INFORMATION

Badgers

The Badger (Meles meles), Welsh name Broch, is one of the most easily recognised native species of our countryside. With coarse grey fur covering a felted under-fur on its upper body and with black under-parts, it is the distinctive black and white face which makes it so readily identifiable. Badgers have now acquired a special place in the affections and interest of a wide spectrum of people. Living a nocturnal existence, badgers spend the day sleeping underground in their sett, an intricate network of interconnected tunnels and chambers, with heaps of excavated earth outside its entrances which are grouped together on the surface. Being social creatures, badgers live together in discrete family groups made up of individuals, each with their own distinctive personality and temperament. Each social group, averaging around 6 animals and sometimes referred to as a clan, ranges over its well defined territory to forage during the night and territories of neighbouring social groups do not overlap. Territorial boundaries are marked by latrine sites at strategic points.
Badgers do not hibernate but are a lot less active during the coldest winter months. Having built up fat reserves over the autumn when food is plentiful, they will sometimes remain underground for days at a time. In February a sow badger of breeding age will have her litter of usually between 1 and 3 cubs, with most cubs being born during that month, although there can be some variation. Cubs' first appearances above ground usually occur from mid to late April though due to a long lactation period weaning will not have begun at that stage. They are dependent on their mother for some months. They inhabit a wide range of habitats. The badger is a forager, not a hunter and has evolved to become omnivorous in its feeding habits, living largely on a diet of earthworms and other invertebrate life. They are adaptable and opportunistic, and will supplement their diets with other readily available sources of food according to the seasons, such as cereals, young rabbits, fruits, insects and sometimes carrion if discovered, as well as food put out in gardens. It is this adaptability which is probably the main reason for their success as a species, although unfortunately they have long been the victims of acts of persecution. (
By lifelong badger conservationist, Irene Brierton)

Badgers and Bovine TB – Westminster UK Government Stance

On 7th July, 2008, Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, told the House of Commons that even large scale culling of badgers only produced "marginal benefits" and that whilst a prolonged cull over even larger areas "might work, it might also not work". He therefore concluded: "I do not think that it would be right to take this risk." in addition, the Secretary of State has decided to make TB vaccination a priority and he intends to establish a "Bovine TB Partnership Group" with the industry. Mr Benn told MPs that the burden of TB control falls most heavily on farmers and that whilst it would be possible to tighten cattle measures still further, this would come at a cost. The Partnership Group will therefore be able to decide whether or not there should be further cattle controls and other measures to control the disease. Mr Benn concluded that: "Our best chance is to work together." Trevor Lawson, for the Badger Trust, responded: "We are delighted that Hilary Benn has based his decision on sound science. The Government and the farming industry can now move forwards together in controlling the disease in a way which supports rather than harms the industry. Eradication is a long way off, but the science clearly shows that control is rapidly within our grasp, provided that the farming unions are prepared to work towards it." However, the Badger Trust criticised Conservative spokesman James Paice for claiming that Mr Benn had "gone against the advice of the ISG" and for claiming that PCR - the Polymerase Chain Reaction - could be used to "target" diseased badgers. Trevor Lawson said: "The Secretary of State has not gone against the advice of the ISG at all. It advised him that badger culling can make 'no meaningful contribution' to bovine TB control. Furthermore, Mr Paice should be well aware - because we showed him the research paper on 31 January 2006 - that the Veterinary Laboratories Agency has ruled out PCR as an effective test for TB in badgers[1]. This test is even ruled out by the researchers who have been working on it, including Dr Orin Courtenay at the University of Warwick who tells the Badger Trust that 'the application of this technology could only really be used for detecting BCG after a vaccine trial'. "Mr Paice appears not to have grasped the scientific evidence and it is lamentable that he seems so determined to kill badgers in spite of the overwhelming evidence that this will not help the situation."


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"They're not listening!" – Protestors at the Save The Badger Rally, Cardiff, join the crowd standing in silence with fingers in ears, to symbolise their frustration that WAG are refusing to listen to everyone calling for them to abandon their plan to slaughter badgers)

Badgers and the Welsh Assembly Government's Appalling Position

Badgers in Wales face a senseless slaughter, if Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones accepts a proposal to kill badgers from the National Assembly for Wales, Badger Trust Cymru warned today, 31 March 2008. In a new report, Badger Trust Cymru reveals that Wales has the highest number of TB-infected cattle per 1,000 cattle tested in the UK. The report shows that the problem can be attributed to the import of TB-infected cattle in the wake of foot and mouth disease as well as phases of growth in the Welsh dairy herd using cattle from TB-infected SW England. In February, the Welsh Assembly Government adopted a recommendation from the Rural Development Sub-Committee for a badger cull ‘to provide further evidence on the effects on the spread of TB of culling wildlife in an area with hard boundaries’. But Badger Trust Cymru says that this is a cheap political quid pro quo for the farming unions, disguised as scientific research. It can add nothing to the body of scientific evidence already available. Badger Trust Cymru reveals that Northern Ireland had a similar TB situation to Wales but has halved the problem in just four years through better cattle testing, monitoring and enforcement, and without killing a single badger. In contrast, the Republic of Ireland has been exterminating badgers non-stop since 2002 and has not even dented its colossal bovine TB problem. Trevor Lawson, bovine TB advisor to Badger Trust Cymru, commented: "There is a very real danger that the Welsh Assembly Government will sleep-walk into badger culling despite the overwhelming evidence that it doesn't work. Such a cull will cost Welsh tax payers millions, wreck tourist's perception of rural Wales and do nothing to control or eradicate bovine TB. "We very much hope that Elin Jones will have the political wisdom to reject the culling proposal from Rural Development Sub-Committee and instead focus all her resources on cattle, which are the real reservoir of bovine TB infection."

Badgers and Bovine TB – The Truth Behind The Myths and Lies

Below is an educational poster for schools, or for anyone else wishing to know the true scientific facts and data surrounding the issue in an easy to understand format. This excellent poster was designed by an undergaduate Biology team at Imperial College London which included Brian May's daughter, Emily. Our thanks to everyone involved in creating the poster and to Brian for sending it to us. Pleace click on the image below to download a copy.

 

ON THIS SITE

With the Welsh Assembly Government declaring that they intend carrying out the mass slaughter of Badgers within the next few months, time is of the essence. All those who oppose their actions need to start talking to each other. We need to join together. We need to plan a a coordinated response. And, we need to do that now!

Save The Badger was set up as an umbrella group to coordinate the campaign against the Welsh Assembly Government's plan to slaughter badgers by the thousand in Wales in early 2010. It will of course also fight any similar plans by the Westminster government or any of the other devolved powers in the UK.

Please take the time to look through the pages on our site.

 We will try to bring you any up to date information and news which is of particular relevance – if you want more general information, please go to one of the other sites where you will find a lot of background information.

We will also periodically feature the views and opinions of prominent individuals who oppose the WAG decision. We begin with a piece by Welsh writer and environmental activist, John Evans. This is a must read!

Don't forget, we want to hear your news, and we also want you views. We must unite together to fight this premeditated act of barbarity.

Please contact us by clicking the link at the side of the page.

"The evidence is that a badger cull on a scale or level of efficiency that seems feasible will not solve cattle farmers' problem – that problem is truly serious. Understandably, the feeling is that something must be done, but the evidence is that it should not be a badger cull." Sir David Attenborough

“We must not make badgers scapegoats for bovine TB”. Joanna Lumley

"I say no to this or any other badger cull and I urge all caring people to do the same. Get rid of ignorance, not badgers.” Benjamin Zephaniah

 

 

 

OTHER ORGANISATIONS AGAINST THE CULL

 

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