A wildlife charity has branded the Government’s decision to go ahead with a badger cull as a "catastrophic blunder".

Two badger culls are planned for next year in two areas after the decision was approved by the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman.

The Wildlife Aid Foundation in Leatherhead has promised to rally thousansds of supporters to campaign against the decision which they believe is 'breathtakingly inept.'

Simon Cowell, director of the Wildlife Aid Foundation, said: “This is do-it-yourself culling and I dread to think how many badgers will end up dying a slow, lingering, painful death.”

The cull is intended to help curb the spread of bovine TB, a disease which can be carried by badgers and passed onto cattle. However Mr Cowell has said there is only ‘flimsy’ scientific evidence to suggest a cull would help.

He said: “This is a crazy scheme that will do no good for farming - but plenty of harm to the natural environment.

“It is a breathtakingly inept decision and will prove massively unpopular."

Nearly 25,000 cattle were slaughtered in England last year after contracting bovine TB and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs predicts the cost to the taxpayer will top £1 billion over the next 10 years.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “Bovine TB is a chronic and insidious disease which is having a devastating impact on farmers and rural communities.

“Unless further action is taken now it will continue to get worse.

“There is great strength of feeling on this issue and no-one wants to see badgers culled.

“But no country in the world where wildlife carries TB has successfully controlled the disease in cattle without tackling its presence in wildlife as well.”

The Wildlife Foundation has called for those opposed to the cull to write to their MP and the Prime Minster.

Mr Cowell added: “With 10 months to go before the culls are scheduled to begin, there is a chance for the Government to be persuaded of “the error of its ways.”

“So please write to the politicians and let them know how you feel.”