That's one way to badger farmers: squatters join battle to halt cull

Activists plan to shadow shooting parties with vuvuzelas to scare badgers away

Opponents of the badger cull have enlisted the help of members of the squatter and Traveller communities, threatening to occupy farm buildings and set up camps on private land where badgers will be shot.

The threat, from a newly-formed protest group called Squat the Cull, has further escalated tension in the rural areas earmarked for trials of the Government’s controversial culling policy, with local police forces preparing for clashes between farmers and animal rights activists.

Badgers can be shot legally by licensed marksmen in two cull zones in the West Country from 1 June. Natural England has issued licences for the killing of 70 per cent of badgers in both areas in order to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis to cattle.

“We think we have around 30 serious people willing to spend time on this and live on site with another 50 or so who can come for a day and will help resist eviction,” Dave Peel, a member of the group, told The Independent.

“We will work with other animal rights activists and hunt saboteurs and try physically to stop the cull by standing in front of the guns.”

He added: “Live-in vehicles of all descriptions are being talked about [...] We are also interested in squatting barns and any other out buildings.”

Mr Peel, 35, a forklift driver from south London, said that his group would contact members of the Occupy movement, who sustained a protest camp outside St Paul’s for several months, to seek their involvement or advice.

The cull is expected to attract one of the largest mobilisations of animal rights activists in recent times. Veteran hunt saboteurs and activists who took part in the campaign against animal testing at Huntingdon Life Sciences have joined local opponents of the cull to help with the mapping of cull zones.

The main protest group, Stop the Cull, has pledged that its members will shadow shooting parties with megaphones and vuvuzelas to scare badgers back into their setts.

Jay Tiernan, a leader of Stop the Cull, said activists associated with the group would act within the law but that it would “not condemn” harassment of farmers involved in the cull or damage to private property. Mr Peel said that the group would be accompanied by “plain-clothed legal monitors” of the kind that attended the Dale Farm evictions. “If they get heavy-handed and break the law by illegally arresting us or attacking us we will be better placed to sue them,” Mr Peel said.

Police in Gloucestershire have said they will ensure that peaceful protest is permitted while “dealing with any incidents of crime or disorder”. Assistant Chief Constable Richard Berry said that any additional policing costs would be met by the Home Office. The shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh has said that policing the cull would cost £4m.

The badger cull, which has the strong backing of the National Farmers Union, is opposed by a broad coalition of animal welfare groups including the RSPCA, the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPB – all of which have dissociated themselves from the kind of direct action advocated by more radical groups such as Stop the Cull and Squat  the Cull.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing