The badger's friends protest (with a little help from Linda and Paul)

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WITH the blood sports lobby and their rural fellow travellers due to march in the capital on Sunday, friends of the badger and the hare are getting their protests in first.

The National Federation of Badger Groups was demonstrating at the Commons against plans to cull 10,000 badgers in a five-year experiment on how to eradicate tuberculosis from cattle.

And anti-hunt campaigners demonstrated yesterday at Altcar on Merseyside on the first day of the Waterloo Cup, Britain's premier hare coursing event. An attempt was made to present a 5,000 signature petition against the sport signed by Linda and Paul McCartney to the cup host, Lord Leverhulme, but was not accepted.

The event has been held since 1836 but animal welfare groups are hopeful that this year will bring the cup's Waterloo. Hare coursing would be outlawed along with fox hunting under the Wild Mammals (Hunting with Dogs) Bill going through Parliament.

The good life? page 16