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West Country (E)

Anti-badger cull march gets under way in Taunton

Opponents gathered at Goodland Gardens. Credit: ITV News West Country
People were asked to wear black and white, with a hint of red. Credit: ITV News West Country
An online petition started by rocker Brian May opposing the cull now has 300,000 signatures. Credit: ITV News West Country
The march will end in Vivary Park Credit: ITV News West Country

An anti badger cull march has got underway in Taunton. Opponents gathered at Goodland Gardens and will march in opposition to the pilot culling that is currently underway in West Somerset and parts of Gloucestershire.

Around 5,000 of the animals are expected to be killed in controlled shootings over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

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West Country (E)

Anti-cull marchers told to wear black, white & red

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Don't forget the March in Taunton, 11am Goodland Gardens...walking to Vivary Park, bring a picnic! Wear black n white with a hint of red!

Opponents to the controversial badger cull in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire will march through Taunton town centre today. The event is planned as a peaceful protest, and will begin at Goodland Gardens just after 11am, finishing in Vivary Park.

West Country (E)

Brian May joins anti-badger cull night walkers

Queen guitarist Brian May last night joined dozens of anti-badger cull protesters on a night walk through one of the pilot areas.

The rocker got a warm round of applause when he met around 50 people taking part in one of the nightly Wounded Badger Patrols in Eldersfield, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

Brian May said the visit to the county was timed to give a morale boost to those out on nightly badger patrols. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
May, who is a member of the Team Badger campaign, joined the nightly cause to applause. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
An online petition May started against the pilots is the most supported on the official Government website, with 300,000 signatures. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Watch: Brian May says badger cull is 'a disaster all round'

Anti cull march in Taunton today

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#badgercull Hope you will be able to join the march in Taunton tomorrow, details under events on http://t.co/9gMiky9dcb

Opponents to the controversial badger cull in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire will march through Taunton town centre today. The event is planned as a peaceful protest, and will begin at Goodland Gardens just after 11am, finishing in Vivary Park.

West Country (E)

Badger cull "Proceeding to plan"

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The badger cull in the South West is "proceeding to plan" and organisers are pleased with the progress, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has said.

Controversial culling of badgers to tackle tuberculosis in cattle got under way last week, with around 5,000 badgers set to be killed over a six-week period in two pilot culls in west Somerset and west Gloucestershire.

The pilot culls aim to assess if culling can be done effectively, safely and humanely, with plans to roll out the scheme more widely in areas which are hotspots for TB in cattle.

Farmers and the Government insist culling of badgers, which can spread TB to cattle, is needed to stop spiralling rates of the disease in herds.

But opponents say culling the protected animal will have only a small effect on infection rates in cattle and will lead to badgers suffering. They want the emphasis to be on vaccines and tighter on-farm and cattle movement measures.

In a written statement to the Commons, Mr Paterson insisted the decision to pilot a badger cull was "not one that has been taken lightly, but it is based on the best available scientific evidence and the experience of other countries".

Confirming that culling had got under way, he said: "I understand the pilot cull is proceeding to plan and those involved are pleased with progress to date."

He said the cull was being monitored and the evidence gathered on culling would be considered by ministers in deciding whether or not the policy should be rolled out more widely.

And he said culling was just one part of a broader, comprehensive TB eradication strategy for ridding England of the disease over the next 25 years, which also includes disease surveillance and development of new badger and cattle vaccines.

He said: "This pilot cull is a necessary part of a wide range of actions that we need to take if we are to free the cattle industry from the burden of this devastating disease."

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National

Brian May's Save The Badger song in the top 40 chart

Brian May has been an active supporter of the save the badger campaign Credit: PA

Queen guitarist Brian May could be heading for an unlikely hit after his protest song inspired by the badger cull reached the charts.

The song, Save The Badger, Badger, Badger, was recorded by May and internet entertainer Weebl and features the vocals of Brian Blessed.

It has made the top 40 in the iTunes download chart and is the most popular track in the iTunes Store top 10 rock chart.

Blessed, who played Prince Vultan in the 1980 film Flash Gordon, said: "Brian May is absolutely inspirational and together we will beat the dark forces and save the badgers."

Around 5,000 of the animals are expected to be killed in controlled shootings over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Supporters say the cull is needed to tackle bovine TB, which can be spread from infected badgers.

May said: "The British people are speaking in their many thousands, and yet the government is refusing to listen.

"We thank them for buying this track and giving the badgers a voice. Let's get this to number one so (David) Cameron cannot avoid it."

West Country (E)

'Camp Badger' eyes up Crown Estate land

Campaigners camped out on land at Watchet in Somerset have said they will probably relocate on The Crown Estate.

The Crown Estate announced it would allow the cull to take part on its land.

A spokesman for the campaign group said they would not seek permission to use the land from The Crown Estate.

It will be a protest camp and they are often on other people's properties.

The premises we are on at the moment is not involved in the badger cull, but the next person's land will be.

We are not interested in having conflict with people who are not in the badger cull."

– Jay Tiernan, spokesman for campaigners.
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