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Hate mail over trial badger cull

Guardian - Tuesday June 22, 1999

by James Meikle

Animal activists were blamed by farmers yesterday for an upsurge in barn fires and other damage as tensions rise in "badger wars".

Officers of the National Farmers' Union claimed members were being sent hate mail in attempts to stop them cooperating with experimental culling programmes to slow the spread of TB.

Brian Jennings, chairman of the union's animal health and welfare committee, said: "Conservationists are doing everything they can to foil the whole trial. Farmers are being threatened, machinery, land and property are being damaged."

The trials, designed to establish proof as to whether badgers pass on TB to cattle and investigate other possible factors such as husbandry and soil composition, started last year although they may not be fully established until 2001.

Culling is not allowed outside specified zones, a ban the NFU wants removed.

Pauline Kidner, a [former] trustee of the National Federation of Badger Groups, which is against the culls, said it would frown on illegal behaviour. "We want to work with farmers to find an answer," she said.

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