Adam Henson reveals extremist threats over badger cull
TV PRESENTER Adam Henson has revealed that he has received hate mail, including threats to his children, from animal welfare extremists because of his comments on bovine TB.
Mr Henson has investigated the disease, which has affected his own Gloucestershire farm, in depth on the BBC’s Countryfile programme.
He has now told a farming conference in Cornwall how the features have sparked threats from ‘very nasty extremists’.
“I have had some serious hate letters from them – things like ‘we are going to burn your children’,” he is quoted as saying in press reports today, including on www.thisiscornwall.co.uk
Mr Henson said the abuse was unfair as strict BBC guidelines ensure his ‘hands are tied’ when it comes to comments on the merits of badger culling.
“These guidelines are very strict. So you will never hear me saying we should be culling badgers. My hands are completely tied on the issue. I cannot campaign for anything at all, simply report what is said on both sides,” Mr Henson said during a question and answer session.
“But this is a hugely emotive subject and we have to realise that there are extremists on both sides of the argument.”
He said conservation groups and farmers were ‘at war’ with each other but should be working together to solve the problem. “Badgers are fantastic animals to watch and can be a great asset, and there should be middle ground between farming and conservationists on tackling the bovine TB problem,” he said.
His comments came as the Badger Trust sought to distance itself from threats of direct action against anyone who takes part in badger culls proposed in England and Wales.
In a statement, the Trust quotes the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) as warning that it will ‘hit farmers in their pockets by tearing down fences and damaging buildings over the destruction of badgers in Wales’.
It also highlights comments on www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk in which a spokesman for ALF is quoted as warning that its members could take direct action if licences to cull badgers were granted in England.
Despite highlighting the comments, the Badger Trust said in a statement that it ‘dissociates itself from any proposals to use force or intimidation towards anyone carrying out trapping, shooting or any other procedures that may be officially approved’.
But the trust said it ‘recognises the right of all organisations and individuals, including local badger groups, to demonstrate peacefully against such disproportionate and futile bTB policies, and it will continue to use all possible legal means of rational persuasion and challenge’.
Last week Farming Minister Jim Paice said he was still hoping to announce the decision on a badger cull in England before Parliament breaks for recess in July. He said on the of the main reasons for the delay in making the announcement was to ensure any culling policy was legally watertight in the face of the inevitable legal challenge form the Badger Trust.