The National Farmers Union has made a formal complaint to the BBC about bias in reporting of a planned badger cull, alleging that its reports were ‘clearly pitched against the cull’.
Writing to BBC director-general George Entwhistle NFU leader Peter Kendall wrote that the corporation was contributing to ‘hysteria’ over the decision to allow farmers to shoot badgers in West Gloucestershire as part of an officially sanctioned cull.
The claim was made following a BBC Two Newsnight report in which granted anonymity to a protestor who stated that he would be taking ‘direct action’ against the cull, a move which Kendall believed implied farmers were harassing protesters.
Kendall wrote: “This suggestion is disgusting and clearly biased. The BBC’s clear partiality in protecting the identity of someone whose clear intent is to disrupt a lawful process by himself taking illegal action goes against your own editorial guidelines and is shameful for an organisation which purports to be impartial, accurate and trusted."
Further ire was raised by use of the term ‘mass slaughter,’ a phrase Kendall said was “normally used to describe a barbaric genocide in a war zone”.
Animal rights groups and 140,000 members of the public have reacted with outrage to the plans, which farmers claim are necessary to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis.