‘Badger activists map setts and get ready for all-out fight to stop the cull guns’

Posted on September 20, 2012


Yesterday (19th September), an item was posted on guardian.co.uk titled ‘Badger activists map setts and get ready for all-out fight to stop the cull guns’.

‘… Government’s cull zones in Somerset and Gloucestershire surveyed as widespread anger over kill plan backs cause –

The first clue is a large round hole at ground level in the hedge separating a ploughed field and a beech wood. The second is a neat pair of latrines – badgers are organised creatures that take their bathroom breaks seriously.

A quick scramble through the brambles and the sett is found. It’s a yawning hole in a sandy bank, partly hidden by ferns.

“I love the entrances, some of them are so grand,” says Kayleigh. “It’s amazing to think of the creatures living underneath us. This is gorgeous.”

But this is no carefree nature trek. Kayleigh and her four companions are here, on Wednesday, on serious business: to map out the setts within the badger cull zone so that if – or when – the shooting begins, activists know where they need to be to make the job of the marksmen just about impossible. “We plan to be here with loudhailers, bright lights, high-visibility jackets. They want to try to do the cull quietly. We aren’t going to let them,” says Kayleigh.

Reluctantly, she admits the task is tricky. The cull zone is hundreds of square kilometres of fields, woods, hills and valleys in Gloucestershire and Somerset. “But I’m confident that we’ll get enough people out to find out where the culling is taking place and stop it,” she says.

Kayleigh (she does not reveal her full name) seems to be right that something big is stirring in the countryside. It is no  surprise to find that people like her – a veteran of the last badger culling during the Krebs trials which ran from 1998 to 2008 – are involved. Nor that groups such as the Hunt Saboteurs Association are calling on members to take direct action.

But there also seems to be a growing swell of anger from the sort of people who might normally be content just to sign a petition or write a letter to a  newspaper.

These people, too, seem intent on heading out into the country to take part in disrupting the culls. People from all corners of the UK have promised to be there, at the sites, to stop the shooting. Campaign leaders are trying to set up temporary campsites in the cull zones and are also asking sympathisers to open up spare rooms in their homes to protesters.

It also seems clear from the excellent information the activists have that some local farmers and possibly even civil servants opposed to the cull are doing their bit to help by leaking information.

“We’re getting interest from people who haven’t been involved in animal rights or activism before,” says Kayleigh. “They see this cull as morally wrong and illegal and are determined to help stop it.” …

For now, it is all about careful preparation. Groups and individuals are organising themselves, many under the banner of Stop the Cull, which uses the website badger-killers.co.uk.

They are laying down stocks they might need, from loudhailers (and vuvuzelas, the horns that made such a racket at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa) to fireworks and high-powered flashlights.

And they are carrying out the painstaking process of making sure they know the location of the setts …’

Read the item in full and view video at www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/sep/19/badger-activists-setts-fightback-cull?newsfeed=true


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