Farmers’ Union of Wales vice president Brian Walters today warned the general public not to be misled by a leaflet entitled "Stop the barbaric and senseless badger cull".

Responding angrily to the Badger Watch publication, Mr Walters, an organic farmer from West Wales, said: "The leaflet is so wildly inaccurate it begs the question that it is either drawn up by people incapable of understanding simple facts or it is deliberately dishonest."

Following numerous complaints about the leaflet - published by Badger Watch and Rescue Dyfed and widely circulated in the Dyfed area - the FUW has posted a three-page factsheet on its website highlighting why it believes claims made in the document are "untruthful".

"As far as I’m concerned, Badger Watch Dyfed should withdraw the leaflet and issue a public apology," said Mr Walters

"We all have the right to express our views, but to publish such statements in order to get the general public to lobby politicians is disgraceful and in my view highlights the depths to which some people will stoop to mislead public opinion."

The FUW’s factsheet, published in response to the leaflet campaign, claims that eight of the statements made in 10 "answers" to frequently asked questions are misleading.

Included among these are the claim that TB is spread almost exclusively from cattle to cattle, which the Advertising Standards Agency has already ruled breaches rules on "truthfulness" following a case brought by the FUW against the RSPCA more than three years ago.

The factsheet also highlights gross inaccuracies in the statistics used in the leaflet, stating that one figure quoted "is out by 500%".

"This is not the first time that an animal rights pressure group has been caught misleading the general public on the clear link between badgers, cattle and TB," said Mr Walters. "It is important that the general public scrutinise statements made by this type of organisation.

"Last year, Welsh families had to suffer the deaths of eight thousand cattle due to this disease epidemic, and it is high time that animal rights groups took their fair share of the responsibility.

"For years they have misled politicians and the general public into ignoring the epidemic in badgers, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of cattle, costing the taxpayer millions, and causing prolonged and agonising deaths for badgers.

"The majority of Welsh politicians from all parties have accepted the scientific evidence, and attempts to put the democratic process off course through campaigns of misinformation should be stamped out.

"To treat the general public with such contempt is frankly disgusting."