Activists flood the Somerset cull zone as guns start firing
The shooting of badgers in Somerset has started this week. The cull is aiming to kill over 70% of the badger population in the area in a misguided attempt to stop tuberculosis (TB) in cattle. The TB problem is mainly down to poor farming practices and inbreeding of the cows, (see Schnews 836) but some would rather scapegoat badgers. Gloucestershire has not started their cull yet, but may do next week.
There has always been huge public opposition to killing badgers and the start of the shooting has seen some of those people taking direct action. As soon as the marksmen started shooting, there were people sabotaging it. Stop the Cull reported the first incident on Tuesday night in the Stogumber area when people heard shots and then some people made enough noise to send the badgers safe underground. The shooting stopped. Since then, there seem to have been problems for the marksmen every time badger friendly people find them. Finding them is a bit tricky, which is why more people are needed to help.
The police have been accompanying the Somerset Badger Group on nightly walks from Williton, all in hi-vis, walking the roads and rights of way in the area. They have been a little less successful at keeping track of the hunt saboteurs and assorted others moving about and more blatantly interfering with the shooting using bright torches and noise. Maybe the poor coppers have other things on their minds, since the audacious ‘Angry Foxes Cell ’ set fire to their Firearms Training Unit in Portishead. (That’s probably a whole other article.) The injunction the NFU took out to try to prevent people stopping the cull has proved pretty irrelevant on the ground, with no use of it reported.
There is a Badger Camp set up near Ash Priors village, about six and a half miles NW of Taunton. This is on the edge of the cull zone, providing camping space, vegan food, networking and training for those coming to stop the cull. To find out more join this facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/campbadger/ There’s also a facebook thing to share lifts to the zone: https://www.facebook.com/groups/badgerliftshare
If you prefer not to have a multinational corporation spying on you whilst organising your vaguely illegal activity, you can phone Somerset Badger Group 07425 071 510 or for Gloucester Office 01386 761455 or Gloucester Field Phone 07891639803. Or if you’re coming from South East England you can call Brighton group on 07415 619160. You could find your local hunt sab group at http://hsa.enviroweb.org/index.php/get-involved/localgroups
You don’t need any special skills or superpowers, just some practical clothing, food, water, and a torch. Read up on the shooting method here, so you know what to look for.