The badger cull has to be one of the most divisive issues affecting West Somerset today, and with conflicting information being given by each side of the argument it can be difficult to know what to believe. To try and find out more about the workings of the cull, our reporter Steven Salter went on a night time watch with Somerset Badger Patrol on Sunday, September 27.

I agreed to meet former BBC wildlife documentary maker Amanda Barrett, who will act as my guide for the evening, along with the rest of the monitors at Williton County Council car park at 7.30pm.

The volunteers, clad in high visibility jackets and walking gear, are friendly and clearly very passionate and dedicated toward the cause.

Some were local to West Somerset while others had travelled in from further away, with one couple even coming over from Majorca.

I took a quick survey out of curiosity and found that the overwhelming majority were either vegan or vegetarian.

Within minutes it was easy to tell this was a serious and organised operation with high-tech equipment including thermal imaging camera and a night vision device worth thousands of pounds.

Our patrol heads out to Sampford Brett where I am introduced to Alex, one of the monitors who is an expert in the badger persecution cases.

"The monitors are finding an increasing number of snares, and have also seen badger sets being blocked up, both of which are against the terms of the license and breaks the badger protection act," Alex said.

"We come out every night for all six weeks of the cull. It requires a huge amount of work beforehand in terms of preparation, finding the sets, understanding the lie of the land, equipment, etc. It takes a huge toll out of everybody's lives, relationships, jobs.

"The perception of monitors is unfair, we are essentially people from Middle England but the media have painted a different picture."

Our next stop is to meet a couple who own a small farm in West Somerset where the husband has worked in the dairy farming industry for more than 30 years both as a farmer and a consultant.

"I am amazed so many farmers believe it will make a big difference to reducing bovine tuberculosis," he said.

"We have had cattle affected by TB but never thought about going and wiping the badgers out because there were other measures that should be taken first including restriction of movement, more frequent testing and simply better farming practice. Movement restrictions, more frequent testing, better farming practice.

"If they thought there was scientific evidence to justify the cull they would test the badgers before shooting them."

Throughout the night many of themes recur with the patrollers I speak to, regarding the cruelty, cost and inefficiency of the cull and protestors are adamant that the science backs them up.

On the way back my guide Amanda sums up her view: "The government is dismissing scientific evidence which comes and it is disgraceful. Research shows that culling does not significantly reduce outbreaks of the disease in cattle and can even make the situation worse.

"The cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire was meant to be a pilot on the shooting of free ranging badgers overseen by the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) in 2013. The IEP findings were that the cull is inhumane, inefficient and ineffective. Despite this, the culls continue and it is a travesty."