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As well as campaigning against the cull and raising awareness of it, we also aim to stop the culls using DIRECT ACTION. We will be out in the fields before and during the cull, stopping and making citizen’s arrests on marksmen/women when we can, filming, rescuing injured badgers and neutralizing bait points when we find them.” Stop the Cull

Somerset badgers will soon find themselves in the sniper's sights as part of the national cull. Last year a mixture of activism and Middle England's outrage was enough to see off the proposed cull in Gloucestershire before a single shot was fired. That time the level of public outcry caught the government by surprise but badger activists are predicting a more determined approach from the government this year as despite the flawed science they are determined to push the cull through.

Crucially campaigners were able to de-rail the cull last year before DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) were able to sign up the required 70% acreage in the cull zone. In Somerset though they are already at around 90%, so the moment when activists will have to confront shooters is growing closer.

Theoretically the cull could start in Somerset or Gloucestershire as early as June 1st – as that's when the necessary licenses, issued in September last year, start. That's the same day that all the groups opposing the cull are calling for a national march in London as an opening salvo in the campaign. The demo is meeting at Millbank (link/map) at 12pm to march on DEFRA's headquarters. Organisers are asking attendees to wear black and white to demonstrate their willingness to take action in the cull zones.

Currently anti-cull activists are predicting that the shooting will start in Somerset in mid-July but warned SchNEWS that “the situation is fluid and unpredictable”. The resources required - policing, trained marksmen etc to cull 70% of the badger population in an area are significant enough to make a simultaneous cull in both zones unlikely but possible. If either of the cull zones pull out due to farmers withdrawing their consent for shooting on their land DEFRA have organised a back up cull zone in Dorset.


There are a lot of groups out there opposing the cull, but the ones gearing themselves up for direct action are Stop the Cull and the Hunt Saboteurs Association. The best way to get yourself into the cull zone and be effective is to hook up with your local sab group. You wouldn't even need to buy a black hoody, bone up on Conflicts back catalouge and the history of Land Rovers first (but it would help) . Head here for a list of local groups.

Once in the zones, suggested activities include

Sett surveying – a knowledge of exactly where the badgers are will be vital to disrupting the cull. This is definitely one where you'll need to hook up with an expert first, but once you know the signs are obvious. Stop the Cull will be maintaining a database of all the setts.

Ribbons – Just letting farmers know that pro-badger types have been out and about on their land is useful – it's been suggested that activists leave black and white ribbons or paper around the place.

Watching for signs of pre-baiting. - In order to get a clear shot at the badgers the gun teams are likely to start pre-baiting areas around the setts with peanuts up to three weeks before shooting starts. Peanuts are typically buried near sett entrances initially before being spread further afield in order to get the badgers habituated to foraging in certain areas making them an easier target. This will probably be the clearest sign of where shooters are intending to operate.


The Somerset cull zone particularly is dominated by the pheasant shooting industry. This 'sport', worth £1 billion annually, sees factory farmed birds forced into the air to be used as feathered targets for the entertainment of 'guns' who pay hundreds a day for the privilege. One huge estate in the cull zone Chargot , a vital participant in the cull, boasts its own helicopter pad for the wealthier brand of bloodsports enthusiast. In order to make sure that there are enough birds to be gunned down on any given day the pheasants are kept in pens near the ranges. It's these pens that STOP THE CULL are asking activists to monitor. They want photographs and locations of the pens – they also need people to leave luggage tags with their web address on the pens themselves www.stopthecull.net/pheasant.

See you in the fields!

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: geekpie - 12th May 2013 @ 6:21 PM
there's a govt petition to stop the greedy letting agents preying on poor people in the rented sector and to make all letting agent fees other than 'refundable deposit' and 'rent' unlawful.

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Twitter: @SchNEWS