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Activist’s Harsh Sentence Shines Spotlight on England’s “Medieval” Badger Cull

January 21, 2015 by Leave a Comment

News & Opinion

Jay Tiernan, a leader in the fight to stop the killing of wild badgers in England, has received a six month suspended jail sentence and up to $83,000 in fines for breaching a court order brought by cattle farmers who support the “badger cull.”  According to The Guardinan, “the breaches ranged from filming someone involved in the cull” to “protesting outside an National Farmers’ Union (NFU) office wearing a FCK NFU T-shirt” to “failing to pass on details of the injunction to other protesters.” Notably, the judge said that Mr. Tiernan is “a man of good character” and that his “breaches did not involve any violence or damage to property.”

Activist Jay Tiernan has a strong message for the National Farmers' Union (photo: The Guardian)

Activist Jay Tiernan has a strong message for the National Farmers’ Union (photo: The Guardian)

While the ruling represents a serious infringement on free speech and imposes an insurmountable financial burden on Mr. Teirnan, it does shine a much-needed international spotlight on the badger cull and is serving to unify the large community of people who oppose the killing.

European badger

European badger

Supporters of the badger cull claim that the extermination is necessary to control bovine tuberculosis (TB), which, they say, threatens their cattle.

Opponents of the cull argue that killing is the wrong approach for many reasons:

  • A large, scientific study has demonstrated that killing badgers makes “no meaningful contribution to the control of bovine TB.”
  • Wildlife should not have to pay the price for cheap food produced through environmentally destructive factory farming, which is how TB was introduced to wildlife.
  • More frequent testing of cattle and cattle movement controls are addressing the problem in neighboring Wales.
Brian May of the band Queen protests the badger cull in 2013 (photo: The Mirror)

Brian May of the band Queen protests the badger cull in 2013 (photo: The Mirror)

Badgers are a protected species in England, and the government-sanctioned campaign to slaughter them in certain areas has generated backlash not only from veteran animal rights activists and “hunt saboteurs” but also from people who live in or near the killing zones.

In 2013, a reporter with the Guardian filmed Mr. Tiernan “engaging in guerrilla-style tactics” to prevent marksmen from shooting badgers. He also speaks to less confrontational protesters who are stunned by the high level of secrecy surrounding the cull.

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Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. andy says:

    If cattle farmers and their union, the National Farmers’Union, believe that badgers are a significant factor in the spread of bovine TB, why do so many of them ignore the UK Government recommended measures to minimise contact between cattle, their feed, their water and badgers? Why is the UK Government not making these measures mandatory? Some of these recommendations are simple beyond belief and would cost very little. Why do they prefer slaughtering badgers when the scientific evidence says it won’t work?

  2. Lucien Kaczmarek says:

    These creatures that partake in this atrocity, are the reason this world is Upside Down. One day in the very near future they will pay big time !

    1. how can this cattle tb scandal be stopped ;; perfectly healthy cattle slaughtered at the expence of the farmers ,, farmers should keep track of these cattle being removed from their farm yards,, and in some cases shot ,, but when this conspiracy gets exposed the goverment will have to re compensate farmers for this wrong doing ”i am a very experienced cattle farmer ,but failing me to get this message to other farmers ”any help would be greately appreciated

  3. Michael Parker says:

    badger killers and hunting fraternity will love this.

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