Anti-badger cull protester arrested at Aston Down - full story
THE head of one of the biggest anti-badger cull campaign groups was arrested for allegedly trespassing at a Defra laboratory at Aston Down Business Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Stop The Cull protester Jay Tiernan, 42, was arrested around noon on suspicion of aggravated trespass and bailed until November after the alleged incident near Minchinhampton - just hours before the controversial cull was due to begin.
In an interview on ITV News, Mr Tiernan said he was trying to gather photographic evidence after hearing reports that 200 ‘rusty cages’ and ‘industrial sized fridges’ were being prepared to hold dead badgers.
Today National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall wrote to members to confirm that the first cull operation was underway.
It is believed to have started in a pilot zone in west Somerset and will begin in west Gloucestershire shortly.
Large numbers of anti-cull demonstrators gathered at sites in both areas on Monday.
Around 5,000 badgers are set to be killed in the two pilot zones over the next six weeks in an attempt to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis.
Campaigners from anti-cull group Stroud 100 plan to walk along footpaths in the Gloucestershire cull zone looking for wounded badgers to try and save them.
On Thursday, a High Court injunction was granted aimed at preventing farmers whose land is being used in the cull from harassment and abuse.
The order was granted after lawyers for the NFU said farmers had been targeted.
Under the injunction, protesters will be unable to form picket lines within 100 metres of homes or 25 metres of business premises, cannot stop people from entering or leaving the sites and will be banned from making excessive noise.
The cull, managed by Natural England under licence from Defra, remains hugely contentious and this week RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: "Thousands of innocent animals are being culled in our countryside and we do not know the extent of their suffering or how humane the methods being used to kill them are."
However, the Government insists that the cull is needed to stop spiralling rates of bovine TB.
As the SNJ went to press, Gloucestershire police said its security operation designed to run alongside the cull called Operation Themis 'was not yet activated'.
Responding to speculation about whether the cull had started in the county, the force released a statement saying:"Our operation is not yet activated.
"The cull will be undertaken by a private operating company and it will be up to them to determine where and when it starts.
"Operation Themis is aimed at keeping all our communities safe, dealing with any incidents of crime and public disorder and facilitating people's right to protest.
"Our role will to be operationally independent, impartial, even-handed and fair to everyone whatever their views."
Comments are closed on this article.