Tag Archive | direct action

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.”

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‘Badger cull protester’ arrested at Aston Down

Police confirmed this afternoon that a man had been arrested on suspicion of ‘aggravated trespass’ at Aston Down on Monday afternoon.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a site there and witnesses have reported an increase in security fencing and officers at the site.

Image1ITV are reporting that it was Stop The Cull protester Jay Tiernan who was arrested by a police helicopter and three police cars for allegedly trying to break into the site.

The Three Counties Sabs tweeted: “At Ashton [sic] Down ‘death-centre’ Jay arrested-trying to highlight evil place that provides the traps & carries out the autopsies #badgermonday”

He was named in an injunction on Thursday brought by the National Farmers Union to stop protesters ‘intimidating or harassing’ farmers.

A duty inspector who not confirm any further details at this time but a spokesman for Defra confirmed their at been a disturbance at the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency site at Aston Down.

The site has a history of links to badgers and TB.

The Defra wildlife unit was been heavily involved in the Krebbs Trial tests into the spread of bovine TB since 1998.

Workers from Aston Down were involved in trapping badgers and culling them as part of the Krebs trial to establish their link with the spread of bovine TB. They also tested badgers killed after being hit on the road for TB.

A Defra spokeswoman said: “We do have a site at Aston Down. There was an incident there.”

Bovine TB was devastating the dairy industry, she said.

“In TB hot spots such as Gloucestershire 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.”

The cull has, however, provoked widespread public opposition from wildlife lovers who say badger deaths won’t solve the disease problem.

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Non violent direct action to stop the cull

Dear Friends

As many are aware the badger cull is going to start very shortly and a combination of activists and hunt saboteurs have vowed to stop the cull using non-violent direct action.

To stop as many badgers being slaughtered as possible during the pilot culls as possible funds are desperately needed to get activists and hunt saboteurs down to the cull zones and keep them fully equipped.

To stop this mindless slaughter of badgers takes Two things.

1. Getting Activists down to the cull zones.

This is what the money is mostly needed for, we have a small army of volunteers, activists and hunt saboteurs. and vehicles to take them in however to send them out every night of the week for 6 weeks is going to cost huge amounts of fuel and unless money is raised we wont be able to.

2. Equipment

This ranges from florescent jackets, noise making devices (such as rape alarms and bull horns), safety equipment such as first aid kits and other essentials.

Please donate and share this as far and wide as you can, we don’t have much time and need to act quickly.

Here’s the link to donate.

If you wish to join in with the direct action against the badger cull, please contact your local hunt saboteur group. See our Directory of Hunt Saboteur groups here.

If you have any equipment you think may be useful please send to:
Animal Rights UK
Sumac Centre
245 Gladstone Street
Nottingham
NG7 6HX