Death threats to Nick Brown over badger cull
- Monday June 19, 2000
Brown, the agriculture minister, has received death threats from
animal rights activists in protest at the government's
controversial badger culling trials.
The Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) has set up the
cull to try to establish whether there is a link between badgers
and tuberculosis in cattle.
A MAFF spokesman last night said that Mr Brown had
been targeted along with the farmers and scientists involved with
He said: "Mr Brown has received death threats
from people on the fringes of the badger movement. We have heard
reports that the children of farmers and members of MAFF staff
engaged in the trial have been followed. We condemn this
The spokesman, who would not comment on the exact
circumstances of the death threats, added: "Mr Brown has
called on Jack Straw to ensure that mechanisms are brought in to
make sure that MAFF staff and the farmers are given the full
protection of the law."
MAFF said that Mr Brown was not the first
agriculture minister to be targeted by animal rights activists.
The spokesman said that Douglas Hogg also received death threats
on the same issue while William Waldegrave received threats over
live animal exports.
MAFF has estimated that 12,500 badgers will be
culled at 10 sites over a five-year period. The trials started two
Animal rights groups, who say the experiments are
unscientific and cruel, believe the money should be spent on
developing a vaccine and promoting better animal husbandry. The
National Federation of Badger Groups has protested that badgers
have been killed during the breeding season, leaving their
starving cubs to die.
The National Farmers' Union believes that 40,000
farmers will have been financially ruined by bovine TB by the time
the experiments are completed. Many farmers believe there should
be a full-scale badger cull.
Ben Gill, the NFU president, called on the
activists who are responsible for the death threats to be treated
under the law as terrorists. "I am concerned about the badger
and also GM crop trials. These activists are in a different
bracket and are guilty of clear, absolute terrorism."
Badger trials have so far been conducted on the
Gloucester-Hereford border, Devon and Cornwall border, east
Cornwall, east Hereford, north Wiltshire, west Cornwall and the
Staffordshire-Derbyshire and Devon-Somerset borders.