The government and the NFU are about to slaughter 7,000 badgers and in spite of all the published and credible science being against the cull and 92% of the public being against the cull they intend to proceed. The NFU set up Vote OK to campaign and support MP's in parliament who would follow their orders and they are calling in their debt.
Click here to sign Governments petition http://teambadger.org/petition.html
Save me and Team Badger are opposed to the cull and will continue to fight. Please join us by signing both these petitions.
Badgers, designated in Latin as Meles Meles, genetically belong to the Mustilid family, which includes weasels, stoats, otters, polecats, martens, pine martens and skunks.
Badgers have lived in Britain for thousands of years, since well before these islands were populated with humans, but most people never see them. They are nocturnal, shy, and, in normal circumstances, keep themselves to themselves, in tight family groups. They live underground in large self-dug systems of tunnels and chambers, known as setts. They have strong family ties, and some setts have been recorded in the same place for over 300 years.
To those of us lucky enough to observe them, these are awesome creatures. They are much like little bears, full of character and fun; badger watching has become a lifetime fascination for many people. They are very striking visually, with unmistakable black and white markings on the face. As with many creatures, at first sight they all look the same to humans, but for anyone who is around them for any length of time, their facial features are soon seen to be very individual, as are their personalities.
Badgers are very territorial and are creatures of habit. They are clean animals, clearing out their home daily, and even make their own toilets at a distance from the living quarters. A family can comprise up to 13 individuals. Sometimes they have separate Winter and Summer quarters. During the Winter they can spend days at a time underground, sleeping. Badgers in the wild are rarely seen during the day.
The occupants of a Badger sett are a tight community, and protect each other well; a group of badgers is known as a clan. Young badgers, known as cubs, will play with each other, tumbling and nipping, and this helps strengthen their family ties, as well as preparing them to defend themselves and their families later on. In disused setts that have been exposed, both food and toys have been found in the larger chambers. The setts can be very large indeed – reportedly up to half a mile across, with multiple entrances and sophisticated ventilation systems. Badgers are one of very few creatures that are capable of delayed implantation. This means they can have their young when they choose (perhaps we humans could learn something here !).
The dominant male of the clan, or boar, will fight to maintain his status, and if challenged by a lower ranking male he will fight aggressively to hold his position. This fight will often end up with one of the badgers leaving, and he will start his own clan elsewhere. The characteristic ear and bottom bitten males will occasionally take refuge in hedges in the first instance before digging a sett, their powerful bodies and long claws making this relatively easy work. Badgers live in woodland areas, but sometimes appear in gardens looking for food (after all, they were here first!) They are creatures of habit and will take the same route on nightly outings. Their main diet is earthworms, and they often find these in pastures – where farm animals graze – which is why they came under suspicion of helping to spread cow diseases, such as bovine TB. They scratch the grass for bugs, grubs and larva that lie just below the surface, and have little respect for a well-manicured lawn! They have been known to remove fences to get back into a garden. Such determined action will only be in pursuit of food. Badgers are omnivores, and will eat cereal-based dog food, meat, peanuts and fruit. Being creatures of habit, if food is left regularly, they will come to expect it, and will come pestering if you stop feeding.
Like all our wildlife, badgers are naturally afraid of humans - history has taught them to flee for survival; but they can be observed from hides and houses close to where food is put out to interest them. In 1997, a survey estimated that there were about 50,000 social badger groups in the UK, accounting for approximately 310,000 badgers. Sadly, in spite of the badger’s legally protected status, it’s estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 badgers die at the hands of diggers each year. Badger baiting was banned in 1835, but this barbaric activity still exists today in many areas. Some 30 - 40,000 are killed on the roads each year, but, since badgers became accused of spreading bTB it is well known that there are many vengeance killings under cover. Farmers have been accused of gassing, poisoning or shooting badgers on their land, and throwing them on the road, to give the impression that they are road kill.
Badgers are protected by a number of laws. Badgers may not be deliberately killed, persecuted or trapped except under licence. Badger baiting (using dogs to fight a badger) has been outlawed since 1835, and digging for them was made illegal by the Badgers Act 1973. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 consolidates past badger legislation and, in addition to protecting the badger itself, makes it an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct badger setts.