HUNDREDS of people have joined the calls to prevent badger culling on the Malvern Hills.
Members of nationwide campaign group Operation Badger have been out in the town centre in recent days urging people to sign petitions calling on the district council and Malvern Hills
Conservators to form policies prohibiting the practice before it is rolled out by the Government.
As a result more than 300 people from Malvern have declared support for each document.
Badger culling involves killing the animals on a large scale in a bid to prevent bTB – Bovine Tuberculosis – spreading to cattle.
However the group have slammed the policy branding it ‘utterly inhumane’ and deeply flawed. They claimed pilot runs in Somerset and Gloucestershire last year failed and said figures showed only a small proportion of bTB was spread from badgers to cows and the majority was spread from cattle to cattle.
The campaigners have called on the Government to instead look at better controls for the movement of cows as well as support for farmers.
They also urged leading politicians to divert funds from more pilot tests to developing a badger vaccine for the disease.
Operation Badger groups are currently lobbying more than 100 local authorities around the country to ban culling before the Government formally roll it out.
Di Pugh from Malvern Link was out on Saturday urging residents to sign the petitions. She said: “We want to nip it in the bud. If every town refuses it that will send a really strong message to the Government.
“The badger is one of our most fascinating mammals and an important part of our ecosystem and natural heritage. Many people care deeply about them and their value to nature.
“We don’t want future generations of children growing up and asking adults ‘what were badgers like?'”
A spokeswoman from Malvern Hills District Council said it was too premature for the council to comment on the issue. She said the number of signatures on the petition would determine whether councillors held a debate and formed a subsequent policy on the matter.
Stephen Bound, director of the Malvern Hills Conservators, said the Board would examine the issue in detail if they were ever approached for permission to allow culling on the land.
He welcomed the petition from campaigners and added it would be passed onto the Board who would ultimate make any future decision.
Visit www.b-r-a-v-e.co.uk/operationbadger/malvernhills.htm and www.vegan3counties.org.uk to sign the relevant petitions or fill in a hard copy at Green Link in Graham Road, Great Malvern.