Should badgers get the vote and other jolly wheezes #banthecull

Should badgers get the vote? This blog post explores the motion…

When I were a lad with no cares other than the distant dark clouds of impending A Level examinations our form classroom was situated above an arch through which pupils passed at break times. Despite being supposedly the most mature class in school we used to escape the pressure of said impending exams by letting off a bit of steam (I’m sticking to that line).

Our class had a sink and we would have hours fun by filling up cups of water and pouring it on unsuspecting passers by below. This was a fairly inaccurate process because we had to guess when someone would be coming out from underneath the arch – F=mg and all that – it took time for the water to reach pupil height and more often than not we would miss.

Being a highly intelligent class we devised a process that would improve our accuracy. Someone would look out of the classroom window at the other side of the arch and start walking when a victim disappeared from view underneath. When our paceman reached the a few feet from the sink we would drop the water. We did score a few direct hits but never seemed to get into trouble for this.

Fast forwarding to the modern era and recognising that I am in the process of putting four kids through high school I do of course regale them with this and other educational stories (pan to wife, eyebrows raised at poor paternal example-making). I am pleased to tell you that things haven’t changed a bit.

Last night kid 3, currently in the lower sixth, was talking about his General Studies class. The teacher sounds like a good sort and starts each lesson by asking the class to scribble a current affairs topic on a piece of paper. The paper would be folded and as each student put theirs in the pot they would say out loud what the topic was. Sir would then draw one piece of paper out of the pot and the class would spend ten minutes discussing the chosen topic.

Very interesting. Kids get a good grasp on a wide range of opinions on a wide range of subjects.

This week the teacher was late so the kids decided that each of them would write their subject as “should badgers get the vote”. When the time came to put their suggestions in the pot they each said a genuine current affairs topic – immigration, gay marriage etc.

There was general mirth when teach discovered the plot and the upshot was, fair play to him, they spent ten minutes discussing universal suffrage for badgers. I don’t know if it went to a class vote but I’m pretty sure it would have come down in favour of the badger. The fight back begins #banthecull.

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  1. Chris Conder

    Its great that badgers, gay marriage, corrupt bankers etc get discussed, especially at school where young brains can be brought into play, but school is a big influence on youngsters. I remember a discussion where we were asked which newspapers we had in our house. (this is 55 years ago) and the teacher said the news of the world wasn’t fit to read. Since then I haven’t been able to read that paper and used to flinch if I saw it in someone’s house.
    Regarding the badger cull, this is a very emotional area.
    If it is to be discussed then the rural angle has to come into it, not just the emotional one. Badgers are very cute.
    We are farmers. We have had a badger sett here for years. We leave them alone, they do no harm, they are healthy. If we found out they had TB we would have culled. (in the days when it was allowed) That would have prevented them passing the disease to other setts, and to our cows and other animals. That is what used to happen, the rural people, farmers, gamekeepers etc kept the disease under control and protected the species.
    Now with all the do gooders the disease is rife, and there is no way vaccination can protect them. You can vaccinate farmed animals but not wild ones.
    We wouldn’t hesitate to exterminate rats, mice, termites, ants, slugs and snails, or wipe out a colony of wasps. Just because a badger is cute we are squeamish.
    I think debate is good, and information from all angles is essential, but the fact remains that one has to put one’s own house in order before pontificating on things we don’t have a full grasp of. Leave the management of the countryside to those who understand nature, and have looked after it for generations. They know their onions. And those in defra who think they know should be made to live and work in the environment they are making rules and regulations about, because it is becoming increasingly obvious they haven’t a clue. No farmer would kill healthy badgers, its the worst thing you can do, because a healthy badger keeps others out. If you cull the sett then a diseased family could move in.

  2. Chris Conder

    Am adding this comment for another person who asked me to run a ‘survey’ on facebook. I think it will do better on this blog, and especially if Tref can get it into the hat at school again!

    Here it is:
    Sent from Windows Mail
    Morning Chris

    As a Farmers Wife what is your take on the Badger problem?
    I’ve just got back from Marlborough and read in the paper that to date it has cost over 7m pounds to kill 1.771 badgers that’s £4,100 each. this is due to the red tape that involves the do-gooders who must have no idea on the damage that badgers are doing to the environment let alone the disputed loss of livestock due to TB infection
    Skylarks and other ground nesting birds are being decimated plus hedgehogs are now in decline to say they are not a menace or on the increase is hiding once head in the sand. Whilst out stalking in one area I counted 20. The damage they do to the ground in an area where horse riding and training is a major business and occupation is unbelievable . The so called advisers are not even involved with the Countryside management system only sticking there oar in on a Wind in the Willows sentimentality
    With your experience on Facebook do a ’feel’ for general opinion
    Regards
    Len

  3. Trefor Davies Trefor Davies

    I’m not sure i fully understand this last comment. Is Len saying that badgers are a nuisance and are damaging to skylarks, hedgehogs and the rural economy or is it the red tape bearing do-gooders?

    1. Chris Conder

      Not sure either Tref, I just copied and pasted his email. I think he could mean both 😉 I have sent him this link so maybe he will chip in and clarify.

  4. Well most of us will be dead anyway once this global climate of warming change thing kicks in, decimates the food stocks, ruins the economy and makes it really tough to live. So I think we should nuke the badgers in order to stop them becoming the new master race.

    But on a note of sanity, I live in an urban area and I work in an urban area but I trust rural farmers to have a better grasp on problems over their side of the fence than I or any city politician ever could. So if farming folk say this is a problem and Badgers aren’t rare then why not? Alternatively we could re-introduce Wolves and I’m sure that wouldn’t create any problems; we could always hire Liam Neeson if it did.

    At the end of the day there are bigger problems in the world and if Badgers need to be controlled then let’s make badger burgers and have a BBQ with them.

  5. PhilT

    In the 70s MAFF used to gas badgers, badgers were rare, hedgehogs common and TB was under control with lots of small dairy farms TB Tested.

    Now badgers and TB are everywhere, and hedgehogs are rare. Big dairy farms suffer large financial losses if they get a TB reactor. Grazing land and lawns are ripped up by badgers looking for food.

    The “professionally” organised cull is expensive because it’s easy to take money off civil servants, the whole thing is too bureaucratic and the animal rights fanatics need police protection instead of taking their chance with a .22 rifleman in the dark.

  6. Len

    In reply to Trefor
    Badgers eat ground nesting birds eggs and chicks plus hedgehogs that is the jist of my comments
    Red tape you get anywhere

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