As the sun goes down, men with high-powered rifles, hungry for any opportunity to kill a defenceless being, pull up in Land Rovers or vans, ready to shoot. They already know where the badger setts are. And it’s likely that they have already scattered peanut baits to lure the badgers into their line of fire.
Other men set cage traps for the badgers, and then shoot the animals once they’re trapped.
Arrested & assaulted by the police for trying to protect a protected species
Of course, there are hundreds – maybe thousands – of activists around the country who go out day and night trying to protect the badgers. Many spend dark nights patrolling public footpaths. Other activists find traps and dispose of them, or remove the peanut baits. But of course, these activists find themselves persecuted by the state.
On 27 September, four patrollers were surrounded by police and arrested, just for walking on their local footpaths and shining torches in the direction of suspected shooters. Mendip Hunt Sabs reported that:
After spending hours in their vehicle surrounded by cops, and having already given their details, the four patrollers (including the driver) were arrested for Aggravated Trespass and taken to the police station. One individual was unable to walk and because of this the police saw fit to drag them out of the car and cuff their hands and ankles. Once at the police station, they were “rearrested”, falsely accused of possession of an offensive weapon.
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After more than 20 hours in the police station, all four were released in the middle of the night WITHOUT CHARGE but “under investigation”.
Piles of dead badgers are tied in plastic bags and dumped in buckets
This week, hidden footage, taken on a Peak District sheep farm, revealed piles of dead badgers being bagged up and thrown into buckets, before being loaded into a van for incineration. Since then, Derbyshire Against The Cull has exposed two more ‘makeshift mortuaries’. The group says that the latest body-dumping area:
is located on land belonging to Carrbrook Farm, Shottle, owned by the Hurt family. It is a large metal box with combination padlock located at a junction of a vehicle track, which is also a footpath. Badger killer’s vehicles have been observed at all times of day and night depositing their dirty work for collection.
Even the Daily Mail says that the badger cull doesn’t work
Badgers are, supposedly, being murdered because they spread bovine TB (bTB) in cattle. But this has been repeatedly disproved. Steve Backshall, president of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), argued in the Oxford Mail that:
There has been no noticeable impact on bTB in cattle. With animals showing no visible signs of TB, and only 4 per cent of badgers infected, this is analogous to solving our current human crisis by wandering about the countryside taking out random people in the hope they might be carriers.
And even the Daily Mail has reported that the badger cull doesn’t work.
Our fucked up capitalist system
It’s unsurprising that those benefiting from this fucked up capitalist system, with its intensive industrial farming, point the finger at badgers. Because if another species is scapegoated for the mess that humans have created, then maybe, just maybe, the public won’t question the root causes of the problem. Glen Black previously pointed out in The Canary that:
Intensive cattle farming, lax controls on livestock movement, and even hunting hounds have all been put forward as alternative sources of bTB spread.
A 2018 study found that about 12.4 million acres of forest — the equivalent of more than five Yellowstone National Parks — are cut down each year to clear room for industrial agriculture. A whopping 30 percent of Earth’s ice-free land mass is used as pasture for livestock.
170,000 badgers are likely to have been killed by the end of this year. That’s a massive 35% of our badgers, supposedly a protected species. Isn’t it time that we address the root causes of the problem: industrial agriculture and this messed up capitalist system?
Featured image via Carine06 / Flickr
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