Monday, December 05, 2011

Happy Brocklemas

Isn't he a cutey? And now we can reveal that you are able to buy bags of - Badger Food on which to feed him.
Searching amongst the shelves of a local pet superstore on a Saturday morning is not for the faint hearted, but occasionally it turns up something which may be a shock to some - particularly cattle farmers south / south west of Lancashire.
But such goodies would be viewed with delight by others of the Bill Oddie fraternity.

A quick 'google' turned up two brands of badger bait food. One is a formed biscuit of meat concentrate, oils and other stuff which should, say the instructions, be left out at dusk. On this link it was also marked 'out of stock', which is somewhat depressing.
The other one which we found was a coarse peanut based mix
which has secret ingredient, and comes in packs up to 52kg. And that's an awful lot of badger food.

In this instance and as it's Christmas, we won't mention the ethical arguments of encouraging an already top heavy badger population to increase by artificial supplementary feeding, purely for public gratification. And we will ignore the very real danger of badgers encouraged to feed up close and personal, bringing a highly infectious zoonosis into your front garden, and thus directly to your cat, dog or child.

From our parliamentary questions, we are already quite well aware of Defra's attitude to the translocation of badgers, sick, mended or disease status unknown and thus would presume that this intransigence extends to artificial feeding too.

The answers to our Questions confirmed that :
"as native species, there are no specific restrictions under current law regulating where badgers can be released once they have recovered". [ 6th Jan 2004: Col 249W 144446]

Although the use of the old Brock test (which boasts just 47 percent sensitivity) is encouraged and is mandatory if a license is applied for, relocations undertaken by so called 'animal hospitals' have more leeway and our Question revealed that:
" testing guidelines are not mandatory, but are set down in a voluntary code of practise". 31th Jan 2004: col 543W [ 1500609]

And finally on this thorny subject of these 'rescues', answers to our Questions confirmed that :
"this voluntary protocol was not devised or approved by Defra". 6th Feb 2004; Col 1109W [150583]".

So, you may release him anywhere at all. Your place or mine? Nobody really cares. And he now has a purpose built feed to sustain him too. But the result of this crazy over protection of a species in which Defra state "Tuberculosis is endemic" is no less distressing for old Brock himself. It may be called 'conservation' but under no circumstrances can it be deemed 'welfare'.

The badger is a victim of his protector's success.

Happy Brocklemas.

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