Badger crimes surges in England and Wales over last 5 years

The number of people prosecuted for wildlife crimes against badgers has surged in the last 5 years. Back in 2007 just 30 prosecutions took place while in 2011, the last year figures are available for, the number had increased to 58. The figures were released following a written parliamentary question by Diane Abbott MP. While no details of the actual crimes were released all the crimes in the figures were breaches of the Protection of Badgers Act. Ms Abbott MP understandably thinks that crimes against badgers is barbaric and needs to be tackled. However her claims that the proposed badger cull is contributing towards the rise in badger crimes has…

Researchers call for parasite to be monitored to protect UK freshwater fish

Researchers from Bournemouth University are calling on the Environment Agency to include the parasite Rosette Agent on the Novel and Category 2 lists. This will mean that when fish are moved around between fisheries and rivers the is a legal requirement for the parasite to be checked for. The Rosette Agent, Sphaerothecum destruens, is a single celled parasite that can infect a number of British freshwater fishes and can have a 90% mortality rate. Research by Dr Demetra Andreou and her colleagues at Bournemouth University’s Centre for Conservation Ecology & Environmental Change has shown that salmon are at particular risk to the parasite. With over 4 million anglers spending £3.5…

Who says housing and wildlife can not co-exist, just the NIMBYs

Bit by bit and step by step there appears to be movement in getting homes built both within the towns and also in rural environments. More and more well planned and wildlife friendly housing estates are being built and developed and shows that only those with vested interests and NIMBY attitudes use wildlife as an erroneous excuse for trying to stop house building. The latest development which will boost wildlife is a 186 home development on the edge of Wimborne in Dorset. Here the developers worked with both the local council and Natural England to ensure that the development would be a benefit to wildlife and not a liability. The…

With 3 months to start of badger cull Gloucestershire could be pulled

Update: It is of course less than 2 months to go to the start of the badger cull and not 3. Apologises for the lack of maths ability. The RSPCA and the Team Badger group have welcomed unconfirmed rumours that Gloucestershire could be pulled from the badger cull programme that starts in less than 3 months. This will then mean that back-up county of Dorset will join Somerset in the culling programme that could see thousands of badgers shot in order to try and reduce the prevalence of bovine TB. The badger cull is planned to start on 1st June and will last for 6 weeks in each of the…

Is Kidderminster a hub for illegal wildlife trading?

Concerns are being raised over the activities taking place in the  Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre in Kidderminster this Sunday – 29th July 2012. A planned reptile and amphibian fair is to take place in direct contravention of legislation that prevents pets from being sold at market stalls. The trading of pets at market stalls was banned in 1983 and since then pet fairs have slowly been eradicated and local councils whose job it is to police the ban tend to refuse bookings for pet fairs on council property. Wyre Forest District Council though according to the Animal Protection Agency (APA) have decided not to follow suit and ban reptile and amphibian…

New names for British wildlife species

  It’s often said that it’s all in a name and when you are a wildlife species without a popular or common name you can sometimes fall out of view with the public. Now 10 British species have been given a common name to go alongside their formal latin names. The new names were announced today by Natural England. The names were chosen following a competition asking the public to send in their suggestions. The judging panel consisted of  Dr Peter Brotherton, Natural England’s Head of Profession for Biodiversity; Dr Keith Hiscock, Associate Fellow at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth; George Monbiot, author and Guardian columnist; and Matt Shardlow, Chief…

Badger Trust launches appeal against High Court decision

The Badger Trust has submitted a formal appeal against the decision by the High Court last week to allow the proposed badger cull in England to go ahead. [pullquote]Culling badgers (in the hopes of reducing incidence by 12-16% after 9 years) is a costly distraction from 84% of the problem. The death toll could be at least 40,000 badgers and possibly as many  as 130,000 according to Natural England[/pullquote] The Badger Trust is appealing on the basis of three separate grounds: Mr Justice Ouseley erred in law in holding that section 10(2)(a) of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 could be used to grant licences for mass badger culling in order to reduce the…

Badgers and Bovine TB, 3 options in the UK

The news that the High Court has ruled against the Badger Trust and pretty much  given the go ahead for the badger  cull in England is disappointing. It means that there are now  three different trials either under way or about to get underway in the United Kingdom. England is planning on shooting badgers in two trial areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire. Wales has opted for a trial of vaccination of badgers to try and reduce the prevalence of the disease in its population. In Northern Ireland they have opted for a mixture of the two. Badgers there will be caught and tested for TB. Those found to be carrying Bovine…

Badger baiter gets less than 6 months jail

In a clear demonstration on how weak punishments are to those who choose to break UK wildlife law a badger-baiter has received a 24 weeks prison sentence. Richard Alan Atkins, of Oversetts Road, Newall, Derbyshire, admitted nine charges when he appeared at Burton upon Trent Magistrates Court on Friday. He was sentenced to 24 weeks prison, banned from keeping any animal for life and equipment used for baiting and hunting were seized. [pullquote]After all of my years working in animal welfare, I still find it shocking that someone would deliberately go into the countryside with their dogs, with the sole intention of inflicting unimaginable suffering on a wild animal for…

Badger cull verdict awaited

The latest judicial review into the proposed plans to shoot badgers to try and control the spread of disease came to an end yesterday at the High Court in London. It’s expected that the outcome will not be known for a month or possibly more. The badger cull in England comes at a time that Wales has turned away from culling as the solution to control of bovine TB and is undertaking a large-scale vaccination trial. Previous trials of culling has demonstrated that killing badgers is not an effective way of controlling the spread of bovine TB. [pullquote]Enough animals have already died. Bovine TB should be tackled by improved biosecurity and cattle controls, together with a…

Badger Cull fight goes to High Court

Badger Cull fight goes to High Court

Action has begun in the High Court today to try and ensure that the government’s plans for large scale slaughter of wild badgers do not go ahead. The Badger Trust is asking the court to declare the cull as illegal and unscientific.  Despite other trials over the years since large scale gassing of badgers in their setts were stopped there is conflicting evidence as to whether a badger cull is effective at controlling the spread of Bovine TB. While some evidence suggest that bovine TB incidents drop within a trial area the incidence of Bovine TB increases outside the trial area as badgers seek to escape being killed.  A comprehensive…

Is the planning system really failing wildlife?

A new report by the Policy Exchange think tank has been published and the news headlines are saying that wildlife is under threat from the planning system. But is it? The first thing to remember when reading the actual report and the subsequent news stories is that in England 42% of all land is protected from development through some planning regulation or another. At 42% England has one of the highest percentages of land given protection from development in the world. So clearly it is not planning and unrestricted development that is at fault for the decrease in many of our wildlife species. 42% of land area in England is…