Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Things have changed over the last couple of days, primarily with the actions of the police during the cull. It has been reported many times before what a complete debacle the police operation (Themis) was in the first year of the cull and one of the primary reasons why the cull cost so much to the public purse. Since then the policing has generally been much more low key in an attempt to keep costs down so the cull can be justified on financial grounds.

This year it appeared the situation would be much the same although there was always a slight undercurrent of bias towards those doing the killing as aggressive behaviour by cullers along with damage to activist cars and multiple breeches of license conditions went uninvestigated or generally ignored. Now it seems the police are overtly taking the side of cull companies and the NFU.

This new action came in the form of multiple arrests (see here) and the new tactic of following activists around as they searched for the low lives doing the killing. There can be only one explanation as to why there has been a sudden change in tack by the police and that is the effectiveness of those defending our badgers.

With a little imagination you can picture the scene, NFU and cull company officials along with land owners signed up to the killing, in a meeting with the local police area commanders . . .

pixie-henge

Pixie Henge

“OK we’ve had enough now, we’re running out of cages, we’re just not killing enough of those stripy bastards and all we see is pictures of flattened cages on Facebook. They’re rubbing our noses in it. Those smelly tree huggers are ruining everything.”

“My shooters are reporting that every time they go out someone covered in camo with night vision turns up and starts flashing high power torches all over the place and moves them on”.

“We want action, sort your shit out and start arresting the f*ckers. We need to clear the way and get rid of them, we have targets to meet.”

The NFU of course can dictate Government policy on farming matters so why not the police too?

The worst policing incident was the use of a Section 35 Dispersal Order by Devon and Cornwall Police. The Section 35 was never intended to be used to support the actions of an unelected entity and deny non-violent protest. It would appear at first glance to be in contravention of the human rights act (although I’m no legal eagle) and the area in question was a large one containing badger setts that could then be openly targeted without interference. Unsurprisingly the local councillor is Robin Julian, UKIP member, Freemason and badger killer who breaks the license conditions.

UPDATE: Stop the Cull put out a call for people to contact Devon and Cornwall Police and complain about the use of the Section 35 and it would seem people power proved a success and the order has been withdrawn.

Less understanding people will often ask why put yourself at risk of arrest and claim that the police are only upholding the law. However my answer would be a simple one.

Sometimes, regardless of legality you have to do what you believe is right. Take Nelson Mandela, he was imprisoned for standing up for what he believed in and yet history now views him as the hero. In years to come I hope those involved in fighting this injustice will receive similar treatment. Historically animal rights activists have always been treated as terrorists and there seems to be an institutionalised prejudice by the police again them.

Make no bones about it, what we’re seeing here is the fight by grass roots activists against an undemocratic, immoral, inhuman and downright cruel policy against our wildlife that has been forced on us by a corporate entity with a hidden agenda and way too much influence on Government policy that is now using the police as a personal security force to meet their despicable ends.

And that ladies and gents, simply will not do.

A slight change of tack for me this week and hopefully there’ll be more in the future. I’ve invited some guest writers to put their thoughts and ideas out there, it’s a chance for some new points of view to be aired so I hope dear readers you’ll enjoy and maybe learn something new. First up we have the man behind Stop the Cull, badger warrior and general thorn in the side to the Government and NFU . . . Jay Tiernan.

Jay is going to explain how you can get active without getting muddy.

I’m a keyboard warrior, and you should be too.

“..yet my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted, and thoughts ran into me, that words and writings were all nothing, and must die, for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing,” – Gerrard Winstanley

What could be better than words that highlight how useless words are? Well I’d suggest petitions, one step up from a motivational quote and one step below a letter to an MP. There they sit on our stalls and littering facebook, but are they really any good and if so how can we best make use of them? Love them or loathe them there is no denying that they can be used to make people aware of a specific campaign.

They are frequently used by activists doing stalls on our high streets. When asked “do they make any difference?” I’d always reply “No, we quite often just burn them. The only use they serve is to get you to chat to me and maybe give me some money, if you want to change the world then you have to physically do something, talking about it won’t do it”. I still believe that action is the only way forwards, but my view that petitions actually work has recently changed.

Online petitions frequently don’t by themselves achieve very much, but in tandem with actions they are a useful device to raise awareness and are a key tool for modern day online activism.

stop the cull

Indeed there are a number of petitions I can think of in the last year that have done really well, that have raised awareness on an issue which has then gone on to win. Most recently was the wildlife officer who was outed as a hunt supporter. Another petition campaign that also won that comes to mind is the demand for the huntsman who rode over a sab having their charges dropped then brought back by the CPS. In both cases the petitions alone did not work, they worked side by side with other actions, with the wildlife officer there were a number of blog posts and social media posts exposing other elements of police collusion with hunters and with the hunt sab being ridden over there was a demo which gained a lot of media attraction.

So what else can we do from the comfort of our own homes that will work effectively at changing the world besides petitions?

Writing an email to your MP can be frustrating but it’s worth doing if for no other reason than to get MP’s aware of the issues that concern their constituents, you can combine any response from your MP along with the issue you are raising with a letter to your local paper and to national press. These letters are read by potentially tens of thousands of people. A comprehensive list of national press letters page contacts here: http://www.mediahell.org/letters.htm

Twitter can be great for directly contacting people, whether it’s the chief of police to let them know about an officers behaviour or to publically shame an animal abuser. Twitter trends can often be easily used. For instance #dorsethour trends every week and it’s a good time to let people in Dorset about the upcoming badger culls.

Facebook posts that highlight an issue can have a huge reach, including contact details for the people who can make a change are an important part of this, so highlighting a managing director for their companies involvement with their contact details means that the problem is quickly being addressed by a key decision maker. It can also create controversy which in turn may get picked up by main stream press. A useful resource for finding CEO’s is here: http://www.ceoemail.com/

Many people wrongly assume that it is illegal to publicise contact details for businesses or people, it isn’t and a recent industrial tribunal looking at why Natural England decision not to release certain information with the defence that it would be unsafe for those involved to be revealed was overruled. Specifically the tribunal said that it was part of the democratic process for protesters to contact by mail and phoning those who are involved in the badger cull. Big national waged animal rights groups are often afraid of any adverse publicity, we should not be.

jay

Another easy way to get a companies attention is by highlighting their Facebook page, many small businesses have FB pages as well. Hunt Sab groups often post links to pubs where hunts meet, by giving the pubs 1 star reviews on Facebook and any other review website many pubs have very quickly decided to no longer host meets. Phone calls are also very important, I once rang up a pub that had just had press off the back of a hunt meet and was quoted as being delighted to be hosting the hunt meet. I informed the owners that I’d be organising an on-line boycott of the pub, they immediately decided to never host a hunt meet again.

It’s not just pubs that host hunts, mostly it’s farmers and those farmers are probably the weakest link in the hunting world. Whilst a number of them are die hard hunters, many farmers have no interest in having hunts rampaging over their fields and being highlighted on social media and getting calls of complaint could well be the excuse they need to pull out, meaning that they never allow the hunts to hunt across their land again.

To find phone numbers and contact details there are a number of on-line resources you can use to find out more contact details for a person or company, 192.com is probably the best but isn’t free. Google is my usual first stop, using “ “ helps refine searches. After I’ve searched a name and an address and found a land line number I’ll search that again using quotes and that will give much more accurate results. The land registry office will tell you who owns land, you can get some free information by using their map search facility.

Once you have a postcode you can start searching any planning permission requests, which in turn can give you a map of the property boundary, very useful for shooting estates or farms that allow hunting.

If a hunt loses farmers and land to hunt on, then a entire neighbouring areas within their country can also become inaccessible making the future of the hunt harder and harder. This is one of the reasons that an Essex hunt closed down in the past weeks.

To expect sabs who have been out in the fields and who are also holding down full time jobs to do all the research and run an ongoing campaign is probably expecting too much, all the supporters of sab groups can do more than just ringing up or writing reviews, we can also help out with research and exposing those involved with hunting.

Words mean nothing, action is everything.

Stop the Cull