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Farmers warned about extremists posing as officials

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 01, 2012

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Extremists opposed to the badger cull have been posing as officials from Natural England and the NFU to dupe farmers into revealing details of pilot culls on their land.

A source involved with the cull project told the Western Morning News that as a result of the tactics all farmers were now being advised to carefully check the details of anyone calling at their farms claiming to be an official.

He said of the protesters: "They are trying to get farmers' details and then they go away and research those details before ringing up the farmers and making threats.

"We are saying to all farmers that if they are approached by people and they cannot be absolutely sure of their identity they should say nothing and send them away. They should take any details of vehicles and report them to the police."

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Pilot culls were approved by the Government earlier this year in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset to find out if shooting badgers could be carried out efficiently as a means of reducing badger numbers and bringing down the incidence of bovine TB on farms.

Opponents claim a cull could make the situation worse.

Despite the heightened tension since the first cull licence was granted for an area of West Gloucestershire last month, attitudes among the cull teams remain positive, the WMN was told.

But the spokesman for the cull operators, who asked not to be named, indicated talks with the police in Gloucestershire were still going on to ensure officers' concerns about the safety of protesters could be met to allow the cull to proceed. Strict rules are in place to avoid accidents, he said.

Cull teams had been told that if they came across protesters in the area where a cull was planned they should "drive straight on by". And he said if any protesters were met at night when the cull teams were out, the contractors were instructed to make their rifles safe by removing the bolts and withdrawing.

But he also warned that the culls would be taking place on private land, well away from rights of way, and anyone found trespassing could be guilty of interfering with lawful action.

"We hope the police will act firmly to support what is a lawful operation," he said. "All those involved have had all the necessary health and safety training. There is absolutely no danger to members of the public from shooting at night."

He admitted the ferocity of opposition to the cull and the intimidation aimed at those who might be involved had been "upsetting." But he said the resolve of those who wanted to get the job done remained as strong as ever.

"As a general rule the resolve of the farmers is good," he said. "They and the contractors want to get the job done because they believe it is necessary and has been lawfully agreed and properly organised."

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  • Charlespk  |  October 04 2012, 8:30PM

    If total ignorance of this subject was awarded an A*, then the universities would be overflowing. But thank goodness the standards for becoming a veterinary surgeon or veterinary scientist remain one of the most lengthy and difficult of all to attain anywhere in the world.

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  • Chelstonlass  |  October 02 2012, 10:29AM

    ,Charlespk you are pathetic! Not content with copying and pasting great extracts from here, there and everywhere you're now copying your own posts! Let me just say this- yes I'm a firm opponent of culling badgers, but just reading about a 5 year old little girl missing in Wales I realise there are more important things in life than reacting to you. Goodbye!

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  • Charlespk  |  October 02 2012, 10:05AM

    If total ignorance of this subject was awarded an A*, then the universities would be overflowing. But thank goodness the standards for becoming a veterinary surgeon or veterinary scientist remain one of the most lengthy and difficult of all to attain anywhere in the world.

    Rate   7
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  • Chelstonlass  |  October 01 2012, 8:56PM

    Don't judge me by your low standards. I've got a lot more qualifications and exam passes than you I'm quite sure. At least I can compose my own posts and not quote incessantly from others. "You couldn't make you people up"- what is that supposed to mean? It doesn't make sense! Says it all really!

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  • Chelstonlass  |  October 01 2012, 8:31PM

    If copying and pasting was awarded a Z- then someone on here would be bottom of the class! Good luck to the protesters. Keep the right side of the law and exercise your right to peaceful protests. In the future you can be proud to say you did what you could to defend a blameless animal . Red arrow away I've had my say .

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  • Charlespk  |  October 01 2012, 7:25PM

    If total ignorance of this subject was awarded an A*, then the universities would be overflowing. But thank goodness the standards for becoming a veterinary surgeon remain one of the most lengthy and difficult of all to attain.

    Rate   11
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  • Charlespk  |  October 01 2012, 7:25PM

    If total ignorance of this subject was awarded an A*, then the universities would be overflowing. But thank goodness the standards for becoming a veterinary surgeon remain one of the most lengthy and difficult of all to attain.

    Rate   11
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  • Atomic1964  |  October 01 2012, 7:10PM

    @thetalkmon. You seem to have accepted the first premise of this report as fact without asking for any substantive or corroborated evidence. All that has been put foward to validate this report is an un-named and un-verified "source". Personally, if I were going to accept this report as being even remotely plausible I'd want a bit more than that especially considering the bias that this publication has in favour of the cull. However, having also seen that you "support the cull as its a logical cost effective solution to the problem" then I can only assume that you are quite susceptible to accepting unsubstantiated arguments as fact if they conform to your own presuppositions.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 01 2012, 7:06PM

    @Sunshine67 Some words of wisdom that have at last been heeded. "After some 30 years as a country vet for cattle mainly I feel entitled to comment. When a vet surgeon is called out to treat a cow or a whole herd of cattle it is vital that he finds the real cause of the trouble. Quite often this is an infection by a species of bacterium, virus, a mycosis or when there are parasites involved. It is common that there is a mix or environmental influences e.g. a draught in the calf shed. It is the skill and experience of a successful vet to find the real diagnose and to treat or eliminate the very cause. . Infections by bacteria are normally treated with antibiotics and disinfectants and subsequent preventing methods. If an infection is treated soon after starting success is most of the time quick and guaranteed. Not so easy to treat are chronic infections. Bovine Tuberculosis ( bTB ) is in 99% of all cases a very chronic disease, mainly because of the extremely slow multiplying of these bacteria. Apart from bTB there are quite a number of other strains causing Tuberculosis like the human strain, the strain causing leprosy, the avian strain, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis ( Johns disease ) and others which are even harmless. There are a lot of vaccines against all kind of infections on the market. They normally give quite reliable results if administered correctly and in healthy animals ( and humans ). For Tuberculosis the common vaccine is the BCG which was found some 80 years ago and has been used to vaccinate healthy babies mainly. BCG does not prevent an infection like all other vaccines; it just keeps it from becoming generalized, thus reducing the risk that the bacteria are swept into various other organs followed by massive excretion ( coughing, urine, faeces, milk etc ). There is scientific evidence that the efficiency of BCG is not more than 50 % and in a lot of countries it is therefore not used any longer. Any animal, group or herd of with bTB is a focus and as long as such a focus is not eliminated it is a high risk for further infections. It is outrageous that these aspects are widely ignored by DEFRA for years now with absolutely no end in sight. In 2008 over 40,000 head of cattle reacting to bTB were slaughtered (10 % annual increase to be expected ) and nobody knows how many 10,000s of badgers and their setts are infected. Thus the infection within this most relevant wildlife reservoir is permanently growing including all its risks of infecting further cattle, other farm animals, pets and humans. Vaccinating badgers cannot be the solution for there are locally far too many badgers and setts infected and vaccinating cattle with BCG is in my view absolutely contraindicated for the only way of diagnosing bTB in cattle will be seriously compromised. DEFRA thinks to manage to develop a DIVA test thus being able to differentiate between a skin reaction caused by bTB and the one caused by BCG. It is unclear if such a test ever will reach permission or Europeanwide approbation; however there is a high risk that some countries will decide at some stage that they are not interested in any English beef products any longer when it cannot be guaranteed that there is no bTB. The routine bTB skin test alone in many cases is unreliable enough ( inconclusive or even false negative results ) and the Gamma Interferon bloodtest - apart from being expensive - is quite often hampered by some other influences. There definitely is no need of another uncertainty in this whole issue. It is horror for me to see how things are going the wrong way and every month some hundred more farms are starting suffering dramatically. It is not 5 minutes before noon to rethink this whole approach by DEFRA - politically steered as it is - NO it is half past noon and even with a quick U turn the future of battling bTB looks bleak." . . . . . . . . . . . Dr Ueli Zellweger MRCVS GST TVL Somerset

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  • JaesunJ  |  October 01 2012, 6:06PM

    There is no evidence that the cull will help sort out Bovine TB at all. I have not eaten beef in years, and milk in my tea is a luxury I am prepared to do without if it comes at the cost of our wildlife. Trust me I am under no illusion as to where our luxury products come from, although allegations of naivety and sentimentality are inevitable when dealing with individuals who have no real argument. Perhaps you are right though that it is a clash of values. I value my wildlife more than I value milk. Maybe it is just the rural habit, based on years of ill-informed superstition and bereft of any powers of scientific enquiry, that means you feel we "have" to kill things. Personally, I feel sorry for you. If you hate wildlife so much there are some tower blocks in South London where I am sure you would be very happy, and your life could be transferred to someone capable of appreciating the beauty around you.

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