Posts Tagged ‘NFU’

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 . . .

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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.

After I’ve returned from my few days each week in the North Cots cull zone I take a little time to contemplate and analyse what has been occurring and see if I can make any sense of it. The last outing stood out due to two incidents, one which was hugely saddening and another which was just bizarre.

If you’ve been keeping up to date with things on social media you may be aware of the badger we found that have been caught in a snare. Now while the snare was of the free running type and thus technically legal they are still barbaric, indiscriminate and cause horrendous injuries to the animals caught in them. What was more insidious (and possibly illegal) in this case was its placement, no more than 20 metres from a sett and close to where badgers would access the nearby fields. Best practice (what a joke eh) guidelines state snares have to be checked every morning first thing and non-target species released although I doubt any gamekeeper would attempt to release an angry badger, it’s fate would most likely be terminal.

As is the case here these guidelines are often ignored which means any animal caught will suffer a drawn out and painful death. We cannot comprehend the suffering involved. The injuries suffered by this poor badger meant there was only one humane option. Thanks to everyone who came to our aid and the Vale Wildlife Rescue for compassionately ending it’s suffering. We are currently in discussion with Gloucestershire Badger Trust and the local police about the device although I doubt anyone will be brought to justice.

If you ever find an animal trapped in a snare please don’t attempt to free it yourself. We had the relevant restraining poles, cutters, covers and boxes needed to effect the rescue along with the relevant animal handling experience. Contact your nearest wildlife rescue immediately and stay with the animal. If possible try and cover it to keep it as calm as you can while you wait.

If you find any snares on your travels please make an informed decision on what you should do with them.

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Why aren’t snares banned?

Next up was a story broken once again by Stop the Cull (see here). It was predicted early on in the cull that the culling companies had limited resources at their disposal and this included the cages used to trap badgers. It’s been well publicised that activists are finding and neutralising cages in large numbers, but these numbers seem to have been dropping off over the last few days however the discovery of cages which had previously been ‘pixied’* and then crudely repaired perhaps sheds some more light on the matter.

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Clearly not going to catch anything.

Are the culling companies so short of cages they are resorting to these drastic measures? Obviously these cages wouldn’t function as intended although they were still baited and set to trap. Some were held together with wire and bailing twine, some quite frankly looked so ridiculous one wonders why they bothered. Whatever the mindset of the person wasting their time with these devices they aren’t going to catch any badgers. As Stop the Cull say, it really is a tragic farce and time Natural England stepped in to end it.

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Well pixied, broken welds held together with string & wire.

We’re into the final days in the original cull zones but the new areas have no real time limit and can go on well into the winter. Our best hope now is the arrival of cold weather which will limit the badgers activity above ground. There’s still time for you to get over there and save lives. Shooters are still being found and seen off regularly and no doubt there’s probably a few more bits of metal for the pixies to reshape.

* Pixied is a term meaning the woodland dwelling forest pixies had found and squashed the cage.

I’m back home once again after another few days in the North Cotswolds cull zone. We have a team there 7 days a week, some are resident and some, like myself come and go, fitting in work and family commitments where they can, but there will always be cover both night and day. Most of us are experienced cull fighters and we’ve developed a really good system which allows us to maximize our efforts and concentrate on the areas which need us the most while monitoring the areas which would appear to be under less threat.

We’ve also had several new people join in and while it can seem a daunting task as first they are coming on leaps and bounds and will hopefully turn into fine sabs. It’s a steep learning curve but all you need is a strong desire to do what’s rights and the rest will usually follow.

Without going into operational details I will say that we are without doubt having a huge effect and it must annoy the hell out of the other side. What is clearly obvious is how new technology is being embraced and used to maximum effect. The videos emerging showing the trappers and shooters caught in their dirty act, the use of drones, radios, night vision and thermal imagers – never before have activist had access to this sort of technology and they are making it count and the other side are playing catch up. Of course all the tech in the world can’t make up for good old fashioned leg work, field craft and experience. Sometimes nothing more than a hunch will provide dividends and lives are saved.

We also accept that there will be casualties.

We can’t be everywhere all the time, if we had thousands of people we could protect every sett in the zone but that isn’t the case and with Defra (or the NFU as they seem to dictate Government policy) abandoning the 6 week maximum duration for culling they will no doubt hit their ‘plucked from thin air’ targets. This kind of thing only goes to prove that disease control and cost are in no way relevant to this situation.

Speaking of cost there could be some good money to made out there collecting all the scrap metal in the form of flattened cages. Reports on social media from the various zones in the South West would suggest that cages are being found and destroyed in large numbers. Badgers are being found and released regularly, it’s a heart warming thing to witness. Back to the cost side of things Defra once again display their complete ineptitude by claiming they don’t know how much it costs to prepare & loan out the cage traps. Mr TBFree sent a FOI request and got the predictable whitewash as an answer in return. Read more about it here including the complete response from Defra.

If you want to be part of this please get in touch and I’ll point you in the right direction. There are jobs for everyone from cooks to stealth operatives and everything in between. More boots on the ground mean more lives saved and a big F*CK YOU to the wildlife abusers. We’re fighting a war for our countryside. Lets make sure there’ll be wild animals out there for the generations to come and not some barren wasteland, managed only for an elite few who get their perverted kicks by killing and abusing animals.

This is without doubt the busiest time of year for anyone involved in the protection of our wildlife. The disgraceful badger cull is in full swing and the hunts around the country are attempting to train their hounds by killing fox cubs. This of course means that resources are stretched thinly and yet no matter what the challenge there will always be someone there to face the wildlife killers.

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Personally I’ve been over in the North Cotswolds badger killing zone. It’s bigger than the original Gloucestershire zone where it all started off and they have a huge target of badgers to kill, second only to the Devon zone. Any kind of target is however completely irrelevant in reality, they haven’t done any real population surveys and they have no idea what 70% of the population is so any targets that Defra set are, pretty much picked out of thin air. The claims by Defra and the NFU that this is a science led policy are of course complete nonsense, the NFU even admitted before the culls that it wouldn’t work. There is no monitoring of efficacy at all, the 6 week maximum cull time has been abandonded in the new zones (purely to allow the killers enough time to get their targets) and TB rates in all the original zones are on the increase.

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We need to be very clear here and my own experiences in the field only back this up. There is a wider issue at stake, a bigger picture that is being hidden by the smoke and mirrors of the bTB debate. It is the control of the countryside. The right of the landowning few to do what they want with the environment and the animals that live there regardless of protected status. Badgers are the first, we’ve seen now also Buzzards targeted and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of areas where I and people like me have been active have been shooting estates or farms with shooting concerns. There are few cattle in sight but always plenty of game bird pens and they will be killing badgers and desperate to kill as many as they can.

On the positive side there have been many successes.

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Cage squashed by the forest pixies.

Social media means these travesties of justice can no longer be hidden. There are good people out there doing what they can and making a difference. Huge number of cage traps have been found and neutralised at a time where it is believed they are in short supply. Shooters have been identified and their killing lives put under constant threat of discovery. Hidden cameras have revealed the dirty secrets of the trappers and organisations that like to paint themselves as pillars of the community have been outed.  A prime example of this is the Overbury Estate where estate workers smashed the windscreen of a protesters vehicle. Stop the Cull published their details and their Facebook page was flooded with negative comments. The page admin then had to spend several hours deleting them. No matter how hard they try to hide the truth it will come out in the end. There is no justification for this and there never was.

If you’ve got a little time to spare please go to one of the areas and lend a hand. You could save a life, or even many. Drop me a line if you want to get involved in any capacity and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Thanks to TB Free England for some of the images.