The past few months have had a rough effect on the UK Wildlife. With ongoing arguments between the government, farmers and the animal loving community over the badger cull fiasco I decided to attend, and film, a rally against the cull taking place in Bristol.
Hundreds gathered on College Green brandishing signs and with faces painted in the distinctive black and white pattern. All were there for the same reason: to save our badgers.
Since the 1980's Bovine Tuberculosis has been on the rise; this is a disease that damages cattle and makes them in-consumable for humans, therefore once a cow is tested positive it must be destroyed. Over the past thirty years thousands of cows have been infected and farmers have lost millions. They are desperate to hold on to their livelihoods, scared of the damage caused. So of course when it was suggested that badgers could be further spreading the disease there was a call from the farming community to do something.
Scientists and researchers gathered together to attempt to figure out the best course of action: vaccinate the badgers against the disease, or cull them to attempt to stop further spread? Despite the enormous cost it was decided by many that vaccination would be the best course of action. Culling would mean scared badgers spreading themselves wider and further across the country, taking the disease to places that are currently unaffected. However, for some reason that I still do not understand it was decided a trial cull would take place to see the effects. Over a course of 6 weeks badgers were targeted and killed. But not enough. The cull was deemed ineffective, a failure. And yet the government granted in Somerset a further three weeks to kill a minimum of 165 individuals... the marksmen hit only 90. By hitting only a fraction of the target number the situation has been made worse - infected badgers are spreading.
Whilst the cull in Gloucestershire has thankfully been called off it is still likely that culling will continue over the course of the next few years in other parts of the country. Therefore yesterday, when the crowds gathered together, they spoke with one voice. They were asking to stop this nonsense and protect the little wildlife that remains in England. The march was attended by two of the most prominent wildlife lovers in the UK - Simon King and Bill Oddie. I have to say as the crowds grew I felt a great sense of pride: people care, people really do care.
We have been passionately fighting against this travesty for almost two years now, with support coming from all walks of life. It is time the government listened to its people. It is time to be heard.