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**Tue 10 Sep 13**
Brian May's MPT Message for Hard Rock Cafe - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiAu0IeUFHw
"Good evening folks, Brian here. On behalf of us boys and the Mercury Phoenix Trust we'd
God bless y'all. Have a great evening."
**Tue 10 Sep 13**
Brian May in Spamalot Musical 9 Sept 2013 - http://youtu.be/vRaBy0EXjCk
IF BLOCKED IN YOUR COUNTRY - TRY http://youtu.be/gbhDxyz7DeY (without sound)
Brian (on screen) took over from Eric Idle in the part of 'God' for one week in Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End, starting last night. He was there in person in the audience with his lovely wife, Anita, during the show but joined the cast for the curtain calls.
A very funny show - recommend everyone goes to see it. Haven't laughed so much in years.
Brian May Spamalot Finale 9 September 2013 - http://youtu.be/xP5RAh4_OaI
**Sun 09 Sep 13**
The Queen guitarist joined supporters at one of the pilot sites, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, on Friday.
The controversial West Country pilot culls have begun against huge opposition because the Government believes it will tackle the issue of tuberculosis in cattle, believed to be spread by badgers. About 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed over the next six weeks.
The National Farmers Union confirmed that the West Somerset cull began last week and opponents believe the shooting in west Gloucestershire started on Tuesday. May, 66, a member of the Team Badger campaign, launched an online petition, winning more signatures than any other on the official Government website, with 300,000 people adding their name. He said: “I’m here to support our people on the ground doing what they can to observe and try to save the lives of badgers.
Gloucestershire Police said yesterday that four people had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass in the Forthampton area at about 2am.
**Sun 08 Sep 13**
PAUL MURPHY MP
Bovine TB is a terrible disease. Last year alone over 9,000 cattle were slaughtered in Wales and the Government estimates that the cost to UK taxpayers will reach £1 billion over the next ten years. However, whilst is vital that we tackle this dreadful disease, I am not convinced that proceeding with a cull is the right approach.
Our response to Bovine TB must be evidence-based. After 10 years work testing and researching culling, the Independent Scientific Group concluded in 2007 that ‘badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.’ More recently, Lord Krebs, the leading scientist in the field described the Government’s plan to shoot badgers as a ‘crazy scheme’.
It makes no sense to proceed with a cull that has no scientific basis, may not be effective and could in fact make matters worse by increasing the spread of Bovine TB in the short term. Instead, I believe that to bring this disease under control, we must implement the stricter management of cattle movements and prioritise badger and cattle vaccinations. As a result I voted against the cull and I will continue to urge the Government to take a science-led approach to dealing with this terrible disease.
Pilot culls are now under way and it is important that once these have been completed Parliament has the opportunity to consider the results before any decision is made to extend the measure. That is why I have signed EDM 299, which calls on the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to bring this matter before the House of Commons before making any decision on a wider roll-out of a badger cull. It is only right that the Government gives MPs the chance to scrutinise the evidence and to vote on the issue before any further culls take place.
**Sun 08 Sep 13**
Brian and Anita were interviewed by Kevin Hughes of iHeart Radio. Take a look / listen here....
Brian May & Anita Dobson talk to Kevin Hughes iHeart 5 Sept 2013 - Made In Heaven 2?
**Sat 07 Sep 13**
Opposite: Brian May met with anti-badger cull
Rock legend Brian May has revisited Gloucestershire to "give moral support" to anti-badger cull supporters. The Queen guitarist was applauded when he and 50 others took part in a wounded badger patrol walk near Tewkesbury on Friday night.
Some 300 people also marched through Taunton in Somerset earlier in protest at the ongoing badger culls.
About 5,000 badgers are to be shot in a six week-period in Gloucestershire and Somerset in a bid to curb bovine TB.
An e-petition launched by Mr May, calling on the government to halt the pilot, has now closed with about 300,000 signatures.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said it is necessary and can make a meaningful contribution to controlling TB.
However, Mr May - who visited Gloucestershire last year to address a public meeting in Stroud - said the government was "doing something very immoral in our name, using our money. I'm here to support our people who are here on the ground doing what they can to observe and try and make sure that humanity is followed in this cull and trying to save the lives of badgers", he added. "We are a nation of animal lovers and we are decent people. It's a desperate situation and a bloody situation in the countryside and if this rolls out all through England it's a disaster."
Opposite: About 300 people marched through the
Eighty miles away (129km) the strength of feeling against the cull was displayed by 300 people who took part in a march through Taunton, hosted by the Somerset Badger Patrol group.
The pilot began last week in Somerset and is now under way in Gloucestershire, but no-one involved will say how many badgers have been shot or killed so far. Defra has said an independent expert board would scrutinise information on the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of the pilots once they have concluded. A report will then be published and, if seen as being successful, the cull plans could be rolled out more widely in areas which are hotspots for TB in cattle.
**Sat 07 Sep 13**
BIGGEST PETITION EVER
At time of writing 303,461 signatures !!!- AND COUNTING
Brian May's "Stop The Badger Cull" e-Petition closed this morning at 7.38am.
However - the numbers are still climbing - probably as people confirm their vote.
IMPORTANT that you go make sure to your confirmation email - from HM Government e-petitions <firstname.lastname@example.org> - and click the link in the mail so that your vote to be registered. Please check.
It woud be sad to lose perfecty good and valued votes by missing this vital step... the final number will of course be HUGE - thanks to al he good people out there who are supporting this cause.
Now - write to your MP!! Demand this carnage stops.
**Sat 07 Sep 13**
STOP "GENOCIDE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE" - QUEEN'S BRIAN MAY IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Queen guitarist Brian May led a night time anti-badger cull protest in Gloucestershire as he called for an end to “genocide in the countryside”. The big-haired campaigner met concerned badger lovers at Corse Lawn before leading a walk around the area to check for wounded black and white critters.
More than 80 people turned out to meet the figurehead, donning high-visibility jackets emblazoned with “Wounded Badger Patrol”.
He said: “I’m very proud to be among you and think you’re all wonderful for coming out. I have been talk to lots of people, including farmers, who say the cull simply cannot work. I feel in the air the support for us is increasing all the time. Anyone who looks at this honestly knows that this cannot work.”
May spent several hours tramping the countryside in the cull zone, examining setts and checking for wounded animals. Campaigners were at pains to emphasise it was a peaceful protest with participants operating within the law. Police were seen in the area late on Friday night but there are not understood to have been any arrests – following the four detained on earlier in the week.
May told the Echo: “The main reason I’m here is to boost morale and help raise awareness. We have to pull together and I think education is everything. The more people who find out about what’s going on, the more people will realise culling is not the answer."
Earlier in the day he had called for an end to what he called “genocide in the countryside”.
“It is horrendous,” he said at The George Inn in Newent on Friday afternoon. “This is genocide in the countryside. There are 300,000 people who have signed our petition now and it’s going up by the day. More people are realising that the cull is a waste of time. There is no point to it - it won’t eradicate bovine tuberculosis.”
Across Gloucestershire and Somerset, 5,000 badgers are to be shot in six weeks as part of Defra-approved measures aimed to protect cattle from bovine TB. Some farmers say something has to be done to protect their livelihoods and thousands of cattle from TB, which means they must be slaughtered.
*Four people were arrested and then de-arrested once they had given officers “the necessary information” on Thursday, Gloucestershire police confirmed.
**Sat 07 Sep 13**
Brian May in Gloucestershire - Full Interview ITV 7 Sept 2013 - http://youtu.be/9IVV_I9u7qA
Brian May said the visit to the county was timed to give a morale boost
May, who is a member of the Team Badger campaign,
An online petition May started against the pilots is the most supported on the official
**Sat 07 Sep 13**
SEE COMMENT FROM BRIAN ON SOAPBOX
Queen Brian May Interview - Red Carpet IMAX "Flight of Butterflies" 5 September 2013 - http://youtu.be/EBQDRcmR2mc
Flight of the Butterflies in 3D Celebrity Red Carpet at the Premiere 5 September 2013 - http://youtu.be/PqDOHzMInr4
I'M a social one, so it's no surprise that I should have an interest in a film called Flight of the Butterflies. It's a natural history epic and it's in 3D. Never have I looked forward to donning some unflattering cinema specs since Jaws. (I was a mere child when that came out, of course.
On the red carpet at the unusual film premiere at the IMAX was Queen Guitarist Brian May who wasted no time telling me about his very worthy cause; stopping the badger cull. I'm a nature lover and I couldn't agree more. It sounds barbaric. May is a rock legend who puts his fame to good use.
His wife Anita Dobson was sorely missed from the new Strictly line up which is due to debut on the BBC this weekend. I was at the opening show recording, special guest of Bruno Tonioli and let me just tell you Anita would be welcome again! But who is Anita's hot favourite for the 2013 crown? "Fiona Fullert
All in all, this film could very well be a fly away success!
**Fri 06 Sep 13**
NATIONAL TRUST COULD OVERRULE MEMBERSHIP ON BADGER CULL VOTE
THE National Trust has insisted a vote by its members on whether to allow badger culling on its land will not necessarily be binding. At its AGM next month, the Trust’s members will vote on a resolution to vaccinate badgers on its land as an alternative to culling them.
The Trust is one of England’s biggest landowners and its support will be vital, if the badger cull is rolled out to new areas from 2014 onwards, following successful pilots this year.
In a statement on its website, the Trust says it would ‘not stand in the way of proposed pilot badger culls providing they’re carried out in scientifically sound and humane ways’. However, it expresses concern over whether, even if the current pilot culls are successful, it will be possible to repeat the criteria for success over much larger areas of bTB hotspots.
The Trust said it was currently funding a pilot programme to test the practicality of vaccinating badgers on its Killerton Estate, in Devon, to establish whether vaccination represents a viable alternative.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Farming Today programme, Patrick Begg, the Trust’s rural enterprise director, said: “It is a very, very contentious issue and we are very concerned that we get our position absolutely right. On the basis if that scientific evidence (the Randomised Badger Culling Trial) we can’t rule out culling as one of the tools in the toolbox but it has to be done, if it is to be done, alongside a number of other measures and the one we think has got the best long term future is vaccination, both of cattle and badgers.”
He insisted it was ‘too early to say’ whether the Trust would ban culling on its farm tenants’ land if its members voted that way.
“AGM resolutions are a very influential litmus test of membership opinion but they are not under our governance strictly binding,” he said. “We have had a number of debates and resolutions in the past where we have listened to what our members decide but in the end have not adopted what they suggest for all sort of reasons so it isn’t a binding if the result goes one particular way.”
He added that the Trust would ‘abrogating responsibility’ if it did not make the decision on behalf of its tenants but stressed that ‘cares deeply’ about both its wildlife and the wellbeing of its farmers. He said the Trust ‘certainly prefers’ vaccination but at the moment did not have enough scientific evidence about either culling or vaccination to make a definitive decision. “At the moment we don’t know the full story, so it’s too early to say,” he said.
**Fri 06 Sep 13**
WESTERN MORNING NEWS
Hundreds of people are expected at a march in Somerset at the weekend in a show of strength against the badger cull. Thirteen days after the cull started in West Somerset, groups opposed to the pilot scheme – including Somerset Badger Patrol and the League Against Cruel Sports – have called a peaceful protest in Taunton on Saturday.
Hunt Saboteurs are present
It follows a visit by Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, to the camp site in Somerset where badger cull protesters are living.
“Let us be absolutely clear. The Government’s policy goes against everything it has been put in place to do,” Mr Duckworth, who also went out on patrol with campaigners last night, said. “Out of touch with public opinion and flying in the face of scientific evidence, it is shocking that the Government can even try to justify this senseless slaughter of badgers when it will do little to achieve its aim in halting the spread of bovine TB.”
Opponents of the cull have already coordinated their efforts – under the banner of Team Badger – with Queen guitarist Brian May, leader of Save Me, visiting the other cull area in Gloucestershire.
It came as police confirmed that four people had been arrested inside the Gloucestershire badger cull zone on Friday afternoon. They were held on suspicion of aggravated trespass after police responded to reports of horns being blown and individuals straying from a public footpath. Gloucestershire Police said the four refused to give the arresting officer their details after they were stopped in the Forthampton area of the county at around 2am on Friday. A short time later they supplied the information and were released, police confirmed.
An online petition that May started against the pilot culls has become the most signed on the official Government website, with nearly [over] 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 on August 26 and opponents believe the shooting in Gloucestershire started on Tuesday night. The controversial pilots aim to tackle tuberculosis in cattle, which has ravaged herds in Devon and Cornwall, 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 animals will have only a small effect on infection rates and will lead to badgers suffering. They want the emphasis to be on vaccines and tighter cattle movement measures.
**Fri 06 Sep 13**
THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE
“GENOCIDE in the countryside” has to stop now, is Queen guitarist Brian May’s cry to stop the badger cull.
As he and protesters prepare to take to the fields around north west Gloucestershire tonight in anticipation of more badger culling, the figure head for the anti-cull movement said opposition is growing by the day.
Across Gloucestershire and Somerset, 5,000 badgers are to be shot in six weeks as part of DEFRA-approved measures aimed to protect cattle from bovine TB.
Some farmers say something has to be done to protect their livelihoods and thousands of cattle from TB, which means they must be slaughtered.
Protesters from the Save Me campaign will take their message to the culling zone tonight.
*Four people were arrested and then de-arrested once they had given officers “the necessary information” last night, Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed today. A further 4 people were stopped in a lane with vehicles parked on both sides. The lane was temporarily obstructed by vehicles, including police cars.
**Fri 06 Sep 13**
Brian May, best known as the guitarist for rock group Queen, is joining the West End's "Summer of Spamalot Charity Gods" line-up, in which a rotating round of celebrities will film the part of God to be shown at each performance of Monty Python's Spamalot for a week at a time. May's season will run Sept. 9-14.
He follows in the footsteps (and heavenly robes) of Hugh Bonneville, Michael Palin, Barbara Windsor, Larry Lamb, Bradley Walsh, Simon Callow and Christopher Biggins. They, in turn, have sent Eric Idle off down the pub throughout the warmer months, as he usually plays the role on screen (and will pop up from time to time when the other Gods are off inventing America).
May's nominated charity to benefit from the performances is the Save Me Campaign, a non-profit organization that takes a stance against the persecution and torture of wildlife for sport.
In a press statement, May commented, "The opportunity to play God has got to be something that you can’t possibly pass up. I really, really didn’t want to stop. Once you've played God, nothing else will match up to that experience and I can quite understand what’s happened to David Cameron! I love Monty Python, always have done. Spamalot is a wonderful show and it’s very up-to-the-minute, it doesn’t date at all, and I recommend everyone see it at least five times."
To book tickets, contact the box office on o844 871 7627 or visit www.spamalotwestend.co.uk for more details.
**Fri 06 Sep 13**
Brian May in Badger Cull Zone Glos ITV News - http://youtu.be/eVbRShMh1_I
TRANSCRIPT (BRIAN MAY INTERVIEW WITH ITV NEWS)
EMILY MORGAN: Brian, you're losing this fight, aren't you?
BRIAN MAY: We might be losing the fight. I don't believe we will lose the war. I don't think they will get away with this for very long. It's already a disaster, which it was bound to be. It cannot help the farmers, and I think that's the deepest irony of all. The only thing that can solve this problem is vaccination and they're not doing it and in fact b y doing this (they're making) it impossible to vaccinate because you can only vaccinate a stable population. I think it's a disaster all round. Very very sad for the badgers and in the end for the farmers too.
EMILY: The cull has actually started, though, and you're here today. What sort of impact can you possibly have today?
BRIAN: I think the main thing is visibility really. I think once the public realises how brutal this really is, and how senseless - you know - every possible expert in the country has been saying it's senseless from the start including Lord Krebs who's the world authority, and I think once people realise that there are people out there in their countryside using our money to shoot badgers in the dark - they're not making a very good job of it from the reports that we're getting - you know. They're wounding and they're running away. It's agony for these badgers.
The young ones are running away and this is the worst possible thing. This is called perturbation, which means that if the badgers are infected with TB, they are spreading it everywhere.
Actually the badgers are a very small part, you know. We think this a pointless exercise and you should be vaccinating the badgers - remove that small part of the problem, and then vaccinate the cows. And the Government's been dragging its feet on vaccinating cows for a very long time.
**Fri 06 Sep 13
Brian has announced that he will appear in the hit musical comedy, Spamalot, at the Playhouse Theatre, London, for one week, starting Monday 9 September. His part is filmed and he will be attending on Monday
Playhouse Theatre - Northumberland Ave, London, Greater London WC2N 5DE
Booking link HERE - or by Phone to 0207 193 9050
HIT THE THEATRE ARE PROUD TO OFFER AN EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT SPAMALOT TICKETS OFFER
WAS £59.50 NOW £32.50 - Available : Monday to Thursday
'Very funny? You bet. You'd have to be a dead parrot not to agree.' The Times.
Audiences all around the world have been roaring with laughter since Monty Python's Spamalot, by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005.
Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and features a bevy (or possibly a brace) of beautiful show girls, witch burnings (Cancelled too expensive) not to mention cows, killer rabbits and French people. The show features the hilarious songs He Is Not Dead Yet, Knights of the Round Table, Find Your Grail and of course the Nation's Favourite Comedy Song (Reader's Digest Poll 2009) Always Look On the Bright Side of Life. Don't miss your night with the Knights of The Round Table at the most infectiously funny musical of the millennium.
NOT TO BE MISSED - BRIAN MAY as GOD ... just for a while.
Save The Badger Badger Badger Mock The Week BBC2 5 Sept 2013 - http://youtu.be/CFmNXuINm9I
**Fri 06 Sep 13**
VH1 CLASSIC ROCK RADIO
Thursday (9/5) would have been Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s 67th birthday. While the legendary performer is gone, his music lives on. Guitarist Brian May reflected on what made Freddie such a great frontman.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
Brian went on to describe how Freddie performed.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
* TIDBIT: Freddie passed away on November 24th, 1991.
**Thu 05 Sept 13**
Brian May will visit the Gloucestershire badger cull zone on Friday.
May, the Queen guitarist, will visit the Gloucestershire cull site to meet with locals to discuss their views of the trials taking place and to align with peaceful protests being staged by anti-cull activists.
An online petition introduced by May to oppose the cull has become the most signed ever on the official Government website, with 296,958 people having added their name to the e-petition since it was started in August 2012 and it is still gathering signatures.
May said: “It remains a clear indication of the depth and continued growth of public outrage over DEFRA Secretary of State Owen Paterson’s plan to kill thousands of badgers in the UK. It's also now the most unpopular thing this Government has ever done, if their own petition website is any measure.”
The current culls aim to assess if culling can be done effectively, safely and humanely, with plans to roll out the scheme more widely.
May added: “We may be too late to prevent this tragedy happening in west England. But we will continue to stand against this. 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 year’s 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.”
May asserts: “The cull has no basis in science – which simply means it will not work.”
A Defra spokesman said: “Scientists have agreed that culling badgers where bovine TB is widespread reduces the level of disease. Many species can be infected with bovine TB, but only cattle and badgers are effective in spreading the disease. If we had a vaccine for cattle we would use it, but it is currently illegal under European law. We are working with the European Commission to make a vaccine available but we know this is at least 10 years away and we cannot wait while this disease continues to march across England.”
**Wed 04 Sep 13**
BBC NEWS - GLOUCESTERSHIRE
The RSPCA is calling for greater transparency from Defra as the second stage of a pilot scheme to cull badgers began in west Gloucestershire. A spokesman for the charity said "very little information" had been disclosed about the way the cull was being carried out "despite much questioning".
Defra said independent experts would publish a report after the pilot ended.
About 5,000 badgers are to be shot in a six week-period in Gloucestershire and Somerset in a bid to curb bovine TB. The pilot began in Somerset last week, but no-one involved will say how many badgers have been shot or killed.
The RSPCA said: "We are very much calling for greater transparency from Defra, especially in terms of culling methods and the accurate assessment of humaneness.
"We are also concerned that plans to extend thescope and scale of the cull appear to have been made without proper political scrutiny - before the pilots have even taken place and without asking MPs for their opinion, despite many having reservations about the cull." He said the RSPCA wanted any wider rollout of the cull to be "brought back to Parliament and subject to a vote in the House of Commons".
A spokesman for Defra said: "An independent expert board will scrutinise information on the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of the pilots once they have concluded and will publish a report."
More than 100 badger cull protesters spent Tuesday night in west Gloucestershire aiming to witness or disrupt the cull, which they say is inhumane and will be ineffective.
The scheme aims to assess if culling can be done effectively, safely and humanely. There are plans to roll out the scheme more widely in areas which are hotspots for TB in cattle if it is seen as successful.
**Wed 04 Sep 13**
IT WON'T END WITH THE KILLING OF 5,000 BADGERS
AS THE badger cull continues, the Government's agenda for our wildlife becomes clear. The 'Summer of Wildlife' is going to be the 'Summer of Killing Wildlife' as the cull won't stop with these unfortunate 5,000 badgers.
The cull is going to be increased to cover as much of the country as they can dupe into believing it will work, despite the results (they ignored the results of the last one), and when the badgers are gone deer, foxes and any other creature that can carry TB will be in their sights.
Anyone concerned about wildlife needs to act now to send a message to the Government that exterminating wildlife when we are supposed to be trying to save it, is not going to be tolerated by those that choose who they support either at the polling station or at the supermarket tills.
Please sign the e-petition, contact David Cameron and Owen Paterson and endeavour to dispel the myths about the cull being circulated by the Government, NFU and supported by the media in its one sided reporting.
**Wed 04 Sep 13**
A wildlife charity calling on the government to do more to stop Bovine TB spreading further into the North West - but without killing badgers. The disease, which can spread to cattle from badgers, is said to be costing the UK economy up to one hundred million pounds this year.
It's prompted the government to trial a badger cull in the South West. But the Cheshire Wildlife Trust says there is a more humane way to deal with the problem.
Our correspondent Andy Bonner takes up the story:
ITV NEWS Charity calls for alternative to badger cull 03-09-2013
**Tue 03 Sep 13**
Hunt saboteurs prepare for night vigils to remove snares and bait put out by marksmen in Gloucestershire farm and parkland
Marksmen are targeting to kill 2,500 badgers in the second pilot cull in Gloucestershire. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Reuters
The second pilot cull, which is expected to start on Tuesday night over nearly 100sq miles of farm and parkland, comes a week after the first cull began in north Somerset.
Environment secretry Owen Paterson told MPs this week that the cull was "proceeding to plan and those involved are pleased with progress so far." But no official information has emerged of the numbers of animals killed in the first week, or the humaness of the killings. Both Paterson and the government-appointed independent group of monitors have said they will give no details until the cull has ended. The National Farmers Union has consistently said that the cull is needed to prevent bovine TB spreading. The company running the Somerset cull has declined to comment.
Opposition groups said on Tuesday that the marksmen may be finding it harder than they expected to shoot the animals, which are by nature nervous and elusive. Saboteurs and others have claimed to be removing snares and bait put down by the hunters, as well as disturbing badgers in night-time walks near their setts.
"They are clearly killing badgers but the fact that not a lot of wounded badgers have been found and that the shooters have been seen going along hedgerows with lamps suggests that they are not getting as many as they might have thought," said Dominic Dyer, policy adviser at Care for the Wild International. "I think that the plan to shoot around 5,300 badgers in the two regions over six weeks was never going to work."
"Killing a badger cleanly with a rifle or shot gun in the pitch dark, is extremely difficult and the chances of inflicting non-lethal injuries is high. Badgers could very well sustain excruciatingly painful bullet wounds, and those who retreat underground will die a slow and agonising death," said Mark Jones, veterinarian and executive director for the Humane Society International UK.
**Tue 03 Sep 13**
Graham Shepherd, South Yorkshire Badger Group, has asked Badger Trust to circulate the following note on his behalf. It is hoped that this petition will be widely supported and that recipients of this note will forward it to their on-line contacts in order to widen awareness of a situation which affects us all.
A new ruling gives victims of crime and their relatives or supporters the right to challenge when the CPS abandons a case, declines to prosecute or presents no evidence in court. But what if the victim is an animal? Via my MP Angela Smith I asked this question of the Secretary of State and received such a dismissive negative reply that she had to write again for clarification. The eventual response was that individuals, activists and organisations such as badger groups, RSPB, RSPCA LACS etc do not have the right to challenge CPS decisions in this way.
With this in mind I have started a petition on 38Degrees at http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/animal-victims-right-of-review
STOP PRESS -- It is with great sadness that Badger trust have received confirmation that the badger cull will begin tonight in Gloucestershire. For details of Wounded Badger Patrols in Gloucestershire please email email@example.com
We have also received further details about the March in Taunton on Saturday 7th Sept. Please see our events webpage here:
It is now more important than ever that we show the extent of public opinion against the cull so do please come along if you can.
**Tue 03 Sep 13**
An interview to enjoy - Brian May taking to Thomas Janak of Wildtime Radio, at the 2011 Wetnose Awards in London.
**Mon 02 Sep 13**
BADGER CULL 'SHAMEFUL’
A BADGER protection group in Lancashire has struck out at farmers and the Government following the beginning of a “shameful” cull of the animals.
The National Union of Farmers (NFU) yesterday confirmed a cull of badgers in Gloucestershire and West Somerset had begun.
Approximately 5,000 badgers will be shot at feeding stations over the next six weeks under pilot schemes in the two counties. Farmers and the Government insist culling is needed to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, or bovine TB, in cattle herds.
Jo Bates-Keegan, Chairman of Lancashire Badger Group, said: “Scientists continue to tell us badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to Bovine TB. The present scheme risks making TB worse due to perturbation — when infected badgers roam more widely because their stable territories have been broken down by culling. Should the government deem the scheme a success it will be rolled out over a further 40 areas and approximately 100,000 badgers would be killed to prevent the early slaughter of just 4,000 cattle. Lancashire Badger Group is sympathetic to the plight of farmers who have lost cattle and sometimes whole herds to bovine TB However we are absolutely convinced, as are the majority of the wildlife and conservation organisations in the country, that this badger cull will only be to the detriment of farmers and badgers.”
**Mon 02 Sep 13**
WESTERN MORNING NEWS
The public visible, normal face of West Somerset could be found on the shoreline at Minehead this weekend when thousands of people gathered in sunshine to witness the finish of the popular annual RNLI raft-race. It's a happy vision that belies the new, hidden, furtive and sinister side of the area which occurs after sundown several miles from the coast up in the hills. For that is a zone of threat and, at night-times, even fear. A place where police helicopters hover at midnight; where roadblocks are set up without notice; where once- unpopulated nocturnal lanes are suddenly busy; where strangely clean Land Rovers lurk in gateways; where the gateways themselves are now chained and locked; where torchlight flickers in woods at two in the morning; and where – just occasionally – the sound of gunfire reverberates through the coombes.
Welcome to Badger-Cull-UK – land of anonymity and rumour. A place where locals won't go on record and where unknown people move about the byways at night because they're either trying to stop the cull, or because they are guarding those who've signed up to kill badgers. Or, perhaps, they're just making their way home from the pub... like one hapless West Somerset local the other night who inadvertently terrorised a dozen or more people out on anti-cull patrol.
"I was riding my bicycle over the hill from Monksilver and I passed this cottage where two dogs often come out and have a go at me if their owner has forgotten to lock them up," he told the Western Morning News. "I was swearing and shouting at the dogs as they chased me in the dark lane – and when I went around the corner there were more than a dozen people huddled in the hedgerow, and some of them were screaming in fear. They must have thought I was some crazy farmer out to attack them, but I was just fed up with those dogs. And it was a steep hill so, by the time I'd shot by the badger-cull people, it was too late to explain."
An hour after the late-night incident, a police roadblock was set up in the village of Monksilver – although it is not known if the two events were related.
Indeed, in West Somerset most things related to the cull are unknown. Media enquiries are unwelcome by both sides and monitoring a vast district riddled with valleys and myriad lanes on the ground at night is not an easy option. Which is presumably why a police helicopter was hovering over the Brendon escarpment between the villages of Monksilver, Roadwater, Luxborough and Withycombe for nearly an hour just after midnight yesterday morning.
In most places where people fear to speak out, rumours tend to abound. And so it is in West Somerset. All manner of tales relating to anti-cull activity are doing the rounds. Is it, for example, really true that one farmer who owns a holiday complex had diesel oil tipped into his swimming pool by animal-rights activists? Landowners who've signed up for the cull are, understandably, reluctant to draw the spotlight of attention on themselves – this newspaper is aware of a dozen such stories, but we cannot vouch for their authenticity because the victims would rather not speak with the Press. We do know that animal rights activists have created websites giving details of every farmer or landowner in the West Somerset area who has signed up for the cull – one such site provides intricate detail with maps and even videos of properties concerned.
Darkness is descending on the other side of the fence too – a freelance photographer used by the WMN who'd been following the cull story was told this weekend that he was no longer welcome to go out on patrol with activists in the area.
If we descend to the last possible rung of reportage and relate to the "general feeling" of a normally peaceful area that suddenly finds itself the focus of so much nocturnal attention, it would be true to say that many have noticed an upturn in badger numbers over the last few years. Some will have been glad to see them – but, in what is mainly an agricultural community, the most commonly held opinion sparked by bovine TB has, for a long while, been along the lines that "something must be done".
The trouble a week into the cull is – what is being done is about as clear as mud. There are beginning to be murmurings even among some in the agricultural community that the experiment, operation – call it what you will – lacks scientific credibility.
One farmer in his late 60s – who remains adamant that large numbers of badgers should be exterminated – pointed into a West Somerset valley and told the WMN: "There are two large setts down there – the landowner on the right has signed up for the cull, the one on the left hasn't. "No-one knows what state those badgers are in – what happens if they cull a healthy colony, leaving one that is infested with TB? I'll tell you what – all they'll have done is helped spread the damned disease!"
And what's making such people more uncomfortable – or even angry – are unverified reports doing the rounds that the corpses of culled badgers are not being tested for TB. "If those reports are true," said the veteran farmer. "Then this whole thing is half-cocked and a waste of time."
In the meantime, some locals in West Somerset who have nothing to do with the cull either way are beginning to wish the area had never been selected.
A woodman who has worked on an estate near Williton for the past 25 years was stopped by police last week. "There were three officers in the vehicle and they gave me a right old grilling," said the man. "One even took my name and wrote down everything I said in a notebook. Maybe I can't blame them – I've been in the lanes around here in the past few nights and they've been full of all sorts of suspicious-looking people – including security guards in big Land Rovers. I'm fed up with it," he added. "What's more – I'm afraid it's all going to kick off and get much worse." Many locals would agree with the sentiment – and yearn for the days when the most newsworthy thing that happened in West Somerset was the annual raft-race.
**Mon 02 Sep 13**
As you all know, it has been a very sad and depressing week for us all. We now know that shooting has started in Somerset and is expected to start in Gloucestershire any day now.
Many people are asking what they can do to help stop the senseless slaughter.
There are peaceful patrols in both areas, every evening that you can join, this will highlight to the press and the public just how many people are prepared to show their disapproval of this senseless slaughter. Details of Somerset Badger Patrol can be found on Facebook and Twitter. If you do not use social media, please ring our office 08458 287878. For details of Wounded Badger Patrols in Gloucestershire please email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also The Peaceful Walk Through Taunton, Somerset, from 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. next Saturday 7th September. Details can also can be seen our website. Please do come along and show your support.
You can also help by writing to your MP, express your disgust at the government’s decision, and insist that they sign the Early Day Motion (EDM) 299. This is to seek a full debate in parliament before the decision is made to roll out the cull across the rest of England. Currently the Government will decide in secret if the pilots were humane and efficient. You can see if your MP has already signed HERE.
Additionally remember to write to your local newspapers and whatever national daily you buy, opposing the cull and correcting any wild claims you may see. Sadly there are all too many of those right now.
Finally push the E-GOV PETITION to anyone you know, it has now reached 292,000 but with your help we could achieve 300,000+ before it closes on Friday evening 6th September.
Meanwhile Badger Trust will continue to collect as much information as possible and question the validity of the licences and conditions attached to them, in case we can take legal action to stop the shooting.
I know it looks grim, but we must all battle on. The pilot culls are a farce, the monitoring almost non existent, but it remains possible that the tide will turn in our favour.
**Mon 02 Sep 13**
THOUSANDS of culled badgers will be thrown into incinerators without any checks to see whether they were killed humanely or were suffering from disease.
The lack of forensic checks on the 5,000 animals being shot was last night highlighted as the most serious flaw in the Government’s controversial operation to tackle tuberculosis. As gunmen began shooting badgers in two West Country killing zones last week, it has been revealed that only 120 animals out of 5,000 will undergo post mortem examinations to see whether they have been dispatched humanely. The rest will be incinerated.
Opponents of the cull say the carnage means any scientific evidence that could help unravel how the disease is being spread in the countryside will be destroyed. There is growing belief among anti-cull campaigners that the Government could be forced into a U-turn once the current trials end. More than 288,000 people have signed Queen guitarist Brian May’s Stop The Badger Cull e-petition, which could force a parliamentary debate.
There are plans to roll out badger culls at a further 10 sites across England if the pilot schemes in Somerset and Gloucestershire are deemed successful by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Defra has confirmed that it will examine the carcasses of only 120 badgers shot in the current cull, an admission that angered animal welfare groups.
Dominic Dyer, policy adviser for Care for the Wild, condemned Defra’s decision, saying vital scientific evidence about bovine TB was being destroyed. He explained: “Besides losing evidence on how the badgers were shot and how they might have suffered, we are also losing the opportunity to carry out DNA and blood tests to understand more about the transmission of the disease, what strains are involved and how it might vary between regions. This is not only a great loss to science but also means that it does not allow for a proper scientific debate. Basically, the Government has decided with the farming industry that it wants no more debate but just wants to get on and kill the animals. It’s a numbers game.”
The Government is committed to wiping out bovine TB which last year led to more than 37,000 cattle being slaughtered at a cost to taxpayers of £100million.
Mark Jones, executive director of Humane Society International UK, said the cull was “politically motivated, bereft of scientific credibility, morally bankrupt and will do little to help farmers”.
He added: “It also seems that the Government is doing little to monitor the cull. We are told the pilot culls are designed to see how effective, humane and safe the shooting of free-roaming badgers proves to be, so that informed decisions can be made on whether the policy should be rolled out. However, the Government has consistently refused to release all but the sketchiest information on how ‘humaneness’ will be assessed, and is not even intending to test the badgers that are killed to see if they were carrying the infection. Thousands of innocent badgers are set to suffer and die and all for little or no benefit to anyone. This travesty should be stopped.”
Robbie Marsland, UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: “How can the Government press ahead with such a divisive and contentious issue and attempt to cloak the operation in secrecy? It is vital that Parliament reviews this cull at the first opportunity and we encourage everyone to contact their MPs.”
Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh said:"The government are not testing badger carcasses for tb as previous culls have shown that the majority of animals killed will be healthy. They also know that scientists have warned that culling if done badly can actually spread bovine tb. Ministers aren't interested in the science as they have already made up their minds."
Defra said: “We already have evidence from previous trials that a significant number of badgers in hot spot areas have bovine TB.”
**Mon 02 Sep 13**
**Mon 02 Sep 13**
SUNDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2013
Current iTunes Chart Positions:
MONDAY 2 SEPTEMBER - 1.00AM
HIGHEST POSITION NO 1 - Current No 8.
iTunes Overall Singles Chart
Amazon Best Sellers MP3 Songs
**Sun 01 Sep 13**
PLEASE COMPLAIN TO BBC
The report states incorrectly that TB rising, when DEFRA have said it is DECREASING!!!
Tonight's edition of Countryfile carried this report from John Craven:
REGRET VIDEO NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Bovine TB / Badger Cull Countryfile Report 1 Sept 2013
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