Badger cull zone injunction is granted in High Court

image captionThe cull zones are in Somerset and Gloucestershire

An injunction has been granted to restrict people protesting against the badger cull.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) applied for the injunction, claiming some farmers have been intimidated and harassed and therefore need protection.

The High Court ruling means no protest will be allowed to take place within 100m of the homes, and within 25m of businesses, of anyone involved.

Lawful protest against the badger cull will still be allowed.

The High Court in London granted the injunction after several hours of negotiations over the wording of the injunction between protesters and the NFU.

NFU president Peter Kendall said after the hearing that the injunction was intended to prevent "unacceptable incidents of harassment", and not to stop lawful protest.

Jay Tiernan, who was named in court as a representative of the Coalition of Badger Action Groups, said the ruling would not stop protests.

'Very, very annoying'

"It will make absolutely no difference whatsoever," he said. "We certainly do want to reduce the numbers of farmers involved.

"We like to think of ourselves as being very, very annoying."

He added: "We will use every available piece of legislation we can to make their lives a misery."

The injunction includes provisions preventing protesters entering private land without consent.

Anyone found to be in breach could face contempt of court proceedings.

'Extreme activists'

Mr Kendall added: "For beef and dairy farmers dealing with TB on their farms, these badger culls are an essential part of the fight against this terrible disease.

"Opinion is divided so, while we recognise that not everyone agrees with the Government's TB eradication policy and the need to cull badgers to start to reduce this disease in cattle, we do acknowledge their legitimate right to hold peaceful protests.

"What we cannot condone are the actions being used by extreme activists designed to harass, intimidate and threaten others."

Culls are expected to start soon in the West Somerset and West Gloucestershire pilot zones.

The pilot cull will run over a six-week period. More than 5,000 badgers could be killed.

The cull will involve the animals being shot in the open by marksmen using high-velocity rifles. The badgers will not be trapped in cages first.

Supporters claim culling badgers is the only way to tackle TB in cattle, which they say is spread from infected badgers to livestock.

Opponents say culling badgers is inhumane and ineffective in controlling the disease.

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