Animal rights activists march in Buxton to protest against Derbyshire badger cull

Animal rights protesters gathered in Buxton over the weekend to protest against the second Derbyshire badger cull, which is expected to begin in late summer.

By Ed Dingwall
Monday, 5th July 2021, 10:09 am
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 10:09 am

A crowd of around one hundred people gathered below the railway bridge and marched through the centre of the town, led by a samba band and banners with slogans such as ‘let me live’ and ‘badgers are being slaughtered in your back yard’.

After a pause by the opera house, the march continued through the Pavilion Gardens, before culminating back at the Opera House, with a speech from local author and campaigner Bob Berzins.

He said: “The badger cull is unscientific, causes immense cruelty and suffering and will not stop Bovine TB.”

Activists say the badger cull is inhumane and unnecessary when alternatives such as vaccination are available.

Proponents of the cull say it is the most effective way to prevent the spread of Bovine tuberculosis, an infectious disease which can decimate cattle herds – but that idea is subject to intense debate.

In Derbyshire various wildlife groups also offer the longest running and most successful programme of badger vaccination in the country, as a non-lethal alternative to culling.

The first cull in Derbyshire was due to take place in 2019 but was cancelled at the last minute, amid rumours of an intervention by Carrie Symonds, now the wife of Prime Minister. Calls for a judicial review by the National Farmers’ Union proved unsuccessful in summer 2020.

Despite those issues, another cull licence was granted for September 2020, when 2,916 badgers killed in six weeks.

The protest attracted much attention as it passed through Pavilion Gardens.

The cull hit the headlines a number of times last year, once when a peaceful protester had his tyres slashed in the middle of the night and a second time when hidden cameras captured farmers storing the carcasses of badgers.

The government announced in January this year that no new cull licenses would be released after 2022, although current licenses would be left to run their full four year course, meaning the Derbyshire cull will continue until at least 2023.

A spokesman for protest group Derbyshire Against the Cull said: “Despite the government’s promise to phase out the annual slaughter of badgers, they are showing no signs of letting up, with new zones beginning across the country this year and the massacre in Derbyshire set to continue.”

The group is planning to stage another protest in Derby on Sunday, September 5.

Around 100 people attended the march.

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