MEMBERS of South Somerset Badger Protection have hit back at critics of the protests against the recent badger culls. 

Chard Town Councillor, Graham Forsyth and former scientist Andy Hamilton of West Coker are veterans of the volunteer night patrols which successfully disrupted the Autumn slaughter of badgers on Exmoor and in Gloucestershire.

Andy said: “The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, the National Farmers Union and some Conservative MPs have complained that we badgerists are to blame for the astronomical cost of policing their insane policy. What did they expect?

"If they hadn't done something we believed was morally unacceptable, something which flew in the face of all scientific evidence and commonsense, we wouldn't have protested would we?”

Graham added: “Why did they mislead Parliament and the public by using false information to justify the killing?  They bent the facts to suit a policy they’d already decided upon. 

"They are also on record as saying: ‘We are committed to eradicating bovine TB using every tool available’. Why then were they so opposed to vaccinating badgers and so hell-bent on killing them?  If they’d gone for vaccination, nobody would have protested and the policing costs would have been zero.”

Both men said they were amused by attempts to portray the protestors as violent extremists and benefit scroungers. 

“We’re both hard-working and we believe in non-violence.  Neither of us could knock the skin off Owen Paterson’s nose.  They’ve lost the argument if they have to resort to silly personal abuse,’ they agreed.

Andy said that at 63 and with a demanding business to run, he likes to go to bed at a reasonable hour. “I don’t want to be out all night stopping people shooting badgers.  Graham’s younger than me, but he’s no spring chicken either.  But rest assured Mr. Paterson, if you start killing badgers again this year as you’ve threatened to do, badgerists young and old will oppose you.”

Graham and Andy both vowed to do their utmost to sabotage what they see as a misguided policy.  “We’ll be out there in huge numbers,” they promised. 

“Vaccinate badgers instead of killing them and we can all get to bed at night, police as well as protestors.”