Tag Archive | Saboteurs

Badger patrols are disrupting the cull, protesters claim

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.

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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.

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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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A message from the local groups in the Gloucestershire cull zone

We are truly amazed by the astonishing response from across the country against the cull and immensely grateful to those who have travelled such long distances to be here with us. We would like to make the following points regarding this area in order to ensure that those coming here make the most impact and also are safe.

Firstly the shooting has not yet begun. The resources of those who are from far afield may need to be focused on when it does begin. Using up all days off, finances, goodwill (for those dog sitting and so forth) now may mean that some may not be able to come later when lots of people are needed.

cull-zoneThere are three areas of anti cull activity which people coming into the area may wish to get involved with;
Being at Forthampton, the more sedentary can have a picnic, others may wish to partake a ramble of the many footpaths or cycle around the lanes. Stalls in local towns and villages, demos etc. Feel free to contact us and see what is going on

Sett surveying.

Now if you want to come sett surveying and are not part of a visiting group we need to meet you, we need to ensure that you know how to survey and read a map and if not team you up with someone who has those skills. We can not emphasise enough the importance of going through us first because many areas have been looked at thoroughly so we don’t want work duplicated, we also don’t want people going blind into certain areas where landowners are prone to be very agitated and potentially violent both for their own safety and the safety of others who may walk into a situation the very next day. We also need areas that have not yet been done to be allocated so please do not just turn up, pick a wood and go searching there is a system already in place.

Anti-cull activists patrol part of the cull zone, at the Forthampton shooting estate in Gloucestershire (Pic from Hereford Heckler)

Anti-cull activists patrol part of the cull zone, at the Forthampton shooting estate in Gloucestershire (Pic from Hereford Heckler)

Delivering leaflets and papers, we are looking to get these delivered all across the cull zone.

If you do want to come to the Gloucestershire zone and want to meet up with us we would be delighted to hear from you and help with accommodation. We are however all volunteers and if we don’t get back right away please call us again, it’s busy down here! We also ask that people look after themselves and others. Come prepared! It can get very cold in the fields and woods especially at night you need the following;

Layers will keep you warmest and when it gets hot you can take some off.
Waterproof coats and leg wear.
Waterproof boots, wellies or walking boots.
Hat
Water……absolutely essential that everyone carries a water bottle.
Torch and spare batteries.
Energy snack.
Camera/mobile/reflective jacket (if you want).
If out in the day and walking and wearing shorts….you WILL regret it. Carry trousers/waterproof trousers to put on if you have to walk through brambles,nettles.
Probably best to have a change of clothes too.
A sleeping bag is useful if you need to stay over.
Please ensure that any car brought into the zone is legal i.e MOT/tax/insured/ driving licence/etc, the police are checking.

Our contact numbers are:
Drew GABS 07526 829426
Three Counties 0752 7773697

Freebeagles: Legal advice for activists. Click to visit

Freebeagles: Legal advice for activists. Click to visit

Cull saboteurs: ‘We will put ourselves between the bullets and the badgers’

Lynn, a 46-year-old midwife, finds a novel way to fill her days off. The one-time hunter is now a hunt saboteur who finds herself at the centre of the Government’s controversial badger cull. She splits her time between maternity wards and patrolling country estates of Worcestershire.

She is just one of an estimated 700 saboteurs who are fighting the plan to use licensed marksmen to shoot around 5,000 badgers in two pilot cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset. Around 500 of them are prepared to trespass on property to disrupt the cull.  “Obviously at night we’ll be finding the marksmen and putting ourselves between the bullets and the badgers,” Lynn told The Independent.

Image1The badger cull row tearing up the countryside shows no sign of dissipating. While ministers argue that a cull is necessary to curb the spread of tuberculosis in cattle; critics argue that the cull is unethical or scientifically and economically flawed.

The coalition of opponents might be diverse – it includes Queen guitarist Brian May, TV presenter David Attenborough, and some prominent scientists – but it is the hunt saboteurs who stand accused of directing a “reign of terror” on farmers.

But Lynn believes they have been unfairly smeared. “The typical stereotypical image of the hunt sab is someone dressed head-to-toe in black, someone who doesn’t work, a 20-something-year-old male, but that’s absolute nonsense. The farming industry makes us out to be terrorists, or all evil people, but we’re individuals,” she said.

Lynn, who has a number of animal rights convictions for her involvement in anti-hunting and anti-vivisection campaigns, founded the group 3 Counties Hunt Saboteurs, last year. She gave up hunting after she saw some “terrible things” done to foxes, deer, hares and mink. She said that “very committed” new people were joining the “sabs”, or saboteurs, and scouring the fields straight from work.

“We’re seeing doctors, teachers, all sorts of people,” said Lynn, who can spend up to 50 hours a week checking badger setts, organising volunteers, or doing outreach. She also works as a midwife on a shift basis at a local hospital, usually at night. “I’m actually quite open about things,” she said. “Some of my colleagues do know, just as I am aware of what they do out of work.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway, national co-ordinator for domestic extremism at the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last year that clashes between protesters and cullers could pose “clear potential harm to public safety”. He added that there was “some potential for unlawful direct action, disorder and criminality” if the cull went ahead.

This week it emerged that officers policing the culls have carried out “wargames” with animal rights activists and cullers to simulate confrontations that might occur. Inspector Mark Ravenscroft of Gloucestershire Police said enforcing the cull remained a “big concern.” He stressed that the force will “allow people to bend the law to protest peacefully” by allowing a short protest on a highway, for example, to stop a group blocking the road all day.

But Elaine, a 49-year-old social care worker, who has volunteered as a hunting sab for over 25 years, said saboteurs “were not aggressors”. The Herefordshire-born activist treads a thin line between horse-owning country enthusiast and animal-rights crusader.

“I ride, I have my own horses, and I have drag hunted, but I was brought up to love and respect animals,” she said. “I don’t feel the need to go out in a balaclava. Work knows what I’m like and they don’t mind.”

She denied sabs were using intimidating techniques and dismissed claims that by trespassing, she could be breaching the law. “Whatever [the cull] is doing is 100 times worse that what I’m doing. When it comes to saving lives, if I have to tread off a footpath to do it, it’s worth it,” she said.

Michael, who is in his late sixties and has seven grandchildren, wants to help stop the cull. The retired builder lives in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and has been involved in animal rights for 50 years. The former trustee of a wildlife rescue centre said: “This unscientific experiment they’re doing is wrong. I’ll help as much as I can; [the grandchildren] are right behind me. I spend four out of five days a week surveying and mapping sites, and checking setts aren’t baited. We’ve definitely got public support.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “People have a right to protest but this must be carried out within the law. The pilot culls are a legal and lawful activity and it is wholly unacceptable that those involved should be subject to intimidation or be a target for criminal activity.”

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War declared on badgers by DEFRA in Gloucestershire, action points and *wish list

We are very busy at the moment making plans against the imminent cull.  We thought that it might be helpful to activists to make the following points re sustainability and welfare in the field.

Waterproofs, good boots, warm clothes, essential it will be cold and more than likely wet.

Try to layer , have a warm hat, bring a dry pair of socks, we have seen at least one frost and even on a clear night the heavy dew can leave you soaked.

  • Flourescent jackets.
  • Good water bottle, essential to stop dehydration, essential that each person has his/her own. High energy snacks.
  • Basic phone with basic essential numbers and credit (losing an expensive smart phone is not good). Please bear in mind coverage in many parts of Gloucestershire (especially the Forest of Dean) is not good so have a back up plan e.g radios, but of course the enemy can then listen in.
  • Sleeping bag for wherever you are staying, spare clothes,  toiletries etc
  • Torches  with spare batteries and bulbs. ABSOLUTELY essential
  • Pencil (writes better if damp) and paper
  • Camera video/stills charged and sd card
  • Whistle international distress signal is 6 blasts
  • First aid kit  including space blanket/plasters for blisters cuts
  • Compass
  • Money
  • Maps
  • Anything else

If you work in retail for outdoor supplies, electrical goods, whole foods, toiletries etc please consider discounts or donations of  supplies to help sustain activists during this physically and mentally challenging period.  If you know an individual or group coming to Gloucestershire to help the badgers please consider helping them be prepared, dig out old torches from the broom cupboard/lend a sleeping bag/ etc etc

*contact details in About/Contact section