‘Badger cull: the fanatics hijacking the badger cause’

Posted on September 23, 2012

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Today (23rd September), an item was posted on telegraph.co.uk titled ‘Badger cull: the fanatics hijacking the badger cause’.

‘… Seasoned protesters, ranging from veteran hunt saboteurs to animal rights extremists, have begun to join the anti-badger culling campaign –

It is a debate that has divided the countryside.

On one side, farmers blame badgers for spreading tuberculosis among their cattle, destroying livelihoods and leading to the slaughter of herds.

On the other side, the Government’s plan to tackle the problem by shooting thousands of badgers has met with vocal opposition led by the RSPCA and Sir David Attenborough, the naturalist.

Yet behind the peaceful face of the anti-cull movement, a more sinister element has emerged. Seasoned protesters, ranging from veteran hunt saboteurs to animal rights extremists, have begun to join the badgers’ cause.

They include a woman who was branded a “terrorist” by a high court judge for her part in a campaign against a guinea pig farm, and a veteran protester who was one of the founders of the Hunt Saboteurs Association in the 1960s …

Last week the first licence for a pilot cull was issued, which could lead to 3,000 badgers being killed on 300 farms in Gloucestershire over the next four years. A second cull, in Somerset, is set to be licensed soon.

Leaders of the anti-cull campaign have mounted legal challenges and gathered signatures on petitions. The RSPCA has urged shoppers to boycott “milk from farms soaked in badgers’ blood”.

But hardliners have gone further, vowing to disrupt the culls using “direct action” tactics – such as disrupting the night-time shooting expeditions with bright lights and loudhailers.

At a meeting in Bristol, organised by the Badger Trust, hundreds of opponents gathered to discuss tactics. They heard speeches from May and from the RSPCA, the League Against Cruel Sports, and Humane Society International …

Mr Pedler [a founder member of the HSA] told The Sunday Telegraph that whilst he was no longer involved in any direct action, he supported such tactics and would encourage activists to use them to stop badger culling.

He said: “I think it’s the most effective way of achieving your goals. The Government won’t listen to a load of peaceful campaigns. The only way of getting what you want is through direct action.”

Calls for opponents of the cull to turn out and disrupt the shooting have been made by the HSA and by an organisation called the Coalition of Badger Action Groups (CBAG).

Last month CBAG’s website publicised the names, addresses and telephone numbers of some of the farmers involved in the cull.

This month it has published the personal details, of Owen Paterson, the new Environment Secretary, as well as those of other ministers, government officials and employees of the National Farmers Union.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) secured an injunction against the website and the personal details were removed. But so called “mirror” websites have since been set up outside the UK, with all the personal details restored …’

Read the item in full and add your comment online at www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/farming/9560130/Badger-cull-the-fanatics-hijacking-the-badger-cause.html

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