This is what may happen if your shoot is in a badger cull zone. Mr Rowe of Cornwall has written to us with his warning tale.
I would like to make other shoots aware of what may happen if they are in a badger cull zone after what has happened to our small shoot.
Last Sunday, my four-year-old daughter and I went down to our shoot, which has been run by our family for 30 years. We checked one pen and all was fine, came up across the field into the next and noticed a lot of poults wandering the hedges. This was a bit strange as they have held very tight to the pens.
When we got to the next pen, we walked into the woods and immediately noticed the door flat on the floor. Then it hit me — so were the wire mesh and posts. The electric fence energiser and leisure battery were gone. I walked to where the feeders and drinkers should be and the drinkers had gone, wheat was in piles where the feeders were and all the big feeders were thrown all over the place.
All shelters had their legs broken and the galvanised sheets were lying on the floor. King feeders had been taken and all the springs from the feeders had gone.
Even two ladder sections that we were going to use to help a few of the older members get up and down from some steep banks had been taken. The barbed wire had even been cut at this pen and the dairy cows had got into the woods.
Fearing the worst, we made our way to the final pen. The bridge over a 6ft gully was gone; I managed to jump over to find the bridge on the other side and came across the same mess as the previous pen. At this pen they had also emptied a bag of growers pellets and a bag of wheat on to the floor and taken a spare electric fence energiser, which was in a small open-fronted store shed.
Reported to police
I went up to the farm to let the farmer know the barbed-wire fence had been cut and what had happened to the pens. He told me that, a few days prior to what had happened to our release pens, their badger traps had been taken or broken. They had reported it to the police. I went home and reported what had happened to our pens to the police.
Now our poults have no readily available shelter, clean water or food and no safe place to roost, which leaves them vulnerable to predators. We have built up the shoot to what it is today over the past 30 years, so trying to find the money to replace all the stolen and damaged items is going to take a long time to achieve.
Half of shoot lost
We are only a small DIY syndicate that charges members a bare minimum for a season to cover costs. Due to the damage caused we have lost half of our shoot for the coming season, which is nearly upon us.