The York Tories have demanded people “stop jumping to conclusions” after their badger culling social was slammed by a national animal charity.
Bethany Wright, chair of the society, hit back in a post on Facebook after the event was criticised by The League Against Cruel Sports.
The organisation, which is supported by big names like Ricky Gervais and Jo Brand, said the event was “not very funny” and suggested the society “do a bit of studying.”
Charity campaign director Tom Quinn said the York Tories had “made light of a national scandal.”
Images from the event obtained exclusively by York Vision show society members holding t-shirts bearing messages including “cull ‘til the cows come home” and “TB or not TB?”
The event saw Conservative and Unionist Association committee members dress as badgers, while other members hunted them down dressed in their “best country attire.”
Stauart Maule, chair of the University Green Party society also condemned the event, telling this newspaper it was in “poor taste.”
He added: “The badger cull is a cruel and ineffective measure, and is opposed by the UK’s scientific community.”
The York Tories’ Facebook page came under fire from people calling members “pathetic” and “lonely sad people.”
But Wright defended the social, saying it was “tongue in cheek” and said “most of us don’t even support culling.”
“The way some of the members have been spoken to is abusive and disgraceful,” she said.
This is the latest in a line of scandal socials run by the society. In November, a “fox hunting social” attracted criticism from YUSU.
At that event, members mused that “one day” the society would be able to rent out hunting gear. “Sadly not yet.”
Third year politics student Henry Hale said: “I’m for free speech of course. However, this is extremely childish and calculated to try and upset people.”
One member involved in the event, defended the event, saying: “The appeal of the badger culling social is the same as any other fancy dress social: the novelty of dressing up eccentrically.”
The League Against Cruel Sports claims the killing of badgers is a “disastrous policy.” In March 2014, MPs passed a motion stating badger culling had “decisively failed” in a landslide vote. Last August the government authorised the third of four years of badger culling around England.