On Saturday, June 7, about 150 people braved the weather and marched from Guildhall in the Market Square of Cambridge to the Strawberry Fair – Midsummer Common to stop the badger cull.
The march was organised by Cambridgeshire Against the Badger Cull and supported by Care For The Wild and the Badger Trust.
Before the protesters set out, three anti-cull speakers discussed the politics behind the badger cull, the lack of scientific evidence to support the cull, and the situation on the ground.
Dominic Dyer (CEO for Badger Trust and Policy Advisor for Care For The Wild), in his inspired speech, said:
Most of the badgers that are being killed are healthy, and the reason why they are being killed is for political reasons. They’ve been demonised. I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post a few weeks ago to say that we’ve been playing the badger-blame game for too long. Basically, what we’ve been doing is blaming the badgers for the incompetence, negligence and deceit of the heart of our farming industry and government that’ve allowed bovine TB to spread so widely. […]
This is bad politics. It’s bad because people have had enough. They question the decisions taken in government. They can see that you made them for grubby political compromises. They can see that you’ve pushed aside all good scientific advise. They can see that you didn’t give a damn about humaneness. They can see that you are willing to kill tens of thousands of animals just to back up some votes in some rural constituencies and to keep the support of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Countryside Alliance and that is an absolute disgrace. […]
We will continue to fight against this crazy, cruel badger cull in the fields. We will continue to fight against this crazy, cruel badger cull in our towns and cities. We will continue to fight against this crazy, cruel badger cull in the media, in the courts, in the council chambers. But we will win this debate and when we do British people can say, it was us who made a difference in this country, it was our love and respect for wildlife that changed this damaging, disastrous, cruel policy […]
Peter Martin (Gloucester Against Badger Shooting or GABS) described the situation in the ground during the last cull and the disastrous role played by the police:
We were in contact with the police since the start so we were quite surprised in the early part of the cull that we were being hammered by the police, and stopped, and searched, and followed, when, in fact, GABS members wearing bright fluorescent jackets, entirely visible when everything we were doing was above board and legal. Now, the police realise now that they made a lot of mistakes. Every time we were intimidated by a collar and we reported it to the police nothing was done.
He described the measures that will be taken in the case the cull goes ahead:
We are now going to demand incident numbers. Every time we are being intimidated we are going to demand an incident number which means it goes into their system, which means they have to track it, which means they have to do something about it. So, when you all come down to the cull zone next time, if it goes ahead, and it is still possible it won’t, it’s very important that you bring your camera phone with you or some camera recording device.
And talked about vaccination:
We are starting to find, as Dom [Dominic Dyer] was saying, that a number of local farmers, and an increasing number do not want the cull. They have started to read the science; and, here we are, in the home of science, and they’ve started to agree that vaccinating is cheaper, more effective, faster than culling.
Tom Langton, a freelance ecologist, talked about the controversial Republic of Ireland culling programme and the inaccurate and misleading BBC report that badger culling helped reduce bovine TB in Ireland.
After the speeches, the protesters marched towards the Strawberry Fair where Cambridgeshire Against the Badger Cull and Animal Rights Cambridge held a vegan stall with face painting, plush toys, delicious sweets and lots of information on how to stop the badger cull.
If you care, get involved!