Woman 'names and shames' cull marksman
An anti-badger cull protester has "named and shamed" a neighbour for shooting the animals as the Government policy to cull badgers splits rural communities across the country.
Meg Sunningdale, 66, has put posters around her village of Withycombe in Somerset accusing a man of being one of the marksmen hired to shoot badgers.
A legal cull of badgers is currently going on in the area to stop the animals spreading bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
Mrs Sunningdale said she was willing to go to prison to stop the cull by "harassing" those taking part. "I would like to tell him his family will not be hurt but I will be harassing him to make sure everybody knows he is a badger killer," she said.
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"I think those taking part should be named and shamed if they are prepared to shoot badgers, they should be prepared to face the consequences."
Every night protesters are going out with torches and whistles to try and stop the cull legally from footpaths.
More extreme groups say they are ready to break the law and trespass.
James Small, a local farmer and representative of the National Farmers Union, said the cull had started in Somerset and was being carried out in "an humane and efficient manner". He said marksmen have already been named on the internet leading to harassment of individuals, such as threatening letters, cold calling and trespass.
As a result, the NFU brought an injunction at the High Court against anyone "intimidating" farmers.
Mr Small said the threats had died down since and insisted most local people were willing to support farmers.
"Now the cull has got under way there is a feeling of relief," he said. "No one is happy to be killing badgers, but bovine TB is a real problem for farmers and wildlife and this is part of the solution."
Marksmen are shooting badgers at night using high velocity rifles with infrared sights. The man targeted by protesters was not available for comment.
However, the RSPCA has distanced itself from illegal protest. Following a complaint to the Charities Commission by the National Farmers' Union, the RSPCA has given categorical assurances that it does not support the naming and shaming of farmers involved in the cull.
Somerset Police have officers on patrol every night in the cull zone and said any complaints of harassment would be taken seriously.