Sunday, August 22, 2004

A New Vintage?

Badgers eat earthworms.
True, but they are omnivourous, intelligent opportunists when it comes to diet.

A few years ago a group of badgers gave villagers in Somerset a taste of 'animal rights' when they partook of hamsters, pet rabbits and guinea pigs. After much red tape, and children's tears over their munched up pets, a license was granted and the badgers were moved to Exmoor - to the delight of farmers up there.

In 'Badger Heaven' - otherwise known as Woodchester Park in the Cotswolds, Dr. Chris Cheeseman and his team feed them peanuts by the tonne to check they 'habits' and 'movements'. I don't know about you, but if meals-on-wheels came to my door, I wouldn't have to go out and fetch any groceries.

A wildlife park in Staffordshire has the same tactic with peanuts, but charges the public a few £'s to view the herd - or is it flock - of badgers that trundle up to munch them. One local farmer tried to make hay of a field near the park, and was puzzled when the grass didn't grow and was flattened every morning.
He sat up and watched. Sixty eight badgers crossed it - and came back - en route for a peanut feast.

That's one for each cow a neighbouring dairy farmer lost in a Tb breakdown.

But with a hungry population at saturation point, badgers in West Cornwall are causing problems for a different type of farmer. They've developed a taste for grapes and are stripping the vines in Cornish Vineyards.

Farmers report that to a height of about 3 feet they have no grapes. Not one.

We hope they haven't coughed on the rest.
Vintage Tb?

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