• DAY 368 – DARK NIGHTS HUNTING BADGER HUNTERS

    Oct 01 2013
    A pretty picture of dark woods not taken by me. But I was in some a little like this being really brave

    A pretty picture of dark woods not taken by me. But I was in some a little like this being really brave

    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.

    A-sign-outside-Camp-Badger-near-Watchet-in-Somerset-2226202

    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.

    photo 1

    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:

    1. 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
    2. A very f**cking powerful torch. 
    3. Some waterproof maps. 
    4. 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.
    5. Dark clothes.
    6. Minimal leather and lots of soya milk To prove my activist credentials

    photo 2

    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.

     

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  • DAY 336: I HAVE A DREAM… THAT ONE DAY BADGERS WILL NOT BE SHOT

    Aug 29 2013

    martin-luther-king

    Does this blog title belittle Martin Luther King’s speech?

    Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    A while ago I mentioned to an animal rights activist that I found some of the people involved in the various marches against animal abuse a little…how can I say, full on. Sometimes hard to bear

    ‘Be careful what you say.’

    ‘Why?’

    ‘It could damage the movement’

    It never really occurred to me that animal rights is a movement. I suppose it is.  But still, it was a strange realisation to me.

    Spanish animal rights campaigners gather in Madrid

    Spanish animal rights campaigners gather in Madrid

    Animal rights. As worthy as human rights?

    With the recent coverage of  the anniversary of Martin Luther Kings ‘I have a dream’ speech it occurred to me more than ever that animal rights – more so than animal welfare – is a global movement for change with parallels to so many other human rights movements history

    Yet as soon as we make comparisons between animal right and human rights- whether to the emancipation of women, blacks or jews – we  provoke outrage. ‘How dare you compare the treatment of black slaves to animals!’ ‘How dare you refer to the killing of factory animals as a ‘holocaust’!’ and so on.

    But this controversy rests entirely on the deep assumption that animals are of less moral worth than humans. And you can’t argue against animal rights by assuming that they are inferior in the first place. It was not so long ago that the arguments for women’s emancipation met with similar derision on the basis that ‘if they give women the vote they’ll give animals the vote next’.The painful fact is that specieism – the valuing of one species over another, ie.humans over animals, for no other reason than due to the furriness of their skin – is essentially no different from racism or sexism.

     

    Peter Singer, philosopher on animal rights

    Peter Singer, philosopher on animal rights

    Peter Singer – a hero of mine,  but reluctantly so

    I’ve made a point throughout this year of giving logic and reason the passenger seat whilst letting my heart take the wheel.  Hence the sometimes bumpy ride off track. Nevertheless I have (reluctantly) been deeply impressed by the so called ‘bible’ of animal rights ‘Animal Liberation’ by Peter Singer in whcih he argues for animals’ moral consideration from a purely logical point of view.

    He makes one powerful point that has burnt a painful hole in my mind. He argues that you cannot be against racism and also eat meat without being morally and logically inconsistent.

    Wow. Swallow that with your bacon.

    Singer argues that we should attribute moral worth to all sentient beings not according to intelligence, strength or beauty  – if we did we might let all the unintelligent, weak, ugly people die whichcould include slaughtering a fair number of disabled people (see…look how riled you are) – but rather we should attribute moral worth according to whether that individual can suffer. It is equally wrong to cause unnecessary pain to a white man as it is to a black woman, an asian child or a frog.

    If the frog in that list stands out, you have to ask yourself why. Probably because you instinctively consider the frog as fundamentally different category of moral concern. Singer urges that the perceived moral divide between species is as illusory as it was between women and men a hunded years ago or between black and whites some fifty years ago in segregated America. It can and should be crossed.

    So if you watched the Martin Luther King coverage with a sense of ‘thank goodness we don’t have that any more’. I’m afraid we still do. The divide between man and animal is just as bad, if not worse, than that between blacks and whites a few decades ago.

    We all need to dream that one day it will change

     

     

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