The European Badger (Meles meles), is an iconic, 12kg carnivorous Mustelidae that is native all over Europe and even in parts of the Middle East. It’s a truly remarkable mammal which we all know and love, yet very rarely ever see. I myself have still, to this day, not seen a live Badger but instead witnessed their lifeless bodies boarding road sides and motor ways. For the many, the Badger symbolises the Great British countryside. When you hear the word Badger you can’t help but think of one of those picturesque images taken in a traditional British Oak woodland with the ground carpeted in Bluebells. Everyone loves the Badger, or do they?
In recent times our beloved Badgers have been under assault. In 2012 there were 353 reports of badger persecution, such as poisoning and setts being burned out with petrol, and it get worse. In 2013 that number had worryingly increased to 697 and as you can guess the number grows every year. We’re all aware of the inhumane, sickening and horrific stories which happen to our Birds of Prey, such as the Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus), White-tailed Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla), Common Buzzard’s (Buteo buteo), Peregrines (Falco peregrinus) and so many more, yet from what I can gather very few in comparison are aware of that which the Badger faces: poisoned by spiked bait, shot by shooters (not always resulting in a ‘clean kill’), setts are burnt out with petrol & gassed with the fumes from vehicles along with tunnels being ploughed up by farmers or dug out by property developers. Our Badger’s aren’t just under assault in this way, farmers & the Government are doing what they can to eradicate the Badger from our countryside just so that the government can retain votes from agricultural societies and for short-term economic interests.
Now I could write a whole book about the views which I share with many others about the iconic Badger and the Cull which the Conservative Party have pushed to go ahead despite what the IEP (Independent Expert Panel) have stated. As I say I could rant on all day about the matter but here’s an extract from an article which The Guardian published back in October of 2014: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/02/illegal-snaring-of-badgers-cull
“The IEP found the 2013 culls were neither effective nor humane and one member, Prof Tim Coulson, at the University of Oxford, has sharply criticised the decision to disband it. “I wonder if the government no longer wants to know the answer to whether their ongoing pilot culls will deliver the required outcome,” he said.
Despite repeated warnings from independent scientists that the cull is an expensive distraction from tackling the growing issue of bovine TB and could well make matters worse, the government remains determined to expand the policy.”
So let’s get to the point of this blog post, the March in Chester. Due to my home county of Cheshire being somewhat a Conservative one, it came as no surprise that the cull could be rolled out across the county in 2017…When I first heard from Georgia Locock that this inhumane slaughter was going to be emplaced in my home county I had to do something, grant I’m not anyone significant but I wanted to put up a fight and show my disapproval of this barbaric act. Alone it’s very rare that a single individual can achieve any kind of progress in such a big world, but as a united front, a collective body, you can become a force to be reckoned with and that’s what we did, a good old protest.
On the 10th of December myself along with hundreds of other likeminded people from across the United Kingdom: Kent, Dorset, London, Gloucestershire, Flintshire, and Staffordshire along with Cheshire folk descended on Chester Town Hall to show that we weren’t going to let this happen quietly. Myself, Charlie Moores, Georgia Locock, Nigel Tolley along with the one and only Dominic Dyer were just some of those who at 1pm would be marching through the streets of this historic city, not only raising public awareness of this out of date monstrosity but also showing those who are wanting it to be permitted throughout the entirety of Cheshire that there are those within your county that oppose it.
It was now 1pm and it was now time to mobilise and set out in force across the city. From Trinity Street to Watergate all the way through Bridge & Pepper Street we marched through the crowds of Christmas shoppers, with courageous defiance & courage. I was having the time of my life. All my life I’ve wanted to take part in a protest, I’ve wanted my voice to be heard and I’ve wanted to make a difference and today was the day that I was finally able to make that happen, and my god was I enjoying it.
The atmosphere was unlike that I’d felt before: love, anger, compassion, empathy, a sense of belonging somewhere and standing up for what’s morally right. An experience that I’ll never forget and I hope to experience again. With likeminded folk at my side, I was at the head of the March, in sync with Nigel Tolley, and we were shouting at the top of our voices “SAVE OUR BADGERS, STOP THE CULL” over and over again. I honestly can’t think of any other way to describe how I felt whilst on the March, other than it was life changing. I spent so long shouting that by the end of the two hour march, I couldn’t actually speak for the rest of the day. Commitment or insanity is up to you but to me they’re the same.
As time flies when you’re having fun, it wasn’t too long until we reached Chester’s one and only Roman Amphitheatre. Where we were to have a series of talks from the head of the Anti-Cull Campaign with Nigel Trolley, Charlie Moores and finally Dominic Dyer, the Martin Luther King of the Anti-Cull Campaign who’s speaking ability is like that of no other. Simply brilliant and if it wasn’t for the work which he’s doing then we wouldn’t be where we are today fighting to protect one of the UK’s most loved mammal.
After an hour of moving, inspirational and transfixing speeches by some of the country’s leading conservationists, it was now time to hit back to the streets in one last attempt to have our voices heard. As it is with any protest we did come across a few individuals who did confront us with verbal abuse but compared to the amount of support we were getting off the people of Chester it was just mind blowing, the amount of people who were joining in with the chanting, stopping to see what was happening, taking notice and wanting to support our morally right campaign in protecting what’s meant to be a protected species. So to conclude this post I ask of you this, stand up, join your local Badger group, just like I have, and stand up for what is right.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Thank you for reading,