Four arrested as Brian May heads to front line of badger cull protests

Gloucestershire remains a hotspot for clashes between protesters against the cull and the farmers and landowners who support it

A A A

Police have arrested four people on suspicion of trespassing in a badger cull area ahead of a visit from Queen guitarist and anti-cull activist Brian May.

Officers were called following reports a group had strayed from a public footpath and were blowing horns, in the countryside around the Forthampton area in Gloucestershire.

A police spokesman said that the four were arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault after they refused to give officers their names and addresses, but were released shortly afterwards.

A statement read: “At around 2am this morning police responded to reports of horns being blown and individuals straying from a public footpath in the Forthampton area.

“Four people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and refused to give officers their details.

“A short while later they responded to the officer's request for their information and were de-arrested at the scene.

“They were not taken to custody.”

The arrests came as Queen guitarist Brian May was set to visit the cull zone in the county.

May, a leading opponent of the cull, will be in the Tewkesbury area to meet residents and discuss their views on the pilot taking place on their doorstep.

The music legend, who is a member of the Team Badger campaign, will also join a peaceful night walk being staged by anti-cull activists.

An online petition that May started against the pilots has become the most signed on the official Government website, with nearly 300,000 people having added their name.

“It remains a clear indication of the depth and continued growth of public outrage over Environment Secretary of State Owen Paterson's plan to kill thousands of badgers in the UK,” May said.

“It's also now the most unpopular thing this Government has ever done, if their own petition website is any measure.” The NFU confirmed that the west Somerset cull began last week and opponents believe the shooting in west Gloucestershire started on Tuesday night.

The controversial pilots aim to tackle tuberculosis in cattle by killing around 5,000 badgers over a six-week period.

The culls aim to assess if culling can be done effectively, safely and humanely, with plans to roll out the scheme more widely in areas that are hotspots for TB in cattle.

Farmers and the Government insist culling of badgers, which can spread TB to cattle, is needed to stop spiralling rates of the disease in herds.

But opponents say culling the protected animal will have only a small effect on infection rates in cattle and will lead to badgers suffering.

They want the emphasis to be on vaccines and tighter on-farm and cattle movement measures.

May said that he would oppose any steps to expand the badger cull beyond Gloucestershire and Somerset.

“We may be too late to prevent this tragedy happening in west England. But we will continue to stand against this,” he said.

“The cull is an irreversible tragedy for our wildlife. Randomly slaughtering 70 per cent of badgers will destroy them forever, bringing about immense suffering for these highly intelligent mammals.

“But the cull is a tragedy for farmers and their cattle too. The NFU have managed to convince a large portion of the farming community that this scheme offers them relief from their troubles, but there will be no way to ascertain if culling has been effective.

“Indeed, Owen Paterson has stated that he expects to be culling badgers in 25 years time, underlining the fact that culling cannot eradicate TB.

“Contrary to insistence of late, culling has never eradicated TB in any other country in the world.

“The cull has no basis in science - which simply means it will not work.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness