Category Archives: Uncategorized

Badger abusers exposed

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Charlotte Reynolds was filming at her friend Sophie Poole’s BBQ when Billy Brough turned up with a badger (his google account here), holding it by the scruff he shows it to Mark who then gets bitten.

The video was seen by many thousands of people online and a number of newspapers ran with it as a story, you can view the video here. You can read the daily mail coverage of the story here.

The RSPCA and the police are now investigating under the protection of badgers act 92, as it is illegal to take a badger.

Earlier today we reported that the incident was believed to have happened at Alcott farm, We were tipped off that that was the location and when we did checks on Sophie Poole’s facebook page we could see she is friends with the people who run the farm.
Alcott farm are categorically denying that this bbq took place and further that Sophie is not related, we think its worth giving them the benefit of the doubt until further evidence is uncovered.

*UPDATE* we are now convinced that Alcott farm is not in any way involved and we apologise unreservedly for naming them. If you have reviewed their facebook page, please delete the review as soon as possible.

 

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Boycott the Atherstone hunt.

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Do you want your pet dog or cat looked after by the Atherstone Hunt?

Davret Boarding Kennels & Cattery is run by Atherstone Hunt joint master James Sharland and his dad David Sharland who is also involved in the hunt.

The Atherstone Hunt are constantly losing control of their hounds, they’ve been documented running all over busy main roads, chasing and killing foxes and rampaging through people’s back gardens that could easily have had pets in them (http://bit.ly/2mPtnrW). Last season they even chased a dog walkers dog through Battram woods in Ibstock (http://bit.ly/2nsPOQI). These very same people are running a boarding kennels and cattery to look after people’s pets.

Do you want your pet cat or dog looked after by the notorious Atherstone Hunt, well known for its concern for animal welfare?

If you do the details are below.
Davret Boarding Kennels & Cattery
8 Station Rd, Elmesthorpe, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE9 7SG
Tel: 01455 842673
http://bit.ly/2mftqJw
https://www.yell.com/biz/davret-boarding-kennels-and-cattery-leicester-1531250/

Help stop the spread of bTB from foxhounds.

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The recent news that a pack of hounds has contracted Bovine TB is sending shock waves through the hunting fraternity, the farmers guardian covered the story here. With the view that

“It is thought the hunt, which offers a fallen stock service to local farmers, contracted the disease from a contaminated bovine.”

Defra hastily put out advice on pets and bTB on the 3rd of March, how a dog could become infected was explained:
“Pets can become infected in a number of ways including ingestion (by mouth), for example by drinking unpasteurised infected cow’s milk or eating carcases (sic) of infected animals; and aerosols (breathing in) which could arise from close contact with infected farm animals, wildlife or other infected pets. Pets can also become infected through bite wounds, either from being bitten by an infected animal or if a wound gets infected by bacteria present in the environment.”

Hunts up and down the country offer the service of collecting dead cattle/sheep from farmers fields, saving the farmer a small amount of money and time. In return the hunt get to feed their hounds and usually get to hunt on the farmers land. This relationship between farmers and hunts hit a rocky patch back in the 90’s when BSE hit, new regulations meant that all cattle carcasses had to be incinerated to stop the spread of the disease. The cost of these incinerators had to be carried by the hunts who in some areas attempted to pass the cost on to farmers, with little luck.

This defra PDF lists all the licensed premises that can handle animal by products, most of the UK’s hunts can be found listed here.

With the transmission route from cattle to the hounds and potentially the hounds on to the cattle and surrounding wildlife still uncertain (they may have contracted the disease from any number of sources). It would make some sense for the government to bring in measures to immediately curtail the infection and potential ongoing spread of the disease.

We think that two simple measures should be taken up immediately:

  1. The testing of all hunting hound packs for bTB
  2. The vaccination of all hounds that consume uncooked “fallen stock”

Please as a matter of urgency contact your MP here and request these two measures are implemented immediately to stop any further spread of bTB.

We are currently looking at the cost of PCR testing, which would enable us to check hounds feaces for bTB. As soon as we have the costings, we will launch a crowdfunder if the project is feasible. Collecting the samples may involve some covert methods…

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Malvern tree surgeon admits to brutal attack on sab and brands him a “coward”.

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Many people were horrified last week after watching a brutal assault of a saboteur, by a terrierman from the ledbury hunt. Calls were put out to find out if anyone knew who this man was and the attack gained a large amount of mainstream media attention.

Tracking him down didn’t prove to be very difficult, one of the riders of the Ledbury tipped us off within 48 hours as to his name, we rang him today pretending to be a freelance journalist and asking for his side of the story, when asked why he attacked the saboteur he simply said “he’s a coward and got what was coming to him”.

He went on to say that saboteurs are “all vicious thugs”, he also asked us not to put his name in the paper.

He runs a tree surgery company, the details of which you can find and review here: https://www.yell.com/biz/broadleaf-tree-care-malvern-7814077/

You can watch the video here.

 

 

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Lock, Stock & 12 Empty Barrels.

“Saboteurs Against Shooting” have ransacked one of the countries top shooting estates in an attempt to move birds out of the firing line of drunken rich idiots, feed bins full of grain were emptied and thousands of birds were beaten away from the top of hills.

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In an anonymous communique sent to “Stop the Cull” the group calling itself “Saboteurs Against Shooting” made it clear they had tipped over, emptied and destroyed many of the estates hundreds of pheasant and partridge feed barrels. They’d also spent a number of hours using traditional and not so traditional methods of moving the birds away from areas where they were being encouraged to stay for shoots on the Ashcombe estate.

Guy Ritchie’s Ashcombe shooting estate is not only David Beckham’s favourite place to slaughter birds for fun, but also listed as one of the top 50 shooting estates in the country by “the field” magazine.

What makes this estate so desirable to those who enjoy killing is it’s steep chalk valleys, this means pheasants and partridges which are held in place with feeders at the top of the hills when moved on by beaters, fly high above the killers heads.
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Unfortunately what makes this shoot so desirable, also makes it incredibly easy to sabotage. Anyone wanting to destroy the fun of the blood junkies, just needs to walk the ridges along the top of the valley, locate the feeders and beat the hundreds of birds down into the valley. Although the birds will still be on the estate, they won’t be at the top of hills where they are best located for a day of shooting.

The only real requirement, is that beating isn’t done whilst a shoot is on, no shooting takes place on Sundays (by law) and most shoots don’t get going till about 11am, so any early morning walks would do a LOT of damage to a days shooting.

Not only is the Ashcombe estate vulnerable due to it’s topography, it’s also vulnerable due to the estate being covered in open access land, marked on this map in yellow;

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It’s also covered in footpaths!

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An easy guide to sabotaging pheasant shoots can be found here, the basic premise is to move birds, gamekeepers try their best to keep birds in one location, moving them saves lives.
The communique from “Saboteurs Against Shooting” finished with a direct message to Guy Ritchie:
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To help us fight the shooting industry this winter, you can donate here, thank you:

A % of culled badgers to be tested for bTB this year.

On a bbc devon radio call in show yesterday, a lady called “Linda” phoned in, she was very sure that culled badgers were going to be tested for bTB this year. The presenter wanted to find out if this was correct and a researcher checked up with the NFU, who confirmed that a % of badgers will indeed be tested for bTB this year.

Why have the government and the NFU agreed to having badgers tested for bTB? because it will give them valuable PR. When the results are announced wether it’s 10% or 50% they will then extrapolate and come up with a simple sound bite that goes something like:

“This data finally proves beyond doubt that the british badger population is indeed heavily infected with bovine TB and culling is the only sensible answer”

What they will not say, is that an infected badger has a less than 30% chance of being infectious, nor will they go on to say that by culling badgers the infected and infectious badgers will be forced into new territories as they flee their setts that are being targeted.

The people in the anti badger cull community who have been calling for the testing of badgers for some years, have just handed an easy media victory to the NFU.

The only positive to come from this is that it will increase the cost of the culls and it’s unlikely that a number of badgers from the same area were tested before the cull, without a comparison it makes the testing a nonsense PR exercise.

Badger cull final days? propped up with sticks and held together with string

Three weeks ago on this site a prediction was made that the badger cull could fall apart, due to a lack of resources. But with two weeks to go we didn’t expect for the culls to be falling apart quite so badly as it is.

Shooters going out alone, is now a common site in a number of areas.
Police trying to tail saboteurs and keep them out of locations where shooters are working is common practice in more than one zone.
Shooters repeatedly and desperately attempting to get into areas where they know there are activists and numerous badgers.
A steady and sure drop in cages being found in cull zones, some of which were heaving with cages in the early weeks (many hundreds have now been flattened).

But of all these pieces of the jigsaw, pointing to cull catastrophe, none has prepared us for what was passed on to us today. We are assured this is not the work of children and they are not the first to be found. Totally unlawful and a clear indication of where the cull companies now stand.

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propped up with sticks, this repaired cage was baited and set to kill.

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cullers now knowing that their failure is so massive, are trying to put old pixied cages back together with bits of string and wire.

It’s time for the police and natural england to pull the plug on this tragic farce.

If they can’t or won’t put the cull companies out of their misery, then they mustn’t be allowed to limp along and perform god knows what cruelties to our wildlife in the process.

It’s down to us who engage in direct action, to knuckle down for the final two weeks and finish them off for good.

UKIP leader of Devon caught breaking the law.

Badger cull saboteurs were quick to act when they spotted a badger killer out at night all by himself, this breaches the badger cull guidelines on a number of points, making any attempts to kill badgers totally unlawful.

Sign our petition here:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/remove-firearms-licence-from-ukip-leader

Of course the police were quick to act and set out to question and harass sabs over the days following this incident, with two activists questioned under caution.

Strange the police haven’t arrested and charged Mr.Robin “dingbat” Julian, because not only was he out alone making any kill unlawful, and potentially lethal for anyone nearby, his rifle was left unattended and in the open on a quad bike. Having nowhere on the quad bike to secure the rifle he ended up driving off with it across his lap. A clear breach of multiple points of the home office firearms security guidelines.

The cull companies themselves direct shooters to pack up and leave any site as soon as protestors arrive. So why Mr.Julian decided to instead leave his rifle unattended and start having a go at people in a vehicle is a further mystery.

This video proves beyond doubt that Mr. Julian  has been caught red handed breaking the law. He has been spotted since this video was filmed, out again, at night by himself on his quad and been forced into packing up and going back to his farm by cull sabs.

Perhaps the fact that he’s a freemason has something to do with the police not being interested?

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He’s certainly no stranger to controversy, just last year he claimed to have driven over 600 miles a week on average to claim a whopping £9,000 in travel expenses.

 

Please email Devon & Cornwall police (101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk) and ask them to:

  1. prosecute him under the badger act
  2. immediately cancel his firearms licence
  3. never allow him to be licensed for any future badger cull

If you would like to contact Mr.Julian directly, please keep all calls & emails polite:

Mr. Robin Julian
Higher Wembsworthy Farm
Hartland, Bideford
Devon, EX39 6EN

Phone:  01237 441052     Mobile:  07801 956227

Email: Robin@RobinJulian.co.uk, robin.julian@devon.gov.ukrobinjulian@torpedotraining.co.uk

UKIP website: http://www.robinjulian.co.uk

Work website: http://www.torpedotraining.co.uk

 

If you’d like to help us with a donation for fuel, you can donate here:

Creating our own justice.

A full list of those involved in the hunt at the time is available here.

Firstly we must remember that immediately after the incident took place, when an ambulance was trying to get to the scene, the rest of the hunt blocked the road for five minutes. Rupert Nuttall the master at the time stood over the victim and proclaimed that she was fine. She suffered seven broken ribs and a punctured lung and was hospitalised for two weeks.

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Mark Doggrell the redcoat that mowed the sab down initially gave a “no comment” interview then submitted a prepared statement after he had seen the video footage.

Under caution he stated he had a 10-15 second view of the gate on his approach, he changed this under cross examination and had to be rescued from tying himself in knots by his barrister.

He went from saying he carried on because “it was close” (meaning he thought he hadn’t hit anyone) to admitting he may have ‘clipped’ someone to saying it was a glancing blow.

He denied knowing protestors were in the area, then admitted he’d heard there were protestors around. When asked why he didn’t stop when he’d hit her, he said:
“If I thought it was a member of the public I’d have stopped”

He denied hearing the hunting horn used by the sabs, then said he thought it was a child’s toy.

The police couldn’t extrapolate a speed but the expert witness suggested it was up to 30mph.

That expert witness (Debbie Marsden) for the huntsman said Doggrell wouldn’t have felt the horse hitting the sab and his action of riding through a small gap was “appropriate”.

The expert gives riding lessons at a farm that hosts meets for the Duke of Buccleuch hunt.

It is the opinion of people who went to court that it was the expert witness testimony that secured Doggrell his “not guilty” judgement.

Doggrell said that he’d gone into the field to collect hounds, but there was no evidence of this on the video, only a couple that had followed him.

He said they were trail hunting and there would have been 2 or 3 people laying the trail, the truth is that the hunt was cub hunting, an activity that involves surrounding a wood and then sending in young hounds to get them to learn to kill for the season ahead. That they take children to such an event, perhaps explains the sort of people they grow up to be.

No sett surveying & a lack of resources could spell the end for badger culls.

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As culls finally get underway in North Cotswolds and Herefordshire, I’ve been down in the southern cull zones to see if there is any obvious sharing of cages amongst cull zones, I’ve also been researching the previous resources and skills of the cullers and the companies and asking people on the ground what they make of it all.

Background:
Much has been learnt by both sides of those on the ground during the last few years of the badger culls. Cage contractors have worked harder to place traps in difficult to find locations, notably the middle of corn fields in Gloucestershire last year. Whereas in 2014 nearly 50 cages needed to be set to catch a single badger, in 2015 this dropped to only 20 traps set in Glos and 28 in Somerset.

That increase in efficiency wasn’t just in cage trapping, free shooting of badgers was also far more effective in 2015, it took just 3.4 hours per to find and shoot a badger in the new Dorset area. Just the year before in Gloucestershire it took more than three times as long at an astonishing 11.6 hours to find and kill each each badger.

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It’s not just an increase in skills by the cullers that leads to better results, the available population of badgers plays a huge part, so does the number of protestors and crucially the way that those protestors behave. Take an experienced activist and ask them to cover a huge expanse of a zone and their behaviour will completely change to when they had a much smaller area to cover with more activists in neighbouring fields.

The topography and the technology available to each side also makes a huge difference, Thermal Imaging & Night Vision equipment has had far greater value to anti-cull activists in Somerset as the hills allow further views. Those same hills in Somerset make road access slower for everyone, but specifically a cull contractor will take longer in Somerset purely due to topography when out free shooting. A shooter who lives on the farm they are killing on will obviously always be at an advantage wherever they are.

Lessons learnt in one area in one year, may have no relevance anywhere else and what happens in one year in one area, may not happen in that area again as methods are refined. Cages that have been found in a location one year are unlikely to be placed in the same location in following years by an experienced trapper, however farmers who aren’t particularly interested in culling have been known to put cages down in exactly the same place every year!

It certainly isn’t a simple case of some people doing better than others at either stopping the cull or killing badgers, nor is best practice ever going to be a one size fits all affair. Never the less there are some constants and one of them is the resources available to both sides.

Is there enough money for thermal imaging kit for shooters?:

Sensitive internal government documents passed onto us in 2013, which until now have never been put entirely into the public domain, (they’re quoted from in this guardian article) although from a time when cullers were very inexperienced, they do reveal some constant necessities for effective culling.

This email from Defra to Natural England on 16/10/2013 on the subject of an extension is perhaps most revealing:

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In another document which analysed the realistic chances of an extension in Gloucestershire in 2013 working, Somerset improvements are referred to:

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Intelligence we received from people within the cull company in Somerset that year was that shooters received thermal imaging equipment just two weeks into the cull, this was due to shooters being frequently located by activists, who, equipped with night vision kit, were frequently finding the cullers due to the reliance on infrared lamps to spot badgers.

Those infrared lamps and torches are used in conjunction with night vision scopes on rifles, switch the lamps off so that you can’t be seen by activists and badgers are harder to find. The solution, the issuing of Thermal Imaging (TI) to shooters, TI doesn’t need infra red lamps as it picks up heat not light. The shooting teams consists of a shooter and a spotter, the spotter has the TI, finds the badger then tells the shooter where to aim. The bag hanging from the spotters neck in this video, is most likely for a FLIR scout TI unit.

This letter from the West Gloucestershire cull company to Natural England on 9/10/2013 goes into some detail:

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With a total of ten badger cull zones now, can the National Farmers Union afford to buy thermal imaging equipment for all those shooters? The total number of people free shooting hasn’t been confirmed yet, but if it’s inline with previous culls, there will be between 500-1000 licensed killers to free shoot badgers. Even if they could afford the millions in costs for the equipment, would they be able to source it in time for this years cull?

 

Cage trapping experts and the problem with maize:

What became obvious very quickly in the first year of the badger cull was that the method of free shooting badgers couldn’t deliver results and that cage trapping would have to be relied upon. Even with zero activists on the ground there are two huge problems with free shooting.

The first is that an entire sett of badgers will frequently disperse if a key member within that setts community is killed and free shooting often only kills one badger from a sett per night.

The second problem is that it is incredibly labour intensive, the best average so far is three and a half hours per badger, pay someone £15 per badger they kill and make them pay for their own fuel and it’s fairly obvious why the number of people involved in killing drops rapidly after the first few days of a cull. Fewer badgers are about, many having left their last known whereabouts.

To overcome that problem cull companies offer shooters more money towards the last ten days of the cull, something many shooters have gotten wise too and now many wait till the companies are desperate and offer a lot more per head before coming back.

So to get round the inefficiency of free shooting, the method of cage trapping has become more and more popular with cull companies, although the cages are expensive they’ve not had to previously pay for them as Defra have been happy to give them to them for nothing, Where the total number was previously in the hundreds it now has to be around two thousand traps being set every day in total across the zones.

The letter from Gloscon promises to deploy all available traps every day, something that wouldn’t allow for any losses or much in the way of transportation time from sett to sett.

 

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Although it took them a couple of years, they eventually learnt in Gloucestershire that waiting for maize to be harvested and then free shooting meant tight man management due to harvesting times varying, instead they just deployed huge numbers of cage traps inside the maize. Sabs in 2015 found cages 40 rows into a maize field, the only way of effectively checking a maize field is with a large number of people stood in a line and sweeping it, protection is needed when doing this as bits can lash into your eyes.

This is a theory some people believe explains the increase in effectiveness in cage trapping in Gloucestershire from 2014 onto 2015. Finding cages in maize is hard work, how well other cull companies manage to deploy cages in maize remains to be seen.

Interestingly some of the cull companies have put tags on their cages this year. Within the zones that have name tagged cages, there are also cages that aren’t tagged. An assumption is that these untagged cages are on loan from Defra and may have to be returned, although how many actually make it through this cull is not going to be very high as reports are already pushing the number destroyed way into the hundreds.

If there are enough professional cage trappers to cover 7 new zones is doubtful, whats also in doubt is the availability of traps, it’s also unlikely that enough farmers within cull zones have had enough spare time to become sufficiently skilled  to undertake it themselves with much success, they’ve all been on a one day course, but skilled cage trapping takes experience, and they definitely don’t have that.

 

The government only sett surveyed in Somerset, Gloucestershire & Dorset.

One of the biggest difficulties faced whichever side you are on, is that you need to know where badgers live. You can’t stop badgers from being killed if you have no idea where they are, this was the problem for activists in Dorset in 2015, it took two hectic weeks for them to get on top of having the majority of setts mapped.

The cull company in Dorset had the upper hand by not only having been prepared for years, which included getting farmers to sett survey, but it also vitally had all the data from sett surveys by APHA which took place in 2013, 2014 and again in 2015.

You just can’t lay traps randomly throughout the countryside. Of course many of the dairy and beef small holders in roll out areas will know of a number of setts, but many won’t have a clue, as was pointed out by APHA in their assessment of Dorset farmers attempts:

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So we have seven new culls with targets that are based on estimates from a national population study, with no sett surveying at all done by professionals, this is completely new territory for badger cull companies, Who have to now rely totally on sett survey information done by the farmers that were be bothered enough to do it in their spare time.

Cattle farmers who have paid for the culls and who are the keenest to kill, if they are small enough, may well know where a number of the active setts are on their land, many farmers will go by memory on where setts are and that info could easily be way out of date, given that badgers frequently aren’t just in field boundary hedgerows and many of their setts will be in places that cattle never go to, is it likely that dairy farmers who already work long hours, will have had the time to do a proper job?

And what about arable farmers? and large estates? are they likely to have done a thorough job of sett surveying? because if they haven’t, the employed contractors that come onto the farms (where farmers aren’t doing it themselves) whether cage trapping or free shooting, may well be wasting a lot of time.

My experience this week with “Southern” activists:

Having recently spent a week with activists in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, a couple of things spring to mind, firstly the variation in the land and how “badgery” it is. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by people pointing out to me where they expected to find a lot or a little badger activity and how that consistently matched up with what they actually found, huge grins as they point and whisper conspiratorially
“there are bloody hundreds of badgers down there and we’ve found traps everywhere”
and the like are common.

Maybe I shouldn’t be impressed, after all most of the activists in the fields, now in their fourth year, are experts in badger behaviour and territory, they can effectively sabotage over huge areas during night or day due to their knowledge of the land, and new people, surrounded by activists who know what they are doing, seem to pick it all up incredibly quickly. Was it only three years ago that we all started?

 

It’s not the expertise of these activists that truly staggers me though, what I just can’t get over is the morale. Where I expected to find people struggling with a lack of manpower and deflated as the enormity of their task sinks in, instead I found, time and again, in every southern zone, activists who although were sleep deprived, still had mischievous smiles, nods and winks.

Several people in one of those areas thinks there aren’t enough badgers for the cull teams to hit the minimum targets, even if they did manage to kill a lot in the denser badger populated areas. Perhaps they were being optimistic, but they know the land and I had no reason to doubt them.

I’d often ask people if they felt they were having much of an impact, one person summed it up:
“I watched a cage trapper through a telescopic lens from nearly a mile away driving around a field and checking his traps, each place he checked, they’d gone, by the time he got to the third spot he was slamming the car door and punching it. He must hate us and I think if we’re grinding them down like that, we must be doing something right.”

I’ve found the enthusiasm in those zones highly infectious, a week before the cull started if you’d asked me if it was feasible could any of the new areas not hit their targets, I’d have been honest and said
“Not a chance, but maybe we can make it so expensive for them that they can’t roll out more next year”

My view now has totally changed, I genuinely believe they do have resource problems, with a lack of cages, thermal imaging kit for the free shooters, cage trapping skills and most importantly, they don’t seem to know where all the badgers are.

We on the other hand do know where setts are, so no matter how many cages they’ve got it will be difficult to kill the required amount.

The pixies I’ve been talking to are already trashing hundreds of them!

Direct action against badger culls has never been more vital or effective than now. With our enemy seriously over stretched, every blow we deliver now, could, with enough of us, put an end to badger culling permanently.

 

See you in the fields
Freeda Brocks x

to get involved: http://badgeractionnetwork.org.uk/contact/

to help with our Gen3 Night Vision check our gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/stopthecull-NV3

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