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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Protestors use hi-tech to disrupt badger cull

As the misguided badger cull gets underway The Times reports that protesters are gearing up to oppose it by using night-vision goggles and heat-seeking equipment to disrupt plans to shoot at least 900 badgers in the next six weeks.

Apparently anti-cull groups have spent about £50,000 on specialist equipment that they hope will make it easier for them to spot marksmen operating at night on farms, and also help them find badgers trapped in cages:

The Badger Trust said that the equipment, funded by donations, was similar to that being used by the marksmen to kill badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire and would give the protesters a greater chance of saving some of the animals.

The culls are expected to resume this week, with farmers having a licence to kill at least 615 badgers in Gloucestershire and 316 in Somerset. The government says that culling is necessary to reduce bovine tuberculosis, which resulted in more than 26,000 cattle being slaughtered last year.

The trust points to a report by an independent panel of experts on the first year of culling, which found that poor marksmanship had increased the risk of badgers dying slow and painful deaths. Dominic Dyer, the trust’s chief executive, said the night-vision goggles and heat-seeking equipment would help protesters find wounded badgers.

“It’s going to be a bit of a technology war down there. This equipment will also make it more difficult for the contractors to operate in darkness because the protesters will be able to spot them.

“If badgers have been trapped in cages, people will find them and let them out before they can be shot.”

Mr Dyer said that about 500 people would be involved in “active disruption” and hundreds more would be “walking the lanes in peaceful protests”.

This cull is in danger of turning into a farce once more with a real danger than somebody may be hurt. What is more the impact of the cull on bTB will be minimum and is more likely to spread the disease to other areas than control it. The Government really must think again, even at this late hour.
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