MP helps Cheltenham women fight badger cull
POLITICS was not something Lynne McEwen and Dawn Branch had involved themselves in until recently.
But the two NHS workers from Cheltenham decided it was time to make a stand after learning about the badger cull planned for Gloucestershire.
The vegetarians, both aged 46, put pen to paper and wrote to the town's MP, Martin Horwood, to ask for his advice on how they could raise awareness of the cause.
And to their delight, the politician invited them to speak to him about the issue.
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Lynne and Dawn took up the cause after attending a meeting held by Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting in Coleford, Forest of Dean, at which they heard arguments from farmer Steve Jones, the League Against Cruel Sports, and the RSCPA, as to why culling badgers would not cure TB.
As an eye-opener, it was "just amazing", said Lynne.
Farmers have said the cull is necessary to tackle rising rates of TB in cattle, as the wild animals can spread the disease to livestock, costing the industry and taxpayers millions of pounds a year.
Lynne said she had not written to an MP before, but she was concerned for animal welfare and has been a vegetarian since the age of 18.
Having researched the issues, it was her belief that there was a lack of scientific reasoning and evidence that prompted her to write an impassioned letter to Martin Horwood on the issue.
"Badgers haven't got anyone to speak for them," Lynne said.
Mr Horwood invited Lynne, Dawn, and Liz Gaffer from Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS), to meet him on Friday to discuss just how they could exert a grassroots influence to halt the cull.
Lynne said: "I've never been involved with anything like this before.
"Mr Horwood replied very quickly, and said we could come and meet with him in person.
"I wanted to ensure that he attends the Commons vote this week. The meeting went well and he was very helpful."
Dawn, who lives in the same road as Lynne, added: "Both of us are very passionate about animal welfare.
"Obviously we had heard about the badger culling, and the evidence suggested to us it wasn't in the best interests of anybody in the country."