One well known local, who did not attend was Princess Anne, who earlier this month was all over the media supporting the cull and suggesting that gassing the badgers was the humane thing to do.
This is of course entirely ridiculous. In the first instance needlessly killing badgers is, well, not humane at all. Furthermore reports from previous efforts to kill badgers in this way describe how the animal lets out distress calls, clearly in pain as it wheezes and vomits as its body systems begin to fail. Logistically there are issues with the ability to administer the full lethal dose, failure to do so is even less humane as the animal has a very slow drawn-out death. Then there is the threat to other animals and wildlife in the contaminated areas.
None of the 2000 badgers killed so far have been found to carry TB and recent studies in Wales suggest that improving the cattle TB testing regime is an efficient means to identify infected cattle and prevent the onward spread of bovine TB. Also a vaccine has been available since 2010, and organisations such as the wildlife trust are implementing a program which could lead to herd immunity in up to 5 years.
Nonetheless environment secretary Owen Patterson is not prepared to find means of supporting and improving these scientifically validated measures and wants the culls to proceed.
In Gloucester today it has been clearly demonstrated that the badgers have a lot of human friends, friends who are prepared to do their utmost to keep them alive.
This one also feels personal to me not just because its close to home and because I think any rational person should care, but because I remember meeting a local badger, late one night near to Slad road in Stroud, it slowly approached me, crossing the road and walked up some steps, (bottom of Peghouse Rise in uplands if anyone is familiar with the area) eventually coming right up close, about a meter away before sensing me, pausing and then turning around and disappearing off into the dark. Such a beautiful looking creature who I felt so grateful to have met!
Expert reaction to Princess Anne's comments on gassing badgers
Wildlife Trusts infographic explaining why vaccination should be central to government policy
BBC Report. Hundreds march in Gloucester against badger cull