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Far too many badgers which eat hedgehogs + spread bovine tuberculosis

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baldy:
I remember seeing hedgehogs squashed flat in the roads regularly back in the 80s. These days you don't see dead hedgehogs because they are far too rare. Now you see dead badgers in the road as regularly as hedgehogs were 40 years ago.

I've discussed this with animal rights folk who are against any cull of badgers and they flatly deny that badgers reduce the hedgehog numbers, though some admit that badgers will eat hedgehogs when they can find one because they can easily overcome the spikes with their powerful front legs and claws.

I am convinced that badger numbers are now out of control and that this is the primary reason for hedgehog numbers being vastly reduced, though I accept that other factors have been unhelpful for hedgehogs, not least the reduction in hedges ...

It seems to me that there is a conspiracy amongst animal rights campaigners to protect badgers that extends to denial of the truth that there are now far too many badgers which are eating our hedgehogs.

Discuss.

Shizzy:
The problem with 'activists' is that they will only accept their view of things, and have no desire to discuss or even contemplate the view of others, which makes having a rational debate with them difficult.

Possibly one reason you are seeing more badgers dead in the road is because  DEFRA no longer collect them.  Years ago DEFRA (or whatever it was called then) collected dead badgers to check if they had TB. 

baldy:
I nearly came to blows with a RSPB rep who was trying to sell RSPB memberships in the mall in Warminster earlier this year as he got really angry when I said that there are too many badgers and that they eat hedgehogs. I had watched a TV programme the previous day where it was pointed out that badgers do eat hedgehogs. The RSPB rep was totally in denial and I left before I got onto the question of why most most of his material on display was about animals like deer and badgers instead of birds ...

Bob DeBilda:
Badgers do eat Hedgehogs they are Omnivores. But they are not responsible for Hedgehog decline. Hedgehogs are declining even in areas where Badgers aren't, such as parts of East Anglia. Habitat loss is the main reason.

As for Badgers spreading Bovine TB, this is true but other wild animals also spread this disease such as fox's. There is a clue in the statement as to where the Bovine TB originates. I believe culling Badgers has only a limited effect. Other measures could be more effective such as vaccination of Badgers and cows to prevent the infection. Also the farmers have to take some responsibility in prevention. In the 50's and 60's BTB wasn't so prevalent because dairy herds were smaller and better separated. Today we have large herds separated only by a single fence or hedge at the best. Farmers removal of hedges hasn't helped.

There is no one single answer to the problem. I believe a vaccine directed at the cows is under development but could be as far off as 10 years before it can be used.

As for the RSPB rep, they have changed their stance a bit in the last decade. they are now protectors of all wild life not just birds. Indeed their magazine is now called 'giving nature a home'.
I almost cancelled my subscription when they started allowing wind farms to be built on their reserves. Especially when there was evidence that they were killing birds. But they are now being more sensible as to where they will allow them. i.e. not directly in migrating flight paths of birds.


baldy:
Habitats have not changed that dramatically in the last 40 years. It was the previous 40 years when they changed most due to hedges being ripped out etc.

Also, since badgers became protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, their population has spiraled out of control so that they are more than 10 times more abundant than they were only 30 years ago.

In East Anglia, the habitat loss is so severe that it has reduced all wildlife including hedgehogs and badgers so that example is not relevant in terms of whether badgers are killing off our hedgehogs elsewhere.

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