"SHOULD A BADGER CROSS THE PATH WHICH THOUGH HAS TAKEN, THEN GOOD LUCK IS THINE, SO IT BE SAID, BEYOND THE LUCK OF MAN."
If you go down to the woods today................................
Badgers are one of the best known wild animals, but are rarely seen. For many people their first incounter is a fleeting glimpse of a distinctive black and white face in the car headlights. Here in Cornwall badgers are an important part of the countryside and are widely dispersed in woodlands, hedgebanks and in dense undergrowth, they seem to be an unchainging symbol of wildlife. Strangely badgers have been persecuted for centuries and are still surrounded by myths which lead to their destruction. BROCK was formed by Mr John Starnes to dispel these myths and to protect these much loved creatures.
BROCK grew out of the myth that badgers are responsible for the the occurence of Tuberculosis in cattle. In 1984, concerned individuals realised that thousands of badgers where being slaughtered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) in an attempt to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in Cornish cattle. Further research showed there was no scientific evidence to support MAFFs policy: each year 600 to 800 badgers where being shot in Cornwall, but the condition of TB in cattle remained unchanged. BROCKS campaign began. We discovered that TB is now rare in cattle in most of Britain, this is due to the introduction of tuberculosis testing, the constant slaughter of reactor cattle and pasturisation of milk - all of which resulted in the dramatic decrease in tuberculosis in Britain. Today the disease is no longer a threat to human health, indeed it is now rare in people and this was acheived before any badgers were killed.
But a problem remained, in certain areas - notably the South West - cattle contracted the disease more often and the badger was blamed.
The facts where disturbing.
Over 90% of badgers killed by the Ministry were free of infection and posed no threat to cattle, they where slaughtered needlessly. MAFF beleived that badgers have no immunity to TB, reaserch has shown otherwise. It is now accepted that badgers can become immune and are important in controlling Tb yet the Ministry were unknowingly killing immune badgers, aggrivating the situation. BROCKS invetigation found many questions but few answers.
TIME FOR REVIEW.
In response to growing public pressure - lead in Cornwall by BROCK, MAFF commissioned an independent review of the badgers and bovine TB issue. BROCK met the review team and the eagerly awaited repot was published in April 1986. Our doubts over the Ministers approach were justified and a new policy was brought out in June 86. The situation has improved, fewer badgers are being killed, but BROCK believes that MAFF must go further to solve the problem. The Campaign goes on:
BADGERS UNDER THREAT:
BROCK began by questioning the legal killing of badgers by MAFF, we are now aware of other problems. The barbaric "sport" of badger digging and baiting is still widespread. It is illegal, but money is a stake and badgers are torn apart by dogs while their owners place bets on the outcome.
BROCK is committed to protecting badgers, recently we have been called in to advise housing developers about a badger set on site, and assisted on relocating a badger family which had chosen an old oil storage tank for their sett. The tank was unsafe and had to be pulled down, but only after the badgers had been successfully moved a few hundred yards up the valley.
BROCK exists to protect them: please support us.
In Memory of John Starnes BROCK founder.
Badger Art by John Starnes.