Updated briefing note for 2016
This is a working document which is updated regularly.
The cull is about to start very soon and be rolled out to areas with contiguous boundaries to the Gloucestershire cull zone. People and resources are needed in ALL zones so please consider where you will be most effective. We have a pretty hard task ahead of us but that does not mean that we cannot save lives, it does not mean that will not have an impact on further roll out and just bear in mind that during the Krebs trials that on some nights there were just 2 people in a cull zone, they still made a huge impact.
Our job at GBO is to put people in touch with one another, work out where people are best placed to save badgers (along with the autonomous zones), receive and distribute information, to coordinate camp, to help with resources for those working in the Gloucestershire zone, to look after those out in the zone e.g to get a lift for someone stranded, to get back up to those who need it, to induct new people and to provide police liaison and basic legal help.
Right now we are out doing daily sett checks, camp is available and are happy to meet with anyone who wants to join us.
PART 1: General information (e.g. essential phone numbers) and important advice regarding coming into the zone
(please scroll down for Part 2 – ‘police and legal information’ and Part 3 – ‘local information’ e.g. hospitals and shops)
Useful Numbers and Contact Details:
OFFICE CENTRAL NUMBER: 07709 624903 this will be managed from a fixed location https://www.facebook.com/Glosbadgeroffice
GROUND COORDINATION: 07981 639803, will meet with people on the ground and help where it is needed. Will meet up with new people and are available most of the time. This is also the 3C sab number so please call if you see any hunts in any of the 3 connected zones and we will do our best to attend.
CAMP and WELFARE: (only for accommodation and welfare on site): 07845 467956
POLICE LIAISON: 07849 400057 (NOT EMPLOYED BY POLICE! policing, basic legal advice and back-up if police are acting inappropriately, wildlife crime, cullers/farmers behaving badly etc):
OUTPACED: 07950 434492 A resource for activists working in partnership with police liaison.
ARREST NUMBER (only for those who are reporting an arrest or arrestees calling from the station to inform us of your arrest or to arrange being picked up): 07963 831493
Vale Wildlife Rescue: 01386 882288 http://www.valewildlife.org.uk/
A Wild Life With Animals Wildlife Ambulance. If you find an injured animal and NEED URGENT ASSISTANCE call 01594 715105 or07925 638337. For non-urgent questions contact AWLWA at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are not open 24/7 but will always try to help as and when we have volunteers available.https://www.facebook.com/awlwa?fref=ts
DAY TIME MEETING POINT: This year there will be no day time meeting point (unless someone wants to do it, please PM us if so). However, we will be in the zone and we will do our best to meet up with anyone day or night.
NIGHT TIME MEETING POINT: 19.00 Llwell St car park, Newent (NB setts ideally should have protectors in the field BEFORE dusk so this meeting point is for new people and those who need to meet face-to-face)
Badgers will be free shot between dusk and dawn, badgers are shot in cages up until midday, cages and bait points are present 24 hours a day. Whatever hours you can do they are vital to help stop the cull.
Wounded Badger Patrol: https://www.facebook.com/groups/335662649895694/ Please contact them if you wish to go on more structured patrols with coordinators
Please text in your numbers now if you are coming to the Gloucester zone and want us to have your number. Sett checking is happening daily now – call the office phone if you want to come down and help.
The person carrying the office phone is the only person who has the best overview of the whole Gloucester zone and is the only person who will be coordinating zone wide.
If it is urgent please phone rather than text especially at night. If a text is all that can be sent, fair enough, but do follow it up if you don’t hear back from us. Some texts can take a long time to get through or not be noted until later. The office person will also be asleep/busy doing other things sometimes and so may miss a text – call to ensure the information has got through.
Main number is for coordination, intel, press, “staffing” of zones and will put people in touch with one another. A bit like a switch board. Police Liaison and camp can be contacted directly by everyone. All calls to the main number re: police/legal or camp/finances will be sent to those responsible and vice versa. All 3 numbers are important to put in your phone now and remember to call the right one for your needs.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
We will not be providing postcodes unless it be for camps or meeting points. Maps are absolutely essential unless you know the zone very well indeed. You will need the orange Ordnance Survey maps OS 179, OS 190 and OL 14, but a road map may suffice if you are not leaving the car. If you know in advance which area you will be working in, so may only need to bring one or two of the above maps. We may get some donated but it is the responsibility of those attending to bring their own. Cheap OS maps can be purchased online from http://dash4it.co.uk/ordnance-survey-m…/series/explorer.html. This is a really good resource for those learning to map read or who want to learn more. https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/resources/map-reading/
If you do not drive and need a lift you will need to discuss with the driver what time to come back, whether a contribution for petrol is needed and so on. If you need to catch a train at 10.00 but your driver has to do something else 30 miles away at the same time you will have a problem so discuss it first. It is your responsibility to organise yourself. Some people will be out in the field for many hours and if your driver is out for 18 hours then so are you. Best to talk about it first or accept that the onus is on you to find another lift back if you want to leave earlier. Those giving lifts may be very flexible or they may have a very rigid schedule – if someone says they are leaving at 08.00 do not expect them to wait for you if you want a leisurely breakfast. We have had problems with people who have to coordinate at meeting points being held up by those who have not been ready in time. This then means that other activists who should have been in the field are also waiting. No-one should ever be left in the field – if someone is running late for a pickup, arrangements should be made for someone to get them if a driver cannot wait.
Likewise, it is the responsibility of those attending to provide their own equipment. A torch and a spare, with spare batteries, is absolutely essential. Sometimes we have equipment and we can help but any presumption that we will provide any equipment will more than likely be met with disappointment.
A local list including garages, supermarkets, outdoor and camping shops will be made available. We will not be quartermasters for equipment, although anyone who wishes to take on responsibility for this role is more than welcome.
Some people arrived in the zones in the first year inadequately attired and suffered as a result. You need to be prepared for both scorching sunshine and freezing conditions. We went from sunstroke to hypothermia over the months involved so recommend to all those who are new to this sort of thing the following:
Layers, both warmer than heavy clothes and if you get hot you can take some off. Don’t bring anything new and loved – it will get wrecked by wire/brambles/mud/poo and so forth.
You will get wet despite waterproofs so you need to prepare for that and keep something dry somewhere to change into.
Most will be walking for miles – trainers on a warm September day are fine but you may suffer when the torrential rain comes at 2am. Each to their own though – we do know of those who went barefoot, but we don’t recommend it! Wellies are good but others prefer walking boots.
Bring a hat – most heat escapes through the head & bring gloves – EVERYONE should have gloves!
Goggles were found to be very useful last year to protect eyes from maize and brambles.
Water is an absolute essential, even if it is cold and wet – you will get dehydrated – and high energy snacks are also handy. Some recommend taking a thermos flask.
Pen or pencil (pencils work well in wet weather) and paper for writing grid references, car reg’s, etc down.
Did we mention torches? Carry a torch at all times and a spare even if it is daytime. You might be out longer than predicted.
Be careful with things like car keys and phones. Have something that zips them up safely, you really don’t want your iPhone in a cow pat or in the hands of a trapper. Think about having a cheaper phone to go out with. If you can, encrypt your phone then if the worst happens at least it is very difficult for someone to access although a police lab’ will do so with relative ease, so don’t get too complacent. Do swap numbers with those you are working with and give any number to phone in an emergency.
For the pain of stinging nettles and bramble scratches after-sun works quite well, as do the old remedy of dock leaves. An antihistamine may be handy as well.
If you need an inhaler, insulin or other medication please make sure that you bring it and let those who you are working with know in case you have an asthma attack / become hypoglycemic, etc.
Regarding vehicles, please make sure that you are legal re: MOT/insurance/road tax/tyres/etc. In the first year the police took great delight in impounding vehicles which were insured, but did not show up on the system as being so. Please check with your insurer that your details are on the national computer – in one case where the insurer had failed to do this they did pay for a taxi for the stranded person and also paid the £150 fee, but it was still very inconvenient.
WHEN IT STARTS:
Please don’t think that you have to be physically fit to help. Many people who could not walk very far did brilliant work staying on junctions, roadside setts and high points. The oldest person out in the zone was 94 years of age and people who cannot walk without sticks patrolled as far as they could. This can be done day and night. Just call us and let us know what you are able to do.
There will be a meeting point at 19.00 in Newent – see above. We will meet with people outside this time if required.
Those who do not have their own transport should get to the Newent meet point, which is well served with buses, or make their own arrangements. We might be able to pick people up from other places but we do not really have the resources to do this routinely. Contact us first to avoid disappointment. Use the lift share page!
If you are stranded in the zone please call us immediately, we will try to sort out a lift asap. Those arriving at different times to the above meeting times should call the office, ditto if you are going to be late. We often wait up to an hour for latecomers. Some people may prefer to call the office number to be given a location/group to work with prior to arriving in the area. The zone is very large, covering 250 square miles with hundreds of setts. There are many groups covering this vast area and they know their setts, the surrounding land, sympathetic landowners, who is vaccinating, who is going to be monitoring their own land, where there are likely to be problems and so on. We need to cover and protect as many setts as possible which is our main role – lots of people checking or turning up to the same area is not conducive to this! Likewise people just “looking for action” and all going to a place they think is exciting.
For those who are going to be in the area a lot e.g. 5 days a week or are down for a week / month solidly we can meet with you and discuss taking responsibility for a few setts / an area for the duration of your stay or set you up with an existing group in an area needing help.
Please call us when you arrive and when you leave. If you are in an autonomous group, do keep us updated re: whether you have the numbers you need. If you are low in numbers we may be able to help and if you have lots of people, we can deploy them elsewhere if needed. This enables us to know what is covered so that we can be as effective as possible. Do contact your neighbours for help / offers to help, but just keep us in the loop.
Groups and individuals within their own areas have complete autonomy. The cullers will be laying bait points and cages during the day. Badgers in cages will be shot first thing in the morning up until midday and of course with free shooting, badgers can be shot between dusk and dawn. Cages are in situ 24 hours a day. Come out when you can at any time.
Please respect the fact that groups and individuals have been protecting their areas for up to three years. They have been sett checking though the summer and have plans for their areas which do not include other people randomly turning up. If you really want to go to a specific area then the office will put you in touch with the people in that area. We can sort that out now before the cull starts.
We don’t know where “the action” is – we can only predict and go by what intel’ we have from previous dates. We have to cover a massive geographical area day and night, 7 days a week, and only by having people on the ground do we know where things are happening and if, for example, shooters arrive at a sett, it normally only requires a small number of people to cope. Requests on social media and by phone to others meant that those sett-sitting or patrolling left their areas to help only to find that shooters had been to the area they left unguarded and that by the time they had got back to the car and driven over that lots of people had likewise unnecessarily descended (also abandoning their setts to slaughter) or that the problem had been dealt with. Please do not try and recruit people to your area without discussing it with the office. If you do this you deny other areas getting support who may need people far more than you e.g 5 people protecting 3 setts may feel like more people are needed but the lone person out protecting 20 setts needs much more help!
One night we received 5 genuine calls to shooters across the zone within half an hour – it is a massive area and “the action” will sometimes be happening in multiple locations – we only have a finite number of people. We will prioritise a call from a passing local, or a lone sett sitter, for example, as they might not be able to deal with the situation by themselves. We know that police and shooters tried repeatedly to get as many people as possible into one area to try and leave other areas vulnerable, acting as decoys, we know that those not directly involved in the cull but who were pro-cull tried to rattle us so that we called on others for help. Don’t play into their hands. You may be in an area where you have shooters, angry farmers, scores of cages, helicopters and riot police, equally you may be in the cold and wet walking for ages and not see a soul or anything else.
All of us had days and nights where we felt that we were not having an impact because our area was quiet. Please remember that the reason you are there is because it is in the cull zone and we don’t know when and where they are going to try and kill without you being there on the ground. It may well be that shooters hidden up are cursing you because unknowingly you have scuppered their plans – this happened repeatedly. It is also the case that our presence led to fewer cages going down. Cages may be put down one day and thereafter every day, or they might go back in a week or fortnight’s time – no-one knows unless people are on the ground. All of us have had long, disheartening and exhausting hours (it’s called the hard yard) and it is absolutely essential to saving badgers so please try to take the rough with the smooth. A quiet night is a good night – you may have been successful just by being there as a deterrent.
We do not have the resources to update everyone on what is going on across the zone, nor do we have the time, nor would we if we could for security reasons. This may be very frustrating for some but we have to protect those in the field. We will pass on what we can when we can in general texts or Facebook messages and gove general updates when possible. We will prioritise calls from sabs in the field needing help to someone at home who just wants to know the latest news. Most information will only be on a need to know basis and we make no apologies for this. We are aiming to post on Facebook at least daily.
There is one camp. The camp phone number is as above and there is a safer spaces policy which concerns consideration for other campers, the hosts and those local to the site.
Any camp food provided by us will be vegan, the reason for this is that it includes everyone, it stops cross contamination of non-vegan food and allergens. Those who wish to eat non-vegan items are free to do so. Whatever your views, be sensitive and respectful to those around you. Keep discussions polite in person and online.
It will be cold, so please make sure that you have enough bedding. It is the responsibility of each person to bring their own tents / sleeping bags / mattresses, etc. or make arrangements with the camp coordinator for these to be provided on a first-come-first-served basis.
There is a no smoking policy for the kitchen and communal enclosed spaces.
There is a drug-free policy – for obvious reasons illegal drugs on site are not tolerated. Anyone violating this will have to leave camp immediately.
If you are bringing dogs please give us notice.
Rubbish, recycling and the running of the camp is the responsibility of everyone who stays there. Clearing up at the end should not be left to a couple of exhausted locals as it has been for the last 2 years! Plan to stay an extra day or two and help clear up if you can. This is extremely important as without a clear up team there will be nowhere to stay during future culls. Clear up your mess, take all your belongings home and take a sack of rubbish / recycling as well. It is not fair to expect one person to go back and forth to the recycling point 5 times after spending 2 days sorting through the detritus of others.
Destroy all numbers / grid references / maps and other such information by fire when you have finished with them. One year we know that the opposition went through the bins post cull at pub badger.
Be security aware – the opposition may try and cause trouble: keep calm, film interactions and contact police liaison. Journalists should not just be allowed on site: discuss with the office / hosts / others present or refer them to the press liaison.
Any requests made by the hosts must be complied with. For example with parking areas.
OTHER THINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
In the Gloucester cull zone lots of people drive 4X4s including sabs, WBP, locals who are sympathetic to badgers, landowners out protecting their own setts from shooters, people who live in the area who have nothing to do with the cull and are going home, etc. Some may indeed have pro-hunt / shoot car stickers as they help some of us to blend in. Don’t call in just because you’ve seen a 4X4 unless you think it is suspicious and please don’t tamper with any vehicles!
AHLVA were driving Highways Maintenance pick-ups in the first year when checking hair traps and the police will be out in unmarked cars, so there is all sorts of skulduggery on both sides. Keep an open mind and if you are not sure call us as we have a list of baddie vehicles. We can also ask local people who live and work in that area of the zone.
Shooters can be in ordinary beaten up old cars; they can also walk out of a farm and into the fields. They will be hidden in the maize, in the woods and in the hedgerows. They have been seen getting into position well before dusk. Therefore sabs also need to be present during this time.
Please pass on reg numbers to the office number – your own if you think someone may think you are a shooter and the reg number of any suspicious vehicle.
Badgers were baited out from anti-cull land to pro-cull land. Watch out for this and always assume that there is more than one cage near a sett / in the vicinity. Just because a sett is on anti-cull land does not mean that it is safe.
Maize is just as attractive to badgers as peanuts and fields of maize are huge, great big bait points and the cullers know this. So do we: please pay special attention to maize fields. Prior to harvest they will be a prime site for cages, after harvest they will be a prime target for free-shooting. Some people found that eye protectors helped last year – maize leaves will often be at eye-level and can give a nasty paper-cut-type scratch.
There is a badger crime liaison person who is keeping tabs on all badger crime within the zone. If you come across a blocked sett, for example, please let us know (anonymously if you prefer) and we will report it if you are unable to.
Badgers are very shy creatures, so please stay away from the setts as much as you can, although of course setts need a brief check. 30 metres is recommended if sett-sitting. Be careful where you pee and poo. The last thing we want are tame badgers as shooters and badger baiters smell human too, nor do we wish to contribute to perturbation. Another reason for us all keeping to our own areas is that badgers will be disturbed less when sett checking. All in all keep a human presence at setts / runs / latrines to a minimum and if possible the same person should be sett checking so that strange scents do not upset the badgers.
Do not ignore inactive setts. Badgers do move depending on what is going on and according to food supply. An inactive sett can suddenly be occupied and then targeted. Check on them from time to time.
Do not feed badgers. This was done in the first year at 2 setts for good reasons but, unless the same situation arises, not a good idea. We don’t want badgers to get used to humans or reliant on food and certainly don’t want to get them used to peanuts, etc!
Badger latrines are very well worth noting and the excrement is worth examining. You are looking for signs of pre-baiting i.e. peanuts in the stool. Peanuts will be thrown down setts, put on runs, near latrines, in fields and in small pits and then covered over. Be careful to differentiate between a bait point and a human latrine. Responsible humans dig a small hole and bury their waste… it looks like a bait point… we found out the hard way.
SAFETY OF OTHER ANIMALS:
There will be a wildlife ambulance for any injured or sick badgers and other wildlife to transport any casualties, thus enabling people to carry on protecting badgers in the field. Call the office or AWLWA (see contact details).
We have come across sheep, cows and pigs in appalling conditions. Please film or photograph it, preferably with some evidence of the location (e.g. a sign with the name of the farm) and contact ‘Stop the Cull’ with any evidence. Sheep often get trapped in brambles and wire and they also get cast i.e. onto their backs or sides and can’t get up again. If left they get eaten alive, their lungs fill with fluid and they can die within hours. It is simple enough to get a cast sheep up – just help them try to stand – we have had to cut others out of brambles with ordinary garden secateurs. If you can’t help them call us and the RSPCA and / or the farmer / police.
Do make sure that you shut gates and never, ever, ever leave litter – that includes fag butts(!) as it kills animals. Be considerate to others, especially at meeting points – take a small trowel with you to bury bodily waste, or use a dog bag to remove it. Do not “go to the toilet” in public areas unless you can bury it well!
Dogs: please clean up after them if in a village for example and keep on leads near sheep / cows, etc. Please ensure that your dog is wormed. Sheep and cows can be infected by worms from dog excrement so it is good practice to protect them. Some cows and bullocks can be aggressive towards dogs, especially if calves are present. The NFU advise releasing the dog so s/he can escape if this happens as it is thought to be safer for dog (who can run away faster) and human (who will then no longer be targeted).
There are bulls in fields but in our experience they tend to be more interested in eating grass so don’t fret if you are on a footpath and see a bull in front of you.
If you are followed by bullocks, horses or cows, etc. DO NOT RUN – they can run faster! Stand and face them, let them smell you. If you are being charged however (this is very rare, but) get out as quick as you can. Walk close to the hedge-line as it is safer than the middle of the field and you are less likely to frighten them (and they will be less likely to frighten you). There are a few fields we would urge caution re: animals within despite the fact that there are footpaths through them. Another reason not to go to an area without checking with the autonomous group or office.
If you get followed by sheep they are harmless….normally.
Climb gates at the hinge and not the latch if you cannot open them. This is better for the gate, makes less noise and is more stable for you.
Beware slurry pits. These are deep and full of liquid faeces. The methane alone can cause breathing problems and loss on consciousness but to fall in can and does kill so be very aware if you are near a farm of any warning signs and strong smells. If the worse happens dial 999 immediately. Farm workers have died trying to rescue colleagues who have fallen in.
Journalists will be out. Please give us a call if you are asked to speak to them or if you see them unattended. We do have someone to deal with press. Speaking to the press can come with penalties career-wise unless you are anonymised, so please be aware of this. Be polite, say why you want to fight the cull if you wish, but pass them on to the press liaison / office for full interviews and let us know about their presence either way!
Journalists are welcome to get in touch and we are happy to meet with them. They will have an NUJ card (National Union of Journalists). If you are a journalist who has come out to help badgers then you are welcome, but we would expect if you were to write about / film your experiences that you tell those you are working with and not to publish anything that compromises someone’s security or without their consent.
Please remember that all office phones will be monitored by the police.
Facebook and twitter, etc. will continue to be monitored closely by the authorities. Texts and social media posts are attainable for as long as we have technology so a text / post about anything that could be construed as illegal is not a good idea. Anyone boasting their exploits of naughtiness on Facebook and twitter… please ignore – take with a shovel of salt and don’t do likewise – the badgers need you in the field, not in a cell or bailed away. The only safe way to impart information is to meet up, walk well away from any vehicles and phones and only then have a conversation. A mobile phone is still a bugging and tracking tool unless both sim and battery are removed. If it is something sensitive, please ask to meet with someone and we will oblige. If possible, sort stuff out yourself with those you know and trust.
If it is written down on an electric device, computer / laptop / text on a phone, then it had better be 100% of a legal nature to protect both sender and recipient. Private messages are not private when the authorities are involved, so don’t think that writing a PM is safe!
Please do not film or photograph other activists unless you have their permission or unless it is an emergency e.g. someone being driven at. Certainly do not post pictures of others in the cull zone on social media or tag them without permission. Let us say that Joe Bloggs is supposed to be painting the shed on a Saturday afternoon and then his wife sees a piccie of him in the zone… a minor example, but a thoughtless tagging could cause someone their livelihood or a relationship – please think basically. Block the camera of anyone who has been asked not to film by those being filmed – they are not going to be on our side. Do also be aware that others may be filming an incident – be camera aware. It is so easy to make a flippant remark in the car with a car camera recording and then lo and behold later a serious incident happens and the SD card in its entirety is seized and then played in court, gossip / jokes / everything potentially.
AND, sometimes you will only be told what you NEED to know, not what you WANT to know. Don’t take it personally when, for example, some people want to talk about something about you being there. This applies to everyone including the author/s of this note.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP:
If you cannot get to the zones there is so much that can be done from home. We also need people to help at camp.
Fundraising, letters to the press, research, FOI requests, sharing of information (like this note)… the list is endless. If you live in or near the zone you might be able to help with accommodation, for example, or stranded activists. Help may be needed at the camps – dealing with rubbish, cooking, shopping and so on. Can you help dog-sit for someone local to you so that they can get into the cull zone? Those in the field can’t do it without support so whatever you do to help stop this cull hold your head high – you don’t have to be in the zones to make an impact!
Please keep writing letters to the press http://www.mediahell.org/letters.htm and your MP http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
OTHER SHOOTING ACTIVITIES AND HUNTING WITH HOUNDS:
The Gloucs cull zone is hunted by the following packs of hounds: The Ross Harriers (hunt fox and hare, mounted), The Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt (hunt fox, mounted), The Ledbury (hunt fox, mounted), The Leadon Vale Bassets (hunt hares on foot) and the Three Counties (hunt mink on foot along riverbanks). The cub hunting season begins very soon – those who wish to go sabbing should contact the “Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs” or other groups in the zone. You may see one of these hunts out and about. Do film any hunting.
All of these packs also hunt in either the Herefordshire or the North Cotswold zone. NB these hunts and others you my come across (Croome, North Cotswold, Heythrop, Cotswold, North Here, North Ledbury) are all known to interfere with badger setts they won’t stop because there is a badger cull in the area. Please make sure that all setts are checked where any hunt has been. We have seen hunts go through areas where there may be badgers in traps e.g maize on pro cull land. Also check for the smell of diesel down setts and take soil samples if possible. Bear it in mind as the cub hunting season is starting in the area now.
Many lampers and poachers were thwarted last year by those on the ground. Be careful and mindful of your safety around these characters. Members and officials of all three mounted packs have been encountered in the Gloucs zone helping shooters and harassing sabs which included one of the Masters of the Ledbury being one of a group who attacked sabs on a footpath leading to the arrest of his friend.
Sabbing of hunts within the zone did take place during both culls by numerous sab groups. Some points to remember if you do see a hunt and are not a sab/monitor are;
– Do not “head” the hunted animal i.e. keep quiet, stand still and let fox or hare pass you. If you frighten them back into the pack they could be killed.
– Do not stand by a sett as it may be an escape route for the hunted fox. Foxes are likely to also use hedge lines to try and run along without being seen so be careful. Don’t shout at the hunters or supporters, however angry you might be at their activities – you could end up being the reason a fox or hare is killed if you scare it.
– Hares live in forms in fields so you may see hounds going back and forth across a field. Hares run in large circles when chased.
– Filming may deter the hunt from hunting illegally – they have been known to abandon certain areas when cameras are about. You may save a life just by doing that. Pretend to film even if you don’t have a camera.
– Call the office, it is possible that sabs may be able to deal with them or are already in the area and we can give advice re: the Hunting Act.
We will let autonomous groups know when we know there is a hunt meet in their area.
Recreational shooting will happen on many days within the zone as rough shooting, to kill “pests”, syndicate driven shooting and lamping at night. It is legal to walk on the footpaths regardless of the shooters.
Poaching happens a lot, both lamping and coursing. The cull zone with police, sabs, patrollers and landowners all being a much increased presence has meant that poachers are quickly moved on. These are not nice people, so call the office and the police if you suspect poachers, make sure that you get any car reg numbers.
Some local people are out trying to stop the cull. Others are landowners incensed by shooters on their land. Many are pro-cull and trying to shoot badgers. Most just happen to live in the zone and want a quiet life. Do not assume anything and be mindful of the fact that 10 people dressed in black in a village centre might be perceived as intimidating to some people who live there.
Please be polite and you may find that those people actually support us. There are some highly fanciful tall stories which get exaggerated with the telling concerning the antics of those who are protecting badgers. Our aim is to stop the cull, not to annoy local people. In fact those local people are the ones who will tell us what is happening in that area before, during and after the cull when we are not there.
Please be mindful of how noise carries and disturbs wildlife as well as people and be mindful of how some of us live in these communities and have to live in them long after others have gone home. Especially if you don’t know who lives in the area, be careful of where your torch light is pointing as we don’t want to be accused of shining torches through windows!
BURNOUT AND EXHAUSTION:
The culls have taken their toll on many people with long hours over a prolonged period of time, physical exhaustion, strain on relationships, strain on finances all taking their toll on top of the very busy lives we all lead. Please be kind to one another and look after one another.
Whilst much of this does not apply to what we experience during the cull, lots of useful advice on burnout and for those who sab hunts.
PART 2: Protest and the Police – a Bullet-point Guide to dealing with the Police whilst lawfully disrupting the Badger Cull
We know that the police have made a lot of mistakes, in the first cull in particular, and have sometimes misunderstood or misused the law. They have made assumptions about us as individuals and as a group, sometimes failing to see our point of view or sometimes (intentionally or otherwise) acting in a way that has supported shooters.
But we also have failed to always understand the reasons for this, sometimes not identifying whether the problem is poor policing, cynical policing or unnecessarily over-aggressive policing, and as a consequence not understanding how we can best keep their disruption of our activities to a minimum. We have also sometimes failed to recognise good policing and assumed all police are out to get us which isn’t necessarily the case.
Knowing the difference, not making assumptions and knowing the best way to deal with police at different times can make a difference to whether or not we are treated fairly, avoid being arrested, or keep any time that we are arrested and in a police cell to a minimum. This in turn can maximise the time we can spend in the zone, saving badgers.
There is no doubt policing was much more equitable last year. It is important to recognise our part in facilitating this.
There are good and bad people in every walk of life. Police are no different. Some will be very good at their job, some not so. Some will secretly care quite passionately about badger culling, some will not care at all. All should treat you fairly, and should speak to you courteously. In return, it is better to speak courteously back to them – even if you prefer to keep conversation to a minimum. Should they fail to treat you fairly or courteously, try to film them (you have the right to film them in a public place), and remain calm and courteous yourself – it will only remove any argument they have later for their poor behaviour.
Know your law. Look at the laws they are using against us, know your rights, and know as much as you can about searching people which comes from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). Any doubts phone our police liaison number 07590 434492 24/7.There are very specific rules in place which the police should follow, and if they don’t you should be knowledgeable and ready to firmly but politely challenge them, our liaison certainly will.
FILM EVERYTHING – they are, you should. It is the best way to show exactly what happens.
Stopping people and vehicles; Searches:
Police can stop any vehicle and ask the driver for their details under the road traffic act. They cannot demand the same of passengers in the vehicle. It is an offence not to give your details. You don’t have to be doing anything wrong for them to be able to stop you.
Searching a person or a vehicle:
Police can search you if they suspect you to be carrying something stolen or that you should not have – weapon, item for criminal damage, firework etc. They MUST have a reason why they suspect it, and it cannot just be because you are part of the anti cull group. They need information that you have done something, or that you match a description or vehicle that has done something wrong. They must not do it without a reason, and they must tell you what they are looking for and why they think you might have it first. If they don’t, ASK. And have someone film the reasons they give, politely, and pointing out that you just wish to ensure your rights are properly upheld.
Even if they do have a reason to fairly search you or a vehicle, they can only search what they need to – for instance if they are looking for, say, bolt croppers they cant search your jeans pocket!
Be polite. Film what they do, and know your rights and their powers.
Police MAY use justifiable physical force in law (including breaking into your car) if you do not comply, and nothing is gained by making this necessary, but continue to repeat your reasons if you think they have no grounds, and ask them to record it in their records that you have objected. Ask for their name and number before the search, they must give it to you. Insist on a written record of the search afterwards, and tell them you will wait as long as necessary for them to write one. Insist it is fully completed (they rarely are). If you consider the search spurious, report it to police liaison, with the record.
If you are arrested:
If you are told you are going to be arrested, ask the police officer why they need to do it, and tell them that your arrest isn’t needed because you will agree to go to the station at an arranged time voluntarily. Film this offer being made. If they tell you are being arrested anyway, ask them why they need to and on what grounds. Police must establish grounds as to why the only viable way to deal with the situation is to deprive you of your liberty. Film the reply. Tell them you offer no resistance and so handcuffs are not necessary and that you will go with them but you want your objection recorded.
If they put them on anyway ask them why when you are doing what you are told. Remain calm and courteous, it will help your argument later.
At police cells:
Answer basic questions about who you are (questions about your name, DOB and address are the only ones you are obliged to answer). Use your discretion here – if you aren’t new to this kind of situation, deal with it as you feel comfortable, use your discretion, but try to always remember how your attitude will look in any case against the police or in terms of getting back out into the fields! It’s up to you at the end of the day!
Remember that the police officers in the station don’t have anything to do with why you were arrested and are only there to oversee your time arrested. You can ask for food and drink and anything you need to be comfortable. When you are seen by the custody sergeant when you first arrive be sure to explain the following in a calm and civil way:
– That you don’t agree it was necessary to arrest you, that you offered to go to the station at an agreed time.
– That you still agree to do the same and you don’t think it is reasonable to lock you up.
– If at night TELL THEM YOU ARE ON A NOCTURNAL SLEEP PATTERN and that you are ready to be dealt with straight away, or as soon as possible. Point out that because you are lawfully frustrating the cull at night you will be too tired to be spoken to in the morning and keep asking to be dealt with straight away. Tell them you do not need to sleep. You are allowed 8 continuous hours of sleep and they will want to interview you when they are ready in the morning, before the 24 hour period is up (they have to charge you or let you go within 24 hours). If you are awake until the morning and then wish to sleep your 8 hours from 10am or so, they will be getting very short on time – make sure you insist they deal with you immediately.
– Ask the sergeant to write down everything you have said so there is a record that you have said it. Remain courteous.
– ALWAYS ask for a solicitor, it will not cost you anything.
– If you are interviewed do not just say ‘No Comment’ (unless you are uncomfortable with making a statement). You do not need to answer questions, but you should always say that you deny having done anything wrong and that you did not commit an offence. Discuss this with your solicitor though, and if needed have them write a short statement of denial, and then follow their instruction on whether you should answer any other questions. Do not answer questions unless on a solicitors advice. If in doubt, ignore your solicitor and do not answer questions at all – USE YOUR DISCRETION!
– The police know why we are out in the zone, and are not stupid. You can often avoid any of these things becoming necessary if you are frank and not afraid to be honest about what you are doing. If you are calm and civil and up front about lawfully obstructing the cull, there is little the police can do to us – and if you follow the guidelines above, when they do act outside of their powers, you have the best record to show that they have not acted fairly and to make a meaningful complaint. Especially if you know your law, and film whatever happens. There is no need to be confrontational and grab for a phone every time the police stop to talk to you, but they second they say they are searching or taking details of you, someone should be going for their phones or video camera to film it.
Police liaison has various facets and meets with police regularly between the culls and nightly during the cull. Should any of the above apply to you then please make contact. If possible I will attend the incident and speak to police on your behalf.
If arrested please have both the arrest contact number and police liaison advised – you will only be allowed one phone call, so you can pass on any other numbers of friends / family to the arrestee support person so she can contact them for you if necessary. She can also contact police liaison for you (although he may well have more detailed questions for you).
REMEMBER; VIDEO IT (PLEASE!)
Harassment by pro cull:
Police liaison is particularly interested in securing convictions this year for intimidation and harassment, given the lies and hyperbole levelled against us. We all know the behaviour of certain individuals last year. If you are subjected to this please call police liaison. We will attend whenever possible.
PLEASE VIDEO FROM THE OUTSET.
Often the reason no action could be taken was our failure to supply evidence. It is incredibly easy to forget to video when something kicks off, I amaze myself how often I am guilty of this, so please think evidence, evidence, evidence.
The same applies to breaches of cull protocol; lone cullers, unsafe shooting positions, refusal to withdraw when compromised, etc. Again if you compromise cullers and they refuse to withdraw-as they are required to do-please call police liaison. Resist the temptation to post it on social media. It is essential that both the potential and ramifications of any footage are assessed first. Please let liaison assess and when apposite copy it before any other action. We will endeavour to do this at your location.
Section 50 Police reform act 2002; demands for your personal details.
This was one power that was abused last year. In the order of things it may not be terrible but it is an abuse of our civil liberty.
S50; Persons acting in an anti-social manner
(1) If a constable in uniform has reason to believe that a person has been acting, or is acting, in an anti-social manner (within the meaning of section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c. 37) (anti-social behaviour orders)), he may require that person to give his name and address to the constable.
The antisocial behaviour levelled is that it caused, or is likely to cause, alarm, harassment and distress. We had many incidents of this being used when pro-cullers called police. It was levelled that using torches by females in the dark on footpaths caused distress to cullers. This was, in every case, nonsense and was an abuse of power and an excuse for a fishing trip by the officer/s concerned. Should you be subjected to this please contact the liaison number immediately.
All the above notwithstanding, policing was equitable last year and the author has no reason to expect anything other this year. The exceptions were exactly that, exceptions. Equally there is no doubt that GlosPol were better trained in the challenges of the cull than the other forces. However, it is important to be vigilant and report to liaison any realistic concerns-on the night. Equally, any examples of good policing please report back also. Other acts and powers will be covered if and when they arise, sect 60 60aa, section 17, Cautions, etc and as apposite.
If you require advice please contact liaison. However please remember that liaison is out in the field the same as you.
Lastly I would point out that one of the other key roles of liaison is working with police to minimise impact on the local population. It worked well last year, lets all do whatever we can to achieve this.
PART 3: Local Information
N.H.S. For advice 24 hours a day telephone 111.
N.H.S. Emergency Only Dial 999.
The main Accident and Emergency Units which are open on a 24 hour basis are at Gloucester Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester, GL1 3NN. Tel. No. 0300 4222 222 or Cheltenham General Hospital, Sandford Road, Cheltenham, GL53 7AN. Tel. No. 03004 222 222. Cheltenham is open during the daytime and then only runs a minor injuries service throughout the night.
N.H.S. “walk-in” centres operate at:
– Tewkesbury Hospital
– The Dilke Memorial Hospital, Cinderford
– The Vale Community Hospital, Trinity Road, Stroud
– Accident and Emergency Units at Gloucester Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital
Minor Injury Units operate at:
– The Dilke Hospital, Cinderford, GL14 3HX. Tel. No. 0300 421 8640 Out of hours emergency G.P. Tel. No. is 0300 421 0220
– Lydney Hospital, GL15 5JF. Tel. No. 0300 421 8722 Out of Hours emergency G.P. Tel. No. 0300 421 0220
The above Units are both open:
Monday to Friday 8am until 11pm
Also Tewkesbury Minor Injuries Unit, Barton Road, Tewkesbury, GL20 5QN. Tel. No. 01684 853924 (Open from 8am until 8pm only)
Dental Emergency Services:
– Dental Access Centre, Gloucester, Southgate Moorings, 2, Kimbrose Way, GL1 2DB. Tel. No. 01452 380073. Opening hours are 9am until 1pm. and 2pm until 5pm Monday to Friday
– St Paul’s Dental Access Centre 121, Swindon Road, Cheltenham GL50 4DP. Tel. No. 01242 215025
– Gloucester Dental Care also offer an emergency N.H.S. service. GL1 3HF. Tel. No. 01452 310730. Their opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am until 1pm. And 2pm until 5pm. Outside of these hours call 0845 120 7179
– Dental Access Centre, Worcester, 91, Lowesmoor, WR1 2RS. Tel. No. 01905 724633. Opening hours are 9am until 12.30pm and 1.30pm until 5pm. Monday to Friday and from 9am until 12.30pm Saturdays and Sundays.
Mental Health Services:
– 2gether N.H.S. Foundation Trust. Gloucester and Forest of Dean areas Tel. No. is 0800 1690 398 then press 2. Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and North Cotswold areas Tel. No. is 0800 1690 398 then press 3. Night-time – 10pm until 7am please Telephone 07659 113275
– “Lets Talk” helpline Tel. No. is 0800 073 2200 and is open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday
– Samaritans Telephone No. 08457 90 90 90
Pharmacies (not an exhaustive list):
– Boots Chemist, High Street, Cheltenham
– Boots Chemist, Market Street, Cinderford
– Day-Lewis Chemist, Park Road, Coleford or Pyart Court
– Drybrook Chemist, Drybrook
– Asda, Bruton Way, Gloucester
– Lloyds Chemists at Brockworth, Quedgeley and Longlevens
– Tesco at St. Oswalds, Gloucester
– Sainsburys at Gloucester Quays
– Boots Chemist, High Street, Tewkesbury
– Lloyds Pharmacy, High Street opposite Boots, Tewkesbury
– Badham Chemist at Priors Park, Tewkesbury
Drug and Substance User Support and Advice:
Turning point provides local drug and alcohol support. Gloucester office at 41-43 Longsmith Street. 01452 509500
24 hour Supermarkets / Service Stations:
– BP Service Station M50/A449 Southbound, Overcross, Ross on Wye HR9 7QJ
– Shell Station A40 Northern Bypass, Gloucester, GL2 9DW
– Texaco Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2RS
– BP Garage Ashchurch, Tewkesbury, GL20 8JN
Please be aware that there are NO 24hour places open within the zone so do ensure that you do not run out of fuel.
– ASDA, Gloucester – Open from 8am Monday through until 9pm Saturday then 10am until 4pm Sundays
– TESCO, St Oswalds Way, Gloucester – Open 6am Monday through until midnight on Saturday then 10am until 4pm Sunday. Petrol Station available. In store Pharmacy is open 8am until 10.30pm Monday 6.30am until 10.30pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Saturday it closes at 10pm and open Sunday 10am until 4pm
– Morrison’s in Ross on Wye is open 7am until 10pm Monday until Saturday and 10am until 4pm Sunday. Petrol Station available
– Morrison’s, Ashchurch Road, Tewkesbury is open 8am until 9pm Monday to Saturday then 10am until 4pm Sunday. Petrol Station available
– Co-op in Newent is open 7am until 10 pm Monday to Saturday and 10am until 4pm Sunday
– Cheltenham WholeFoods Store on the Gallagher Retail Park is open 8am until 9pm Monday to Saturday and 11am until 5pm on Sundays
– Waitrose, Honeybourne Way, Cheltenham – Open 8am until 9pm Monday to Saturday 10am until 4pm Sunday
There are Holland and Barratt Stores in Tewkesbury, Gloucester Quays, Cheltenham, Ross-on-Wye and Cinderford, Wyedean Health Food shops in Coleford and Newent and Forest Health Foods in Lydney with other health-food stores in Tewkesbury, Lebury and Ross-on-Wye.
CAMPING EQUIPMENT SHOPS:
– Go Outdoors, Barton Street, Gloucester
– Attwools in Whitminster Nr. Gloucester
– Escape to the Great Outdoors, Broad Street, Ross on Wye
– Blacks, The Promenade, Cheltenham (also Millets, Cotswold Outdoors and Mountain Warehouse on the High Street)
– Outdoor 365 Ltd, St. Georges Place, Cheltenham
– Field and Trek, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Gloucester
– Apex Outdoor Gear, Nr. Coleford
– Haywards in Tewkesbury is a hard-wear shop which also stocks many items
– Country Corner in Newent
The above information is not an exhaustive list but it is designed as a guide to help you access any services you may need
We are aware that some people may bring a pet with them into the zone. Listed below are a few Veterinary Services in the area, though please do not take this as a recommendation to use any particular one should your companion need attention.
– The Brambles 24 hour Service. 58 Albermarle Road, Churchdown, Gloucester GL3 2HE. 01452 712194.
– Abbeydale Animal Hospital / Quedgeley Veterinary Surgery. 24 hour Emergency Service 01452 3000596.
– Pets Barn Veternary Group. Cinderford, Glos. GL14 2PL. 10594 826688 Or Hartpury, Glos.
– Leadon Vale Vets Ledbury HR8 2DJ 01531633276.
– Archenfield vine Tree Vets. Ross on Wye HR9 5RS. 01989 564687.