Badger cull campaigners fail to disrupt TB meeting in Gloucester
CAMPAIGNERS failed to disrupt a badger cull meeting, thanks to a police presence.
Natural England, which is licensing the pilot culls in Gloucestershire, hosted the meeting on Tuesday night at an undisclosed location in Gloucester.
It was called to discuss plans to eradicate TB completely in the UK over the next 25 years – starting with the pilot cull in the county.
More than a dozen anti-cull campaigners gathered outside the meeting and chanted through a megaphone while the meeting took place.
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It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron backed the cull following rumours that it was to be halted in the county – rumours that were swiftly rebuffed.
He said: "If we don't do anything we're going to be spending over the next 10 years another £1 billion dealing with the consequences of bovine TB, and, let's be clear, there are appalling consequences not just for the cattle and the farmers, there are also appalling consequences for the badgers."
Charles Mann, county spokesman for the National Farmers' Union, was at the meeting.
He said: "There were some campaigners outside making a bit of a noise, it was antisocial to be honest as we were in a residential area.
"I don't think a dozen campaigners necessarily suggests there is a big campaign against the cull.
"They have an online presence, too, but it's easy to tick a box on the internet."
He added: "We talked about the next 25 years and how we are going to completely get rid of TB in the UK, which is the aim. We can't achieve that by ignoring the problem in badgers.
"These campaigners don't realise that by doing what they are doing, they are effectively condemning the lives of cattle and also the badgers."
Liz Gaffer, spokeswoman for campaign group Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said: "We have got lots of people split into three locations in the county looking for wounded badgers. There is a great deal of support.
"The science suggests the cull will not reduce TB, and culling badgers will not solve the problem."