Caffe Nero has defended its boycott of milk from badger cull areas as necessary to protect its staff.
In a statement the coffee chain insisted it was not bowing to intimidation, but that it had to act when staff well-being was threatened.
With just 2% of our annual milk supply impacted, we made what we feel was the right choice ... We are not intimidated by protestors in spite of their ongoing and upsetting efforts to threaten our business. At the end of the day, we know that the authorities will support us if needed. However, we made a decision to limit any risk to our people as quickly as possible.
Animal rights activists told Caffe Nero they would protest if the coffee chain continued to use milk from badger cull areas.
Dairy farmers in Gloucestershire and Somerset have criticised activists for their tactics, and talked of boycotting the coffee chain for its decision. Caffe Nero says it has discussed its reasons with the National Farmers' Union.
A West Country MP is criticising Caffe Nero's decision to stop using milk that has come from farms in badger cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
With two big milk producers in his constituency Ian Liddell-Grainger says the coffee shop's decision will put jobs at risk.
Caffe Nero took the move after anti-cull protesters threatened to boycott the cafe unless the company refused to the use the milk.
I have a lot of farmers in my constituency. I have superb dairymen, superb cattle, wonderful milk. Don't boycott British milk to put British jobs at risk because you've got some petty vendetta. Get a job, grow up and stop annoying the police."
The government has accused animal rights activists of "intimidating and threatening" Caffe Nero into boycotting milk from badger cull areas.
The coffee chain had said it had stopped stocking milk from those farms, after activists said they would protest - leading to anger from farmers in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
It is wholly unacceptable for a small group of protestors to intimidate and threaten retailers in this way.
Our strategy for tackling bovine TB is based on advice from the Chief Veterinary Officer about the best way to control this harmful disease which threatens the future of our dairy and beef industries.
We will continue to work closely with the dairy industry and retailers to offer them all the support we can.
Caffe Nero says it has stopped stocking milk from farms in badger cull areas, after animal rights activists said they would protest - leading to anger from farmers.
The coffee shop chain now faces a possible boycott from farmers in Gloucestershire and Somerset, including the President of the National Farmers' Union.
The NFU's Deputy President has argued that the cull is essential for eradicating TB in cows, and a lifeline to farmers.
"The people who have made the threat of action against Caffè Nero are a small minority and it is extremely disappointing that the company appears to have bowed into pressure..."
“We need to remember that we are talking about controlling bovine TB – a disease which is spreading in cattle and badgers and will continue to spread if left uncontrolled. The pilot badger culls are a government policy, based on scientific evidence, aimed at controlling this disease which is a huge threat to dairy and beef farmers in the South West and other parts of the country."
“It is especially saddening that this has come at a time when the dairy sector is facing price pressures ... We would urge all members of the supply chain to continue support for British dairy farmers.”
Guitarist Brian May will be in Gloucestershire today to talk to fellow protesters against the badger culls.
It follows the start of his latest campaign, called Common Decency. It aims to encourage more people to vote and urges politicians to abide by certain principles including a commitment to animal welfare.
Campaigners fighting to stop the badgers culls in Somerset say they've had a 'constructive' meeting with the Environment Secretary.
Members of the Badger Trust spoke to Liz Truss in her London office, claiming the culls are both costly and ineffective in halting the spread of TB in cattle.
Afterwards they said she had agreed to consider various points about animal welfare and vaccination.
She said the chief veterinary officer still continues to advise her that it is a tool that needs to be used. She made no commitment on extension of the culls at this stage even though we did agree if there were any steps to go forward they'd have to go through proper licencing and consultation processes. She did accept that cattle measures are important, she did accept badger vaccination has a valuable roll to play as well which is a step forward from her predecessor Owen Patterson.
The Labour Party will today promise to end the controversial badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire if it wins the General Election.
It's one of six commitments to protect animals being announced on the tenth anniversary of the ban on fox hunting coming into force.
The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has been on the campaign trail in Gloucestershire, ahead of the General Election.
He took part in a question and answer session at the Subscription Rooms in Stroud.
One of the issues tackled was the badger cull in the county which took place just a few miles away. He promised it would stop under a Labour government.
We are against the cull, we've got to stop it going ahead. I say be guided by the science on this, why not just be guided by the science. And the science is telling us that it isn't the answer.
The Environment Secretary has told farmers that culling badgers will not get rid of bovine TB in the UK for more than two decades.
The controversial cull in parts of West Somerset and Gloucestershire is part of a range of measures including controls on the movement of cattle and better monitoring.
Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, defended the cull as she spoke at the Oxford Farming Conference. She also promised dairy farmers, the main victims of the bovine TB outbreaks, that the government would target more support at the dairy industry.
“This government is taking action to deal with this disease. This is not something that can be achieved overnight. Our strategy is focused on eradicating it by 2038.
“It is not easy, but we will do the right thing even if the protest groups don’t like it. Our comprehensive strategy involves cattle movement controls, vaccination in the edge areas and culling where the disease is rife.
"We know from the experience in Australia where the disease has been eradicated, and in Ireland and New Zealand where it is being dramatically reduced, that this approach works.”
Gloucestershire's badger cull this year missed its minimum target by over half. The figures were published today. Just 274 badgers were culled in the second year of the scheme, falling far short of the minimum 615 estimated to be needed to deliver reductions in the disease in livestock.
Somerset exceeded its target by a small number of badgers. 341 were culled, in a required range of 316 to 785.
In both of the pilot areas, a significant proportion were killed by the more expensive cage trapping and shooting method, rather than "controlled shooting" of free-running badgers.
Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle says alternatives to culling need to be considered.
The target set in Gloucestershire has been spectacularly missed whilst the Somerset target was only narrowly reached, meaning that, if anything, these culls will make the problem of bovine TB worse.
The Government must today commit to abandoning any attempt to continue these unscientific, inhumane and ineffective badger culls.
They must instead work with scientists, wildlife groups and farmers to develop an alternative strategy to get the problem of bovine TB under control.