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VIDEO: 'Badger Army' stages march to demand end of cull

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 02, 2013

Around 300 people – some dressed as badgers and others waving placards – congregated for the march and rally in Bristol  Picture: Dan Regan

Around 300 people – some dressed as badgers and others waving placards – congregated for the march and rally in Bristol Picture: Dan Regan

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A "Badger Army" was mobilised in Bristol on Saturday as protesters marched through the city to oppose the Government plans to roll out a cull of the protected creatures to more areas.

Opponents of the Coalition plans, part of its aim to eradicate bovine TB over 25 years, were buoyed by the decision last week to abandon the second, extended pilot scheme in Gloucestershire after shooters failed to kill the required number of animals.

The West Somerset cull has already finished, also failing to meet the set target, but plans to continue the policy in other areas have not been scrapped by Defra.

Around 300 people – some dressed as badgers and others waving placards – congregated for the march and rally on College Green.

Placards emblazoned with "Save our Badgers – Kill the Cull" and "Respect Existence or Expect Resistance" swayed in the November sunshine as speakers took to the stand with a series of powerful anti-cull speeches ahead of the march.

The protest, which had been organised by Somerset Badger Patrol and Horsham-based wildlife Care for the Wild, attracted campaigners from across the UK, including TV naturalist Bill Oddie. Joining the demonstration was Pauline Kidner, from Secret World animal rescue, in West Hunstpill, Somerset, which has cared for around 5,000 injured badgers at her wildlife centre since it opened in 1989.

Mrs Kidner said: "I find it incredible that considering the whole cull has been a farce that the Government is still saying it has been successful.

"The science is there to tell us that culling does not work.

"Thousands of badgers have been killed needlessly."

As campaigners chanted "cull the Tories" and "stop the cull", campaigner, Dominic Dyer, from Care of the Wild, warned: "This is the Badger Army.

"We are coming together because we are angry. This is the biggest wildlife movement in Europe and we are getting more powerful by the day.

"There are thousands of people who will make the stand against the cull in a way which the Government never expected.

"A lot of badger blood has been spilt to get votes.

"What the Government is doing is not reducing bovine TB.

"This is not good enough and not how we protect wildlife in this country.

"I have worked in the farming industry all my life and this is the worst agricultural policy I have seen in 30 years.

"I'm sympathetic to farmers but culling badgers simply won't work.

"Ordinary people from around the country want to protest against this barbaric cull.

"We're slaughtering our wildlife for no justifiable reason.

"The Government is telling people that all badgers are sick, which simply isn't true and they are hiding the true cause of the rise in bTB, which is poor farming practices.

"The more people that hear the truth, the more will oppose the cull and hopefully the Government will see sense and stop it."

Both culls ran for an initial period of six weeks, but were extended for a further several weeks in a bid to cull more badgers. The schemes which were extended and aimed to kill over 5,000 badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire, were described as "unreasonable, irrational and cruel" by Mr Oddie during a recent visit to the cull zone.

Mr Oddie said: "I cannot remember anything like the amount of outrage which the badger cull has caused in the last year.

"The people against the cull are not against farmers or cows.

"There is nothing we would like better than to see a solution that means that farm animals are healthy.

"There is no science to prove culling is the right way to deal with the problem.

"No one wants to see an animal treated like this."

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  • Clued-Up  |  December 02 2013, 5:32PM

    @mmjames I doubt whether even the very few backers of the badger cull want to have another go. It's cost them too much. The Countryside Alliance and shooting estates DIDN'T INTEND to act as recruiting sergeants for the Hunt Sabs and badger groups. The NFU Council DIDN'T WANT the public and politicians to realise how little support the NFU has amongst British farmers, nor how short-sighted and incompetent the NFU leadership appears to be.

    Rate   7
  • mmjames  |  December 02 2013, 4:34PM

    Don't worry the next round will be a lot cheaper, thanks to the disruption of the trials. Well done all of you.

    Rate   -6
  • Clued-Up  |  December 02 2013, 2:06PM

    The extended Gloucestershire badger cull has failed, just as the Somerset one did. In Gloucestershire, 39% badgers were shot instead of the 70% aimed for. Too many badgers have died but a huge number were saved. Congratulations and thanks to all the Wounded Badger Patrol groups and Hunt Sabs who protected Britain' s second favourite animal. The badger cull has been a disaster for almost everyone caught up in it (especially the badgers). It's cost us tax-payers approximately £4M already and the police forces involved their reputations for integrity and professionalism. It's caused huge upset in the cull zones communities and elsewhere. Hopefully it's even cost the culling companies and the collaborating landowners much more than they expected to pay.

    Rate   8
  • Grunger  |  December 02 2013, 8:14AM

    "Well done to all at the Bristol anti-cull demonstration yesterday. More than 1000 people made their feeling known about the cull that has just ended, and it was very encouraging to speak to so many individuals and groups who are already making plans for next year in case the NFU & Tory's push ahead with another unwarranted attack on our badgers. Now for Chris Rundel attack on cull protesters earner this week. I would like to know what Mr Rundels sources were for his facts as all the protesters I know are everyday individuals who happen to care about the killing of a member of the British Countryside to go out night after night to make their feeling known. Yes some of the protesters might not live a mainstream lifestyle with campsites in Somerset & Gloucestershire, but these dedicated people most certainly did disrupt the cull. This has been admitted by both the police and culling companies. As for agitators using the cull to have a go at the police and farmers. Well I don't know of any arrests for violence towards either group that the police are pursuing, unlike the farmers who were questioned by the police for criminal damage to protesters vehicles. I'm not claiming that there aren't those on both side of the argument who go to far but it cannot be laid solely at the feet of the protesters.. As for untaxed vehicles. Well with the amount of stop and searches the police were carrying out I doubt if any protester would have driven any vehicle into the cull area which was not taxed and insured, but what is certain is that a driver employed by one of the culling companies was involved in an accident whilst transporting dead badgers carcases and he has been charged by the police with driving with no license or insurance. I know Mr Rundel is an agricultural journalist and it seems he had something of an agenda in the article he wrote."

    Rate   11