Badger cull activists are stockpiling tents and supplies ahead of mass protests at up to six culling zones in 2016, Farmers Weekly can reveal.
The Stop the Cull group has launched a 30-day fundraiser, called “Family tents fund for badgers 2016”, to raise money to buy large tents to set up at camps near culling zones.
The group said it aimed to supply six tents to camps, including the three existing zones of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset and three new zones where it expects the policy to be rolled out – Cornwall, north Cotswolds and west Herefordshire.
In a post on its Facebook page, the group told its 50,000 followers: “Might seem a bit early to be doing fundraisers for next year’s badger cull but camping gear is now well out of season and there are some serious bargains to be had.
“Already two huge tents have been purchased from eBay, both had only been used a couple of times and they were a fraction of the cost of buying them new (instead of paying £400 new we are talking about paying only £50).
“The advantage to the big family size tents for us is that we can fit the framed camp beds into them, which offers people a much better night’s sleep.”
It added: “We could face a roll out to another three zones next year (Cornwall, north Cotswold and west Herefordshire), we need to start preparing for that now.”
Organiser Christine Ross posted: “We are aiming to supply tents to three current camp badger cull zones but also possibly two/three more zones (10 tents in each zone would be amazing).”
The activists have already bought night vision and thermal detection equipment to enable them to monitor the activities of marksmen.
During the six-week culling season this summer, opponents set up temporary “Camp Badger” bases near the three culling zones of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset to use to disrupt the activities of marksmen shooting badgers.
Badgers are being culled as part of the government’s 25-year plan to eradicate bovine TB in England.
Last year, more than 33,000 cattle were slaughtered due to the disease costing the taxpayer more than £100m.
A Defra spokesman declined to comment on speculation surrounding future culling zones.