Letter: Don’t blame the badgers

Please, please, please can some members of our society stop trying to blame badgers for everything.

Please, please, please can some members of our society stop trying to blame badgers for everything.

I will decline the suggestion made by one of your readers from Clun: I will not be going to my local livestock market to talk to people about the badger.

I was born and raised on a farm, a farm where hay meadows were full of wild flowers and our wildlife had fantastic habitats.

Let’s look at the facts. If cattle did not have TB badgers could not inadvertently carry the disease.

Badgers are carriers, not the cause, of the disease. Insensitive farming methods and overuse of pesticides as well as hedge-cutting at the wrong time of year have had a catastrophic effect on our wildlife as a whole.

To blame the badger for the loss of bird species, hedgehogs and bees is ludicrous.

We as humans need to accept we are responsible for the decline in wildlife, not try and pass the blame onto a creature that can’t speak for itself.

The badger is a native of our countryside, but it has always been victimised by some people.

It is time we humans take responsibility and accept we have caused the decline in a lot of wildlife: Hedgehogs because we all fence our gardens; birds because of hedge-cutting and draining wetlands; bees and butterflies because of a lack of wild flowers and pesticides/insecticides being overused.

I would like future generations to be able to see the beauty and diversity of all our British wildlife, but it doesn’t look too good at the moment.

We still have a little time to try and rectify the damage we have done, but soon it will be too late for some species, and trying to hide behind a creature and blame it for something it hasn’t done doesn’t help the situation.

A Morris

Oswestry

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Comments for: "Letter: Don’t blame the badgers"

LM

At last, a more-than-welcome, and long overdue, extremely sensible, statement on our country's badgers. I totally agree with A.Morris - we should be looking to protect our native species, not obliterate them. Badgers have visited our garden for over 8 years, they are wonderful, often very timid creatures - a joy to watch and we feel very priviledged to be able to enjoy what can be up to 8 lovely animals in our garden at one time!

East sunrise

Totally agree with the above letter, sadly, we, the "socalled superior race" are to blame for most of the decline in nature, when will we stop being the most disgusting, disrespectful, selfish sad idiots we all are when it comes to issues like this?

We always pass the buck never do we admit it is we that are destroying all the wild life! Time we held our hands up and dealt with these issues directly without blaming everything else for our destruction...problem with our race is we hold an excuse card for EVERYTHING we do wrong.

The Original Andy

East Sunrise. I could'nt have put it better. Humans are the worst thing ever to happen to this planet and we use and abuse everything and anything. This will eventually be our undoing.

Rob, Telford

Typical response from a tree-hugging, lefty townie - I wouldn't be surprised if "A Morris" isn't actually a public sector badger with a gold-plated pension.

..at least that's the word down at my local livestock market...

Katherine de Gama

Rob, I am proud to be a tree hugging marxist townie with a gold plated pension. Tehehe -retired at 47. But, then, I'm clever.

Rob, Telford

You'll be telling us next that you're one of those immigrant "benefit tourist" badgers...

...British benefits for hard-working British badgers I say!!

Katherine de Gama

Yep, I'm one of those but do have a house in the wilderness too. My neighbours are farmers

THE LORD

Badgers are protected , however they now need to be culled due to TB and possibly to control numbers.

It is all very nice watching them at play but when you have your livestock wiped out because of TB it can prove a problem .

So sirs if you wish to pay for destroyed livestcock and save the government money and the owner money I am more than happy to agree with you .

Chances are you and people of your ilk will keep your wallets very tightly closed, see how much a badger is worth then to you.

The Original Jake

I would agree with your comments if I regarded the countryside as a factory, with "units" and "productivity" and "yield" and so on as the sole means of measuring its value.

Jamie

I think you are missing the point. This discussion is regarding the specious argument that badgers are to blame for decline in other species of wildlife. The cull is a separate, complex issue - although there is evidence to suggest it is an ineffective solution. However we should not pretend that, if we do cull badgers, it is for some noble cause to protect biodiversity! It would be a business decision, based on our failure to prevent the problem at source.

Karen Hurley

I find it very strange that we feel the "need" to cull another species. Can you imagine the uproar if someone made the same decision about our spiralling numbers?

Jamie

Well put. Another problem is that we now have the means to keep the countryside "tidy" in a way we never had before. I don't mean free of litter (I detest casual littering), but the way we now put our stamp on the look of hedges and verges.

In years gone by there was not the manpower to cut hedges every year (let alone twice!) and each hedge was typically cut on a three yearly rotation, by hand. This meant that each winter two thirds of the hedges provided plenty of food. Most hedge plants now spend all their energy trying to recover from the thrashing they get from tractor mounted flails, with little fruit produced. What fruit they do provide is often destroyed by the winter cutting.

In the area where I live there used to be a man from the council who looked after the verges, and kept the taller parts cut back far enough to see around corners. He's long gone and now the entire verge is cut down to the ground as far back as the hedge, often twice a year. All the verges for miles around can be cut in one day by one tractor, and usually before most wild flowers have seeded - meaning the numbers are decreasing. As there are almost no flowers on the other side of the hedges this is the only source of energy for many insects. The day before the verges are cut the buzzing can be deafening. The day after it is silence.

The problem is that we are obsessed with keeping things "tidy". It's not just farmers, though there is plenty of peer pressure for them to keep everything looking "neat". When Groundforce first started showing on TV there was a measurable decline in wildlife, as people all over the country "tidied up" their gardens. Nature does not do "tidy" and cannot survive if we insist on trying to make the entire countryside look like a manicured garden.

jane's mum

Well said A. Morris!

O Cartwright

East sunrise,LM, Jane's mum - This is not about 'obliterating' native species it's about getting rid of a disease that is crippling our beef and dairy herds and running rife in wildlife unchecked. Farmers follow strict testing regimes and restrictions but until now nothing has been done about it in the wildlife reservoir. No-one wants to see a cull, however,it's regrettable but necessary to ensure what we all want - that's healthy cattle and wildlife. TB needs controlling to ensure we have a livestock and dairy industry in the future and badgers that are rid of this disease. How is that not looking after the environment?? Again, this is not about badger eradication. If the disease continues to run unchecked in wildlife there will be thousands more cattle and badgers infected.

From an animal health and welfare point of view this is simply not acceptable.

By the way badgers do eat hedgehogs, ground nesting birds' eggs, bee larvae and many other things.Farmers are food producers but also custodians of the landscape and farmed environment and most do a lot to promote biodiversity and habitat. That is a fact.

Jamie

I agree that those are real issues, though whether culling is the best solution is still debatable. BTW, no one is suggesting that badgers do not prey on other wildlife, they also eat hens (ours included - though fortunately they can't jump very high!). See the link above for "Why protect badgers from necessary cull?" - the comments and links deal with this issue in detail.

It is unfair to tar all farmers with the same brush, but you must agree that how farmers feel regarding the importance of wildlife and habitat varies greatly between individuals. It is a business after all, and there aren't many businesses where there is such scrutiny over how you ply your trade!

Katherine de Gama

Yes, farmers are subject to more scrutiny than most of us. I'm a townie but also live in the country and I can see that point. And, no, they are not a homogeneous group.

Hewouldsaythat

Would O Cartwright in fact be Oliver Cartwright, spokesman for NFU Shropshire?

Indeed, most farmers do promote biodiversity and habitat, and are paid handsomely for doing so in the form of environmental stewardship payments. I do the same in my garden, but I don't get taxpayers' money for it.

Jess

For all those who bring out the ground nesting bird rubbish, perhaps you should read the science. A DEFRA study during the randomized badger culling trial found that where badgers had been removed over 95% of nests failed due to livestock trampling and actually eating the eggs

Jayne Oliver

The other option is to vaccinate badgers. That will cost as much as a cull and has already been invested in.

But for some reason this government has decided to be hell-bent on giving farmers the right to shoot badgers willy-nilly.

Jesus H Corbet

"Please, please, please can some members of our society stop trying to blame badgers for everything."

Can I blame a Badger for my best mate running off with my wife? God I miss him.

/1970's comedian

judi

badgers like foxes are beautiful animals, yes i know they cause damage, but so do birds and any other animal including people, at least animals don't build houses or cut down hedges etc for money or gain they only do as nature tells them, an NO IM NOT A TOWNIE IM SHROPSHIE BORN AN BRED as all my family were