Badger campaign do not give up hope of derailing Gloucestershire cull
BADGER campaigners in the county who hoped the cull would be abandoned this week, are not giving up hope of derailing it.
Some are even urging fellow anti-cull campaigners to telephone farmers directly, but politely, in a bid to persuade them to drop out of the cull zone.
Amid rumours the cull in Gloucestershire could be on the verge of collapse, the Stop the Cull campaign group is asking people personally to urge farmers not to take part.
On their website, a supporter wrote: "I have asked about the cull as much as I can and have found out that if Gloucestershire hasn't gone (fallen below the required amount of land needed for the cull to work) then it is right on the 70 per cent land ownership needed.
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"Right now is the time to put a lot of energy into ringing round farmers politely and finding out their position.
"You don't leave the embers in a fire burning. You stamp it out."
It comes as the group said there were 73 trained marksmen licensed to shoot badgers, and Gloucestershire Badger Defenders claimed five farms in the Forest of Dean had pulled out of the trial.
A rumour emerged on Monday that too many farmers had pulled out of the pilot culls in the county and it could therefore not go ahead.
Instead, it was thought Dorset was being lined up as a pilot zone.
But those in charge of the cull said the rumours were unfounded and it would take place in Gloucestershire.
A spokesman for Natural England said: "We are satisfied that the West Gloucestershire cull pilot area is meeting all licensing criteria and their licence remains valid."
NFU chairman in Gloucestershire Charles Mann said: "There's categorically no truth in this. It's rumour-mongering at its worse."
Liz Gaffer, spokesman for Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said she had heard nothing to suggest a pilot cull would not go ahead as planned. She said activities would continue.
She said: "We will still be continuing with our wounded badger patrols."
Groups will walk public footpaths to look for injured animals after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it expected a number of animals to be shot but not killed instantly.