Animal rights activists around the UK are being told: attack game farms.
The violent wing of the anti-badger cull movement is run from a Facebook page called StopTheCull. With the badger cull only taking place for a few weeks a year, activists turn to other animal rights activity during the rest of the year. Posts on Facebook including this one, incite animal rights extremists to go out after dark and attack game farm businesses.
It’s working. In March 2019, antis posted this film on Facebook, showing activists driving pheasants out of a game farm. The action claimed by the Animal Liberation Front took place at Chilmark Common, Wiltshire. Antis removed fence panels at night and estimate they drove up to 4,800 birds to spend the rest of the night roosting on the ground.
Released at night, the pheasants will be unable to roost in trees. Roosting on ground at night, they are easy pickings for foxes and badgers. It is unlikely many survived the night. In an accompanying post on Facebook, the Animal Liberation Front claims responsibility for the crime.
Following pressure from shooters, Facebook acted against incitement to commit crimes like this. This was Facebook’s official response to a request to take down StopTheCull’s post about attacking game farms.
After a week, Facebook took down the offending post.
Policing costs for the badger cull hit £3 million in 2018, says the UK Government. Badger culling took place in 32 areas across 10 counties in England – Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Wiltshire, Staffordshire and Cumbria. In total, more than 32,000 badgers were removed. Environment agency DEFRA says the cost of policing the culls in 2018 was £3,237,350.98.