The end of the hunting season this spring coincided with the news that the badger cull would continue this summer in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Due to the conditions of the licence, we’re expecting the cull zones to be the same areas as last year and that the licence will allow them to start killing from 1st June onwards. With experience to learn from from last year, we’re more prepared this time round to get involved against the cull.
This is a shout out to anyone in the area to come and help us with sett-surveying. This is basically walking around an area looking for new setts and checking on ones we knew of last year. Sett locations will have changed due to the cull, perturbation, the winter, the floods and now badgers are becoming more active again with cubs running around, setts which looked inactive may now appear to be used again.
It is important that we manage to cover the cull zone prior to the cull starting as we need to know the location of the setts in order to protect them from the cull operators. We understand that not everyone is local enough, has enough time off work or money to help out, but if you are able to come down (we can help with fuel money to an extent) please do so. Contact us through email and we can pass you on to the relevant people. Gloucestershire Badger Office (who will be coordinating the work before and during the cull in order to avoid duplication of work and areas being left unchecked) now have a facebook page (open to the public)
and a phone number – same as the one used last year – 07582 607913 – with a landline number being confirmed soon.
People are also needed to help with admin and fundraising especially as we’ll be helping out other groups coming into the zone which will be a huge drain on our finances. Information stalls in town can be a great help to promote the work we’re doing and spread information regarding hunts and the cull as well as related campaigns. If you think you’d be able to do a car-boot sale, fundraising event, stall or be able to get into the zone before or during the cull, please do let us know. There will be something for everyone, regardless of ability, age, experience and so on.
From the badger-killers website
“At lunchtime on the 29th of November a moment in history was created when the guardian released this story. Telling the world that finally the British government had been beaten into submission and called an early end to its wildlife massacre it called a “badger cull”.
The cull was always sold to the British public as a pilot to see if over a period of 6 weeks, badgers could be killed “effectively, safely & humanely”. Toward the end of those 6 weeks we the public were told that the original population studies had changed and the new population figures were actually much lower, they refused to credit us the sabs with destroying their Hair DNA population studies and instead decided to blame badgers for “moving the goalposts”. With massively reduced populations (strangely David Heath had been complaining along with many farmers of population “explosions”) the target to kill was made much easier for them to reach.
What they hadn’t planned on was the perseverance, tenacity, endurance & craftiness of those opposed to the cull. Many experienced hunt saboteurs walked the fields and woodlands of the cull zones night after night, as did many other people, these people just like sabs came from a wide variety of backgrounds, teachers, graphic designers, care workers, the very rich, the retired and yes even the unemployed and students.
A dedicated number of these people before the culls started, going as far back as June last year had been sett surveying the entire area, one of them “Jo Badger” recently passed away, her passing has been a great loss to many of us. Their work was the foundation for all the defence of the badgers during the cull & it is these people who know how active setts are in certain areas, finding the Hair DNA traps was an easy task for them.
With a total of over 500 sq Km’s surveyed, protecting the badgers from free shooters was a question of team work, whilst some people working tirelessly within the law traversed hundreds of miles of footpaths and reported in any sightings, Sab groups and people prepared to break minor trespass laws got closer to shooters and often moved them on with noise. Several weeks into the cull a small fortune was spent on night vision equipment and the amount of shooters being stopped increased rapidly.
That equipment like the fuel in the tanks was generously donated by supporters from across the country, without their support the campaign would have struggled greatly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped with fundraising to get people to the zones.
When the 6 week culls ended and it was announced in Somerset that they hadn’t achieved their targets we sighed with relief & prepared to focus just on Gloucestershire for the final week, to our dismay they announced extensions, in Somerset with the drastically reduced populations they announced that they had to kill another 165 badgers over a three week period. Having managed to kill over 100 a week during the 6 week cull people on the ground knew they had a lot of work to do to stop them reaching their targets.
With little or no holiday time left to claim many people took unpaid leave from work, relationships were strained and many people were suffering with extreme fatigue. Still they did not give up, with the weight of knowing that the culls would be rolled out if these succeeded, people buckled down to the work knowing that tens of thousands of badgers lives were in the balance. At the end of the 3 week extension 90 badgers had been killed, making the Somerset cull and extension a failure.
The shooters having failed at free shooting early on had gone over heavily to cage trapping as a tried and tested method of killing large numbers of badgers, when we knew this for sure, our efforts accordingly varied and we focussed as much resources as possible at finding cage traps and “neutralising” them.
In Somerset we never found more than 3 cages on one sett. Meanwhile in Gloucestershire the figures on the total killed came out, it was shockingly low at only 30% of the revised pop. figure, Natural England issued an extension for 8 weeks with a target of just 58% to achieve “disease control” the NFU didn’t mess about and promptly put down hundreds of traps.
Protest culture has for some years attributed minor criminal damage done at night to “pixies”. Some people find this word annoying, just as other people don’t identify with the word “sab”. Semantics to one side, the cage traps were destroyed as fast as they went down, for the most part by very normal people doing extraordinary work, through the day traps were found then by night they were destroyed, each one costing approx £150.
In just over 4 weeks nearly 400 of these traps had been made useless. With “free shooting” being proven to be a methodology that didn’t work, cage trapping was undertaken to kill as many badgers as possible. We the British public just weren’t having it.
Whilst we celebrate the failure of these badger culls and the part we played in their downfall, we mourn the loss of all the badgers that have been needlessly killed during this cull. We would ask anyone who thinks that killing badgers to stop the spread of bTB to spend a few minutes watching this video filmed just before the culls started.
We will continue with our campaign, filming farm conditions, sabbing pheasant shoots, organising boycotts, all the time building our numbers and reach on social media. The culls may continue, but so will we.
As has been proven today, if you ignore the will of the people, the people will fight back, we are organised, we have built teams of people who rely on each other, our supporters know the methods we use and are comfortable knowing that we behave honourably, we know how to disrupt culls, we are strong and we are many, and we will never leave our badgers undefended to be attacked by brutes and thugs.
The badger cull in Gloucestershire is being called off because not enough animals have been killed to meet targets.
The licence has been revoked by Natural England and the cull will end at 12:00 GMT on Saturday, a spokesman said.
An eight-week extension to the original six-week trial was due to end on 18 December.
It is not yet known how many badgers have been killed during the extension period.
During the original six-week period of the original licence, 708 badgers were killed in the county, 942 fewer than the target of 1,650.
A spokesman for Natural England, said: “There is no realistic prospect of the cull removing the number of badgers required by the licence, it has been discussed and agreed by Natural England that the cull will end at 12 noon tomorrow.”
In October, Natural England granted an eight-week extension to the cull after fewer animals than the original target were killed during the initial six-week period.
Government ministers and the NFU say culling badgers will curb TB in cattle, but protesters assert it has little effect.
A similar cull pilot in Somerset ended last month after it also failed to meet its target even after a three-week extension.
In that area there was an estimated 65% reduction in the badger population – the target was 70%.
Mark Jones from Humane Society International (HSI) UK said he was “relieved” that “at long last some common sense is being applied and the government’s badger cull fiasco will finally be over for the timebeing at least”.
“In the face of what has been the dismal failure of this policy, we commend Natural England for making the sensible decision to revoke the cull licence,” he added.
“They should have acted sooner and it is deeply regrettable that hundreds of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset have already paid for this ill-conceived policy with their lives.”
“Today Bristol Hunt Saboteurs joined up with sabs from Three Counties Hunt Sabs, Southampton and Swindon to visit the Ledbury Hunt.
The Ledbury only have a few Saturday meets a season, usually hunting on Mondays and Fridays, so we thought we would take the opportunity to say ‘hello’ with a few more of us.
Some of their staff and supporters have been out during the cull killing badgers, setts in their country have been filled in/destroyed completely, and places like the Forthampton Estate (a regular haunt of the Ledbury) have seen a large amount of cull activity. Even more reason to pay them a visit!
It was a tough day on foot but we managed to keep them moving on quite a lot. There was blatant illegal hunting from the start and aggro from the usual faces who tried throwing their weight around assaulting sabs. We shook this off and carried on doing our thing. When will they learn that this doesn’t deter us?!
At one stage we caught up with the hunt drawing a covert and one group of sabs saw a fox make its get away. They jumped into action when the fox passed, covering it’s path with citronella spray (to mask the foxes scent), and then using whips and voice to ‘rate’ the hounds.
Thankfully none of the hunt saw this happen so were none the wiser, and another group of sabs used horn and voice calls to call the pack of hounds out of the other side of the covert, giving the fox valuable time to get away.
We pressed on with the hunt after this and were never too far behind and were ready to spring into action again when the hounds were picking up on a fox once more. Thankfully nothing came of it, the hunt calling it a day shortly afterwards.
An angry Roger Warner, the master of the Ledbury Hunt, also gave us a tirade of bollocks on our departure. Roger has been in the limelight a bit recently, after photos of him and the badger shooting team he was part of getting a talking to from the police were published online – one of his mates was arrested for assaulting an anti-cull protester and damaging their car.
We’ll be seeing the Ledbury Hunt again very soon.”
To help us keep up our activities against hunting and the badger cull, please consider donating to our funds: http://www.gofundme.com/4qvels
“GENOCIDE in the countryside” has to stop now, is Queen guitarist Brian May’s cry to stop the badger cull.
As he and protesters prepare to take to the fields around north west Gloucestershire tonight in anticipation of more badger culling, the figure head for the anti-cull movement said opposition is growing by the day.
“This is genocide in the countryside,” he said at The George Inn in Newent this afternoon. “It is horrendous.
“There are 300,000 people who have signed our petition now and it’s going up by the day. More people are realising that the cull is a waste of time.
“There is no point to it – it won’t eradicate bovine tuberculosis.”
Across Gloucestershire and Somerset, 5,000 badgers are to be shot in six weeks as part of DEFRA-approved measures aimed to protect cattle from bovine TB.
Some farmers say something has to be done to protect their livelihoods and thousands of cattle from TB, which means they must be slaughtered.
Protesters from the Save Me campaign will take their message to the culling zone tonight.
*Four people were arrested and then de-arrested once they had given officers “the necessary information” last night, Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed today.
A further 4 people were stopped in a lane with vehicles parked on both sides. The lane was temporarily obstructed by vehicles, including police cars.
- Update: Campaigners out on second night of badger cull in Gloucestershire
- Spotters in secret locations around Gloucestershire look out badger shooters
- Gun shots heard during West Gloucestershire badger cull
- Badger cull: police make first arrests
- Animal rights groups urge for greater transparency in badger cull
- Queen’s Brian May calls for public support against badger cull
The quiet country lanes of Somerset were disturbed by dozens of people blowing whistles, shouting and shining torches into hedgerows as protesters vowed to be on “patrol” every night in the countryside to stop the badger cull going ahead.
On Tuesday night the tiny village of Monksilver was “patrolled” by around 50 protesters against the badger cull.
Police cars also drove around the area and later “saboteurs” refusing to give names were seen also taking up position in the peaceful hamlet of just 20 cottages.
At regular intervals through the night protesters blew whistles and shone torches into hedgerows near houses to “warn” badgers back into setts and disturb marksmen carrying out the cull.
A number of 4×4 vehicles protesters suspected of taking part in the cull were followed and a loud car horn was heard going off, possibly as a result of a confrontation with protesters.
Farmers reported animals being released from fields in other parts of Somerset.
Reports on Facebook cited sightings of injured badgers and “dead badgers being put in sacks”, although there was no evidence of this, attracting even more protesters to the area.
At midnight activists, who did not want to be named, parked up in the small village to “assist in stopping the cull”.
The Somerset Badger Patrol, made up of local people against the badger cull, said the protests would continue every night into the early hours for weeks to come wherever the cull was taking place.
The protesters, wearing walking boots and carrying high lumen torches, whistles and cameras to “catch” any evidence of a cull, insisted they would stick to footpaths and ‘legal’ activity.
Aged in their early 20s to late 60s, the group walked around into the early hours looking for evidence of 4x4s and shining torches into woodland or copses to stop any shooting activity from even some distance away.
Stephen, an engineer who drives 80 miles every night to take part in the patrols, said the patrols were already making a difference by making life difficut for those carrying out the cull.
Others included Aura, a graphic designer, who had bought along her dog, and Gemma, a mother of two, who said she was taking it in turns with her husband to take part in the patrols.