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Government set to give ‘Badger Culls’ the go ahead fuelling potential campaigns by Animal Rights Extremists.

Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) ministers are expected to confirm a decision to allow two pilot badger culls to take place next year in England within the next few weeks.

Lives could be put at risk if the government give the go ahead for farmers to cull badgers in early 2012.

There has been an ongoing debate to whether farmers should be allowed to control the badger population.

Badgers are blamed for spreading bovine TB to cattle.  Badgers are believed to be one of the greatest threats to beef and dairy farmers.  It is believed that a cull would save the farmer’s money in the long run.  An estimated £500 million has been spent in the last 10 years combating the disease.

There are an estimated 190,000 badgers in England.  In 2010 the number of new incidents of TB rose by 7.5 per cent in comparison to 2009.  The number of TB incidents was said to be in the region of 3622.

The national coordinator for domestic extremism sent the Government a memo that warned of the dangers that the cull could present including potential harm to public safety.

Marksmen are to be licensed to shoot at least 35,000 badgers each year to halt the spread of TB in cattle.

If the trials are successful, an area covering more than 5000 square miles of English farmland will see badgers culled.

The head of the National Farmers Union Phil Hudson rejected concerns, saying that those carrying out the cull will be trained to avoid confrontations with protesters.

Should activists appear at a location where a cull is taking place the marksmen would simply withdraw from the area to avoid confrontation.

Hudson also added that the cull was crucial to protecting cattle, British farmers and maintaining a healthy badger population.

Figures from DEFRA suggest that it will cost around £1.4 million for every 135 square miles where the cull is carried out.  Compensation to farmer’s whose herds are hit by TB costs the taxpayer up to £100m a year.

Several animal charities and campaign groups have criticised the planned cull, including the Badger Trust and the RSPCA.  Wildlife groups have warned that the ‘controlled shootings’ could leave thousands of badgers maimed and injured.

Culling thousands of badgers in Britain could spark dangerous confrontations between armed farmers and Animal Rights protesters further stretching Police resources.  Cull supporters also face the possibility of arson attacks or damage to their property from Animal Rights Extremists.

Whilst many Animal Rights supporters campaign peacefully and lawfully, some have chosen direct action in the past.

Previous A.R.E. campaigns have involved tactics in the past such as, publishing names and addresses, phone numbers of people involved on extremist websites.  Threatening letters and harassing telephone calls, making late night ‘home visits’, which involve vandalising cars, smashing windows and spraying graffiti on property.  Staging intimidating protests at company premises and individuals homes.  They have also used improvised explosive devices in a number of cases.

There may be a requirement to employ professional security to ensure that those involved in the cull process and their property remain safe during the process.