South Wirral MP Andrew Miller has come out against a cull of badgers across England.

He branded as "short sighted" Government plans to pilot the shooting of the animals in order to prevent the spread of tuberculosis in cattle.

And he urged Wirral people to add their name to a protest petition.

The Government claims the cull is the only way to control bovine TB. Some estimates say that up to 140,000 badgers will be killed.

Mr Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said evidence has shown that culling doesn’t work.

He claims the Government proposals do not deal with the problem of TB carried by badgers; he says their preferred option of "free shooting" is not supported by science and may actually increase the problem of spreading TB.

Mr Miller said: “I continue to support a science-led approach to dealing with bovine TB and believe that the only humane and viable option is a vaccination programme.

"I am therefore disappointed that Defra decided to cancel five out of the six trials that were being undertaken.

“Badgers are a protected species and many of my constituents have contacted me to oppose culling.

"I do not believe that the Government’s proposals will achieve their objective but they will leave many seriously injured badgers and open the door to a free for all on badger hunting."

He encouraged readers to support The League Against Cruel Sports' petition against the cull, which already has more than 15,000 signatures.

The Country Land and Business Association, which represents land owners and businesses in rural communities, disagrees.

CLA President William Worsley said: “We are very relieved the Government is ready to give the go-ahead to a cull to help control bovine TB.

"This is the only way we can work towards the eradication of this horrendous disease."

In a Commons statement yesterday, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman acknowledged there was "great strength of feeling" about a cull but insisted: "I believe this is the right way forward."

Mrs Spelman said there would be further consultation on the proposed guidance issued to Natural England, who will issue culling licences, and in the first year there would be two pilot schemes.

She said: "I wish there was some other practical way of dealing with this, but we can't escape the fact that the evidence supports the case for a controlled reduction of the badger population in the areas worst affected by bovine TB."

If you wish to protest against the cull, click the link below to be taken direct to the League Against Cruel Sports petition site.