21 October 1999
Activists give out badger-cullers’ numbers

By Donald MacPhail

ANIMAL activists have used the internet to publish the telephone numbers of government employees who are culling badgers thought to transmit TB to cattle.

The phone numbers were published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which is urging site visitors to contact 42 MAFF “badger killers”.

Supervisors and field staff culling badgers in Cornwall say they have so far received few telephone calls which have failed to disrupt the badger cull.

The cull is part of the Krebs trials, which resumed on Thursday, in an attempt to establish whether culling TB-infected badgers leads to a reduction of TB in cattle.

Visitors to the PETA website are asked: “Please politely register your disgust and circulate the numbers as widely as you can.

“The one-on-one with badger killers is co-ordinated and requires you to phone from Thursday morning.”

A MAFF field officer involved in the cull said: “We understand people were encouraged to call up, express their views and clog up the lines. This has not happened.

“Weve had one or two calls, but the work had not been affected in any way.

The field officer acknowledged that people might react in different ways to the calls, but said members of his team were unaffected.

PETA claims the badger cull is “insane and unscientific” and claims that bovine TB has “been brought about by farmers own greed”.

Commenting on the website, a MAFF spokesman said: “Were investigating how these numbers came to be published.

“Obviously this action is not helpful, but it did not stop the work taking place.”

In a separate development, however, vehicles belonging to MAFF officials engaged in the work on Wednesday had their tyres slashed.

Seven vehicles off-road vehicles were vandalised and four vehicles parked in the St Austell area had their tyres slashed. Damage to eight tyres was estimated at £1000.

Although the vehicles were not liveried, no other cars in the public car park were damaged, leading police to believe the MAFF vehicles were deliberately targeted.

In a separate incident, three MAFF vehicles parked at Liskeard were also damaged. Police are appealing for witnesses.