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Badger Cull update

October 14, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

The badger cull is nearing the end for this year, with the Somerset licence
ending on Sunday and the Gloucestershire one a week later. The Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have been pretty secretive and
sometimes blatantly lying about how this ‘pilot’ is going but evidence on the
ground suggests it has been a dismal failure.

When anti-cull activists found a dead badger that had been shot, Defra denied
it was anything to do with them. The badger was found some distance from the
shooting site, having lived for several minutes, with her guts hanging out,
after being shot. Defra initially said it wasn’t part of the cull because all
the badgers in the cull were killed instantly (perfect logic, eh?). The marksman
involved ruined all that by talking about how he had been about to pick up that
badger until he had to run away from some protesters. The police said it was
shot in the cull and now Defra admit it too.

Meanwhile, farmers and the NFU have been falling out over the failings of it
all, and some protesters who were arrested and raided for ‘conspiracy to commit
aggravated trespass’ have had their charges dropped. Police have
been filmed several times making stumbling, incompetent statements suggesting
they are there to assist the NFU, attracting some serious questions about their
impartiality. If that’s not enough, the master of the Ledbury hunt was arrested
for attacking badger patrollers, farmers report the shooters ‘can’t see the
point’ in turning up any more and Gloucester may have abandoned the free
shooting method in favour of cage traps.

No figures are being released officially about the number killed or the state of
the badger’s bodies which have undergone an autopsy. The decision on whether to
continue with the cull is going to be down to a committee of politicians already
determined to keep killing badgers, using secret data.

Schnews has been talking to a nocturnal hunt saboteur in Somerset:

‘We’ve got some new night vision devices which are magic* for finding shooters
in the fields. You can see a long way, more than with the really bright torches.
Often we find that the shooters leave as soon as we arrive, also they don’t even
stop their vehicles if we’re behind them on the road. The company has been using
a minibus to transport shooters around so if we find that, it delays their work
for quite a while. In some parts of the zone, they can’t possibly have shot many
badgers as we’re always disrupting them.

If shots are heard people disrupt it either by walking into the area or making
enough noise to scare the badgers off. Sometimes there’s a lot of hanging around
gazing across empty fields but you have do to that to find where something is
happening.

Someone setting cage traps for the badgers has told us he’s given up putting
them anywhere except right next to the farm because they all get destroyed.
There’s a lot of people out there against the cull and taking direct action to
stop it. Of course we need as many people as possible out looking because that’s
the only way to find where they’re shooting and trapping.

It’s nice that with so many animal lovers exploring the area, all sorts of other
animal abuse and wildlife crime have been uncovered. Equipment for the pheasant
shooting industry has been trashed, neglected farm animals have been reported,
investigations into illegal poisonings are in progress.’

Once the shooting has finished, the next battle is with the politicians, to stop
the cull policy being continued and expanded across the country. The scientific
evidence against culling is overwhelming and opposition is pretty huge,
including plenty of farmers. Maybe this will be another U-turn for the Tories?
(Although U-turns can be a bit tricky in those narrow country lanes!)

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