HUNDREDS of badger cull protesters from around the UK have rallied in Gloucester Park to warn that their campaign this year will be ‘bigger and bolder’.
They came from as far away as Scotland, Wales and Manchester to send a clear message to the Government’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson that they will not tolerate further culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset this year.
Protesters are now armed with a special badger battle bus which will tour the country to recruit an army of volunteers who will watch out for culls taking place. To aid them they even have special night vision cameras.
VIDEO: Badger cull protest breaks into song
Jeanne Berry, spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said: “Our message is loud and clear – we are going to be bigger and bolder and we are going to have a clear strategy.
“Our aim is to stop the cull from coming back to Gloucestershire.
“It has been devastating for the county and it has broken communities. It has even created rifts between members of farming families.
“We know that it is inhumane and the badgers have taken too long to die. Enough is enough.”
Dominic Dyer, from Care for the Wild, was one of several speakers at the event which attracted up to 300 people. He said: “We have 18 marches across the country over the last eight months and we have brought thousands of people together.
“This has now become the biggest animal welfare campaign in Europe.
“It has already been very successful because the Government is no longer going into 10 new cull areas and there are MPs who previously supported the cull who are now saying that it won’t work. They are looking at the science of it.
“But our fight now is to try and stop the cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset.”
Sam Swift, who is originally from Gloucester but now lives in West Wales, donned a giant badger outfit for the protest. He said: “The anti-badger cull movement can sometimes be seen as being a bit intimidating so I am here to attract the families, showing the softer side if you like.”
Defra’s own independent assessment has shown that the two pilot culls last year were ineffective and raised questions about their humaneness.
The Government said it would no longer expand the cull to other areas in a bid to reduce TB in cattle.