The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has said it is “extremely disappointing” that Caffè Nero has decided not to source milk from areas subject to the badger cull.
The NFU has responded to reports that the cafe chain will not source milk from farms subject to the cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire, after campaigners threatened to protest at restaurants.
Minette Batters, NFU deputy president, said: “The people who have made the threat of action against Caffè Nero are a small minority and it is extremely disappointing that the company appears to have bowed into pressure from those who think nothing of intimidation and threats of disruption to achieve their ends.
“We need to remember that we are talking about controlling bovine TB – a disease which is spreading in cattle and badgers and will continue to spread if left uncontrolled. The pilot badger culls are a government policy, based on scientific evidence, aimed at controlling this disease which is a huge threat to dairy and beef farmers in the South West and other parts of the country.”
She added: “It is especially saddening that this has come at a time when the dairy sector is facing price pressures; some farmers are being paid as little as 15p a litre for the milk they are producing.”
The campaign is being coordinated via a Facebook page called "Stop the cull", which says it is now targeting Sainsbury’s.
In a statement Caffè Nero said: "At Caffè Nero, our people come first so when our team members’ wellbeing is under threat, we have to act. With just 2 per cent of our annual milk supply impacted, we made what we feel was the right choice. We have ongoing consultations with the NFU and believe they understand our position.
"We are not intimidated by protestors. At the end of the day, we know that the authorities will support us if needed. However, we made a decision to limit any risk to our people as quickly as possible."