Shooters 'put off' by cull protesters
PROTESTORS against a badger cull in Gloucestershire have claimed marksmen have stopped shooting the animals because of a combined effort.
The campaigners against the cull have been out in force over the last three weeks.
During that time, the groups have organised wounded badger patrols, replaced baits from badger setts with animal repellents, and used torches to blind the marksmen.
Under the licence, which is held by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) marksmen cannot shoot if there is a risk of hitting a human being.
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With more than 900 people in various cull zones throughout the last three weeks, groups have now claimed the marksmen have given up, which is denied by Defra.
The cull is being carried out by marksmen from private companies. Defra had said before the shooting started they expected 2,856 to 2,932 badgers to be culled during the six-week window.
Drew Pratten, from Stop the Cull group, said: "I think they might have quit. I think they have not managed to shoot enough badgers.
"At the moment, we have not heard many gunshots, and we have managed to keep a lot of the shooters away.
"We have had all sort of people, from older people to teenagers. I think it just shows how much people care about the cull."
Defra, Natural England and the National Farmers' Union have said they will not comment on operational matters and the cull will carry on its course.
A spokeswoman from Defra said: "We won't be giving out detailed information about the pilot culls while they're going on but a full report will be published after the culls have finished." Bovine tuberculosis has claimed 1,930 cattle in Gloucestershire last year.
Police officers arrested a 38-year-old man from the Gloucester area as part of its response to the badger cull.
The man was arrested on suspicion of common assault after a disagreement between two groups in the Tirley area around 11.30pm on Thursday. No one was seriously injured in the clash.
He has been bailed to attend Gloucester police station on November 4.