'Rave' planned by badger campaigners to scupper Gloucestershire cull
BADGER cull protesters planned a rave under the full moon last weekend in a bid to stop animals being shot.
It's one of several measures activists have been plotting to halt the hugely controversial trial cull in the west of the county.
The gathering in the Forest of Dean didn't materialise in the end but it's one of several steps campaigners are considering.
One activist, a member of the Stop the Cull group called Jay, said: "Months ago, we believed the cull was going to start in the first week of September and planned to have as many people as we could in the area at the time, to stop any shooting. We had no idea at that point about just how much public support we would have."
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The cull is yet to start so the rave was called off. He said campaigners instead spent the weekend mapping badger setts in the area and sabotaging "hair traps" used to gauge how many animals are in the vicinity.
"You'll see barbed wire traps which are designed to make badgers run under them. Their hair sticks to the wire and, through DNA tests, they can tell how many badgers are in that area," said Jay. "We've been removing the hairs from those traps so they can't tell."
Natural England issued the first licence authorising the cull last month. Jay said there's realistically a two-week window for the culling to begin before weather conditions make it impossible.
He added: "We're feeling more and more optimistic that it won't happen. I hope it doesn't come to any confrontation, our message has been to avoid violence, but if it does then it's more likely to be with the farmers than the marksmen, who I think would have more sense than to point guns at people.
"Over the past two weeks we've had about 450 people saying they are prepared to take direct action with us, to be out there as soon as the cull starts."
Chris Jackson, of Gloucestershire police, said they were aware of the planned rave.
On Monday night, a majority of Tewkesbury Borough Council members have shown they are against the cull. At a full council meeting they considered a motion saying a cull should proceed. Seventeen councillors voted against the motion, eight voted for it and two abstained.