Badger cull campaigners fear a countryside free-for-all

Badger cull campaigners fear a countryside free-for-all

By The Citizen

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ALLOWING an illegal van driver to transport dead badgers away from the cull zone is the latest example of a “free-for-all” developing in the countryside, anti-cull campaigners claim.

A 27-year-old man from Altrincham has been reported for summons to court for driving without a licence after a crash in Worcester Street last month.

Early on Sunday, September 29, a Volkswagen Transporter van crashed into a bus stop. The driver was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital with fractured ribs and cuts.

It is understood the van was on its way back from an unnamed part of the badger cull zone in Gloucestershire and that the badger carcasses were being transported for post-mortem examination and disposal.

Steve Tomlin is a key county campaigner against the cull, which is aimed at helping to cut incidents of tuberculosis in cattle.

“This arrest is just more evidence that this cull is half-baked and descending into a ‘free-for-all’,” he said.

“We were told that there should be three-man teams with a marksman at all times. We believe this is not the case and many are stretched.

“This van could have been taking infected badgers to an incinerator in Stroud or Gloucester.

“There is a strict code of practice for the cull, and allowing a van to be driven by someone without a licence is worrying.

“Resources for this operation are threadbare and this is another example of it becoming even more stretched with those involved taking dangerous short cuts.

“By extending the cull, the poor old badgers have had the goal posts moved. It sounds as if those organising the cull would not even know how to put on a football match.”

Steve said although 10 per cent of carcasses recovered were likely to be sent for post mortem, it was an opportunity missed to test more bodies.

Police costs for the badger cull are also said to be spiralling out of control. Police and crime commissioner Martin Surl has said the figure is about £1million, twice the original estimate.

Campaign group Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS), is concerned an extension to the badger cull will lead to an increasing breakdown of law and order.

The group, whose members all agree to act peacefully and within the law, have reported a number of incidents to the police since the cull started five weeks ago.

Its wounded badger patrols were organised in response to a Defra report that many would be injured and not killed outright.

GABS spokesperson Jeanne Berry said: “While we all know that the badger cull is an emotive subject, there is a real risk that these incidents could cause a deep divide among communities in the county if the cull is extended.

“Over 500 people have signed up to the wounded badger patrols here because they are concerned about the cull.”

Natural England is considering an application to extend the badger cull in Gloucestershire. It has already extended the licence in Somerset.

Defra and the NFU were approached for comment but refused to discuss operational matters.

2 Replies to “Badger cull campaigners fear a countryside free-for-all”

  1. Shocking and totally wrong like everything else about this tragic farce.
    My husband and I were visiting friends in rural Somerset yesterday afternoon and last night. We went for a ramble on public footpaths and around field edges, picking blackberries in the afternoon and returning for a bite to eat, . We hadn’t found any of the hazelnuts, walnuts or peanuts that kind donors are wont to strew around where ‘thingys’ have their homes so we were unable to augment our supper with those.
    At 7.30pm – ish, we took our leave and stopped for a coffee from our flask.
    It really does come to something when two old codgers stopping for a coffee on a public highway can be interrogated by policemen, not two minutes after arriving at a suitable lay-by! It was a trifle disconcerting to be asked our identities, why we had stopped there, where we came from, what we had been doing in Somerset and how long we intended to stay in the layby, whilst in the full headlight beam of a police vehicle!
    However, it was very good of them to check that the car wasn’t stolen, that we were who we said, and to inform us that there were gunmen in the area and allay our fears for our safety by assuring us that that we weren’t in any danger because the gunmen were trained marksmen and wouldn’t mistake us for black stripey people.
    It had been an eventful day but how time does fly while one is immersed in admiring the beautiful moon playing hide-and-seek with the clouds but we eventually left there and arrived back home early this morning..

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