Sunday, 29 September 2013

'I flew 3,500 miles to protect your badgers'

By MICHAEL YONG

FLYING more than 3,500 miles to Gloucestershire to be arrested for defending badgers was all worth it for a campaigner from the United States.

Rebecca Reid, 52, from Pittsburgh, was arrested by Gloucestershire police in the Kent's Green area of Newent at about 1.45am on Thursday on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

She had flown from her family home in Pittsburgh to join the campaign against the cull.

After being released from custody yesterday, the freelance interpreter claimed police had searched her hotel room in the Royal Hop Pole, in Tewkesbury, after her arrest and taken her computer.

The self-professed wildlife advocate, said: "I have been following the badger cull for many months now.

"It is something that is very interesting to people in America. There are a lot of animal lovers in the States who can't believe what is happening here.

"I thought it would be a good idea to come here.

"I have been donating a lot of money to the protests, but I know help on the ground is most valuable.

"There have been all sorts of protestors, but all they want to do is to stop this unscientific cull.

"Petitions and polls in the UK and the States have all shown people are against the cull, so why are they going ahead with it?

"I have no complaints against the local police. What I am upset about is the level of action they have been asked to take.

"There are protesters from young teenagers to 75 year olds, which is incredible."

Volunteering at a wildlife centre in Pittsburgh on a monthly basis, she said she hoped the outcry would force the UK government to abandon any plans for a widespread badger cull in the future.

Growing up in Liverpool, she moved to Pittsburgh with her husband and children more than 15 years ago.

"There has been a massive growing in support from different parts of the world," she added.

"From young people and the old people, they are just taking care of each other. It is very heartwarming."

She has been bailed to return to Cheltenham police station tomorrow.

Police said she must keep away from "a certain area" in Gloucestershire and Somerset between 7pm and 7am, although they will not specify which areas.

A 20-year-old man from Walsall and a 26-year-old woman from South Croyden in Surrey were arrested together with Mrs Reid.

The other two have been bailed to return to Cheltenham police station on November 22.



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