NFU representative, Kate Bretherton, in her letter (September 5, There is no sound reason to boycott dairy products), conveys a grossly distorted picture of the life of the dairy cow.

The natural life expectancy of a cow is about 21 years, but most are killed aged four to seven years, exhausted after annual enforced pregnancies.

These wretched creatures provide an enormous 7,000 litres a year for the greedy farmer and that is about 10 times the amount that would be required by the calf. Thousands of calves receive a bullet in the head after one or two days.

Many thousands, however are not so fortunate and end up being exported to the continent across land and sea in all weathers.

Is it any wonder that the dairy cow has a one-in-three chance of contracting mastitis and is therefore subjected to drugs and antibiotics?

It is not surprising either that TB has become so prevalent in cattle, since farmers go to great lengths to conceal the existence of disease in their cattle.

DEFRA has been accused of concealing the fact that the scientific consensus is opposed to this cull, not on compassionate grounds but on the basis that it will not work.

Ms Bretherton is also being disingenuous in suggesting that there are no vaccines available. The National Trust has been inoculating badgers this summer, but the farmers, true to form, will always select the cheaper option.

Since supermarkets are refusing to disclose the identity of those farmers involved in the cull, consumers are denied the democratic choice of boycotting their produce, so those who care about our wildlife will make a serious effort to boycott meat and dairy products in general, or at least to make a significant reduction in their consumption.

PETER LANGLEY, Windmill Road, Headington, Oxford