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Note to British badgers: Run!

A controversial national badger cull has commenced in England with about 5,000 likely to be slaughtered.

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A controversial badger cull has begun in England despite widespread opposition. (Dan Kitwood/AFP/Getty Images)

Warning to British badgers: your days are likely numbered.

A controversial national badger cull has commenced in England with about 5,000 likely to be slaughtered.

The controversial mass slaughter will take place over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The reason for the cull is to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis, which badgers apparently helped to propagate.

Critics of the cull say that the practice is ineffective and morally repugnant. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) held a vigil for the weasel-like creatures earlier in the summer.

The National Farmers' Union supports the cull and said that it's a victory for the farming industry.

"I know that many of you reading this will have suffered the misery of dealing with TB on farm - some of you for decades - and I hope now you will feel that something is finally being done to stem the cycle of infection between cattle and badgers," said National Farmers' Union (NFU) president Peter Kendall.

Police have been deployed to areas around the cull given the recent protests and objections to it.

Ahead of the cull, Jay Tiernan - a spokesman for the Stop the Cull group - was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass at the Defra-run Aston Down Wildlife Unit.

In a recent editorial in the Guardian, Mary Creagh wrote that both the public and scientists believe the cull is unscientific and costs more than it helps.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/130827/note-british-badgers-run