SCORES of people attended a protest in Chester city centre against the government’s controversial badger culling trial.
Protesters angry over the ‘inhumane’ policy called for the resignation of Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, who has admitted owning two pet badgers when he was a child.
Trials are currently running in Somerset and Gloucestershire with ministers believing the cull will reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.
Farming unions have welcomed the trials but anti-cull campaigners argue the culling won’t stop the spread of the disease and is cruel.
Protesters gathered outside Chester Town Hall are worried the culling will be authorised for the rest of the country.
Judi Hewitt from Rhyl, organiser of the protest in Chester and founder of Wales Against Animal Cruelty, said: “We don’t agree with the killing going on. It is unnecessary. There have been two culls already and they didn’t work. I don’t believe this will work either and it is inhumane.
“I think farmers should clean up their acts. They need to tighten up the ownership of cattle and implement movement restrictions to stop disease spread.
“We are hoping the cull will be stopped and the Government will see sense and stop the killing.”
Protester Betty Lee said: “The Government is ignoring our most eminent and knowledgeable scientists who must now have the most in depth knowledge of badgers and bTB of any scientist in the world.
“They all agree culling badgers has no part to play in tackling bovine TB. It is a disease of intensive farming, like ‘mad cow’ disease and foot and mouth.”
The Rev James Thompson from Holywell – known as the ‘Animal Padre’ – also joined the protest. He said: “I am bitterly opposed to this policy. As a Christian I think we should protect defenceless forms of life weaker than our own.
“What society sows it eventually reaps.
“I feel very sorry for farmers because they’ve been programmed over the years, as we all have. If I was brought up as a farmer I would probably be sympathetic to them but having said that I believe a large amount of farming is immensely cruel.
“We’ve all been desensitised to it over the years and we use cows like milk machines and consequently we are reaping what we sow.”