Action against the badger cull continues
Badger activists haven't thrown in the towel
Despite mass public opposition the government began its pilot cull of badgers some weeks ago.
Whilst this is very disappointing for those who fought so hard to stop it happening in the first place, they have certainly not thrown in the towel yet.
Hunt saboteurs have been active in the cull zones interfering with the activities of the marksmen. Tactics include replacing peanuts, which are used to entice the badgers out of their sets, with badger repellant, as well a creating noise to ensure the badgers stay at home and general disruption in the cull zones to make the shooters job as difficult as possible.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson claimed two weeks ago that he was pleased with the progress the cull was making. However activists tell a different story, saying they have had a significant impact on the cull forcing a change to cage trapping, a much slower and more expensive form of killing badgers. They claim that with the largest badger setts protected shooters are pulling out and staying at home as the 'slim pickings ' available mean getting paid per badger killed doesn't make it worth them even bothering.
Officers policing the culls have been accused of "highly questionable" actions by civil liberties lawyers, after they told protesters their personal details would be passed to the National Farmers' Union and handed out NFU-produced leaflets about the union's civil injunction.
However, the protesters have not let these intimidation tactics stop them getting to directly save this iconic creature.
March against the badger cull
Yesterday anti-badger cull protesters joined the TUC march against austerity through Manchester to coincide with the Tory Party Conference. Speakers included Dominic Dyer, Policy Advisor for Care for the Wild International, a leading member of the Team Badger coalition. Mr Dyer says “Anger against this cull is growing by the minute. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that says killing badgers simply won’t work, the killing of badgers is currently taking place, and will continue over the next few years if something isn’t done to stop it.”
Calls have been made for the big supermarkets to take responsibility for the part they have played in precipitating the crisis in the dairy industry through driving down milk prices. Ethical Consumer continues to encourage consumers to boycott milk from the badger cull zones and consider switching to non-dairy milk to avoid altogether the animal welfare problems associated with dairy farming for both cows and badgers.
Strength in diversity
The spirit of anti-badger cull campaigning has been of co-operation and collaboration. Groups opposing the cull have focused on the common goal of saving badgers, rather than self-promotion or denouncement of other groups based on policy or tactics. Although it has not succeeded in its ultimate goal of preventing the cull from happening in the first place there has been a great degree of success to date. It seems very much the case that the 'badger activists' taking direct action against the cull, as Bill Oddie assured them 'have the support of most of the country'. This could not have been achieved without the public awareness raising and attempts at policy intervention by more mainstream groups. Those fighting for Team Badger, in the loosest possible sense, have embraced a diversity of tactics approach and not allowed tactical differences to get in the way of achieving their common goal.
Let's hope that the ultimate outcome will be the realisation by the government that there is just so much opposition to this senseless, unscientific and brutal killing spree that it is just not practically possible for it to be rolled out across the country.