Spring update

sett checking

Since the Badger Action Network launched last year, we have answered well over 300 emails from both individuals and grass roots organisations who are keen to find out how best they can help.

We found it interesting how many local landowners have contacted us to ask how they could stop unwanted cull operatives trespassing on their land. Our advice is to liaise closely with the police since armed trespass is a criminal offence. Another deterrent is to install hidden cameras.

With this year’s predicted rollout of the cull to new counties and the possibility of supplementary culling in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire, we’d urge any concerned landowner to contact us and we will be happy to help them further.

Right now, groups are getting out to check on setts and badger activity in previously culled zones as well the potential new zones. The good news is that even in the heart of cull zones, there are still signs of badger activity.

If you would like to join the effort to save our badgers, please find your local group here.

The nitty-gritty behind TB testing badgers

Recently news surfaced via Network for Animals that Defra might be TB testing badger carcasses during this year’s cull. As often the case with all things to do with the Government’s badger cull, this is more confusing than it might seem. More than that, it could be a bad thing for badgers living where culls have been carried out in Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Data from the Randomised Badger Cull Trial (RBCT) shows that TB rates in badgers increased during and after culling. By the fourth cull, in fact, the scientists concluded that the ‘prevalence of infection was approximately double that recorded on the initial cull’. So if Defra tests badgers in the cull zones this year – and yes, it’s the fourth year of culling – it’s not rocket science to guess what the results might be. There is a caveat, though. The culls haven’t been carried out adhering to RBCT methodology so the results could be different. And with no TB testing of badgers in previous years, there will be nothing to compare it to.

Going back to hard-won scientific data from the days of the RBCT, it’s noticeable that as TB in cattle rises, infection rates in badgers rise too. The clue is in the name – bovine tuberculosis. Reduce the rates in cattle with more effective cattle testing and controls and the rates drop in cattle, followed by the reduction of TB in badgers.

So it doesn’t seem to be a good thing to test badgers for bovine TB right now. Added to that, there’s also the thorny problem of finding out whether a badger that tests positive for TB is infected or infectious. There’s a world of difference between the two and, again looking back at the RBCT data, very few of the badgers that tested positive for TB were infectious.

Added to this, who is going to check that the badgers tested by Defra are randomised samples and how thorough will the testing be? Who, indeed, will carry out the testing?  And what if the badgers that test positive are actually carrying natural resistance to the disease?

So after the initial prevarication about testing badgers for TB at the start of all this, is Defra trying to reinvent the wheel or is there a hidden agenda? Seems that, once again, the Government isn’t as open and transparent on this issue as it could be.

So don’t forget our badgers need you more than ever before. Contact us to find out where your nearest local badger protection group is operating.

Festival-goers sign up to help protect badgers

Badger Action Network hit the ground running as their stall proved a massive success at VegFest Bristol 2016 over the weekend of 21 & 22 May. Leaflets outlining the travesty that is the Government’s badger cull policy were snapped up and over 300 people signed up to become part of the local grass roots organisations that are springing up all over the country. Able to build on the success of group actions in Gloucestershire, Dorset and Somerset, these local groups will also hit the ground at speed.

The national media may have lost interest, the farming industry and the Government may have hoped that opposition to their ‘crazy’ badger cull would grind to a halt, but the depth of feeling that we encountered against the badger cull shows that they are wrong. The opposition is growing stronger day by day as any rational person can see that the badger cull is wrong on so many levels.

So watch our VegFest video and pledge to be a badger hero today!

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BAN at VegFest Bristol 2016
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We’re at VegFest Bristol – 21 & 22 May!

BAN has created a fabulous badger-themed stall at Bristol’s VegFest this weekend, 21 and 22 May. We will be in the Amphitheatre, opposite a chocolate stall apparently, so who could resist coming our way? Stall number: A43

Look at our facebook page to see how you can win complimentary tickets. We will have a raffle and a competition but, more important than that, we’ll be on hand to explain how people can help save badger lives in 2016.

There are so many inspiring ways in which people can express their opposition to the badger cull which as Natural England, the Government’s own Advisory Body, warned is an ‘unprecedented’ attack on an iconic, much loved, native British mammal.  We cannot let this go unchallenged.

Veg Fest opening times: 11.00 – 18.00 (Amphitheatre)

More details and full directions