POSTERS urging people to call a mobile phone number with ‘secrets’ about farmers involved in the controversial badger cull have been put up around the pilot zone.

It follows a licence being issued by Natural England last week allowing farmers to shoot badgers in the area mainly in West Somerset and partly in Taunton Deane.

The number was originally posted on Stop the Cull’s Facebook page alongside a request for information about those involved in the cull, and while the group claims it did not produce the posters it does want information about where the cull will take place.

A spokesman for Stop the Cull said: “I don’t think the posters are aimed at harassing farmers, but we need information about where the cull’s going to happen.

“While Government scientists are carrying out population studies we’re surveying setts so we know where they’re most likely to shoot.

“Our main aim is to stop badgers being shot by being there to make noise, shine lights and scare the animals off as the marksmen are not allowed within 30m of the setts.

“We’re not looking to have confrontations with marksmen – anyone who uses these posters as an excuse to harass farmers will be doing the campaign a disservice.”

The cull, organised to tackle TB in cattle, will take place over a six-week period once the minimum and maximum numbers of badgers which must be shot are finalised.

NFU South-West spokesman Ian Johnson said: “Distributing these posters is a disingenuous and predictable attempt, unlikely to gain much traction, to disrupt a perfectly legitimate, strictly controlled, limited, localised, humane cull carried out by trained professionals in the interests of disease control, which is ultimately as much for the benefit of wildlife as it is for livestock.

“The perpetrators don’t appear to have the courage of their misguided convictions, and apparently they are uninterested in a reasoned debate about action to ensure a healthy countryside and save taxpayers a great deal of money at a time of economic stringency.”