AN animal lover from Yate has added her voice to the debate over badger culling.

Vegetarian Karen Theyer said a widespread cull would be driven by profit and claimed there are more humane means of dealing with the spread of bovine TB.

Karen, 47, told the Gazette: "I don't like the thought of the massacre of the badgers because it's completely unnecessary. The farmers think it's cheaper to kill the badgers rather than the cows. It all comes down to money and profit.

"Why is it not more humane to vaccinate the cows?"

Karen is calling on the government to ban a proposed mass cull of badgers who are widely linked to causing bovine TB.

Thousands of cattle in farms across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire have been slaughtered after contracting the deadly disease and farmers have called for a nationwide cull to keep them in business.

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union, said: "Sometimes we have to do what is unpopular because we know it is right.

"As the most recent science shows, badger controls are absolutely necessary, together with cattle controls, to get on top of this devastating disease."

Bovine TB currently costs the UK budget about £100million per year.

The government has said it supports the idea of a cull but is still considering the methods.

Following a debate in the House of Commons in July, environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: "We are setting out a comprehensive and balanced package of measures to tackle this terrible disease.

"If we don't change what we're doing, [bovine TB] will cost the country a £1billion over the next 10 years."

But the issue has sparked a political row as Labour claimed a large-scale cull would not work.

Shadow environment minister Mary Creagh said: "The government’s plans have been criticised by leading scientists as an untested solution which may increase the problem, as badgers wander further afield once shooting begins.

"We need a science-led policy to manage cattle movements and develop a vaccine to tackle TB in badgers and cattle."

Meanwhile, Karen Theyer is supporting a campaign by Animal Aid to save badgers.

She added: "I am strongly opposed to the forthcoming badger cull.

"Are people trying to play God? I think it's so wrong, so very, very wrong."