Tag Archive | NFU

2 national badger cull protests in Birmingham as NFU come to town!

As the National Farmers Union (NFU) prepare for their annual conference in Birmingham, campaigners against the badger cull are getting ready for 2 national protests in the city centre.

Animal lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, hunt sabs and animal rights campaigners from all corners of the UK are expected in Birmingham for a march and rally on Saturday 22nd February and a static protest outside the conference on Tuesday 25th February.

Read on for further details of both events and please attend if you possibly can.

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NATIONAL MARCH AND RALLY AGAINST THE BADGER CULL IN BIRMINGHAM – Sat 22nd Feb

11am Victoria Square

On Saturday 22nd February many hundreds of people will descend on Birmingham City Centre for what is expected to be the biggest march and rally against the badger cull since the event in London last June when approx. 2,000 joined a march against the cull.

The event will include a stage with speakers, entertainment, marquee with wildlife/charity stalls, sett mapping talk and badger education talk and a march through the streets.

Schedule for the day:
11am – Stalls, entertainment, vegan catering
12 noon – Speeches start (see speakers below)
1pm – March around the city centre
2pm – Return to Victoria Square
4pm – Event due to finish

Guest Speakers:
Dominic Dyer – Care for the Wild
Ama Menec – Chair of TBVAC Devon
Drew Pratten – Wildlife Campaigner
Dawn Varley – League Against Cruel Sports

This event is perfectly timed, with the National Farmers Union (NFU) (responsible for carrying out the cull) staging their annual conference in Birmingham just 3 days later! There will be a national demo at the conference itself (details below), but for the many people who can not attend on a weekday, please come to this march and rally instead!

We must send a very loud clear message to the government and NFU that we will NOT stand for any more badger massacres! Please spread the word, lets make this massive!!

Get event updates and help to promote it via the Facebook event page.

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NATIONAL BADGER CULL PROTEST OUTSIDE THE NFU CONFERENCE – Tues 25th Feb

10am – International Convention Centre, Centenary Square

On the 25th February the ICC in Birmingham will host the National Farmers Union (NFU) Conference. This is a collection of individuals and companies responsible for undertaking the failed badger culls and planning to undertake more, as well as lobbying for less humane ways to kill badgers such as gassing and snaring.

The NFU is a lobbyist group for large agricultural corporations with aims that benefit them, rather than that of animal welfare and independent farmers. They have strong political ties.

We urge as many animal lovers to join us outside the ICC for a huge protest to show the NFU that WE WILL NOT ALLOW THE BADGER CULL TO CONTINUE!!!!!

PS. Owen Patterson (Environment Secretary) will be there, so bring footballs and goalposts! (Patterson said “badgers moved the goalposts” when asked why marksmen failed to reach the cull target!)

Get event updates and help to promote it via the Facebook event page.

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A Victory for “People Power”

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.

NEVER”

Gloucestershire badger cull to end as targets missed

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.

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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.

Cull ‘fiasco’

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.”

source

Badger cull: government could be forced to take direct control of pilot

Concern over low number of animals shot so far has led government to seek legal advice on taking direct control from farmers

www.theguardian.com 2013-9-13 23 15 8

The government is on the verge of being forced to take over the controversial badger culls in England from farmers because the low number of animals shot so far risks the policy seriously failing.

The Guardian understands that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has sought urgent legal advice on how to bring the night-time shooting under its direct control, and has even discussed using gassing as a more effective method of culling.

A Defra spokesman, however, denied any discussions had taken place about the department taking control. “There have been no discussions or considerations about Defra taking over the badger cull pilots. The pilots are being carried out by licensed companies and this will not change,” he said.

On Wednesday night, according to information leaked to the Guardian, marksmen failed to kill any animals at at all. This week, the government refused to deny claims that fewer than 100 badgers had been killed in two weeks of shooting in the Somerset cull zone.

The badger cull pilots, aimed at curbing the rise in bovine tuberculosis (TB) which caused 28,000 cattle to be slaughtered in 2012, must eliminate 70% of the badgers in each zone, or risk increasing TB as fleeing badgers spread the disease further afield. But the Guardian’s sources said far too few badgers were being shot in the opening weeks of the six-week trials.

Ministers chose the more difficult option of shooting of free-running badgers at night over the more reliable cage-trapping and shooting because the former is significantly less expensive.

The Guardian’s sources also said the possibility of gassing badgers had been discussed. A government strategy on eradicating TB, released in July included consideration of gassing if humane methods could be developed. Gassing with cyanide was outlawed in 1982.

“The failing badger cull could make the public forest sell-off debacle look politically painless,” a source told the Guardian, referring the embarrassing U-turn on the planned sell-off of England’s forests. “That is largely because every problem so far [with the cull] was first outlined in briefings and advice to ministers and ignored.”

Badgers are being shot in pilot cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset to test whether free shooting can kill sufficient numbers and do so humanely. But the number of badgers killed in the Somerset cull zone is just three or four a night, according to a source quoted by the Western Morning News.

“They are having major problems. It is just a case now of who gets the blame for the whole thing failing,” the source said.

The Guardian understands that the total number of badgers killed so far is now more than 100, but is far below the 120-per-day average that would be needed to meet the minimum final quotas across both of the zones.

A spokesman for the National Farmers Union said it was “premature” to talk of crisis, as the cull had several weeks to run, and a Defra spokesman said: “We are not commenting on operational details.”

The Guardian previously revealed that, according to experts, the population estimates for badgers in the cull zones are so uncertain that every badger in the area could be killed and the minimum quota would not be met.

Mark Jones, a veterinarian and executive director of Humane Society International/UK said: “It comes as no surprise that the badger cull is failing in its efforts to devastate badger populations in the pilot areas. This unjustified policy has been a shambles from the outset. The government must abandon this travesty that has already cost farmers and the taxpayer dear and caused deep divisions within our communities.”

The culls have sparked the biggest animal rights protests since fox hunting with dogs was outlawed, with more than 300,000 people signing a government e-petition against the cull. But ministers have insisted the cull is a necessary part of bovine TB control measures which cost taxpayers £100m a year for TB testing and farmer compensation.

Many scientific experts oppose the cull, calling it a “mindless” and “costly distraction” from developing vaccines for cattle and badgers and tightening cattle movement regulations and farm biosecurity.

Jones said Defra was also now in breach of a decision from the information commissioner, who ordered the department to release information under freedom of information rules to HSI UK on exactly how “humaneness” was to be measured and assessed during the pilot culls. He said the legally binding deadlines for Defra to release the information, or appeal the decision, have both passed.

Some information on humaneness was released and reported by the Guardian, including that the sounds made by dying badgers was part of the assessment. But the documents were heavily redacted and the IC ruled this redacted information should be revealed.

Jones said: “We can only assume Defra knows that independent scrutiny would find the methodology to be full of holes.”

Article

Also see: Badger cull in Somerset: on the trail of the marksmen – video