Extremist threats over badger cull

Animal rights extremists have threatened to target farmers who favour culling badgers to combat bovine tuberculosis.

The Animal Liberation Front has warned it will hit farmers in their pockets by tearing down fences and damaging buildings.

The Badger Trust – which also campaigns against culling badgers – has dissociated itself from the comments.

Both groups oppose plans for a badger cull as part of a government programme to combat the disease in cattle.

But the trust said it dissociated itself from any proposals to use force or intimidation towards anyone involved in an officially approved cull.

Trust spokesman Jack Reedy said he recognised the right of all organisations and individuals, including local badger groups, to demonstrate peacefully.

The trust would continue to use all possible legal means of rational persuasion and challenge to stop a cull, he said.

It comes days after the Derby Telegraph reported an Animal Liberation Front spokesman who warned that direct action could be taken against a cull.

The anonymous spokesman said: “I imagine individuals or autonomous groups within the ALF will try to take action to prevent the killings. This could involve damaging equipment used in the culls.”

Meanwhile, prospects for a badger cull in Wales remain uncertain following the Welsh Assembly elections on Thursday (5 May).

Elin Jones – who as Welsh rural affairs secretary has been among the most ardent supporters of a cull – was re-elected by voters in Ceredigion. But the Plaid Cymru politician may not retain responsibility for rural issues.

Labour is closing in on the 31 seats that would see it able to ditch Plaid as its coalition partner in the Assembly.

The Welsh Labour Party might not reach the winning post, but, even so, Ms Jones could still be given a new role by Plaid.

The defeat of Plaid deputy leader Helen Mary Jones, who lost her seat to Labour’s Keith Davies, increases the prospects of a reshuffle within the party.

Overall election results for Wales are due later on Friday (6 May).