Badgers need our love more than ever

As we celebrate National Badger Day on 6th October spare a thought for this wonderfully secretive wild animal at a tough time for badgers

This ‘Brocktober’ is a time to come together to celebrate the beauty and wonder of badgers, an iconic and popular native British species.

“We can’t let the Government’s senseless badger cull or the many crimes badgers face, deter us from celebrating and championing this amazing native species,” said Adam Laidlaw, Executive Director of Badger Trust.

He added: “With new short films about badgers for all ages and special messages from a whole clan of brilliant badger friends, we hope that badger supporters everywhere become badger champions and help us share the badger love far and wide this October.

“We’re especially grateful that well known wildlife campaigners including Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Steve Backshall and others have recorded short films to say why they love badgers too.
They help us amplify the message that badgers play an integral and very important part in the UK's ecosystems and that we should all do whatever we can to conserve their future.”

The earliest traces of badgers date back hundreds of thousands of years, to a time when wolves, brown bears and lynx once roamed Britain. As a living symbol of the British countryside, these secretive and mysterious mustelids continue to bring joy to those lucky enough to encounter them in the wild. And badgers play an integral and very important part in the UK's ecosystems. Their role as ecosystem engineers contributes to habitat heterogeneity, maintaining and regenerating soil health through foraging and sett building, and helping to disperse seeds through their dung. They create new habitats for amphibians, invertebrates and pollinators and their setts provide refuge for other wildlife too.

However, sadly, Badger Trust is all too aware that this time of celebration falls during a tough time for badgers – the intensive Badger Cull.

The seemingly endless badger slaughter continues in England, with over 140,000 badgers killed since the current badger cull began in 2013. And in 2021 alone, a shocking 75,930 badgers are slated to be shot from Cornwall to Cumbria under misguided and fundamentally flawed attempts to control bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), an infectious respiratory disease that affects cattle. Badgers are not the problem, yet the government has focused on badgers, even though 94% of cattle infections are from cow to cow.

Adam Laidlaw commented: “We believe the ongoing badger cull negatively impacts on the understanding and reputation of the badger, falsely fostering a belief that it's ‘fair game’ to persecute badgers as the government does it on a mass scale.”

Badgers have a long history of cruelty and persecution in the UK spanning hundreds of years. To this day badgers remain one of the most persecuted of all species despite having one of the highest levels of protection in law. From blood sports to development concerns, thousands of badgers become the victims of wildlife crimes each year.