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Badger cull.

The National Farmers Union has reported that farmers in Somerset and Gloucestershire are receiving hoax calls from animal rights activists claiming to be from DEFRA.

The callers give a supposed reference number and start date for the badger culls.

Farmers Weekly has also reported bogus calls from animal rights activists posing as the publication’s journalists in an attempt to gain information on the cull.

The callers engage in general conversation then focus on bovine TB and culling, asking farmers whether their land is within the trial zone and whether they approve of the cull.

The RSPCA released a statement urging people to sign a petition to stop the badger cull, and chief executive Gavin Grant said in a statement: “Time is running out for the badgers and it’s a case of now or never. It is not too late to stop this senseless slaughter, but if we are going to save them and help the cows we need to act now.”

A group calling itself “Stop the cull” is meanwhile trying to discover which supermarkets are stocking milk from cull areas in order to boycott them.

More worryingly, it is also claiming that it knows who some of the shooters are, and that it will list their names.

It has also been encouraging its members to film farms and their animals.

Meanwhile, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has announced a new potential TB hotspot in Cumbria.

It has asked that the following message be circulated as widely as possible:

We are writing to advise you that a potential new bovine TB hotspot has been identified in the Arkholme area.

To help improve our surveillance in this area, we seek your assistance in helping us to complete a wildlife survey to ascertain whether there is evidence of any wildlife infection.

All deer carcases that are suspected of being affected with tuberculosis should be reported to your local AHVLA office.

Visit www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en

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