Saturday 4 October 2014

Recent rise in BADGER persecution

Joint Release from Badger Trust and Care for the Wild
Badger blame game is leading to huge increase in persecution

The Badger Trust released its annual report for 2013 on badger persecution today, claiming that the demonisation of badgers by the government and farming industry to justify the badger cull is leading to a significant increase in illegal persecution of the species.

The report shows that 2013 proved to be another year of mayhem, death and destruction for badgers throughout the UK. Badgers were baited with dogs, illegally shot and gassed, badgers were poisoned and had petrol poured down their setts and ignited and in some cases badgers were even skinned alive and thrown by the side of the road.

A total of 697 badger persecution incidents were reported during 2013 involving badger baiters, farmers, landowners, game keepers and property developers across the UK, but this is only the tip of the iceberg with thousands of incidents of illegal killing of badgers going unreported every year.

Commenting on the persecution report, Dominic Dyer CEO of the Badger Trust and Policy Advisor at Care for the Wild said:
“The badger is a protected species but remains subject to rising levels of persecution across the UK. The badger blame game when it comes to bovine TB and the demonisation of the species by the government and the farming industry to justify the disastrous badger cull policy, is making a bad situation worse.

“Over the last 12 months we have seen an increasing number of farmers and landowners taking the law into their own hands by illegally killing badgers by gassing, shooting, poisoning, snaring and the destruction of their setts.

“In the badger cull zones of Somerset and Gloucestershire we have seen a 250% increase in calls to local badger group helplines to report incidents of badger persecution, since the culls commenced three weeks ago.

“This includes two cases of fires being started on top of badger setts, in one case a farm contractor was seen piling up straw after the harvest and then setting light to it. Fortunately a local badger group volunteer called the fire brigade, who promptly responded and put the fire out.

“We have also seen an increase in illegal snaring of badgers, including a case where a lady checking her ponies found a badger with a snare caught in its mouth. The injuries were so severe, with the wound infested with maggots, that the badger had to be put to sleep. The snare was manufactured and set in the illegal self-locking configuration.

“Badger persecution is a blight on our modern society and involves people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Wildlife crime is a serious offence and wildlife protection groups such as the Badger Trust play a key role in helping the police gather intelligence on criminal activity in order to bring this issue to the attention of politicians and the media.

“I call on everyone who cares for the future of our badgers to remain vigilant and report all incidents of badger persecution to the police and the Badger Trust.
By working together we can help to beat wildlife crime and make the countryside not only a safer place for badgers but also for every other wildlife species.”