‘Badger supporters seek to unite public against cull’

Posted on August 29, 2012

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Today (29th August), an item was posted on the Farmers Guardian web-site titled ‘Badger supporters seek to unite public against cull’.

‘… OPPONENTS of the badger cull policies due to commence in Gloucestershire and Somerset this autumn are stepping up their attempts to mobilise local opposition to the policy.

The Badger Trust and badger groups in the areas designated for the cull are holding an open meeting in Bristol tonight (August 29) at which they intend to call on the public to ‘unite with one voice to spread public awareness’ about the cull.

The Trust is urging the public, landowners, farmers and politicians to join members and supporters of the Trust and the local badger groups at the meeting, which will summarise the scientific case against culling, discuss how local people can respond in their area and provide an update on the legal situation.

The Trust’s hopes of halting the cull in the courts are still very much alive, despite a decision in July by a High Court judge that the cull policy is lawful, following the a judicial review brought by the badger charity.

An appeal hearing, requested by the Trust, is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal in front of three judges in London on September 11.

The hearing gas been granted on just one of three grounds requested by the Trust, based on the argument that the culling ‘would prompt rather than prevent the spread of disease within an area’, as required by the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act.

The judges’ decision is likely to be unveiled within a week or so of the hearing.

The appeal court has been sympathetic to Defra’s request to expedite the hearing to ensure that, if Defra prevails, it does not delay the start of the culls in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset, which have been scheduled to commence after the London Olympics.

NFU head of food and farming Phil Hudson said work was continuing in the cull areas irrespective of the appeal hearing.

“We are pleased that the case is being heard soon and we hope that the verdict is delivered quickly and is the right verdict. Then we can move on quickly to the start of the pilot cull,” he said.

Ahead of the Badger Trust meeting, which followed a similar event in Stroud attended by around 200 people a few weeks ago, the charity’s chairman David Williams said:

“The free shooting plan is a foolish compromise designed to save money for the farming consortia arranging the slaughter.”

Local opposition groups have already formed to oppose while a number of national organisations are campaigning jointly to raise public opposition to the cull, including the RSPCA, League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid, backed by high profile celebrities, such as rock star Brian May.

Mr Hudson said the union had expected the publicity surrounding the policy to increase as it went through the courts and the start date drew nearer.

“But the kind of publicity being generated doesn’t seem to be catching fire among the average man and woman on the street. It is not on their radar at all,” he said …’

Read the item and add your comment online at www.farmersguardian.com/home/livestock/livestock-news/badger-supporters-seek-to-unite-public-against-cull/49290.article

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