At our AGM in June 2012 a spokesperson from the campaign group “Stop the Cull” addressed those of us present on their belief that the cull could only be successfully sabotaged with a lot of help from hunt sab groups. We were told that we'd have to do thousands of hours of preparatory sett surveying, that we'd get no sleep for weeks when it started, we'd lose all our holiday time from work and to top it all we didn't even know if we'd be even slightly successful in finding marksmen with silencers at potentially any location inside 100's of square miles. “Looking for a needle in a haystack” actually sounded easier.
We were also told that there was a lot of press interest in the badger culls and that it might be good for hunt sabs' public profile. Considering that for decades we have been portrayed in the main stream press as “thugs” no one was particularly enamoured with the idea of a media make over.
As it turned out the press didn't praise or recognise us for our behaviour or endeavours, but what did happen is that tens of thousands of people came into contact with us. Whether that was via speeches on demo's, from reports on Facebook or in the flesh in the cull zone. People learnt about us and they liked what they saw - groups of compassionate people who work hard in the field to protect wild animals from being hunted.
It is this very fact that we have “gone viral”, not just on social media, but in the real world, where it counts, that makes us an unstoppable force. Whether that's new sab groups forming across the country or small sab groups being overwhelmed with new people. The HSA membership has more than doubled in size in under a year and donations have increased dramatically.
When we got to the cull zones in 2013, it quickly became clear that we were making a massive difference. Right from the start groups, working closely with badger patrollers, engaged, and repelled, the badger killers. The HSA supported the sabs on the ground by giving grants totalling many thousands of pounds to help with transport, and crucially, the very expensive Gen2+ night vision equipment that enabled sabs to spot shooters from huge distances.
Many people will be unaware of the literally thousands of miles walked by sabs in the run up to the culls, as they mapped out all the setts over hundreds of square miles so they could defend them against shooters. The reason that the culls were sabotaged so spectacularly is due largely to that work.
That surveying work in Dorset this year won't rely on a few sab groups supported by a dozen or so locals. This year it's totally different. The British public has engaged with us en masse & we are confident that with their help, we will have every sett mapped in that zone easily by June 1st.
In 2012 we were told to expect a roll out to ten cull zones and then a further forty in following years. Here we are in 2014 with a cull policy in tatters and a roll out to one more cull zone a small possibility. We are prepared to take Dorset by storm and destroy any attempts to kill badgers
We will help “Stop the Cull”
That's what we do.