Back our badgers!

Tagged as: animal-liberation
Neighbourhoods: centre city nottingham

Over thirty campaigners protested outside a Tesco store in Nottingham today in a peaceful demo against the intended badger cull, which is scientifically flawed, unrepresentative of the public's views and morally reprehensible.

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With the exception of supermarkets Co-op, Waitrose and Marks & Spencers, all the others will be selling milk that comes from within the cull zone. Campaigners were outside the store on Angel Row from 12:30pm until 4:30pm to raise public awareness about the issue and to encourage shoppers to use their consumer power and go elsewhere. They voiced their belief that supermarkets have an ethical responsibility to not support the badger cull: specifically to not sell products from cull farmers, especially when there is no shortage of more scrupulous farmers that will not have the cull on their land.

There was a fantastic amount of public support throughout the day, with bus drivers giving thumbs up as they drove by and lots of interested shoppers stopping to ask what was happening. Morale was high amongst campaigners, and was boosted by free vegan samosas and cake from the wonderful Veggies! It was so successful that the protest will be repeated on Monday 1st October at the same place from 4pm-6pm.

The very well-attended demo also received lots of media attention, with ITV Central giving it lots of coverage. They held a poll on Friday 27th to find out feeling towards the government's proposed badger cull as a measure to control the spread of Bovine TB. The results are an overwhelming majority at 92% against the cull, with just 8% saying they agree.

Their full coverage of today's demo can be seen on the ITV website: http://www.itv.com/news/central/story/2012-09-26/badger-cull-protest/

The Nottingham Evening Post also covered the event, and posted a minute long sound bite from one of the day's activists:
http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Badger-cull-protesters-target-Nottingham-city/story-17000075-detail/story.html

A spokesperson for the anti-cull group sent the following statement to the press before the demo:

"This autumn the government plan to cull badgers in two pilot areas, one in Somerset and one in Gloucestershire. The results from these pilots will determine whether or not the cull is rolled out to bTB hotspots nationwide in future years. DEFRA is prepared to kill at least 70% of our badgers within cull areas; this may effectively kill all the badgers in those areas.

We oppose culling badgers for three reasons:

1. It is unethical. Badgers are intelligent, sensitive animals with their own reasons to live rather than being an expendable piece of an environment just there for us to use. The species cleansing planned by the government is a harrowing violation of the badger's right to life. In addition the shootings planned are inhumane: there will not be 100% kill shots, inevitably there will be some maimings; and parents will be killed leaving cubs to starve.


2. It is unscientific. To determine the efficacy of badger culling, a study costing around 34 million pounds (and the lives of 10,000 badgers) was undertaken by eminent scientists (collectively known as the Independent Scientific Group or ISG).

It took almost ten years, was rigorously peer reviewed and remains the most thorough and widely respected investigation into the scientific validity of badger culling as a method of controlling bovine TB.

Their final report was published in 2007, and is freely downloadable from DEFRA here:

http://archive.DEFRA.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/isg/report/final_report.pdf

Helpfully, the ISG's chairman, Professor John Bourne provides the following executive summary at the front of the report:

        'The ISG's work - most of which has already been published in
peer-reviewed scientific journals - has reached two key conclusions.
First, while badgers are clearly a source of cattle TB, careful
evaluation of our own and others' data indicates that badger culling can
make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain. Indeed,
some policies under consideration are likely to make matters worse
rather than better. Second, weaknesses in cattle testing regimes mean
that cattle themselves contribute significantly to the persistence and
spread of disease in all areas where TB occurs, and in some parts of
Britain are likely to be the main source of infection. Scientific
findings indicate that the rising incidence of disease can be reversed,
and geographical spread contained, by the rigid application of
cattle-based control measures alone.'

3. It is unrepresentative. A public consultation was held by DEFRA which considered the question of a badger culling policy in areas of high TB incidence in cattle. The consultation document presented a summary of the scientific evidence, the balance of costs and benefits, and considered the implications of a badgers cull for animal welfare and
conservation.
       
Over 47,000 responses to the consultation were received.

95% of all respondents were opposed to a cull of badgers.

Brian May's petition against the proposed cull has in a few weeks shot to over 130,000 signatures.

That the government is once again doggedly sticking to a policy of animal cruelty with a flagrant disregard for  overwhelming public opinion, makes a mockery of our democracy.

People can keep up the pressure by signing the petition at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257

Email Contact email: nar@veggies.org.uk

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Interview with David O on BBC Radio Nottingham

Here is an interview with David O taken during the demo. This was aired twice yesterday on BBC Radio Nottingham:

http://soundcloud.com/user187809312/david-o-talks-about-the