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.

Readers' comments (61)

  • I think these people should be hunted down and culled our society would be alot better place without the likes of these people who are no better than terrorists.

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  • I just hope the police pursue these scum with the same vigour that they do so-called offenders. Our idiot local plod arrested and locked up for 8 hours a fencing contractor for digging a hole for a gate post - miles away from any badger or its sett. For once, a government has done the right thing and have decreed that the ALF is a terrorist organisation which does give the police more powers to deal with these low life.

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  • The statement, "There extremists on both sides" is totally inaccurate. . There maybe a few farmers acting illegally by culling badgers anyway if the opportunity arises, but they are certainly not extremists. They are simply breaking the law, because the government has not been doing their job properly. . These ALF extremist scum fold up just like burned out Chinese lanterns as soon as they are challenged like all bullies do.

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  • I hafta call bullshit! I do not believe that anyone would say they would "burn his children" & if they did say this I can guarantee that they are NOT affiliated in any way w/ The A.L.F, tho' I am willing to bet the media would love to pin any backlash on us! Once again I need to remind everyone that ALF does not ever bring harm to any humans, as this is our true ideology.

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  • @ALF

    No you just dig up old lady's bodies scum! . Your days are over. . We're on to you. . You don't care about anything except your twisted ideology.

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  • @ ALF
    For us to believe you, you really need to stop all these threats of illegal action.

    If you want something to fight, fight TB.

    If you want to make a difference , work with us to rid the wild of this awful disease.

    If you care about animal rights stop alienating the people who work with animals and start to help us get rid of this disease.

    We can all shout abuse, but it takes men of real courage and conviction to stand up and say, call me what you want, I will not fight back with violence, but with calm rational arguments. I will not break the laws, even the ones I disagree with, but I will argue to change them.

    Then people will start to listen.

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  • 62years ago I got scarlet fever there was 2 choices hospital or home I wanted home but that meant dad could not work for 5 weeks (engineer) nor grandad (baker) nor uncle (storeman) mum & nan were housewives. The dotor was there witin an hour & the ambilance in the next 1/4/hr & I was gone 5weeks in an isolation/fever hospital n NO visitors & the council came & fumigated the house We used to put typhoid carriers in sanatoria sometimes to end there days there because they were CONTAGIOUS now equate that to bTB & vaccination is a nonsense & dont forget TB patients who could spend years in sanitariums

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  • I believe that a vaccine could work if farmers were given a choice over whether or not they want to use it.
    For farmers who do not export cattle or dairy products to Europe, there is no problem with a vaccination that is efficient if administered. If you are someone who exports to Europe, then you could choose not to have the vaccination to protect your business, but you would then have to have stringent bTB testing regulations that, although a real pain, are the best way of fighting bTB without angering animal welfare campaigners and bureaucrats in Brussels.
    Alternatively, we could just cull all the badgers which are originally not even native to Britain.

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  • @ Anon
    IF we had a vaccine that worked and IF under EU law we were allowed to use it and IF we could tell whether an animal had been vaccinated and did not have TB, then I would agree.

    And IF I was the first born son of the Queen, I would be next in line to the thrown.

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  • For the purpose of clarity Anon, I don't agree with "Alternatively, we could just cull all the badgers which are originally not even native to Britain."

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