Vaccinate Not Exterminate UK Badger Cull Protest

badger cull protest

A peaceful protest of the ongoing UK badger cull is being planned for this Sunday, under the banner “Vaccinate Not Exterminate.” The controversial badger cull was called into effect this fall in Gloucestershire and Somerset, two UK counties in which farm and dairy cattle are considered at high risk for contracting bovine tuberculosis. Bovine tuberculosis, or bTB, is a disease that can be carried by most mammals, including badgers; in an attempt to eradicate the disease before it reaches livestock, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), headed by Owen Paterson, called for the badger cull. By killing wild badgers, Paterson believes that bTB can be effectively removed from the countryside.

DEFRA has asked local farmers and hunters to take responsibility for the badger cull, using their own guns and traps; protesters have dedicated themselves to destroying traps and gathering in cull zones so that hunters may not safely shoot in the area. The violence against one animal species has Britons furious with Owen Paterson, who has spent millions of pounds on the project without even coming close to his target goal of 70 percent of cull-zone badgers being killed. Already the badger cull timeline has been extended, animals have been found wounded and dying after being shot, trapped or chased, and Paterson has received enough death threats to warrant a legal restriction on publishing his home address. Anti-cull spokespeople wonder why the money was not simply spent on bTB vaccinations, which would be equally effective and in keeping with badger protection laws.

Animals rights groups, including Care for the Wild International and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, are appalled by the idea of hunting badgers, particularly because it is in blatant disregard to the Protection of Badgers Act of 1992. The Protection Act was drawn up to ensure that, legally, no one might harm, injure, trap or kill any badger that was not a threat.  The Facebook group, Brighton March against the Badger Cull, is organizing anti-badger cull protesters who are in support of the 1992 Act. Large protests have already been held in other parts of the UK, including London; protesters have included rock stars, animal rights activists, environmental broadcasters and even farmers, who have the most to lose if bTB spreads.

badger cull wristbands

Brighton March against the Badger Cull participants are concerned for the welfare of their local East Sussex badgers if their county is named the next cull zone. Participants in the march are buying and selling wristbands with the words “VACCINATE NOT EXTERMINATE – STOP THE BADGER CULL” emblazoned on them to raise funds for local badger vaccinations. Project organizers hope that bTB can be fought medicinally instead of violently in their area. If successful, the proactive East Sussex initiative could change the way future outbreaks are dealt with across the entire country.

Brighton’s anti-cull Facebook page explains:

The government is intent on culling badgers in its efforts to eradicate bovine TB. Science tells us that badgers play only a small role in this problem and that better testing, bio-security and control of cattle movements are the key changes needed to reduce this disease in cattle. DEFRA has designated part of East Sussex an area of “High Risk” for bTB and, if it rolls out the culling of badgers, we could see gunmen shooting our wildlife as early as 2014. Please come to this peaceful meeting to show that you object to this pointless killing of our largest remaining indigenous mammal. Dominic Dyer, chairman of Care for the Wild International, will lead the speeches.

Volunteers with the Wounded Badger Patrol have been monitoring cull zones to search for animals who have been wounded because of the badger cull. Vet and Green Party spokeswoman for animal issues Caroline Allen told the press “we want to be here to show solidarity with the protesters. We know that the cull is completely unscientific, unethical and will be inhumane.”

Protesters are gathering together tomorrow at noon in Brighton, outside the Theatre Royal.

For more on the cull and Owen Patterson look here: Owen Patterson Says More Badgers Must Die

Written by Mandy Gardner

References:

Facebook -Brighton March against the Badger Cull

The National Archives – Protection of Badgers Act 1992

The Independent – Owen Paterson: ‘Animal groups are condemning badgers to a long, unpleasant death… It is shameful’

BBC – An evening in the cull zone with the wounded badger patrollers

7 Responses to "Vaccinate Not Exterminate UK Badger Cull Protest"

  1. Rebecca Slattery-Kavanagh   November 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Sara, you will be pleased to know that at the march on Sunday, both Dominic Dyer and The Badger Army paid tribute to those on the ground and were received with huge applause. The march was much better attended than anticipated and as we walked, members of the public joined us. Because there were so many of us, all the traffic had to be stopped. For that hour, Brighton’s traffic almost came to a standstill. However, far from getting annoyed, motorists were beeping and shouting messages of support. Paterson is in trouble be he still has the backing of Cameron and that is the problem. We will win this – I just desperately hope that not too many more badgers die first. If you get the chance, please attend a march – even if your walking only lets you do a small part of it. I imagine the atmosphere is very different from the sett monitoring. It was incredibly uplifting and empowering. Mandy has written a fantastic piece having, I suspect, listened to me bleating on about badgers and their plight constantly – I certainly don’t think anyone has anything but the utmost respect for those on the ground.

    Reply
    • Mandy Gardner   November 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

      That’s great news Rebecca 🙂

      Reply
  2. Rebecca Slattery-Kavanagh   November 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Karen, there is a march in Bristol shortly – I highly recommend it. I took part in the Brighton march yesterday and it was a wonderful, wonderful experience. Totally peaceful without a hint of trouble. It’s worth it just to hear Dominic Dyer speak!

    Reply
  3. Mandy Gardner   November 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

    You are very welcome Karen! I hope the movement to vaccinations comes quickly <3

    Reply
  4. karenbail1963ey   November 3, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Thankyou for covering this, it is a cruel cull, Karen in Bristol UK

    Reply
  5. Roger Broad   November 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Reply
  6. Sara Siloko   November 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I wonder what will be the final straw on the camel’s back that will force Owen Paterson to stop this illegal, immoral, ineffective, massively expensive waste of taxpayers’ money? If it is to be the Brighton march, great. Please remember those truly magnificent people who are giving up their lives to tramp around in dark cold wet threatening public footpaths very night in Gloucestershire to save the lives of badgers. I have only helped by monitoring setts, as I don’t walk very well, but the experience has left its mark on me and I salute their bravery and decency. Would that we all cared that much.

    Reply

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