Cerne Abbas Giant gets a furry badger friend for April Fool’s Day

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Cerne Giant with Badger small

The Dorset Echo has today reported that the Cerne Abbas Giant has been “gifted with a furry friend for April Fool’s Day, thanks to a Dorset badger group.”

Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare have pulled the prank to highlight that there is an ulterior message behind it…

A spokesman for Dorset’s Endangered Badgers Action group, Barbara Grey, said that this act had been carried out to remind people that the threat to badgers was real and imminent.

Fears over the culls have risen after environment secretary Liz Truss announced at the NFU conference that the controversial culls would continue if Conservatives win the General Election.

Barbara said: “If the Tories win the election they plan to roll out the cull to Dorset this year.This means that thousands of badgers will be killed for no good reason at all. Scientific evidence shows that culling is expensive, inhumane and above all ineffective. It does nothing to reduce the incidence of bovine TB in cattle.

“The Dorset Badger Vaccination group can provide a much more viable alternative, with each animal vaccinated costing only £100, compared with an estimated £5,200 each for culling.

“That figure may sound like a joke, but it is absolutely true, and the Tories plan to pay for it out of public money in other words, our taxes.”

Justice for Nid! Hunt sabs in protest at the races

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In August last year, during a ‘cubbing’ meet held by the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt, their huntsman Mark Doggrell seriously injured a female hunt saboteur by running her over with his horse. Nid, as she is known in the sabbing community, was left with seven broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a damaged shoulder.

The incident was filmed by the sabs, and Doggrell arrested and charged. Both the ‘sabs’ and the police felt they had a good case. The Crown Prosecution Service thought otherwise. Last month they refused to prosecute on ‘insufficient evidence’. The Hunt Saboteur Association immediately made the video public. People were outraged at what they saw – the brutality of the attack, and the fact that Doggrell rode on without a glance over his shoulder at the unconscious body on the ground.

A petition circulated, demanding the CPS reconsider. Nid herself wrote to the CPS, asking them to review the case – which they are now doing. What else can they do, when people have seen for themselves what happened? The sabs and their many supporters are keeping up the pressure. On Sunday March 8 they held a peaceful protest at the big money-raising event of the year for the Hunt – the annual point-to-point race meeting.

In their wish to see justice for Nid, sabs had come from far and wide, the assault on her by Doggrell having stirred up huge anger among anti-hunting people. Hunting has often been seen, by those who support it, as a ‘class issue’ on the part of those who don’t – townies against the countryman. But what kind of ‘class’ do the hunt followers belong to; for it is they who are mostly responsible for the violence (those on the horses are more notable for their arrogance than hands-on thuggery).

They follow the hunt on their quad bikes, racing across fields and farmers’ crops and, where horses can jump the hedges, the followers pull gates off hinges and tear down fences to gain access for their bikes. They are the thugs who take pleasure in beating up anti-hunt people and, as happened at one recent meet, trashing a sab Land Rover and its equipment, before being pursued by the police helicopter.

And they take children with them. Speaking to a sab the day after the protest, I was told how upsetting it is to see the terror-stricken faces of the children as the quad bikes speed, bump and skid through the mud. How many unreported accidents are there, and what do they learn, these kids? That life is brutal and full of fear, and that the only way to beat the fear is to bully and threaten others.

The incident of the trashed Land Rover started with a man leaping off his quad bike, going to the Land Rover, breaking the driver’s window by hitting it with his elbow before punching the driver in the face. Then he was helped by other hunt followers joining in the attack. And he had, as a passenger on the back of his quad bike, and sitting there watching all this violence, a 7-8 year-old child.

The sabs had generously been given a parking area just outside the racecourse. Hunt security men tried to block them from entering this site until the police intervened. But – every car carrying protestors was filmed by the pro-hunt side. This is common practice (it happened during the badger culls too), and many sabs have been targeted at their homes, traced by their vehicle numbers.

With hundreds of vehicles full of race-goers expected and a single track between fields the only route to the course, some protestors lined the track with their placards, while many of the sabs stood across it, blocking the long queues of cars and horse boxes. As the police were allowing this, drivers had to be patient. The pro-hunt lads were not. One protester had his banner bashed aside with a stick. The same stick was then used on another (female) protestor’s legs.

There was a little violence, and one female sab was temporarily arrested while trying to prevent more cars from entering the racecourse. She was bodily thrown down into the mud several times by Hunt security men but kept getting up and trying again. It was perhaps not the best thing to do at what was meant to be a peaceful protest, but she was shaking with both fear and anger, and the anger kept her going.

It was clear the police, who succeeded in keeping the two sides apart, thought any trouble was going to come from the hunt followers. Any orders seemed to be directed at them, rather than the sabs.

One hunt follower, asked if he had seen the film, implied it had been Photoshopped, while some were ignorant of what the film showed. Yet another, escorting two protestors onto the course so they could buy some coffee (the Hunt apparently thought they would upset the horses), felt the sabs shouldn’t be asking for Mark Doggrell to be sacked because “he’s a good family man.” Such as his father, who has been banned from riding with the B&SV Hunt because of his behaviour.

The heavy brigade hung around until the sabs had left – all but two women and myself talking to a police officer. Then over 15 of them crowded round us, pressing closer and closer in a tight circle – until the very nice man in charge of arranging the security for the Hunt intervened and moved them on. But it was disturbing to see that several of them were in their very early teens, trying to emulate their elders and seeking looks of approval from them. Presumably they were learning how to grow up into ‘good family men’ like Mark Doggrell. So brave they are, these bully boys who kill foxes.

11/03/15 © Lesley Docksey

(First published by the Morning Star)

Make your own Mini Moo Daisy Cow to show that cows deserve happy homes in fields, not in factories

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Originally posted on The Compassion Collective:

daisy-1

It has been on our wishlist for a few years since we launched Compassionate Dorset, and inspired by The BUAV’s ‘Make your own Buddy the Beagle’ that my super talented partner, Compassion Collective artist Stu Jones recently created, I am very excited to launch The Compassion Collective’s very first ‘Make-and-Do’ animal – Daisy the Cow – just in time to let her out to pasture this Spring…

Make your own Daisy Cow!

Daisy (who also features in our logo) is a beautiful black and white girl Fresian cow and she says: “Moo! Can you put me together and give me a loving home?”

You can download your own Make-and-Do Daisy Cow paper craft animal to print out at home, or you can pre-order a full-colour printed copy to be posted to you (we’ll be printing and posting them this or next week!).

It only takes between 10 to 20 minutes to make using scissors and glue…

View original 658 more words

New Badger Watch Scheme launches in Dorset and beyond…

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DBBW Badger watch

A network of dedicated wildlife lovers have officially launched a ‘Badger Watch’ scheme to detect and deter wildlife crime against badgers.

Badger setts across the county of Dorset will be regularly checked for interference during daytime walks, and at night a covert watch will be kept from a distance using sophisticated night-vision equipment.

The groups will work within the law to assist the police to prevent wildlife crime and to help the police to prevent and prosecute those who harm Dorset’s wild animals. Volunteers drawn from members of Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare will provide intelligence to local Wildlife Crime Officers in a similar way to that of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Badgers are fully protected in the UK by the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 consolidates past badger legislation and, in addition to protecting the badger itself from being killed, persecuted or trapped, makes it an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct badger setts.

Since the government’s unscientific and ill thought out badger cull trials, incidents of persecution against badgers and other wildlife, especially here in Dorset, has been on the increase and Badger Watch aims to counteract this.

Spokesperson Chris Kemp says;

“The Badger Watch scheme aims to prevent those criminals who seek to harm our wildlife from escaping justice. We have a network of experienced volunteers, veterans of the protest against the badger cull, ready to assist police in stamping out this vile activity. Our message to those who might consider engaging in wildlife crime is to think carefully, you may be being watched covertly and the police arriving may be the first you know about it!”

Lots of ‘Badger Watch Area’ stickers have been appearing all over Dorset already and even parts of Somerset. If you see one please send us a photo!

The Badger Watch sticker uses the main graphic from our Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare logo designed by local Graphic Designer Stu Jones and has even featured in the V&A exhibition of ‘Disobedient Objects’ – art and design produced by grassroots social movements.

Get Involved

Anyone wishing to know more or volunteer to help, please contact Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare (we are allied with Brian May’s Team Badger and the South West Alliance for Badgers).

If you’d like some of these stickers for your area please email dorsetbbw@gmail.com and we will send you the artwork and printing details or may be able to arrange to post some to you or you can collect from us. (Please do not stick them on the front of road or street signs, or on private property without permission).

Thank you to everyone who’s already keeping an eye on their local setts and reporting any criminal activity to their Wildlife Crime Officer.

If you see a wildlife crime in action dial 999, if it has already happened dial 101.
This website has a handy guide to recognising crime, recording and reporting: http://birdersagainst.org/badgers
The RSPCA helpline is 0300 1234 999.

Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare support West Dorset Election Hustings on 15th April 2015

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Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare are one of a number of local organisations taking part in the West Dorset Election Hustings for local Environmental and Wildlife issues.

All 5 candidates for West Dorset will be answering your questions on:

  • Landscape
  • Climate Change
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Hunting and Shooting
  • Farm Animal Welfare
  • Badger Cull and Vaccination
  • Marine Conservation
  • Fracking
  • Renewable Energy
  • and more…

Tickets will be available from Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester from Monday 16th March (max. 4 per person). Tickets must be collected from the school, they cannot mail them. N.B. the school will be closed for 2 weeks over Easter from 28th March to 12th April.

Tickets are FREE but donations will be welcome at the end of the event for the Dorset Badger Vaccination Project and Hardye’s students’ environmental projects.

Please share this post widely across the West Dorset area.

You can download a PDF of the poster here >>

Hunting ban letter in Dorset press

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One of our supporters had a great letter published in our local newspaper earlier this week which has had a great response on social media, so we wanted to share here…

Subject: Hunting ban

In an extraordinarily patronising speech yesterday, David Cameron referred to a “rural way of life which a born and bred Londoner might struggle to understand “.

Well, excuse me while I put down my pitchfork and remove the piece of straw from the corner of my mouth in order to articulate more clearly.

Most of us who manage to live outside the M25 are quite able to do so without feeling the need to kill foxes or to commit other wildlife crimes. The current legislation is badly enforced as it is, and needs strengthening not repealing.

Yet again, as with the hugely unpopular, ineffective and expensive cull of badgers, Cameron has shown that he is happy to ignore the views of the majority of wildlife-friendly people in this country in order to appease the wishes of a select few.

K. S., Dorset

West Dorset MP asked to ‘have a heart’ for badgers this Valentines

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LETWIN STRODE ROOMS

Dorset for Badger and Bovine Welfare had a very successful Valentines Day Public Outreach Event in Weymouth on Saturday 14th February, where a few of our volunteers asked locals to ‘HAVE A HEART FOR BADGERS’, and were spreading the ‘vaccinate not exterminate’ message.

We handed out badger leaflets, packets of love hearts and ‘I Love Badgers’ stickers!

Most people were very supportive and several recounted stories of how they fed the badgers in their gardens on peanut butter sandwiches.

A heartfelt thanks to Animal Aid for their support with this event.

A small group from DBBW also presented West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin with a special Valentines’ Day Card, and we are very pleased to see it featured in the Dorset Echo this week.

The message inside read:

Badgers are beautiful in their striking black and white
Against their cull in Dorset all decent folk should fight
Vaccination is THE way to fight TB in cattle
Oliver, will you pledge to join us in our battle?

Oliver Letwin told us that he did think vaccination was the way forward if it works. And yet he has officially commented; “I believe we should use every effort we can to control this disease and while we don’t yet have an alternative we should try to get the culls to work.”

What about Wales Oliver, we ask? What about cattle movement measures, improved bio-security on farms, testing and developing an effective cattle vaccination?

We say, Oliver you’re not listening to the scientists – culling is cruel, costly and unpopular, but most of all it doesn’t work!

Please send your letters and comments to the Dorset Echo at letters@dorsetecho.co.uk or read the full article and comment online here.