I am so tired of seeing Brian May and his fellow badger fans being lauded as ‘champions of wildlife’ when in fact anyone who understands and cares about British wildlife can see what a devastating effect the huge increase in badger numbers has had on many other species.
The badger is our largest and most common animal predator – he is top of the heap.
And it is an inconvenient truth that he has a voracious appetite for anything that comes his way; ground-nesting birds’ eggs and nestlings, hedgehogs, bumble bee nests – all doubtless much tastier than the slugs he is supposed to live on, and all totally unable to defend themselves against his powerful jaws. The result is, of course, the greatest ecological disaster of modern times – there is no other way to describe the complete wipeout of all Shropshire’s curlew and lapwing, which are poignantly listed in my 1981 bird book as ‘widespread, locally common’.
Of course the badger’s fans will tell you that this is due to modern farming and climate change.
Can any of them show me the effect of modern farming methods in the last 20 years on the wild moorlands of the Shropshire/Radnorshire borders?
And as for climate change – well, a wonderful balance of nature thrived all down the centuries, with many natural climate cycles – but only because of our ancestors’ understanding of the necessity of predator control.
Yes, of course the badger looks incredibly sweet and cuddly, especially on wildlife programmes with nice plinkity-plonk music in the background. Doubtless however his cuteness is entirely lost on the hedgehog which is about to be eaten alive.
If the hedgehogs and skylarks and curlews had a voice, they’d be crying out for a badger cull. It is utterly shameful that we are ignoring them.