Posts Tagged ‘Defra’

Let’s face it, the Government are in a complete shambles. The Brexit debacle continues to rumble on with the mop topped bag of meat paste we call a Prime Minister trying to lie his way out of the biggest crises in British politics I can remember in my life time. I think this is one of the problems behind the lack of coverage of the Badger Cull this year. Defra have attempted to quietly slip in vast new swathes of our countryside where badgers can now legally be killed by those who are stupid enough to believe it will help solve the bTB problem in cattle or those who just have some pathological hatred for out wildlife, probably because they are unable to make some kind of profit from it.

I’m not going to go into all the science (of lack of) behind it all as I feel that has been covered plenty of times from lots of different sources already but what I will do is highlight just the sort of numbers we’re talking about here.

Take a look at the image below. It’s of the Emirates stadium, home to Arsenal Football Club.

emirates

It holds just over 60,000 people. That’s a lot right?

The Government are allowing the NFU to kill up to 64,000 badgers. That’s 4000 more than the number of people in this picture. Just imagine that.

There have been 11 new cull zones added to those previously licensed bringing the number to 43 in total, an area bigger than Israel! (Guardian article)

Of course this makes it a very busy time for all those standing against it. Sabs and patrollers up and down the country are doing their very best to save the lives they can at a time when the hunts are also involved in their grubby little business of training their hounds to kill, better known as the cubbing season. Late nights and early mornings are the order of the day and now more than ever we need your help and support. Go to innocentbadger.com for more info and on how to get involved. You can also donate to our efforts by clicking the donate link in the header.

Of course we all hoped that with the introduction of a new head man at the helm of Natural England there would be some light at the end of the tunnel. Tony Juniper had previously came out as strongly against the cull on social media so it seemed we had, for once, someone who was prepared to stand up for wildlife and give Natural England the teeth it was so desperately lacking.

TJ1

However it now seems that an official position and a no doubt significant pay cheque is all that’s needed to subvert that opinion and become another lap dog for Defra and their masters at the NFU. Tony wrote a blog on his decision (see here) which has since been roundly criticised by both the general public and the scientific community alike but probably best done by Dominic Woodfield in his guest blog on Mark Avery’s site. (see here).

There is of course great work being done in the fields but it’s impossible to save them all.

Cages are being neutralised, a selection above from Devon, Cornwall and Staffordshire. Shooters are being sent packing and we’re using the best technology available to find and stop the killing, both in the air and on the ground but funds are limited and vast areas need to be covered so now, more than ever is the time to get involved. There’s a job for everyone so please, don’t sit there getting angry, get out there and help make a difference. When all other options have failed, direct action is all you are left with.

Last week I returned from the SW of England for a short visit to the team we have stationed down there 24/7, conducting operations to save as many badgers lives as possible from the cruel and unnecessary badger cull, a policy signed off by the Government and Defra but driven by the NFU. Work and other commitments have meant my own involvement this year has been reduced however they are doing an amazing job, just like the many other groups in the other cull zones around the country. It’s long hours and tiring work and while we accept we’ll never be able to save all of the badgers they are making an impact and minimising the damage to the local populations.

Of course no cull coverage would be complete without the mention of policing. It would seem various forces have failed to learn from the mistakes made by forces who policed previous culls. There have been reports of overly biased policing and cull operators having direct links with the police. The video below shows a shooter team being caught red handed by the Underground Badger Syndicate and clearly on the phone to police. As you can see they weren’t particularly impressed and very keen to hide their identities.

There were reports in the media that the police were going to start using drones to monitor activists (see here). It would seem once again no expense is being spared and the general public will be picking up the cost. How they intend to deploy these drones remains to be seen, the topography, huge amount of land to be covered and changeable weather at this time of year may mean limited operational time but the fact the police are considering employing these big brother tactics is certainly of concern.

2962017-58265-drone-c-Tim-Scrivener

Devon & Cornwall Police consider using a drone like this.

The biggest overreaction by police was recorded by Liverpool Hunt Sabs after they had located a badger killing team at work in Cheshire. Within seconds armed police arrived and treated them the same as they would armed terrorists while completely ignoring the men who were openly carrying firearms. This is of course pretty serious stuff and suggests the shooters had direct communications with an armed response unit who were prepared and trained to use lethal force, but had used the obvious lies given by the shooters as justification to treat the sabs as armed and hostile. The only people clearly carrying firearms walked away from the scene without being questioned, searched or treated in the same manner as the sabs who were manhandled and handcuffed and carrying nothing more threatening than a torch, a video camera and a thermal imaging scope. The video below speaks for itself.

The treatment of the sabs is clearly unacceptable and completely unnecessary. They were on the scene within 30 seconds and despite their claims to the contrary (they had come from a job in Macclesfield) it would appear to suggest that the police have an ARV assigned to cull duties. While firearms are clearly involved the only people carrying those firearms are those contracted to do the killing. Breaches of firearm licenses have been observed during previous culls with no action taken against those responsible and no anti cull activist has ever been arrested during a cull for firearm offences so one would expect a more reasonable response from the police considering the situation.

This was covered in the national press (see here) over the weekend and I’d been waiting for my own approval to publish prior to this after hearing about the incident direct from Liverpool Hunt Sabs. This kind of incident certainly needs publicising. Our countryside may seem like a green and pleasant land but truth be told there are a lot of people out there with a license to use firearms and they regularly kill our wildlife, with their actions largely going unseen. The same people are now involved in the culling of badgers and this has brought them into the spotlight, a place where they don’t want to be. Adding armed police to the mix who respond to the lies of the real killers is never going to be a good thing and serious questions need to be asked about their use. Whether we get any answers of course is another matter.

Now I’m fairly sure most people like to get good value for money. It’s a simple fact that paying over the odds for services or products is to be avoided, it’s simple economics and applies to the man on the street right up to the Government and their policies.

The Badger Cull in England has been a financial disaster alone and that’s completely ignoring the tragic waste of life and cruelty subjected to one of our most iconic species. With the expansion in culling these costs are only going to increase but current estimations are in the region of £50 million to the public purse, that’s a hell of a lot of money by any measure.

badger - Copy

Of course the National Farmers Union and their stooges at Defra will churn out the now fairly standard response of; “Bovine TB is the greatest animal health threat to the UK and costs taxpayers more than £100m each year” but that’s largely an irrelevant if the policy they support won’t work and the money is simply being wasted.

Of course we’ve known all this for some time and I’ve written about the cull at length before but the news story breaking this week was from a targeted cull which took place in Wales. For those that don’t know a targeted cull will only take place in a small area on farms which suffer consistent bTB breakdowns. Badgers will be trapped and tested on site for TB, those being found to be positive will be killed.

Now for those who agree that livestock should have a higher priority over wildlife (that’s not me by the way) this would seem to be a fairly logical solution. However once the results came in it came as somewhat as a shock in more than one way.

37 badgers trapped and tested. 5 tested positive and killed. Post-mortem tests showed only 1 of these was positive and none were actually infectious.

Total Costs: £383,112

That’s £76,6222 per non-infectious badger.

Now I’m no economist but that doesn’t look much like value for money to me.

Well known biologist and extremely clever person Rosie Woodroffe summed things up on her Twitter feed.

RW1

Rubbish blood test indeed Rosie.

Not only was this utterly wasteful in terms of value (and life) it also showed the reality of bTB occurring in livestock and the role badgers play. However that didn’t stop the pro cull numpties from trying their luck.

BF1

We’re not really sure how Bob here managed to come to that conclusion considering none were infectious and shows their desire to just kill badgers but he was suitably corrected by the real scientist.

RW2

Game, set and match to Miss Woodroffe.

It’s no great leap of faith to suggest that similar figures could be applied to the 35,000 badgers already killed in England, over 30,000 would have been perfectly healthy and of those tested positive, none may have been infectious which once again means that £50 million already spent killing healthy badgers will do nothing in reducing bTB and is a complete waste of money.

Your money.

And the Government want to spend  more of your money on this cruel and pointless exercise, in fact they’ve already started. The best we can do is take the most effective form of action. Non-violent, direct action. It’s time to get involved. Contact your local sab group or check here for more info.

Note: We’re working very hard in surveying potential new culling zones and will be on the front line when the killing starts. If you can’t physically help please consider helping us with the costs. You can donate quickly and simple right here: Donate

That’s the maximum number of badgers that can be killed in this horrific extension of the Governments extermination policy.

Just think about that for a moment.

That’s more than the average attendance of Spurs home matches last season. Imaging the old White Hart Lane with the stands full of dead badgers. There will be vast swathes of the south west and Cheshire where badgers will be wiped out. Setts that have existed for hundreds of years will fall silent. This iconic species relegated to the pages of history, never to return.

I started this blog back in 2014 on the back of the original culls to highlight the injustice taking place in our countryside. Now, almost 4 years and 4 Defra secretaries down the line we’re still fighting the same fight.

table..png

The original cull zones (the so-called trials) have been extended until who knows when and with a total of 19 zones you begin to get an idea of the scale of this extermination. There has been no improvement in bTB results (an insignificant reduction in Somerset, an increase in Gloucestershire and a huge increase in Dorset) and yet the Government are wildly blundering ahead with a failing and hugely expensive policy. An expensive policy that you, the tax payer are footing the bill for.

With this being the case you have to ask yourself why this is taking place. I’ve made my point of view patently clear on several occasions and anyone fighting against this grotesque and cruel policy will no doubt have a similar opinion by what they’ve seen first hand. The Government know it’s not going to work but the NFU want it and they will get whatever they want. Badgers (they believe) are a pain in the arse for their members. Being a protected species they can’t be killed legally (although many are illegally killed throughout the year) so this cull is a way to circumnavigate this law.

blood

If they were really concerned with disease control do you think this trap would be left in this state?

There’s no independent monitoring, any moronic bumpkin with a shotgun and a hatred for the wildlife on their land can sign up for the cull in the relevant areas. We’ve already seen time and again that biosecurity rules are being openly flouted. This is about killing as many as possible in the 6 weeks allotted time and bugger the rules. Farms in these zones are often a disgrace, slurry is spread on the fields, animal are kept in disgusting conditions and shooting estates have no livestock anyway, just game birds to protect.

To witness these events first hand is soul destroying. No amount of lobbying, petitions and words are going to change the fact that badgers are being killed now. Sab groups across the country are working their socks off, juggling work and private lives around saving as many lives as possible, taking the action needed night and day in all weathers, whatever the personal and financial cost. The Wounded Badger Patrollers are out there walking the footpaths at night to dissuade shooters. Local people are getting involved where they can but we need more. There can never be enough. Perhaps if you’re reading this you may consider getting in touch with your local sab group and lending a hand. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, but boots on the ground are more important now that ever before.

The cruelty is making the front page in mainstream nation news (Mirror, Sun) and no doubt more will be published soon. In years to come when your children or perhaps grandchildren look back on these dark times for British wildlife and our countryside is a barren monoculture devoid of all wild things will you sit there and regret you did nothing to stop this travesty or will you explain to them you were part of a small but dedicated band of people who stood up to the immorality of the situation and took on the souless men with guns and a Government driven by greed and defeated them with compassion and the will to do the right thing?

“The only thing necessary for the truimph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing”.

Get out there. Help f*ck some sh*t up.

Hunt Saboteurs

Stop the Cull