Tag Archives: somerset

Herd bovine TB risk factor – badger persecution (data)

Today I came across this data map and table which I found very interesting. They both show wildlife incidents involving badgers during 2013 that were reported, but in different formats.

2013 badger persecution incidents 22013 badger persecution incidents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a couple of weeks back the cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset finished after the third year. In Dorset it was the first year of culls. If you look at all three of these areas, the numbers are very high. In fact if you compare the data to the map you will see that three out of six of the highest zones of reported badger incidents by county are in the West Country.

Many may interpret this data in different ways but for this short post I’m going to contrast this data with a report that I also read today. The report is about herd-level bovine tuberculosis risk factors and assessing the role of low-level badger population disturbance. This study was carried out by Queens University Belfast and found that badger persecution IS implicated as a risk factor which contributes to the persistence of Bovine TB hotspot.

Could there be a link between hunting, illegal sett interference (etc) and the persistently high incidence of bTB in the recent cull zones, of which are areas with high levels of persecution rates?

Some very useful and interesting data:

http://www.scottishbadgers.org.uk/userfiles/file/Main_folder1/UK-BADGER-CRIME-2013-final-version-1.pdf

http://pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/herdlevel-bovine-tuberculosis-risk-factors-assessing-the-role-of-lowlevel-badger-population-disturbance(50f39952-8d8b-4791-9287-5d2db32d3ce4).html

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Fighting on at all levels

Raising the profile about how hideous this cull is very important. So has it been over the past weeks and months. Doing anything and everything to try and get through to those involved with making it happen. From what I’ve witnessed, read and heard, it hasn’t been easy at all, which is obvious! This fight isn’t just about the cruelty to the badgers and the science behind it but the policy and politics too.

So as the culls have begun, it’s important to keep up the fight on every level. We must show them that we’re not going anywhere and neither will we ever give up. At the moment so many things are going on to fight against the cull, it’s quite uplifting in such a horrible situation. Although it is happening right now people haven’t given up at all. I certainly felt very hopeless last week when I heard the news, especially about Dorset, but giving up is the worst thing you can do, it’s all about turning it into positive energy and strengthening the fight.

As you may know there’s a whole bunch of dedicated people patrolling the cull zones. I follow what’s happening and how their doing via social media. It looks a very, very tough job for them all. Whether it’s the lack of sleep or some of the sights they witness, it must be hard. But these people are just brilliant, they still go out and are still doing everything they possibly can. Unfortunately though, they do need more support. By that I mean more people and funds. By having more people patrolling with them at night that’s more badgers lives saved, actual lives saved. Whether it’s releasing them from cages before they’re shot, monitoring the setts or patrolling the local area to see what activity is going on.

This is the third time I’ve given details away on my blog but they really do need your help.

Dorset – http://dorsetbandb.org

Gloucestershire – www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org

Somerset – www.somersetagainstthebadgercull.org

I really would like to go and spend a good amount of time helping with all the work they’re doing in the cull zones but unfortunately at the moment I only have at least one weekend planned.

As you’ll probably know, in a situation like this you just want to do what you can and as I mentioned it’s important to keep the fight up on all grounds, keeping the pressure up. So much so a rally at Westminster took place yesterday afternoon.

The rally started at 12 and took place at Old Palace Yard. People gathered, placards were held high and badger masks were handed out, then a crowd of people turned up with placards and Brian May. He always seems to do a superb job. He raises a lot of awareness on social media and in the media and not just for badgers either. Everyone was advised to wear black as it was acted as a funeral. They also had an old hearse with flowers shaping #TeamBadger and #FailingBadgerCull along with ‘2263 RIP’. It was a very strong and stern message to those on the opposite side of the road.

There was a variety of talks, from MPs such as Caroline Lucas (Green) and Angela Smith (Labour) to Will Travers (Born Free foundation), Hilary Jones (Lush), Pauline Kidner (Secret World), Peter Martin (Badger Trust), Marc the Vet, Brian May and a few others too.

After the talks there was some gathering, chatting and lots of interviewing as there were lots of journalist about.

Here are a few photos from the day.

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I really enjoyed Caroline Lucas’ talk, it was very powerful and clearly expressing that we will win.

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On the way back to our train we happened to pass near this rough place and I couldn’t help but use the opportunity to get this photo.

Worry not, do more

You may be aware that the badger cull is underway. Over the six weeks they aim to kill 1,000-2,000 animals.

Lives wasted. It’s a disgrace and with it being something that you are against, you want to show your support and help fight against it. For me, I’ve watched, observed and filmed badgers locally to me for quite a few years. I know how superb they are and it makes me very upset that they’re the victims despite all science against it.

So what can you do? For starters, on the ground in the cull zones, badgers desperately need your help. Either patrolling, sett sitting, sabbing, helping at the camps or so on. This is the sort of action that saves lives and shows that we aren’t going anywhere.

If you can’t make it to the cull zones to volunteer there, you can still support the work they do by donating, tweeting or so on. Another opportunity to show how much we care and show how this cull is absolutely ludicrous is by joining Team Badger in London tomorrow. Details below.

Details for getting involved within cull zones:
Dorset:

Web – http://dorsetbandb.org

Email – dorsetbbw@gmail.com

Somerset:

Web – www.somersetagainstthebadgercull.org

Email – somersetagainstthebadgercull@gmail.com

Gloucester:

Web – www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org

Email – somersetagainstthebadgercull@gmail.com

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Badgers – species not game pieces

I go back to school next week, well my first day at sixth form. Young people and children all over the country will be going back either this week or next. I wonder what the majority of them got up to during their summer term? I wonder how many got outside more then once and interacted with nature? I bet it wasn’t many, in fact I bet it’s a scary figure.

Seeing as many would not even gone out in the countryside or considered that, they won’t be aware of the horrors that are about to begin. Another bid to vandalise the British countryside to please some senseless humans.

I’ve had a busy summer holiday but I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Obviously all wildlife related! If I wasn’t out and about travelling around to different events or writing for some reason or another I was out on my local patch or going to watch and film one of my favourite animals, the badger.

They are a superb creature and I have a great interest in them. I think when I first started setting my trail camera up a few years ago at a local sett, was when my love for them grew. I got some brilliant footage of them rolling around, playing with each other, eating and some unusual stuff too. This was amazing and got me very excited. It still does now when I set my camera up or spend some hours around the sett.

A few years back I also started to learn more about the problems that some have with this animal. Whether it’s to do with btb or because some have no respect whatsoever for them. After them having such a positive impact on me, I wanted to give that back how and when I could. This included writing about them here on my blog, getting involved with the Badger Trust, going on demonstrations and much more. As this has grown more, I plan to go out later this month to the cull zones and volunteer there.

It’s difficult to do more though as I’m still at school. I remember just a few months back when I didn’t quite have my priorities straight, I’d be down to the nearby badger sett to watch them rather then revise. I think it did me good though!

Thinking and writing about when I go and watch or film them brings me joy. It makes me realise that there is hope fighting for an animal that deserves to be here much more then any one of us.

I’ve felt pretty hopeless and down over the last week after the news, even though it was predictable. I think that’s the reason why it’s taken me almost a week to write this blog post, I just haven’t known what to write. But I wanted to write something. Even though the animals that I watch here in Staffordshire aren’t in cull zones, they’re just like those that are. They’re still the same species. Sadly though, they’re still targeted by persecution and man’s evil eye to entertain. A couple of years back there had been disruption at the sett I visit the most but fortunately all looks fine at the moment.

Even with my love for the countryside and badgers, it doesn’t make me naive and stupid. I’m fully aware that there is a problem with btb in cattle and that something needs to be done.

What makes this issue worse for everyone though is the fact that it’s this badger blame game. Wrong on every ground and it’s extremely corrupt, I really can’t understand what their game is. Well I can, we’ve got a Tory government and too many people who either don’t give a dam about what goes on in the countryside or have no idea and aren’t aware. Along with this, those that are the most ‘connected’ and have the most ‘power’ are those who are greedy. Another aspect is DEFRA (etc) have got to be seen to be doing something about btb, and badgers are the easy way out.

It’s like picking on the vulnerable or the poor, the badgers obviously have no voice. However they do have a lot friends and supporters from a whole range of backgrounds! Ones who will stop at nothing to protect them and give the badgers the justice they deserve, wanting to let them live in peace!

At the moment, seeing as the cull is going ahead in West Gloucestshire, Somerset and now Dorset, all energy is being aimed at getting out in and around the cull zones. This includes sett sitting, patrolling, sabbing, help at the camps and much more. These are the people that are saving lives now and they desperately need as much help as possible so if you can help in any way then please do.

You can find out more and get hold of contact details by clicking here.

I’d also like to give a plug for National Badger Day which is on the 6th of October.