DAY 368 – DARK NIGHTS HUNTING BADGER HUNTERS
As my blog plunges deeper into the caverns of animal abuse I end up with less and less photos – which might be just as well.
I’m due shortly to continue my journey following the life of typical EU pig but I have had to take a few days out to help with the fight against the badger cull.
I can’t show an awful lot of imagery because I have mostly been crawling through dark woods trying not to be seen by men who have guns – or the police – and because the people I am with don’t want to be identified.
I am ashamed to report that I’ve found all this terribly exciting. Maybe it’s because I was too soft at school.
I hope you all now know that I’m over running by a month. “one point one years to help animals” don’t sound so good I know but I have my excuses.
Killing badgers in the dark with guns from a long distance without hurting them.
The badger cull is coming to the end of it’s hugely controversial six weeks. As you probably know, the point of this cull is not to determine if culling badgers helps stop cattle get TB (scientists have said that on the whole it does not) but to prove whether culling badgers can be done safely, effectively and humanely.
In other words can you kill shit loads of badgers at night with big guns without killing any humans – or in fact hurting any badgers?
Which is a really, really weird sort of government test.
Although the government is not reporting figures it seems from various accounts that the cull is failing. Not enough badgers are being shot and this may make the potential spread of TB worse because the surviving badgers flee the scene and take what little TB they have with them.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been into parliament to talk to MPs on both sides of the house and its fairly shocking what they have to say. That is coming up in the next few blogs. But what I’m really interested in knowing is
a) How do you stop a badger cull happening?
b) Can I save any badgers myself?
I went down to ‘Camp Badger’ in the heart of the Somerset cull zone to find out.
I am equipped to fight an invisible enemy
It is in the governments interest that not many people know how and where the badger cull is taking place. Men in dark clothes are firing guns in secret locations with silencers. Which might explain why I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare for my few days and nights fighting the cull.
I looked at various blogs and facebook posts and decided I ought at least to get the following:
- A high pitched whistle – in case someone was shooting me and I needed to let the world know. But since bullets travel faster than sound I wasn’t sure if it would be useful
- A very f**cking powerful torch.
- Some waterproof maps.
- Night vision infra-red googles. Tragically I could only afford the plastic ones designed for 10 year olds. On the packaging they showed a boy looking for another boy in a shed at night and worked for up to 30 feet.
- Dark clothes.
- Minimal leather and lots of soya milk To prove my activist credentials
And with this in my bag I headed down to the heart of the cull zone to spend my nights fighting an invisible enemy. I can tell you now that the night vision goggles were a total disaster but the rest of the experience was more dramatic than I could have expected.