Sadness and anger at the announcement of another badger cull.

This post is exactly as the title says it is, no play of words this time, no witty title, this post is clear; a result of me turning the subject over and over in my mind for days after the announcement was made, a result of multiple visits to my local badger sett, scope and notebook in hand as I trudge towards them – happy that they exist here so close to me, but sad that their relations will be executed for crimes that they did not commit, and angry that I am unable to stop this from happening.

For many of us, the sight of a badger is a thing of great excitement, even for those of us that don’t like to get out much – badgers you would think would be quite impossible not to see due to their bold black and white markings and their large size, but they have the uncanny ability to disappear, like fog in a wood (seen well from afar but disappears as soon you advance closer towards it!), and therefore I have witnessed many a person (regardless of their age) resort to pointing and shouting as they seemingly lose the ability to speak at the sight of the beaut that is meles meles.

For me, I tend to get a warm, comforting feeling, edged with a sharp tang of excitement- when I witness a burly, rather ponderous badger haul itself from the mouth of its sett; they bring me back to the days of the ‘Wind in the Willows’; sensible ratty rowing his sturdy boat in the calmness of his water meadows, shy mole pottering around and occasionally joining him for a bite to eat, eccentric toad speeding around in a shiny motorcar or rattling off some crazy idea, and finally tough, wise old badger looking out for them all, but friendly all the same, how ironic, when this is exactly the opposite of what is happening to them now.

But this beauty has not blinded me; I do understand that the reason this cull is happening is because of the recent outbreaks of bovine TB in cattle, and that farmers do not want to lose these valuable assets to their livelihood, but the simple fact is that the culls have been proven not to work; the constant digging of dens and invading of territories of badgers is disrupting their stable social groups and spreading the badgers further afield, thus causing them to range beyond their territory and come into contact with other animals, which then increases the risk of disease transmission. If you were to study the FACTS (as everyone seems to want to refer to these days in order to be certain of something) – you would see that most badgers do not in fact carry this disease, and that most initial infection outbreaks are caused by cattle themselves.

On top of this it is extremely expensive to cull a badger, a lot more anyway than it costs to vaccinate one; which is my next point – we have the means to vaccinate badgers against this disease, which will not only ensure to some extent that they do not get this disease, but also that their Cubs will not get it, it also does not cause them to spread out like culling does. Programmes can be set up to vaccinate badgers by trapping, vaccinating and releasing them.

So you see- this is why my title might make more sense to you now, we have the option not to killing innocent creatures and achieve a better result than if we do kill them, but we are just not doing it. The fact is that a vaccination programme requires volunteers and more work, when the government can just pay someone to go and shoot a badger on their own land without having to recruit people, and this is the problem: laziness – they can’t, in my opinion, be bothered to do it, and I’m angry because I cannot do much to change their minds. Governments have to be seen to have ‘results’, and as vaccination programmes don’t show that something is immediately happening, this is another reason why they don’t implement it.

We all need to do our bit now, all we can to either change the governments mind or protect what badgers we can, there are local groups you can join, and all sorts of groups you can become members of, here is a link that I have found very useful in this case- The League Against Cruel Sports: I will also include some more links to various other websites that may help you:

– Georgia’s Wildlife Watch

– National Badger Day

Please, stand up and take action against something that is so clearly wrong on so many levels.

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