On a grey and bitterly cold January afternoon, the latest anti cull badger march left London’s Leicester Square promptly at 3pm.
Save Me Trust has been involved in many marches following the original London March that Brian attended in June 2012. Save Me also founded and coordinates Team Badger, the largest coalition of wildlife groups and charities ever to join forces - united in one aim - to stop the badger cull.
A dedicated group of around 100 supporters displayed their banners and assorted badger apparel as they set off through the streets of London, all the time chanting the familiar refrain of -
“Save our badgers - Stop the Cull. Save our badgers - Stop the Cull. Save our badgers - Stop the Cull”
Along the route, the busy people of London sounded their car, lorry and taxi horns and waved their fists in a show of support, others joined the march for some of the route, smart phones in hand, whilst groups of tourists looked on at the great British public doing what they do best; standing up against injustice and giving a voice to the voiceless.
As the group of marchers assembled under the statue of King George V opposite Old Palace Yard, the speakers prepared to address the crowd. Nigel Tolley introduced Peter Martin (Chairman of the Badger Trust) who explained that the main speaker Dominic Dyer was not able to join us today as he is unwell. We all wish Dominic a speedy return to full health.
Jordi Casamitjana from League Against Cruel Sports spoke about the devastating impact the cull is having on local badger populations within the cull zones and how the perturbation effect is already a reality in the three original cull zones in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset.
Veterinarian Mark Jones, from Born Free Foundation, was next on the podium. Mark gave a clear explanation of why he, as a vet, cannot accept the government’s BTB policy that includes free shooting badgers. He is opposed to any killing of badgers. Mark explained that TB is in the herd and often remains, undetected, even after the completion of official government testing and the herd gaining OTF (Officially TB Free) status. Mark received a good response from the crowd.
Finally, Luke Steele from Animal Aid made a very strong case linking the badger cull directly to the dairy industry and the NFU. Luke asserted that the dairy industry is outdated and being propped up by subsidies from the EU and the British taxpayer. He questioned how much longer the public will tolerate the mistreatment of cows and other farm animals and the impact on our native wildlife from the diseases spread within ‘super-herds’ of cattle. Luke’s speech was full of passion and commitment and the crowd responded really well to him.
The assembled marchers then set off for DEFRA’s offices in Smith Square; colourful banners waving whilst the drums, whistles and megaphone fed chants that have become the hallmark of the badger marches rang out loud and clear across the darkening London skyline.
Hastened by the cold and ebbing daylight the group arrived and formed into a collection area opposite the DEFRA HQ entrance. The rhythmic chanting and drumming continuing for several minutes before a halt was called. The marchers then held a candlelight vigil as workers of London headed home observing the scene with curiosity and interest, all were given leaflets and were asked to join us. Duke Ingram from the animal-friendly band, Besureis, gave a moving and powerful live performance of their song; This Land despite the chill of the night air as DEFRA employees watched in silence and warmth through the windows of DEFRA HQ.
Stunning Video by the lovely Duke
With their message clearly delivered and having gained the support of even more members of the public (around 89% oppose the badger cull) the marchers slowly made their way to the warmth of the vegan cafe for some warm soup or coffee.
The marchers highlight the strength of opposition to the Governments BTB Eradication Policy that last year included the culling of over 10,000 badgers. It is shocking that none of them have been tested for TB. The science clearly demonstrates that culling badgers will not stop Bovine TB in cattle. #WAKEUPDEFRA - TB IS IN THE HERD - NOT THE CLAN.
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