Tag Archive | activists

Articles of Interest

badgerSeptember 20th

More arrests in badger cull zone

American among three arrests over badger cull protesting in Gloucestershire

September 21st

‘I flew 3,500 miles to protect your badgers’

PCC Martin Surl criticises badger cull operators for using crow scarers

September 23rd

Badger cull: Three protesters released without charge

September 24th

Police accused of bias over culling of badgers

September 27th

Badger cull in Gloucestershire has come to a halt – protestors

October 1st

Farm inspector sacked after comparing NFU chief to dictator

We will not give up: Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting

Badger cull: the police and NFU are losing the battle

October 8th

Badger cull police patrols in Gloucestershire increased

Badger cull has killed fewer than half the number of animals intended

Badger cull protesters to continue their work

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Badger cull: protesters claim success in opening battles

Opponents say they have sabotaged traps, bait and sett areas ahead of official cull by groups hired to shoot animals

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Hunt saboteurs and wildlife groups claim to have won the first skirmishes in the impending battle over the planned badger cull by disrupting traps and digging up bait laid by gamekeepers and farmers as well as disturbing the ground near setts so that the animals will be scared to come out.

One saboteur, who asked to remain nameless, said that farmers had been laying bait for the badgers for five days in readiness for the official start of the two six-week pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset, widely expected to start in the next 24 hours.

“They have been burying peanuts near the entrance to setts to encourage badgers to come out, and also laying barbed wire traps. We have been going out disrupting them, removing the traps and digging up the bait,” he said.

The activist said that many hunt saboteurs who had been active before the 2004 ban on hunting were now preparing to visit the sites. “We have a core of 25 people [in both areas] going out every day to disrupt the cull in advance. When it kicks off there will be hundreds more. Many of them have been sabbing for years so know their way around. We go out in the day to disrupt the setts, and we will be going out at night starting from tonight,” he said.

“We know that we will not be able to save all the badgers but we are going to make it a lot harder than it should have been.”

Both hunters and saboteurs are expected to use infrared sights to spot the animals but the marksmen will not be allowed to shoot if people are present. However, footpaths have not been blocked off and many saboteurs have said they are prepared to risk criminal prosecution following a high court injunction granted to the National Farmers Union (NFU) at the weekend banning protests within 100 metres of homes, and within 25 metres of businesses.

“We will not be allowed to make much noise but in our experience it doesn’t need loud sounds to scare badgers away. They are scared by a twig breaking,” said a saboteur.

The first arrest was made on Monday when Jay Tiernan, a protester, was caught allegedly trying to enter Defra’s Food and Environment Research Agency at Ashton Down in Gloucestershire, where cages for the cull are being kept.

As an e-petition against the cull passed 250,000 names, the NFU president, Peter Kendall, repeated his claim that the cull was necessary. “Thirty-eight thousand cattle were slaughtered last year in Britain because of TB. For beef and dairy farmers dealing with TB on their farms, these badger culls are an essential part in the fight against this terrible disease.

“Opinion is divided, so, while we recognise that not everyone agrees with the government’s TB eradication policy, and the need to cull badgers to start to reduce this disease in cattle, we do acknowledge their legitimate right to hold peaceful protests.

“What we cannot condone are the actions being used by extreme activists designed to harass, intimidate and threaten others.”

Wildlife groups condemn the cull as “inhumane” and “unscientific”. Dominic Dyer, a policy adviser at Care for the Wild, said: “People are shocked when they find out that only 15% of badgers have TB and that the government will not even be testing to see any of the badgers they intend to kill have [the disease]. These two facts together completely undermine the cull policy.

“We are seeing a political kneejerk reaction to a problem. It is liable to backfire on the government and the NFU. People are outraged.”

He added: “Most of the people protesting are entirely peaceful. These are the middle classes, people from the Rotary club, the WI , district councillors, they are Tories.”

For the pilot culls to work in the six-week time frame allowed, the hunters will need to kill around 70 badgers a night in each area. An estimated 2,700 animals will need to be killed for the pilots to be judged a success and then extended.

A Defra official said: “Bovine TB is spreading across England and devastating our cattle and dairy industries. In TB hotspots such as Gloucestershire and Somerset we need to deal with the infection in badgers if we’re to get a grip on TB there. No country has dealt with the disease without tackling infection in both wildlife and cattle.

“We are working on new cattle and oral badger vaccines but they are years away from being ready and we cannot wait while this terrible disease spreads.”

A spokeswoman for badger rescue group Gloucester against Badger Shooting (Gabs) said around 100 people had volunteered to patrol public footpaths in the cull area to watch out for wounded animals. “Defra has said that some will not be killed outright but would sneak away to die a horrible death. We shall be going out in groups of three. If we find any we will contact animal hospitals. We are not seeking confrontation. We are just disgusted. We are entirely peaceful.”

Article

“Wargames” with the Police helps us produce a Legal Guide

www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/13/badger-cull-activists-protests-police

Whenever a police force approaches a grass roots direct action group to have a chat, the alarm bells should start ringing. In this particular case they wanted more than a chat, they wanted us to show them how we planned to behave, in return we would get to see how they planned to respond to us.

Police officers and anti-badger cull activist play war game ahead of badger cull

It would be naive to think that the police would reveal to us their actual level of policing, response times, crimes they were looking for etc. So it seemed on the face of it that we had nothing to gain and possibly something to lose, however we were allowed to bring in an independent adjudicator and decided it might be worth doing if we could get press out of it. Especially as  we would only be disclosing the tactics that are discussed quite regularly in a number of places:

1. Disrupting the illegal shooting of badgers, with bright lights and noise (not fireworks).

2. The monitoring and filming of the legal shooting of badgers, where we have been instructed that land has been licensed, of course we would have to make our presence known to the marksman to ensure public safety, this would be our intention. As to “have the intention of stopping a lawful activity” is a criminal offence.

With noise they considered “the harassment act” and “breach of the peace” for arrests.

Sections 50 and Sections 60 of the public order act, but they didn’t mention “aggravated trespass

During the “table top exercise” police didn’t think an offence could be committed if no noise was used, It is difficult to say you were “alarmed or distressed” by a torch being used across a field at night.

The police were unable to tell us which farms are licenced under the cull and which aren’t.

As this information is being kept secret, it is impossible for us to know whether badger killing on a particular farm is legal or not.

Below we shall go through each of these pieces of legislations, we would encourage everyone to do their own research & remember  Hunt Sabs go out every week all across the country during hunting season, they do often encounter police officers but there are very few convictions, as few as 3 in an entire year for “aggravated trespass” So don’t be scared by all these different offences, arm yourself with knowledge and you can steer clear convictions and successfully stop the cull using direct action.

Aggravated Trespass” This law was created just to try and stop hunt sabs:

A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land , does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

(a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

(b)of obstructing that activity, or

(c)of disrupting that activity.

The intention of the direct action is to disrupt the shooting of badgers which is illegal, the fact that a cull may be licenced during “some” time, on “some” land in a vague area, does not make shooting badgers legal, it may well be that within the cull zone some farmers have not paid into the cull but have decided to shoot badgers anyway thinking that no one would know, but even if they are legit, we are not to know where that zone is and which land is paid up and legal.

It is perfectly lawful upon seeing a group of people with guns to shout to them “stop shooting, we believe you are acting unlawfully and you are now under citizens arrest and must wait for the police” This would be a particularly good tactic if the police happened to be behind you as it would be making your intention very clear; that you are looking at stopping the illegal killing of badgers.

If it is made clear to us where the cull is taking place legally, we will endeavour to publish the boundaries of those pieces of land, so that everyone knows where it is taking place. If you want to help stop the cull, we would encourage you to go to these places to monitor and film the killing of badgers, using cree led torches and videocameras. If you feel that you need to use noise to make any marksman aware of your position to ensure your own and others safety then that is a perfectly lawful intention, if it has the effect of scaring badgers away from bait points, thats ok, as long as that was not your intention!

General advice for dealing with the police is to say “no comment”, you may well come across some police who seem like thoroughly nice people, however they are wasting your time AND can be very tricky, for example:

Police officer: “Isn’t it terrible about these badgers, we are right behind you. Are you going to try and stop the shooting?”

You: “yes, we are going over there and hopefully we can distract them from slaughtering badgers”

Police officer: “you are under arrest”

Keep it short and polite:

Police officer: “My daughter is a vegetarian, I think its terrible, where are you heading?”

you: “I am walking the highways & footpaths as is my right, good night” and keep walking.

You have nothing to gain from chatting to police officers, a badger could literally be shot in the few minutes you spend chatting to them trying to present a polite front.

the harassment act

Prohibition of harassment.

(1)A person must not pursue a course of conduct—

(a)which amounts to harassment of another, and

(b)which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

(2)For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.

(3)Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows—

(a)that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,

(b)that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or

(c)that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.

A “course of conduct” means that at least two incidents have happened to an individual, for example a marksman could say:

“at 9.30pm someone shouted at me to stop killing badgers, I was scared, the person shouting had flourescent trousers, I jumped on my quad bike and drove on to the next bait point. 30 minutes later the same person screamed at me, I was scared” This could happen over ANY time frame, half an hour or 3 weeks/months.

To avoid being arrested for Harassment a very simple method is to wear the same  clothing as everyone else, this makes it much harder for anyone to identify you.

Combat trousers (or black trousers)

Black hooded top

Yellow Hi-Viz Jacket (these fold up small)

Cut off the arm of a black t-shirt if you don’t want to be filmed and recognised, put this cut off arm round your neck and pull it up whenever you need it. You can at a push use a complete t-shirt

This goes for most offences, if you can’t be identified then the legal system comes to a halt. By not giving marksman or police officers any identifying factors about yourself as you travel around the zone you protect not only yourself but others who are dressed like you.

This picture is taken from 8th of June 2013, Sabs walked all over several shooting estates, no arrests were made and if they had, it would have been impossible to say who had done what.

Which brings us on to section 60 of the Public order act an act that has to be put in place by a senior police officer, to cover a specific area for no more than 48 hours, for the purposes of protesting it is used to stop facial coverings being used, An officer can ask you to remove a facial covering if this is in place and arrest you if you refuse, it is not until AFTER you have been arrested that you have to take off a disguise. Ask to see copies of the order, where it covers and when it was signed and by whom.

Section 50 of the public order act may be used so that police officers can try and gather intelligence on who is demonstrating and where they are from, by threatening to arrest them if they don’t give them their name an address, this is done when a crime is believed to be taking place similar  to Section 5 of the public order act:

A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—

(a)that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or

(b)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or

(c)that his conduct was reasonable.

Offences would include swearing such as “you f#$*ing murderer” but if no such offences have taken place, then a section 50 cannot be legally used, if you are told that you must give your name and adress under this section insist on finding out what anti-social behaviour is taking place, generally when police know that you understand “section 50 of the public order act” fully they may leave you alone.

breach of the peace

Is not  a criminal offence so you would not end up with a criminal record.

We would urge everyone to read up on these offences, so that everyone can feel confident that they are acting within the law, the police have been known to say to people “You have to leave the area” or “you have to take off the face covering” and they particularly like to try and get information about you, where your from etc. thats why its so important to know your rights.

Police do occasionally arrest people just to be seen to be doing something, if you are at the receiving end of that sort of behaviour, you could like many hundreds of people before you, be liable to a compensation payment from the police of thousands of pounds.

To stay broadly within the law:

Don’t swear or threaten anyone (section 5 of Public order act)

Don’t declare the intention of stopping a lawful activity (aggravated trespass)

Safety should be paramount for all parties, make sure that shooters are aware of your location.

Wear the same clothes as everyone else, this protects everyone, if you can’t run across fields stopping badgers from being killed, wear the same clothes of those that do, by standing shoulder to shoulder we can stop the cull.

“We are treading a line between the parties,” said  Police Inspector Ravenscroft. “Public safety is paramount to everybody involved. We could request that the culling company stop activity on the ground on a particular night to safeguard public safety.”

With 300 of us we can make it difficult for them, with 500 of us we can be at most crossroads and hundreds of observation points which should bring the cull to a grinding halt within a week, With a thousand of us, we will stop it immediately.

Don’t wait for someone else to organise; find friends, prepare, be ready..

Link

Related links:

Whitehall chiefs scan Twitter to head off badger protests

Police say they’re ready to deal with badger cull in Gloucestershire