Badger campaigners still fighting hard to ensure cull does not return
WHILE the controversial badger cull was called off at the end of November, protestors are still fighting hard to ensure the shooting and caging of badgers never starts up again.
The cull was aimed at decimating the badger population to see if it helped to halt the spread of bovine TB but was cancelled on November 30 as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs admitted that not enough animals would be killed to hit targets. The cull had been due to end on December 18 after the contractors responsible for the experiment successfully applied for an extension.
Moreton-in-Marsh resident Jude Walker is part of GABS (Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting) and patrolled cull zones in a bid to disrupt the cull. She experienced first-hand the successes of the patrols while also witnessing the pain and suffering of the badgers.
“A lot of work was needed in the planning. We looked for wounded badgers but the cull operators were not allowed to shoot if the public were around so we were extremely successful in preventing shooting,” she said.
The team of over 500 volunteers would meet every evening across the cull zone but stuck to strict rules of staying on public footpaths and wearing high visibility jackets for safety.
“We would set out at about 7pm and wouldn’t get back home often until 2am,” said Jude.
“One badger I saw was really badly hurt. All his insides were hanging out and he ran until he found his way to the road where he died. We took him to a wildlife hospital. Police put up road blocks and started checking people’s cars to see who had taken him.
“We have got that badger at a hospital and we plan to show him to the public.”
She admitted that while she witnessed some horrific sights, she was not prepared to stand by and do nothing.
Jude, who often went on patrol with her husband Mike, said she did not have any particular fondness for badgers over any other animals.
“We’re not raving lunatics or tree huggers,” she said. “There is a broken relationship between the countryside and farming. Our wildlife has no value. We don’t want the badger cull to come back and we’re working hard to make sure it doesn’t.”
COTSWOLD MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has come under fire for allegedly showing bias against those opposed to the cull.
Clapton-on-the-Hill cattle farmers Dave and Gill Purser sent a letter to Mr Clifton-Brown in June this year saying that farmers who were against the cull were not being fairly represented.
They hit out as they said they had never received a reply.
This week Mr Clifton-Brown apologised and said his failure to reply was “unacceptable”.
“Out of the thousands of pieces of correspondence that I receive the vast majority are responded to by return but it seems one initially fell through the net,” he said.
“A response was sent. However, it appears that it was not received by them and so it is obviously a combination of factors.
“I have now written to my constituents and provided them with a copy of my original response.”
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