PLEASE SIGN THE 38 DEGREES PETITION against a badger cull
I’ve lost count of how many petitions have been signed, how many donations made, how many tears of frustration have been cried over this. Why, oh, why do we find ourselves being dragged into this pointlessly barbaric cul-de-sac once more? There is NO solid scientific evidence to support a badger cull and every reason to suspect it could even make the problem WORSE for farmers concerned about TB, as Sir David Attenborough is quoted as pointing out in a recent article in the Guardian and as backed by hard scientific opinion on the BBC website earlier this year.
What’s more, these endearing black-and-white mammals are part of our culture, an intrinsic ingredient of all that makes up the British countryside about which we are so precious (think “Wind in the Willows”), with more right to be here than us based on the fact that they have been on these shores for at least 250,000 years and that a pre-historic badger genus is known to have been around some 6 million years ago, long before man turned up! If our response to programmes such as Spring Watch and our enthusiasm for all things four-legged and fury were to be believed, we have become a nation of obsessive animal lovers in recent decades and any news that is both positive and animal-related seems to strike a massive chord with the public. A desire to regenerate the native species of our shores also seems to have captured the public imagination. Why, then, when we go to such lengths to reintroduce long-lost indigenous wildlife back into our environment (we “ooh” and “ahh” over the successful reintroduction of everything from red kites to beavers, sand lizards to wild boar) do we not sit up en masse and take serious notice at the proposed genocide of the badger, a harmless, shy, remarkable creature that for the longest time has lived here well out of sight of all but the most observant humans – indeed, when was the last time you saw one that wasn’t road-kill?
Yet we know from those who have taken the trouble to study badger-behaviour closely that they live in large well-organised groups (our British badgers being quite distinct in this regard), often inhabiting the same sett for many generations, sometimes for as long as 100 years or more. Knowing this, what right do we have to throw chaos and destruction at such a social and unassuming creature, breaking up whole communities and forcing survivors to live in a state of fear, disarray and eviction from the only territory they have probably ever known? The beaver, almost hunted to extinction by man in the sixteenth century, is just starting to make something of a small, localised come-back due to the endeavours of those who care but do we really want to have to do this for the badger at some considerably more enlightened point in the future? Why can’t we see a badger cull for the disaster it would be for our wildlife BEFORE it happens and take another path, have we learned absolutely nothing from our mistakes? Why is it that, on some levels, we have come so very far and regard ourselves as so highly-evolved and altruistic yet, on another level, we are no more enlightened or long-sighted now than we were 500 years ago!
I could wax lyrical for hours but would rather direct you to those who are far more informed than I – the Badger Trust and the tireless Brian May who has long supported the badgers’ cause through his group SAVE ME. Please take a look at what they have to say as the arguments in support of badgers (and opposing a cull) are really so compelling. The Badger Protection League are also actively working against the proposed cull and are a good source of useful information in terms of steps you can take to help.
In their article “A Black Day for Badgers”, the much-respected RSPCA say as follows:
We are devastated that, following years of contentious debate, the government has confirmed that it will go ahead with a badger cull in England.
Plans announced on Tuesday, 19 July – the last day before parliament’s summer recess – mean that at least 70 per cent of the badger population in specific areas of the country will be killed as part of a package of measures to try to control bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle.
This is despite scientific studies which have shown that culling would be of little help in reducing the disease in the long term, and could actually make things worse in some areas.
Their website directs you to their response to the Defra Consultation on the proposed cull, raising some valid arguments. Another useful website offering ways of making your voice heard is The League Against Cruel Sport which outlines some of the positive steps you can take.
Primarily, and with a view to doing something right now that can really help, please take just a couple of minutes to sign the 38 Degrees petition against the cull; it’s time well spent as every signature really counts. And do make sure you pass it on to your friends as you’d be surprised how many people simply aren’t even aware any of this is happening: badgers don’t seem to make the headlines all that often, even when this kind of atrocity is in the offing, which is what I find most astounding of all – it amounts to organised mass-murder under our very noses.
PLEASE PLEASE make your voice heard – the badgers really do need you!