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Farmer linked to badger cull calls in police after threats

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 24, 2012

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The likely threats facing Westcountry farmers involved in the pending pilot cull of badgers were made plain yesterday after animal rights extremists were accused of targeting farmers in Gloucestershire with letters, e-mails and text messages.

The trial cull in West Gloucestershire has already been licensed while the shooting in West Somerset is expected to be given the go-ahead in the coming days.

If proved to be safe, humane and efficient over a period of six weeks, the cull could be expanded, and run for four years, to tackle the blight of bovine TB which sees more than 20,000 cattle slaughtered every year.

As the start date for the shooting nears, some farmers have already been targeted by activists.

Jan Rowe, a 67-year-old dairy farmer in the Cotswolds, is a nominal director of GlosCon, a company set up to carry out the cull, although his farm is not in the pilot area.

He said police had been called a number of times to collect evidence and were regularly checking up on the farm.

"It is veiled threats to make you feel worried. 'Watch out for your family, we know where you live', and threatening to demonstrate on the farm. It is unsettling," he said.

"The grandchildren come and stay — one is worried for family and other people living on the farm."

He added: "I have seen more police cars coming down the lane this week than in the last 10 years.

"Any extra cost to the taxpayer is down to protesters taking up police time. All the farmers are doing is carrying out a legal operation."

Ian Johnson, spokesman for the National Farmers' Union in the South West, condemned the threats to farmers as "totally misguided, irresponsible and stupid".

"There are a lot of misguided people who are stamping their feet and throwing their toys out of the pram when what is being done is right, albeit extremely difficult and unpleasant for everyone."

It has also emerged that a board advising the Government asked farmers and vets for ideas on alternative ways of dealing with bovine TB just days before the first licence was issued.

Badger culling alone would not win the war against the disease, the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England said.

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  • badgeryou  |  September 25 2012, 11:21AM

    Badger cull in the interests of no one. Once again a British government has chosen to seek the best possible scientific advice and then ignore it! The licensed killing of badgers in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset could achieve a number of things. It could further advertise the unwelcome existence of bovine tuberculosis in British dairy herds. It could polarise opinion in the countryside and unite political opposition everywhere else. It could cost the farmers involved more than they could gain. It will almost certainly provoke active protest and put even more pressure on already hard-pressed police forces. What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset. It might be helpful to list those things that are certain. Human tuberculosis is a dangerous disease. Bovine tuberculosis is a real problem for dairy farmers – who in any case have been paid too little for their milk and who have been going out of business for decades – and the disease lives on in the wild badger population. But by 1996, a policy of identification and slaughter had reduced the incidence of bovine TB in dairy herds in England and Wales to less than half a per cent, and the risk of direct transmission to humans has – with the pasteurisation of milk – long ago become negligible. The last and most systematic examination of the link between badgers and bovine TB found that, indeed, there was transmission, and proposed a series of systematic, randomised controlled trials over a sustained period to see whether culling could provide an answer. In 2003, the government, farmers, public health officers and wildlife campaigners got the answer: shooting and gassing did not eliminate, and could possibly spread, the disease. That may be because badgers disturbed in one area could migrate, taking the infection with them. The answer, delivered by Lord Krebs and the distinguished statisticians and zoologists who examined the results, could hardly be clearer: killing will not solve the problem. Lord Krebs's scientific credentials are not in doubt. He was trusted by successive British governments to head the Natural Environment Research Council, and to chair the Food Standards Agency. And he has just described the latest plan as a "crazy scheme". http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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  • EJANDODIN  |  September 24 2012, 4:35PM

    100,000 signed : Off to celebrate. It's BADGERMONDAY!!!!!!!

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 24 2012, 4:32PM

    What in Gloucester!!!!????? I can't see many from Devon going all that way to get a pinta.

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  • EJANDODIN  |  September 24 2012, 4:18PM

    Riverford Organic, Crooked end Farm Mitcheldean & Jess's Ladies Dairy Gloucester have said they are against the cull. So at least there are some places to buy a pint of milk. Guess their sales will be going through the roof soon.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 24 2012, 4:07PM

    I don't know about the 38 degrees petition , is that the current one or the one from yonks ago? I can't keep up with everything they send me :(( I know all about the government trials going on at present and some of their results. They are still in their early years so there won't be much output from them at the moment. I can tell you for a fact that one private trial has thrown up some nasty results on badgers who already have TB. When cut open most of the badgers organs are covered with lesions ( abcesses filled with pus) They had to be put down because of the pain they were seen to be in......and no I can't show you proof of this at present because as I said it is a private trial. ps have you any idea why, when vets or RSPCA members get anywhere near badgers, they wear full protective clothing, masks and gloves? :{{

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  • EJANDODIN  |  September 24 2012, 3:53PM

    38 degrees petition is nowhere near 100,000. Only just under 70,000 when I last looked. There may be 50 / 60 million people in the country but how many even know about e petitions? It is no easy task to get 100,000 signatures that's why the government decided on that figure. Badgers are being vaccinated against tuberculosis (TB) in Shropshire in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease among cattle. The five-year scheme, launched by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, is in response to a government-run trial badger cull in Gloucestershire. The trust said it hoped to show vaccination was a more effective and more humane way of controlling TB.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 24 2012, 3:09PM

    100,000 signatures on a petition when there are between 57/60+ MILLION population. When you look at it like that it is miniscule. '38 degrees' got more or less the same and they had good solicitors and they didn't manage to stop the cull.!!!!

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  • EJANDODIN  |  September 24 2012, 2:51PM

    Glad I am preventing you from being bored. Tell me do you think that this government is stupid enough to ignore 100,000 people just to placate a few farmers? How can you tell 70% when you dont know 100%?. Public opinion is overwhelmingly against the cull. Protests are being planned outside supermaekets to inform people where their milk comes from and how some of it will be tainted with badgers blood.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 24 2012, 2:34PM

    @EJANDODIN .....I can't speak for Charles but my work of writing reports keeps me at my computer for much of the day. The Ti sites along with others are running all the time. (and no I am not a moderator or anything to do with Northcliffe) Thankfully my words on this subject, are read and inwardly digested by people higher up the chain. Because of Charles's vast knowledge on this subject and also some commenters in the FG their words are also read and inwardly digested. I do read all anti cull comments to decipher what lack of knowledge is out there in the general population. It is filling rather a lot of my pc's memory. Just as well I have more than one pc and memory sticks. Please keep up with the invectives as it breaks the day and anyway they are like water off a duck's back and are therefore reviving me when I start to doze.

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  • EJANDODIN  |  September 24 2012, 2:01PM

    2ladybugs : You certainly must have a lot of spare time on your hands. You and Charles are everywhere. It's a pity that it is the same old rubbish you are promoting. Anti cull petition heading for 100,000 today. Trending at 614 signed in the last hour. I have had friends in the US emailing all their contacts over here so they can sign the petition. Also support from Finland and Spain.

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