RSPCA calls for boycott of milk from badger cull zones
The RSPCA has called on consumers to boycott milk from cull areas saying the products would be "soaked in badgers' blood".
The animal welfare charity has launched a campaign against the cull, which is to take place across farms in West Somerset, alongside a coalition of like-minded groups.
Gavin Grant, the chief executive of the RSPCA, also called on tourists to avoid cull areas claiming that landowners should be made to feel the "commercial consequences" of allowing the cull on their land. "Those who care will not want to visit areas or buy milk from farms soaked in badgers' blood," Mr Grant said.
"Dairy consumers should be saying 'I will not buy milk from areas where they are culling'. Landowners and farmers allowing this to happen on their land have to realise there will be commercial consequences."
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Brian May, the Queen guitarist and head of the group Save Me, has said he would not drink milk from "the moment that the first badger is shot". An eleventh hour bid to stop the trial cull, which is also taking place in Gloucestershire, has now been launched by an alliance of 18 of the UK's leading animal welfare groups. It is aiming to gather 100,000 signatures to force a parliamentary petition on the matter. Campaigners are also taking their case to Europe, arguing that the shooting of badgers breaks the Bern Convention which protects EU wildlife.
A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union in the South West said: "Obviously this is something they feel strongly about and they are quite entitled to express their opinion, although talk of a boycott seems like an empty gesture."
He added: "Often the RSPCA wishes to work with farmers, on farming for wildlife and agri-environment schemes. Coming out behind a boycott may come back to haunt them when they are looking for farmers' support."