IDENTITIES of people organising the planned badger cull in West Somerset and Gloucestershire have been leaked on an animal rights website.

The Coalition of Badger Action Groups has published the names, addresses and phone numbers of three people involved in the pilot and the two companies formed by farming syndicates which would be licensed to carry out the culls.

People are urged on the site to contact the organisers to pass on their view on the cull, and are invited to join planned protests outside the businesses.

A spokesman for the Bristol-based group said: “These people are the ones who will organise the cull and employ the shooters and take the money from the farmers for doing it. They are ultimately responsible for killing our badgers.

“Our intention is to watch farms that are involved in the cull to make sure they are following correct bio-security and animal welfare laws. If you’re a farmer and involved in this cull, expect to be under a microscope.”

The Government had previously said it wanted to keep this information secret for security reasons.

Martin Haworth, NFU director of policy, said: “We are very disappointed that this has happened and we are doing everything we can to support and protect those individuals who have been named.

“We will do everything we can to find out how this information came to be released, and we will ask Defra and Natural England to investigate as well, so we can find the source of this information.”

A final decision on whether the cull can go ahead will be made when an appeal made by the Badger Trust against the decision is heard in the next few weeks.