Protester arrested as badger cull gets under way

An anti-badger cull protester has been arrested in Gloucestershire after a High Court injunction to protect farmers from "harassment" came in to force.

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An anti-badger cull spokesman has been arrested in Gloucestershire after he was found by police at a site owned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

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According to the Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs campaign group, the man arrested was Jay Tiernan, a representative of the  ‘Coalition of Badger Action Groups’ and ‘Stop the Cull’ protest groups. He was arrested at DEFRA’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory in Ashdown, Stroud, on Monday on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

The arrest follows the granting of a High Court injunction to protect farmers from “harassment and threats” made by badger cull protesters. 

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) applied for the injunction, claiming some farmers need protection from protesters’ “sustained campaign of intimidation.”

As a result of the ruling, protests are not allowed to take place within 100m of the homes, and within 25m of businesses, of anyone involved in the cull. The injunction also prevents protesters from entering private land without consent – and anyone found to be in breach of it risks facing contempt of court proceedings.

However, lawful protests against the badger cull are still permitted.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “This has never been about preventing people from holding legal protests. This injunction is about stopping those intent on unacceptable incidents of harassment and threats made against a number of farmers and landowners by those opposed to the badger cull.”

The pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire, which are set to begin today (27 August), are aimed at tackling the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle and badger populations. Licensed marksmen aim to cull 5,000 badgers over the next six weeks.

In a statement the Badger Trust said: “The order is a welcome confirmation that those concerned about this senseless cull of badgers can continue to make their voices heard.

“The Badger Trust will continue to highlight the folly of this policy that will neither reduce TB in a meaningful way or help the badger population.”

Numbers of cattle becoming infected with bTB have been on the rise in recent years with around 38,000 cattle being culled last year because of the disease.

Mr Kendall added: “For beef and dairy farmers dealing with TB on their farms, these badger culls are an essential part in the fight against this terrible disease.”

The facts

  • Culling has commenced in Somerset and is expected to begin in Gloucestershire shortly
  • Licensed marksmen have a target of culling 5,000 badgers over the next six weeks
  • They will carry out the culls at night in the two areas of about 300 sq km
  • The aim is to kill 70% of badgers in the areas, this number is thought to be enough to reduce the disease in cattle while maintaining badger populations
  • More than 38,000 cattle were killed last year after testing positive for bTB, the NFU claims
  • Anti-badger cull protesters have pledged to disrupt the operation and search for wounded badgers
  • A High Court injunction prevents protesters from being within 100m of the homes, and 25m of businesses, of anyone involved in the cull
  • The injunction also bans campaigners from entering private land without consent

Take a look at links below for more news on the badger cull…

BBC News: Badger cull begins in Somerset in attempt to tackle TB

BBC News: Police deployed in Gloucestershire over badger cull ‘concerns’

The Guardian: Protesters claim success in opening battles

The Independent: Man arrested as campaigners prepare to disrupt badger cull

The Mirror: Animal rights protesters vow to stand between marksmen’s guns and badgers

The Farmers Weekly: Badger cull to battle bovine TB begins

The Daily Mail: First badger gun cull begins as militant hunt saboteurs vow to infiltrate groups planning peaceful protests

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The Gloucestershire Echo: Badger cull – views for and against