9 Dec 2013, 6:08 PM
Looking at some of the anti cull websites and having kept a close eye on media reports during the trial culls that have recently finished in Gloucestershire and Somerset, it would seem that if the culling is rolled out into other areas the level of opposition is not going to get less and could even worsen, meaning that policing costs alone (paid for from public funds) are going to be exorbitant.
This issue has divided communities. There is massive public opposition. The e-petition against the badger cull achieved well over 300,000 signatures - it was the biggest e petition ever. Far more experts come out publicly against the cull than do those who support it.
If the media reports are all accurate the culls were a fiasco and failed to meet targets - even with extensions in both areas. Population estimates of badgers fluctuated widely and no-one seemed able to provide any proper evidence regarding population levels but many believed numbers of badgers were not as high as originally claimed. Some said this was because of illegal culling in the past and others said populations had been overestimated originally. In Glos it was eventually cut short, cancelled some time before it was due to end.
The two culls were supposed to trial the humaneness of free shooting badgers. However, as the numbers were not reached towards the end of the period cage trapping was undertaken. This apparently resulted in some 400 cages being destroyed -allegedly by protesters. Traps cost around £100 each so wasting even more public money. Police were said to be guarding the cages.
The total costs for all the policing is not yet known but for Gloucestershire it is known that ELEVEN forces were involved coming from forces as far afield as Sussex, South Wales, Dyfed - Powys, West Midlands, The Metropolitan Police, and Devon & Cornwall, plus the neighbouring forces of Thames Valley, West Mercia, Warwickshire and Wiltshire. Policing Gloucestershireís badger cull is likely to aound £1million, the forceís commissioner has admitted. The bill for the first six weeks has been estimated at £1million for police cover and the cull was extended by almost the same time period. - and thatís on top of a Government estimate of around £500,000 to run the cull in Gloucestershire. The Government will foot the bill for the cull and policing.
The perseverance, tenacity, endurance and craftiness of those opposed to the cull meant there were many protesters in the culling areas each night.. They walked the fields and woodlands of the cull zones night after night, coming from a wide variety of backgrounds - teachers, graphic designers, care workers, the retired, students - rich and poor. Some had been involved with the mammoth task of sett surveying the entire area
One anti cull site said; 'With a total of over 500 sq kmís surveyed, protecting the badgers from free shooters was a question of team work, whilst some people working tirelessly within the law traversed hundreds of miles of footpaths and reported in any sightings, Sab groups and people prepared to break minor trespass laws got closer to shooters and often moved them on with noise'.
These people are not likely to give up; 'As has been proven today, if you ignore the will of the people, the people will fight back, we are organised, we have built teams of people who rely on each other, our supporters know the methods we use and are comfortable knowing that we behave honourably, we know how to disrupt culls, we are strong and we are many, and we will never leave our badgers undefended to be attacked by brutes and thugs'.
So, future culling is not going to be easy. Farmers will continue to bear the brunt ... and now we know that deer and cats (both these species far more numerous than the badger), wouldn't it be more sensible to deal with bovine TB in cattle and get cattle vaccination expedited?