My blog last week didn’t happen due to us taking our son Sam to settle him in at his chosen university where he is going to study agriculture and all aspects of land management. A very exciting time for Sam but a little sad for Jackie and I. Our daughter left home to go to Kings University London to study medicine two years ago and now with our son flying the nest, it is extremely quiet at home. The years of them hanging on your every word and listening to your words of advice are now a memory. The pangs of any parent being left out of the loop at this particular stage of their life can be quite traumatic. Will they eat properly? Will they make new friends? Are they going to like it? And will they be safe? You are only too well aware that your job as the family protector has been somewhat diminished.
As my wife and I waited for confirmation of him enjoying it or otherwise, time seemed to pass immeasurably slowly until my wife screamed from the kitchen to the sitting room. “He has put some photos up on Facebook,” and there he was smiling with new found friends, another degree of confidence and all round, looked a very happy chappie, just like his sister when she started her university. Jackie and I were really pleased and were now able to relax in our new life of just the two of us.
Politically, the autumn conferences from the Labour Party and the Conservative Party went pretty much in the direction that I would have expected. Labour in their conference announcing that if they were to win the General Election they would put an end to this cursed Badger Cull nonsense. While the Conservative Party’s Environment Minister, Liz Truss has said that she would like to re-introduce Fox hunting. Such a lame, destructive voice which conjures up even more loss to our precious environment. The figures of 40% of the world’s wildlife being lost since 1945 seems to completely evade her. The Coalition Government of the last four years of the Conservatives and the Liberals on the whole have served very well although now, the marriage seems to have irretrievably broken down, with the two parties being at logger heads over almost everything. But the true saving grace for the Conservatives was the sending of our British Tornados to be alongside the Americans in hitting this Isis menace head on once and for all. How wonderful it would all be if the whole of our Government were to concentrate on the combatting of the Isis terror rather than needlessly generating and unleashing the Badger Cull terror within our countryside.
The Badger Cull is now half way through its proposed running time and already from the people that know, the killing targets are not being reached. Hardly surprising, because I have said so many times before, the countryside is not awash with families of Badgers now or ever has been.
Inhumane, brutal, barbaric actions handed down to one of nature’s total innocents, the British Badger. Already there has been many horror stories of vicious treatment being metered out to the black and white beast which was also very predictable. The Badger Cull in the British Isles of 2013 and again this year has diminished the protected status of the species, inevitably the consequences were always going to be thus.
DEfRA and the previous minister of the Environment, Owen Paterson and now Liz Truss have spoken of going out on a late summer’s night and just popping off the Badgers in a most matter-of-fact childlike, naivity manner. When in reality those of us who have studied Badgers know that they can pick up scent from two miles away, they can hear a twig crack from three quarters of a mile away and for a stranger to get near a sett to shoot one is nigh on impossible, so they were always going to be shot from range. Blundering tactics creating and inflicting wounds which in all cases will cause a very slow and lingering death.
The Coopers who look over my own Badger sett have dismantled their tent and withdrawn from the woodlands for their own comfort and safety. The weather now is starting to get a lot more autumnal. As I sit on the edge of the woodland looking out over the autumn brown landscape I see a tractor and seed drill in the distance. Plumes of dust trailing in his wake. We have had the driest September since 1910, the Badgers have found foraging these last three weeks difficult. Daddy Cool, the big old male Badger has led them further and further away from their sett. They are going outside the safety of his woodland stronghold. This first autumnal rain that we are enjoying for some time is as welcome to the Badgers as it is to the newly drilled seed for germination.
Please watch my short film which shows the return of Daddy Cool to the woodland slumping down, yawning and then falling fast asleep after a long night’s foraging.
A humble, hardworking and total innocent of the senseless slaughter that surrounds him. Long live the Lord Protector of our woodlands.