16 November 2011

Badgercide

Some parts of England boast more badgers than Yorkshire can claim. There must have been more than a forty five year gap between my two sightings of live badgers in this illustrious county. I saw my first badgers when I was around twelve in a remote wood about a mile from the village where I grew up. It was dusk and they emerged almost magically from their ancient sett in a clearing.

My second badger sighting happened one night, two weeks ago, when my friend Mike and his wife Jill were driving me home. It was waddling along the pavement and at first I thought it was a dog but as we drew level with it I realised it was a badger. It scurried down somebody's driveway. Mike and Jill admitted they had never even seen a badger before.

Non-English visitors to this blog may not be aware that a debate has been sizzling in this country about the very existence of badgers. Some farmers claim, with unsubstantiated evidence, that badgers carry tuberculosis and have fatally infected hundreds, perhaps thousands of cows and bullocks. They are pushing for a widespread badger cull even though the badgers were here long before farmers came along. The Tory government, under our odious millionaire prime minister - David William Donald Cameron, are very much drawn to this brutally unscientific position.

One of our local MP's called Dennis McShane has spoken out against this murderous movement, saying: "There are tensions between any animals in their natural environment and farmers seeking to maximise profit. But David Cameron has given in to big landowners who want to create mono-agro-economies. Ministers have unleashed Badgercide to please their landowning and agro-industry friends." Personally, I think Mr McShane is right.

I was born in the countryside and worked on farms when I was a boy but I believe in badgers as much as I believe in tigers, blue whales and polar bears. They are precious and deserve our care - not bullets, traps and poisons. I say - no to the culling of badgers and yes to improving domestic animal husbandry. Up The Badgers!

6 comments:

  1. Not many diseases can be transferred from one species to another, TB in badgers may well be badger-specific. But there are so many people who have never spent any time in the country and they think all wild animals must be diseased and dirty. Our local golfers wanted Canadian Geese eliminated from their courses because the geese pooped and "caused a health hazard." To whom? IF they carried disease, only other waterfowl were likely to be infected, and then they'd all die and the golfers should be happy. But no. They really just wanted to keep their balls clean. Take that any way you like.

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  2. I'm no expert, but I agree with Jan. TB is not an easy disease to transmit within a species, let alone between them.

    We have a badger run at the bottom of our garden and if you were to look out during the early hours in summer, you could see a family of four.

    They were a bit of a nuisance as they tend to bash holes in anything that gets in their way - lke fences - but they have as much right to be there as we have.

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  3. Farmers are doing a great job under difficult circumstances. Many of them routinely take hundreds of cattle to slaughter in order that they don't pass TB on to badgers.

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  4. Badgers do cause huge amounts of damage to property.. here in wales we are overrun with them....
    and I am not joking when I say that
    however I do feel a cull is not right.....( it is coming in to some parts of wales)....

    having said this I agree with david, the pressures and worries farmers are under because of TB testing is dreadful....

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  5. All I can say in reply is... badgers are wonderful! Let us cherish them.

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  6. I was very hopeful of seeing a badger when we were there last time... and I did but they were dead on the side of the road.There were quite a few dead ones around, lying on the side of the road like they were asleep with their dear little stripey faces and lovely thick fur.
    Managing wildlife and the damage they do versus their right to be there is very tricky. We have a huge problem with millions of kangaroos doing enormous damage to crops and fences. They have such pretty faces too. Controlled culling is probably the best answer for kangaroos because there are so many of them but are there huge numbers of badgers? You wouldn't want to put the species in danger would you?
    Cheers

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