that date was unlikely.

Earlier this month it was claimed TB figures used to justify the cull were grossly overstated due to a ‘computer error’.