Tag Archives: fox

Downing Street wildlife protection demo

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

– Ghandi

This was the message that I had on the placard I made for yesterdays wildlife protection/anti-hunting demonstration outside Downing Street. Why did I chose this quote? Because it says it all. If a Government is prepared to savage a wild animal in the most inhumane way they can possibly think of in the name of sport then what makes you think they’ll treat humans any better. We all know that animals are innocent creatures which have been on this planet a lot longer then us and at the end of the day their main aim is to survive. They may do small harm to humans but certainly not as much harm as we do to them.

Over the last few days there has been two big protests in London against any amendment or repeal of the Hunting Act. Unfortunately I really couldn’t make Tuesday’s demo but I made sure I was there yesterday to join those in making it clear that we want British wildlife to be left alone and not be a victim of cruelty. People from all different backgrounds joined yesterday to show their support, whether they were young or old or from different areas of the country, we all united outside Downing Street to show that not only us but around 80% of the country do not want any repeal or amendment of the Hunting Act.

As well as this, it wasn’t just the welfare of foxes that we were protesting for. It included all British wildlife like hares which would be affected by a repeal due to hare coursing, deer, they’d be hunted, badgers, a creature that has been heavily targeted by government policies in the past few years and can be affected by hunting in many different way, and many other species. However today was mainly to do with the repeal of the Hunting Act after the weeks commotion.

I say repeal or amendment but repeal is the word I should be using. Even though the Government and the media are saying amendment it is basically a repeal. The Tories are saying that they want to change the law so it’s in line with Scotland, where they use a limited amount of dogs unlike England where two dogs can be used. By doing so it would make it almost impossible to prosecute. Due to this animal charities, like the RSPCA, are accusing the government of approaching an abuse of power with its efforts to bring back hunting by the back door.

On Tuesday though the vote was called off after SNP announced it would be voting against a repeal. When they first announced it this was fantastic news as it was obvious that the ban would stay where it is. However Cameron didn’t seem to like this so spat his dummy out and cancelled the vote. Even though this may sound like good news, especially as under the current EVEL policy SNP would still be able to vote, it’s obvious that Cameron and his chums have some slimy plan up their sleeves. This will be one to watch. In the mean time, as the vote has only been postponed, please get in contact with your local MP and try to make sure that they will not be voting to repeal.

Yesterday, at 12.30pm everyone began to gather at Richmond Terrace which is opposite Downing Street. By 1pm there was a good crowd and the speeches began. Everyone who was there looked great, they either had banners, posters, placards or they were dressed up, wearing hats or had fox masks and overall looked the part. We made a great impression as lots of people walked past. We were also joined by one delightful (sarcasm) man who was a master of a few different hunts and showed no shame whatsoever.

First to speak was Chris Williamson (ex-Labour MP for North Derby). He spoke at the BAWC conference earlier this year which was a great speech and so was yesterday’s. Next to speak was Dominic Dyer, CEO Badger Trust, who normally speaks at the stand up for wildlife and badger marches. Followed by Lynn Sawyer who I’ve also heard talk at past events and then Peter Egan who is an actor and animal welfare campaigner. This was then followed by Luke Steele, animal welfare campaigner, then Anneka Svenska who is a wildlife and Eco presenter. Finally it was Peter Martin who is the chairman of the Badger Trust and an animal welfare campaigner.

After the array of brilliant speeches we then gathered opposite Downing Street for a while before crossing the road and standing right outside the gates. Whilst doing so everyone was shaking their banners and signs, shouting VERY loudly, blowing whistles and much more. Overall we made lots and lots of noise which was fantastic! I thought it was great that we could stand here as we definitely got some attention by people passing by and tourists. Again, even though the vote had been postponed it was still very important to make it clear that we don’t want any repeal now or in the future. This was also made clear by some of the chants. A few were “shame, shame, shame on Cameron”, “blood, blood, blood on his hands”, “No excuse for animal abuse”, “No more killing, no more fear, we don’t want fox hunting here” and a few more too.

Here are a few photos I took.

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URGENT: Act now!

Whilst looking through my Twitter feed just now I saw a few news articles and tweets from organisations such as The League Against Cruel Sports and Save Me saying the vote for MPs to repeal the Hunting Act could be as early as next week.

It looks to me it’s going to be a seven day campaign between those who want to repeal and those who don’t as here’s a few tweets I read from the pro-hunting lobby too.

Obviously this is no surprise so please do what you can. Do you want huntsmen to have the right to chase an innocent animal to exhaustion then with a pack of hounds tear apart whilst it’s still alive in the most barbaric way possible?

There’s the argument that it’s ‘wildlife management’ and ‘pest control’ but what about that story that came out a few weeks back about 16 cubs that were kidnapped and kept in a barn for the use of hunting. You can learn more about this here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7PjfphDsc0&feature=youtu.be

Please write to your local MP even if you have done in the past. It could make all the difference and can only take a couple of minutes. I wrote this template letter a few weeks back if that’s any help – https://georgiaswildlifewatch.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/urging-your-mp-to-stop-the-slaughter-of-wildlife/

#keeptheban 

Urging your MP to stop the slaughter of wildlife

Now the general election is all over and done with and local MPs are settling in, either new ones or re-elected ones, it’s very important that we let them know how we feel about policies and issues. With the Tories running the country on their own now it’s even more worrying for our wildlife. Two main issues include the on going badger cull, which will resume in the summer, and their promise to give MPs a free vote on whether the Hunting Act should be repealed. It is rumoured that this vote could happen in a number of weeks. Obviously there are other issues facing our wildlife which we need to contact our local MPs about but these two are amongst the most worrying at this exact moment in time.

Just before the general election I did a blog post as part of A Focus on Nature’s Vision for Nature blog series. My blog was all about inspiring the next generation (click here to read it) and I emailed it round to all of my local party candidates. I was pretty pleased with the response. The response I got back from my Tory candidate was that if he got re-elected, which he was, that I should get back in touch and we could meet to discus the issues further. At that point I knew it was very obvious that he would be re-elected so when I replied I said that if we do meet I would like to discuss other issues which face our wildlife too. This should be very interesting as after doing a bit of research I discovered that he was FOR the badger cull and FOR the repeal of the Hunting Act. When the Conservatives got in I was quite reluctant to meet him as I didn’t really like the idea of meeting a Tory MP so I got in touch with the League Against Cruel Sports and they reassured me that the best way to get my opinion and concerns across was to meet with him. Due to this I got back in touch this week about it. When I do meet with him I’ll be doing plenty of blogging about how it goes.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve been in touch with my MP, I’ve been in touch with him and many others lots of times. I’m regularly sending emails or letters to MPs. It is really easy to do so and only ever takes a few minutes to write and send it, either by post or email. Obviously one letter or email isn’t going to make the world of difference but if we all bombard our local MPs with our views and concerns on issues like the badger cull and the Hunting Act then it WILL make a difference. After speaking to people in the past they’ve said that they don’t contact their local MP for many reasons like they don’t know what to say, it’s a waste of time, they simply can’t be bothered and many other reasons. At this time when a vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act could be weeks away and the badger cull is certain to go ahead later on in the year it’s vital that we get in touch with our local MPs to get the message across and make them listen. For those who aren’t sure what to say, think it’s a waste of time, simply don’t have time or for whatever other reason I have put together a template below for you to copy and forward to your local MP. It will take a matter of minutes to do and it could make a difference so what’s to loose?! I’ve put this together for the benefit of helping to get a message across to help our wildlife so feel free to copy it or edit it to suit you but please make an effort and help make a difference, it is worth it.

Dear ——

As the MP for my constituency I am writing to you today expressing my concerns on some important issues. The natural world is important to every single one of us here in the UK and all around the world. Not only is it the fact that without it we wouldn’t be here but many of us enjoy every moment we spend when it surrounds us and find the disgusting acts of cruelty and disrespect against it very upsetting. There are many wrong doings against wildlife but today I will be writing about two main ones which I would like you to consider and speak out about as big decisions are being made about them which is very worrying. One is the repeal of the Hunting Act and the other is the badger cull which is planned to be rolled out again this year and possibly in more areas of the South West.

Men wearing red jackets, on the back of a horse, riding through the countryside blowing horns in big groups with a massive pack of dogs in the hope of ripping an innocent mammal such as a fox or hare in the most disgraceful way possible can not be classed as a ‘sport’ or ‘fun’, so definitely not legal. These are innocent creatures which deserve a place in our countryside more then anything else. They were here a lot longer before us and part of the natural world and ecosystems which help us survive. How can anyone think it is acceptable to destroy these mammals in a horrific way. We should be embracing these species for their beauty not discriminating them in the worst way possible.

There are many arguments that the Act has ‘done nothing for animal welfare’ and that it is a ‘humane method to control fox numbers’ but this is far from the truth. It’s just an excuse that the hunters can give when all they want to do is shred an innocent mammal to pieces. It’s not just myself who has this opinion, 80% of the British Public are in favour of the Hunting Act along with 86% who are against deer hunting and  88% are against hare hunting and coursing. How much more obvious could it be that the British public want this ban to be kept. Therefore if a free vote for MPs on repealing the Hunting Act does go ahead, as promised by the Prime Minister and could take place in the next few weeks, I urge you to vote to keep the Hunting Act.

As mentioned another issue which I am writing to you about today is the badger cull. Yet another summer and more innocent badgers are being killed in the unsuccessful attempt to eradicate Bovine TB. However it is most likely that this year and over the next few years that the cull will expand more and more in the South West. As the cull is going to be rolled out in a matter of months I am writing to you with my concerns about it.

It’s obvious that Bovine TB in cattle is a problem and it needs to be sorted. However culling badgers isn’t the answer, it doesn’t take a genius to work that out. Badgers are being blamed and hold responsible far too much. There are many scientific studies that tell us the cull won’t work. One study example is the Randomised Badger Cull Trial undertaken by the last government between 1997 and 2007. The results of this study concluded that “Given its high costs and low benefits, badger culling is unlikely to contribute usefully to the control of cattle TB in Britain and we recommend that TB control efforts focus on measures other than badger culling.”

Along with this a poll has revealed that the cull is the fifth most common complaint to MPs. So if scientific studies and the public don’t want it then why is it still planned to go ahead? There are better alternatives to the cull so why aren’t they being used. As well as this the cull has caused many badgers to be killed in horrific ways. This includes them taking up to ten minutes to die when they are shot free running and also wildlife criminals given the ‘green light’ for badger persecution. There’s no doubt that since the cull has began badger persecution has risen and this is due to the cull. Badgers are killed in some of the most disgusting ways you could possibly imagine. They are one of the most protected species in the UK yet they are the most persecuted.

I hope you can take into consideration what I have said and my concerns on some animal welfare issues. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

——

To make it even easier for you here’s where you can find who your local MP is – http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Badger Trust Seminar 2015

After collecting my trail camera I was thrilled to see that not only had I filmed the adult badgers but I had also filmed badger cubs for the first time this year! I set my camera up near the sett last Saturday and there was no sign of cubs so this was obviously one of the first times they had emerged from the sett. I was thrilled with the footage, It was fantastic to see the natural behaviour of badger cubs exiting the sett for one of the first times. I filmed a variety of activity from cubs playing, the adults having a good scratch and one of the adults dragging one of the cubs back in to the sett by the scruff of its neck. Here’s one of the clips, I’ll be doing a blog post with more later on in the week.

I didn’t have that much time to look through as I had a long journey ahead of me to the Badger Trust Seminar in Bristol. As I was eager to go and my parents were working I managed to get a lift from a member of the South Derbyshire Badger Group which was great and I was so pleased I went! There was a prompt start at 11 for the AGM then after lunch the afternoon of debates began.

First debate – The Badger Cull

The first debate was on the badger cull. Sat on the panel was Professor John Bourne, the Chairman of Independent Scientific Group, Roger Blowey, Livestock Vet, John Blackwell, President of British Veterinary Association and Mark Jones, Vet and Wildlife Protection Campaigner. As you can see, from the variation of panel members, it was very interesting and resulted in a fantastic debate with a mixture of discussion from the panel and comments from the audience. This debate was very important as it’s not very often you get people like this together. Before comments from the floor the members of the panel introduced themselves and give a small introduction then Dominic Dyer, Badger Trust CEO, asked them a question on what they had said.

However before long this got a bit out of hand and the debate became very intense. For me it was a great experience and to hear so many people express their opinion in such a strong way, against the cull, was truly inspiring. Also the fact that they weren’t afraid to speak out against those on the panel which are in favour of the cull.

The first to speak was John Blackwell, President of British Veterinary Association. This was interesting as the British Veterinary Association had released their statement on the badger cull just a few days before the Seminar. In the statement they had made a U-turn from their original idea which was culling free running badgers was the way to go. Instead, in their latest statement, they stated that the pilot culls should continue but badgers should be caught in cages before shot as they believe it’s a ‘humane and effective’ way.

This was then followed by Roger Blowey, a recently retired Livestock Vet and author of report on the possible impact of culling lowering TB rates in cattle. I’ve read comments from him in many articles stating the fact that he believes ‘the culling of badgers in the county is the only reason why farmers are now testing negative for bovine TB for the first time in a decade’. Roger Blowey made many more comments and suggestions like this one throughout his introduction and in the debate.

Without a doubt, this fired the debate up. Many people in the audience got involved which was timed nicely with the great introduction from Professor John Bourne. It was obvious he knew what he was talking about as he destroyed any scientific, economic or animal welfare justification for the current badger cull policy. He went into great detail, along with giving examples from other countries, that the negligence and deceit within the Government, Farming and Veterinary Industry has led to the demonisation of badgers for spreading bTB when all the evidence points to poor bTb testing and cattle controls as a key factor for the increase in Btb. He also stated how millions of pounds has been wasted, wildlife destroyed and how farmers and tax payers have been let down by a disastrous bTb reduction policy which has focused on badgers far too much.

The last one to speak was Mark Jones who is a vet and wildlife protection campaigner. His introduction went through different reasons why the cull isn’t and won’t work. He presented his points in a very organised way and put his points across clearly. He also made the very valid points on how badger persecution is rising which is no doubt related to the badger cull.

Overall it was an extremely interesting and tense afternoon, I was very pleased to be there. Obviously, as you all know, I’m against the cull, full stop. So being there during the debate was a fantastic experience. The atmosphere was incredible and I felt privileged to be surrounded by people that care so passionately. Going to an event like this makes me realise, more so, why I am against the cull and makes me more determined to help do my bit to rule it out and resort to other ways to reduce bTb.

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Second debate – Wildlife Crime

The afternoon didn’t stop there though as there was another debate which was on wildlife crime. I must say, this debate wasn’t as intense but it was still very interesting. The panel was chaired by the new Badger Trust chairman, Peter Martin, and on the panel was Charlie Moores, Birders Against Wildlife Crime, Tom Quinn, Director of Campaigns at League Against Cruel Sports, Pauline Kidner, Founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue and Lee Bainbridge who is the wildlife Crime Officer from the area.

Starting it off was Charlie Moores who is the Chair of Birders Against Wildlife Crime. He gave a summary about what BAWC is about, his views on wildlife crime and tackling wildlife crime. Birders Against Wildlife Crime is a campaign group which was set up last year by a group of experienced birders and conservationists who are sick of the number of crimes being committed against wildlife. I went along to BAWC’s first conference a few weeks back which was a fantastic day and you can read more about it by clicking here.

This was followed by Tom Quinn who is the director of campaigns at League Against Cruel Sports. He spoke about how reducing wildlife crime is a massive priority for The League, wildlife crimes including fox hunting and badger persecution, increased promotion of wildlife crime on social media, how the badger cull is having an impact on badger persecution and how wildlife crime data is uncoordinated and underfunded. He also spoke about the work The League do and convicting the wildlife criminals.

For this debate, most likely due to the fact that we all had mutual feelings, it was more organised and the speakers had the chance to speak before the debate. Next up was the wildlife crime officer for Avon and Somerset, Lee Bainbridge. She spoke about reporting wildlife crime, the role and increase of wildlife crime officers and how the training is improving. I think the talk from Lee Bainbridge could relate to most of us as if you’re one for being outdoors and observing wildlife you come across wildlife crimes. I came across one which had been committed at a badgers sett last year and got in touch with my local wildlife crime officer and the Badger Trust. Fortunately the result was very good.

Before the audience could ask questions there was one more talk which was from the Founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Pauline Kidner. She spoke about the increase of injured badgers which is linked to the cull, wildlife traps and snares and reporting and recording wildlife crime. Another thing she spoke about was something that she believes is important that we need to do to help tackle wildlife crime and that is by starting with educating the youth. I was pleased she brought this up as it’s a subject which is also very important to me.

When I go to school I’m surrounded by young people that have no idea about the ongoings in our countryside. This is partly to do with things like technology which have taken over. If young children aren’t able to go out and engage with the outdoors from a young age and learn about it when they grow up then how are they supposed to be able to report wildlife crime, help protect species and habitats, and most of all put their opinion across on what they think should be going on in the countryside and to our wildlife, without being brainwashed.

This debate was different to the one on the badger cull as everyone on the panel had mutual feelings. However there was a lot of discussion about the problems with reporting wildlife crimes and how it isn’t being taken seriously enough. There was also a discussion about fox hunting and the illegal on goings which aren’t dealt with.

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After a fantastic day it was finished perfectly with a talk from the actor and animal ambassador, Peter Egan. He gave his comment from the discussions which had gone on and read out a very inspirational poem about Moon Bears.