The campaigners are objecting to plans for a second badger cull zone in Derbyshire.
Natural England has recently announced applications for new badger cull areas in Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon and Northamptonshire – in a bid to tackle bovine TB.
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According to the Derbyshire Against The Cull campaign group, the killing of badgers has been happening in England since 2013.
In Derbyshire, a cull has been running since 2020, with 2,916 badgers killed in the first year, according to the group – which held its Matlock protest on Monday.
A spokesperson for the group said: “If the new cull license is granted, the new Derbyshire cull zone will run for at least four years, bringing devastation to the wildlife of Derbyshire, loss of income to rural businesses and chaos as protesters actively oppose the cull.
“We have spent two years objecting to the cull here, disrupting the shooting of badgers, and demonstrating against businesses which support the cull across the original Derbyshire zone.
“If this new one goes ahead, we will oppose it every step of the way.”
According to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, vaccinating badgers against bovine TB is an important part of tackling the disease in cattle.
Last spring, the trust announced it had vaccinated its 1,000th badger as part of a major inoculation scheme.
The Derbyshire Against The Cull spokesperson said: “The current Derbyshire cull company’s zone already overlaps with badger vaccination areas – if a new zone were to be introduced in Derbyshire, even more vaccinated badgers’ lives would be at risk.
“This brings into question the validity of our Government’s promise to replace culling with vaccination."
They added: “Cull boundaries are kept secret from the general public and land and business owners within the county, and start dates are rarely announced in advance.
“So, after this consultation it is unlikely the citizens of Derbyshire will know if plans to increase culling in Derbyshire are going ahead on their doorstep - until shots are heard at night and cages are found on the ground by patrollers and dog walkers.”