BATTLE lines are being drawn in Gloucestershire as the badger cull is expected to begin this week.
The pilot project is already under way in Somerset, but has not yet begun here.
The cull aims to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis between badgers and cattle.
Animal rights campaigners are vigorously opposing the shooting of badgers.
This weekend, a chilling video produced in Gloucestershire in which campaigners vow to stop the killing of the creatures has been released online.
Meanwhile, Gloucestershire Police said officers would be out and about this weekend providing reassurance to those concerned about clashes between protesters and those involved in the cull.
They have a full operation planned for when the cull gets under way, but this is not yet in place.
A statement said: "Our operation is not yet activated. However, due to recent media and social media speculation, there has been some concern in local communities. As a result, we will be deploying a proportionate policing response in Gloucestershire this weekend to provide reassurance to those communities and minimise any potential disruption to their lives. This is in keeping with our commitment to deliver an effective local policing service before, during and after the proposed cull."