NFU granted injunction

The NFU’s injunction to protect farmers in and around badger cull zones was never about preventing people from “legal protests”, president Peter Kendall said.

Kendall spoke yesterday after the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and a number of other claimants, were granted an interim injunction to protect badger cull farmers from “unlawful actions by those opposed to the badger cull”.

In a statement Kendall said: “This injunction is about stopping those intent on totally unacceptable incidents of harassment and threats made against a number of farmers and landowners in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset by those opposed to the badger cull.”

He added that, to beef and dairy farmers dealing with bovine TB (bTB), the badger culls were an “essential” part in the fight against the disease.

However, Kendall also acknowledged that opinion was divided on the badger cull and recognised that not everyone agreed with the government’s TB eradication policy and the need to cull badgers. But said: “What we cannot condone are the actions being used by extreme activists designed to harass, intimidate and threaten others.”

Opposition

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Badger Trust, which is against the cull, said the charity was relieved that lawful protest had been protected in the High Court’s decision. The spokesman said: “Their [the NFU’s] initial application was not accepted and after hearing argument by the Badger Trust a far more reasoned and balanced order was made protecting the rights of the Badger Trust and others to campaign for a change in this foolhardy policy.”

The Badger Trust added that, while it did not condone unlawful protest, “The Trust hopes the government will soon realise the pointless nature of this cull and engage in more helpful methods of TB control rather than killing badgers”.

A statement from the RSPCA echoed the opinion of the Badger Trust and said: “The RSPCA is opposed to the badger cull for scientific and welfare reasons, and believes it is not the answer to bovine TB in cattle.

“We condemn any harassment or threatening behaviour. They have absolutely no place in this debate or any other.”

Cattle culling

Last year more than 37,000 cattle were culled in Britain because of bTB and science has shown that badgers carry the disease. Sector director for Eblex Nick Allen said: “Whilst acknowledging that this remains a highly emotive issue, the fact is that TB levels remain significant in our wildlife population.

“Until an efficient and cost-effective vaccine has been developed to stop the spread of the disease, we will continue to support the Secretary of State and the Minister’s efforts in limiting the impact of TB on our industry.”

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