`What the coalition is going to do to badgers

The exit wound in the side of a badger shot by criminals. The marksman had aimed where the official guidance instructs: through the heart and lungs but avoiding the shoulder blade. This is the result of Coalition policy. Picture by Irene Brierton.

The Badger Trust as well as other agencies depends on the vigilance of the public to verify whether the killing is being carried out effectively, humanely and safely. However, the Trust emphasises that no one should put themselves at risk or commit trespass or any other illegal act.

Please phone 0775 173 1107 with any information.

A SHOT BADGER has been found with both entry and exit wounds typical of a rifle bullet. It is a graphic example of what the Coalition will be inflicting in England [1] as badgers face judicial murder in a misguided attempt to control bovine tuberculosis. The Badger Trust has always feared that official culling would be taken as a licence for anyone to kill badgers illegally.

At the same time Secret World Wildlife Rescue of Highbridge, Somerset has produced a protocol [2] to advise anyone finding dead or injured badgers in the killing areas. It covers the effects of rifle shots and describes signs that would show they had not been killed as cleanly as Natural England stipulates. It would be particularly important to report any badgers that had survived rifle shots because they should be counted under the regulations [3] and properly disposed of.

Irene Brierton, chairman of the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group was alerted by a local resident, who found the shot badger beside a public footpath in the Cromford Moor/Wirksworth area near Matlock. There was an entry hole on one side and a vet found an exit wound on the other just where it would be under Natural England’s guidance to shooters for the forthcoming round of killing. Mrs Brierton saw fresh tyre tracks typical of those left by “lampers” illegally hunting badgers with high powered spotlights and rifles. This badger had clearly been the victim of a criminal act. Derbyshire police are looking into the incident and ask the public to report anyone acting suspiciously.

Papers detailing discussions between the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have now been released under the Freedom of Information Act. Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway, ACPO’s coordinator for domestic extremism, said farmers and landowners culling badgers with firearms (of any description) had potential to place armed farm workers in the near vicinity of protesters and activists, typically during the night-time. This was regarded as a scenario with clear potential for harm to public safety and some potential for unlawful direct action, disorder and criminality.

The Secret World protocol [2] covers gathering essential clinical data on the spot and the need for photographs, working with vets, the value of x-rays and freezing carcases. Examination forms are provided, with information about where to send them. Any stored frozen badgers will be collected at a later date and full post-mortem examinations carried out as necessary, in a safe environment, using standardised procedures.

[1] Wales has opted to vaccinate badgers, Scottish cattle are officially TB free and Northern Ireland researching a range of measures.

[2] Pauline Kidner is at or on 07717651513.


Jack Reedy

BADGER TRUST |  27 September 2012