Gloucesterhsire badger cull opponents gather for Coleford vigil
ANTI-cull campaigners were urged by one of the country's most influential voices for animals to fight a plan to shoot badgers which could start in Gloucestershire this week.
More than 30 people gathered for a vigil in Coleford last night, where the chief executive of the RSPCA issued a rallying call to them, and a plea to the National Farmers Union, pro-cull farmers and Defra to re-think.
"The slaughter of badgers is not going to be an answer to it (Bovine TB)," Gavin Grant told the vigil at the clock tower.
"I ask for your support for the badgers, for the cattle, for the scientists and for the dairy farmers.
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"They are being ill-served by the NFU (National Farmers Union) and by the people who say slaughter the badgers and all will be well.
"Once the badgers are slaughtered, little or nothing will have changed.
"These creatures know fear, love and compassion – they are not so different to us.
"Be they badger, or cow, they deserve better than what is to happen.
"They deserve to be treated with science and compassion and good care.
"This cull must not happen. With your help we will stop the cull."
Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS) organised the vigil, which started with a silence, ahead of the start of the trial cull.
Farmers say the trial cull in north Gloucestershire is necessary to tackle TB in cattle, because badgers spread the disease among livestock – cattle which are infected must be slaughtered and the farmers compensated.
They hoped the cull would start last week, but rumours it could be delayed or scrapped have been brushed aside by environment minister Owen Paterson.
Signs warning the public that shooting badgers could be starting soon have been put up in Forthampton.
Keith Childs travelled to the vigil from Tidenham because he says all the evidence points away from a cull.
"We have vaccines for cattle and for badgers," he said. "Why aren't we using them?"