‘I will continue to cover my face’ says Gloucestershire badger cull protester - despite police commissioner's urge for a change in the law

‘I will continue to cover my face’ says Gloucestershire badger cull protester - despite police commissioner's urge for a change in the law

‘I will continue to cover my face’ says Gloucestershire badger cull protester - despite police commissioner's urge for a change in the law

First published in News Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PROTESTERS against the badger cull in Gloucestershire have vowed to keep wearing balaclavas during this year’s cull.

Earlier this week Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl announced his plans to write to Home Secretary Theresa May urging for a change in the law on face coverings.

The issue was raised during a public questioning of senior officers over how last year’s cull was handled, on Monday, May 12.

Mr Surl said: “I received many complaints from families who had nothing to do with the cull who were frightened to leave their homes or go out after dark in case they were confronted by people whose faces were covered.

“It was one of the nastier elements of the cull. The police adopted a polite approach so as not to inflame the situation and it’s a pity those who were asked to take off their masks ignored not only the request but also the effect they were having on innocent people and communities.”

But Jay Tiernan, from Stop the Cull, said he does not see the law changing and stopping people from any back ground wearing masks.

“I can’t see how they will stop us wearing balaclavas or any other kind of mask.

“In a public place it is difficult to stop people from covering their faces.

“I know that wearing things like motorcycle helmets aren’t permitted in places like petrol stations because they are private places but I just don’t think they will be able to stop people covering their faces everywhere.”

“I will continue to cover my face.”

Officers have the powers to make someone remove a face covering, but Mr Surl said it was a tactic they were ‘more likely’ to use during a riot. He said they had tried to adopt a ‘more measured approach’.

On Thursday the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) refuted claims its injunction to prevent protests near homes was ‘of no value’.

NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: “Any suggestion that the injunction obtained by the NFU was of no value is absolutely wrong.

“We’re confident the injunction had a significant deterrent effect in stopping people taking part in illegal activity by making them aware that legal action could be taken against them.”

Comments (4)

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12:29pm Fri 23 May 14

Selphie says...

I don't under stand and the article didn't ask but why do the protestors need to wear masks?
I don't under stand and the article didn't ask but why do the protestors need to wear masks? Selphie
  • Score: 1

6:02pm Sat 24 May 14

Molly Mo says...

Selphie, protesters cover their faces because of the links between shooters and trappers of badgers and the hunt fraternity who (amongst others) employ terrier men. These men will happily shoot any animal and are generally violent psychopaths. Google it and then you'll know why the peaceful protesters want to remain anonymous. To keep themselves and their families safe. Google also hunt violence. This is all linked, the countryside is a horrible place of killing and trapping 24/7. The cruelty is unimaginable. If nothing else, the badger cull has brought all this out into the open but at the same time made protesting about the cruelty involved very much more dangerous. Try Stopthecull on facebook for starters. Good luck with your research, but I warn you its not a pleasant journey.
Selphie, protesters cover their faces because of the links between shooters and trappers of badgers and the hunt fraternity who (amongst others) employ terrier men. These men will happily shoot any animal and are generally violent psychopaths. Google it and then you'll know why the peaceful protesters want to remain anonymous. To keep themselves and their families safe. Google also hunt violence. This is all linked, the countryside is a horrible place of killing and trapping 24/7. The cruelty is unimaginable. If nothing else, the badger cull has brought all this out into the open but at the same time made protesting about the cruelty involved very much more dangerous. Try Stopthecull on facebook for starters. Good luck with your research, but I warn you its not a pleasant journey. Molly Mo
  • Score: 3

9:46pm Thu 29 May 14

Selphie says...

I have had a look on the internet and indeed there are many sites listing the cruelties you have outlined. However there are also numerous reports of violence both on behalf of animal's and as you point out against protesters. It is pretty evident that both sides in this debate are capable of backing up their views with violence. I am not going to go into whether the violence is justified as I suspect both sides would present heartfelt cases that they had the moral high ground and the other side was at fault.
However it is clear that at the time of the badger protests there are numerous people going round the countryside where I and my friends live wearing masks and prepared for violence. This is NOT right.
The majority of people in the countryside don't see badgers regularly nor do they want them killed however groups of masked vigilantes from either side or not something you would like to meet going down a country lane.
Your comments about masking yourselves to protect your identities from "terrier men" and their ilk is a little far fetched., If they want to find out who the protesters are all they need to do is a little bit of internet work or work on the car registration plates of the protesters. Identifying people from photographs particularly taken at night is NOT a simple task., In fact the only people who can do this to any degree are the police or the security services.
Wearing masks gives the appearance protesters don't want to be identified by the police rather than anything else. It is unfortunate that the general public assume people wearing masks are actually up to no good a fact that may well impact on your cause.
You need people who live in the country to support you and going around at night dressed as a cross between the provisional IRA and a group of bank robbers is not going to do that,. Moreover if I were a policemen and I saw two gangs in masks kicking each other I would be tempted to walk quietly away and let them get on with it. You need to have people on your side and going around in masks won't help.you.
Neither will describing the countryside as "a horrible place of killing and trapping 24/7" all you do is open yourself up to the usual "load of townies don't know what happens in the real world" which haunts animal cruelty protesters.
It may make you all feel like the SAS as you go around in masks but I would have a lot more respect for you if you showed your faces. If Ghandi, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King could all deal with far worse threats than a few "terrier men" without masks than I can't see why the badger protesters go bear faced and let their honesty be their defence.
I have had a look on the internet and indeed there are many sites listing the cruelties you have outlined. However there are also numerous reports of violence both on behalf of animal's and as you point out against protesters. It is pretty evident that both sides in this debate are capable of backing up their views with violence. I am not going to go into whether the violence is justified as I suspect both sides would present heartfelt cases that they had the moral high ground and the other side was at fault. However it is clear that at the time of the badger protests there are numerous people going round the countryside where I and my friends live wearing masks and prepared for violence. This is NOT right. The majority of people in the countryside don't see badgers regularly nor do they want them killed however groups of masked vigilantes from either side or not something you would like to meet going down a country lane. Your comments about masking yourselves to protect your identities from "terrier men" and their ilk is a little far fetched., If they want to find out who the protesters are all they need to do is a little bit of internet work or work on the car registration plates of the protesters. Identifying people from photographs particularly taken at night is NOT a simple task., In fact the only people who can do this to any degree are the police or the security services. Wearing masks gives the appearance protesters don't want to be identified by the police rather than anything else. It is unfortunate that the general public assume people wearing masks are actually up to no good a fact that may well impact on your cause. You need people who live in the country to support you and going around at night dressed as a cross between the provisional IRA and a group of bank robbers is not going to do that,. Moreover if I were a policemen and I saw two gangs in masks kicking each other I would be tempted to walk quietly away and let them get on with it. You need to have people on your side and going around in masks won't help.you. Neither will describing the countryside as "a horrible place of killing and trapping 24/7" all you do is open yourself up to the usual "load of townies don't know what happens in the real world" which haunts animal cruelty protesters. It may make you all feel like the SAS as you go around in masks but I would have a lot more respect for you if you showed your faces. If Ghandi, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King could all deal with far worse threats than a few "terrier men" without masks than I can't see why the badger protesters go bear faced and let their honesty be their defence. Selphie
  • Score: -1

1:07am Fri 30 May 14

Molly Mo says...

I have lived in the West Somerset countryside for over 54 years. I abhor violence in any form as do the people I associate with. Nothing I have said is far fetched, sadly I am all too aware of the animal cruelty that goes on and the disregard for animal welfare be it wild or domesticated by many in the farming/hunting community. Those of us with open eyes live a very difficult and upsetting life here at times.

There are 'blurred lines' that link hunting, shooting, lamping etc. and badger abuse and now culling. Setts are regularly interfered with and badgers, in spite of being a protected species are still illegally baited, shot and gassed. There are direct and indirect links that go from the bottom to the top of the farming hierarchy.

The night walks were conducted along public footpaths and were entirely peaceful. The NFU would have the general public believe that there were violent protesters rampaging through farmers' fields causing mass destruction, nothing could be further from the truth. The police know it, the farmers know it.

Villagers in the vicinity knew we were out and about, that we are animal lovers who disagree with the politics and spin put on the entire subject by the politicians, the NFU and Countryside Alliance who have manipulated and ignored the science. In most instances they are glad that someone is making a stand but are afraid to join in because of where they live or who their neighbours or landlords are; but they show their support by coming out and speaking to us and providing cups of tea. This goes for farmers too, they are not all pro-cull and many agree that the cull is inhumane, ineffective and unnecessary as proven by the results from the killing spree of last year. But support is muted because no one enjoys being shunned and ostracised particularly when there are children involved who end up being bullied.

Make no mistake, the badger cull is divisive, right up there with with blood sports. It is complex and involves a huge section of the farming and rural community who don't agree with eachother; which brings me back to the wearing of masks. It all boils down to personal safety and if someone feels they need to remain unrecognised to cull operatives/farmers/t
hugs due to intimidation then they should be allowed to hide their face. If I am confronted with a 4x4 full of abusive intimidating men I will hide my face, I have to live alongside these people and I do not want to risk the safety of my family or property, but I do have the right to protest peacefully.

However I agree with you in that aggressive mask wearing will generate the wrong type of publicity, will be detrimental to the cause and that a less confrontational attitude would far more productive.
I have lived in the West Somerset countryside for over 54 years. I abhor violence in any form as do the people I associate with. Nothing I have said is far fetched, sadly I am all too aware of the animal cruelty that goes on and the disregard for animal welfare be it wild or domesticated by many in the farming/hunting community. Those of us with open eyes live a very difficult and upsetting life here at times. There are 'blurred lines' that link hunting, shooting, lamping etc. and badger abuse and now culling. Setts are regularly interfered with and badgers, in spite of being a protected species are still illegally baited, shot and gassed. There are direct and indirect links that go from the bottom to the top of the farming hierarchy. The night walks were conducted along public footpaths and were entirely peaceful. The NFU would have the general public believe that there were violent protesters rampaging through farmers' fields causing mass destruction, nothing could be further from the truth. The police know it, the farmers know it. Villagers in the vicinity knew we were out and about, that we are animal lovers who disagree with the politics and spin put on the entire subject by the politicians, the NFU and Countryside Alliance who have manipulated and ignored the science. In most instances they are glad that someone is making a stand but are afraid to join in because of where they live or who their neighbours or landlords are; but they show their support by coming out and speaking to us and providing cups of tea. This goes for farmers too, they are not all pro-cull and many agree that the cull is inhumane, ineffective and unnecessary as proven by the results from the killing spree of last year. But support is muted because no one enjoys being shunned and ostracised particularly when there are children involved who end up being bullied. Make no mistake, the badger cull is divisive, right up there with with blood sports. It is complex and involves a huge section of the farming and rural community who don't agree with eachother; which brings me back to the wearing of masks. It all boils down to personal safety and if someone feels they need to remain unrecognised to cull operatives/farmers/t hugs due to intimidation then they should be allowed to hide their face. If I am confronted with a 4x4 full of abusive intimidating men I will hide my face, I have to live alongside these people and I do not want to risk the safety of my family or property, but I do have the right to protest peacefully. However I agree with you in that aggressive mask wearing will generate the wrong type of publicity, will be detrimental to the cause and that a less confrontational attitude would far more productive. Molly Mo
  • Score: 1

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