The Badger Trust is demanding a criminal investigation of a farmer, interviewed by BBC Radio 4, who admitted to standing by while others gassed badgers with the exhaust of an old petrol engine.
The Badger Trust is demanding a criminal investigation of a farmer who stood by while others gassed badgers with the exhaust of an old petrol engine.
According to the trust, BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme The Report – which aired at 8pm on August 4 – said the BBC had evidence that some farmers were willing to take the law into their own hands and were gassing badgers, a protected species.
The programme interviewed a farmer who showed presenter Nick Ravenscroft one of the dozens of setts where he claimed TB infected badgers had been killed, but the BBC agreed not to name him.
He told Mr Ravenscroft: “You have an old petrol engine, you put a pipe down the hole here, you have the engine running, and once the holes are completely blocked up you run the engine and that puts the badger to sleep underground. But it’s a sick sett. The whole family group is put to sleep humanely.”
The anonymous farmer also admitted that, while he did not take part in the killing, he was present when it took place. However, when Mr Ravenscroft claimed the actions were “not only illegal” but also “wrong and inhumane” he replied: “I dont think its inhumane at all. Is it actually inhumane to actually sit and watch an animal suffer?”
He went on: “Farmers are law-abiding citizens, but at this point in time through lack of action and lack of help from governments they are being driven to take this action. We don’t want to do it, but it’s survival; survival of business and we want wildlife and our herds to survive. Why cant that be allowed to be done without breaking the law?”
David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust, said: “This interview showed the depth of ignorance among this farmer and his friends about the basic facts in respect of badgers and their setts and revealed the brutality behind the demands of the livestock industry.”
Mr Williams said that, according to scientific evidence, all forms of gassing are ineffective and were considered inhumane. He also claimed there was “no such thing” as a sick sett, and badgers living in the same sett would not all have TB.
He warned: “Small localised killing of badgers, can spread rather than contain the disease: amateurish and sporadic brutality like this is the worst possible action to take.
He concluded: “The farmers mentioned on the programme are anything but law abiding citizens and must be prosecuted.”
- The Badger Trust is also challenging the BBC over an unattributed assertion in the programme that since badgers became protected in the 70s the population has surged to an estimated 300,000.