On the Badger Trail

My daughter’s friend’s mum works for an environmental charity and part of her role is to record badger numbers.  Last night she took the girls to a badger sett located in a beauty spot a few miles away from where we live. 

They all waited and waited in the hope that they would catch a glimpse of a badger.  Their waiting wasn’t in vain because three came out, one by one.  And much to their delight, one was a baby.  It was dark so the visibility was poor but still, they saw the furry creatures in all their black and white glory.

I imagine it’s not easy to collect data on such mysterious and nocturnal creatures and clearly it involves a lot of sitting around quietly and patiently.  But I’m so glad that my daughter stuck it out and got to see some even though she said the waiting was boring.

Badgers are protected by legislation but are held largely responsible for the spread of bovine TB.  Due to a strong farmers lobby, they are now, contentiously under threat of a government cull in spite of the experts saying that a cull will make no meaningful contribution to the control of the disease.  In fact, some experts say that culling would actually create conditions for spreading bovine TB.  

Have they still not come up with a vaccination?



8 responses to this post.

  1. Badgers have existed all the time as have cattle but the mad cow problem is a relatively recent one, so I am inclined to think that it isn’t the badgers the real cause of that problem, perhaps it should be sought in the fodder the cattle eat these times. Or what the badgers eat, so that the problem can be attacked at its root.


  2. Posted by Sian Thomas on May 16, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    It’s interesting to see that it is looking likely that England will not be following Wales’ decision to cull badgers in a specific test area.

    There’s an interesting blog on a farming website – ffermio.tv by Badgers Trust Cymru – it’s worth a read –

    The website is connected to the Welsh farming programme – Ffermio that is broadcast on S4C – you can watch the programme again on the website and there’s also a lot of news content.


  3. Mad cow disease or BSE is a completely different disease from bovine tuberculosis. BSE is spread by contact by just about anything, humans included.
    It’s a moot point whether bovine TB spreads from cattle to badger or vice versa, the disease has been around for so long that the point of origin will probably never be established. The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB concluded last year that “rigidly applied control measures targeted at cattle can reverse the rising incidence of disease, and halt its geographical spread”. In other words, farmers should stop blaming badgers and put their own house in order with much more scrupulous herd management.


  4. Badgers 4 Cattle Farmers 0 🙂


  5. If only 😎


  6. Jose, yes you’re right in that the badger isn’t the real source of the problem.

    Sian, hi. Thanks for the information. It supports the link I provided from the Science Daily website. And as your article states, it’s the tax-payer that picks up the bill.

    Pete, I totally agree as you probably know from the discussions re. this on your own blog.

    Helen, if only indeed. 😦


  7. What a wonderful opportunity for your daughter!


  8. Hi Binds. Yes that’s just what I thought.


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