An Broc (The Badger) is the newsletter of Badgerwatch (Ireland) Spring 2015
Newsletter no.     Website

Co-ordinator: Bernadette Barrett, 5, Tyrone Avenue, Lismore Lawn, Waterford. Irish Republic.



No let up on DAFM badger slaughter

Figures  acquired  recently by Badgerwatch from the Department   of Agriculture, Food and the Marine  will reveal that, for the years 2013 and 2014 a grand  total of 12,469  badgers met their untimely fate, trapped in Agriculture’s  own weapon of mass destruction – the cruel multi strand wire snare.  Small wonder  25,000  more body bags were ordered.  It must have been an extremely busy time for  DAFM’s   army of badger killers.   No threats of redundancies here. Business  has never  been  better.

Over the years, a  number of landowners have  found snares set on their land  and badgers removed without their knowledge and certainly without  permission.    The number of  incursions have been reported to  Badgerwatch   with such  regularity that they cannot be dismissed as isolated incidents.

Few  members of the farming communities  are  familiar with the working  timetable  of trappers.   Unfortunately, the damage is done before the landowner/herd-keeper   becomes aware that badger -  snaring  has been carried out  on the property.

For  the initial visit,  trappers work on a two-week basis and will set snares for twelve nights out of 14.   Licences cover a  twelve month period  which may be extended.   Trappers will return periodically to  check if there’s renewed  badger activity at the sett(s).  This being the case,  snares will be set again.

This will be repeated  until  the Department’s objective, total clearance  of badgers  has been  achieved. According to a previous DAFM  Minister,   6,000 snares are laid across Irish farmland nightly.

If you as a landowner or herd- keeper  discover  uninvited  trapping activity  on your holdings  remember you have rights.  Badger trappers are obliged to show landowners/herd keepers the snaring licence.

It  is important to remember  the licence  does not confer  automatic right of entry onto farm land and this is clearly stated at the bottom of the page.

 No  person   has the right to enter  premises without  your  expressed permission.    Any difficulties should be reported   to  your  District Veterinary Inspector  within a reasonable time. 



Deer culls next on DAFM’s list?   (Indo Farming)

Urgent Government action to cull 'out-of-control' wild deer has been demanded by the ICMSA, despite the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, claiming that badgers remain the key source of infection in TB blackspots. While ICMSA president, John Comer insisted that the wild deer herd had reached 150,000hd, and were "out of control" in Wicklow, Kerry and Clare, Minister Coveney said that TB levels in badgers were still higher in Wicklow.

While ICMSA president, John Comer insisted that the wild deer herd had reached 150,000hd, and were "out of control" in Wicklow, Kerry and Clare, Minister Coveney said that TB levels in badgers were still higher in Wicklow.

"My Department remains of the view that infection from wildlife, in particular badgers, remains a particular issue in the Wicklow area," he said in a Dail reply to Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle. "A recent study conducted in the Callary area detected a TB culture confirmation rate in badgers of over 26pc, which compares with a national rate of 13.3pc.

The level of TB found in badgers was also considerably higher than that found in deer in that area, where 4.8pc of deer had visible lesions,  with 5.5pc culturing positive for TB."  Wicklow has the highest levels of TB in the country, with many parts experiencing twice the national average levels of infection.

The Minister added that while the Department will continue to implement a badger removal programme in the county, responsibility for wild deer rested, under the Wildlife Acts, with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and that a non-statutory Irish Deer Management forum had been established.

However, John Comer said that it was too risky to allow the deer population to continue growing with such a high level of TB infection.
"It's well past the time to move on this," he said. "The TB Compensation Scheme is itself wholly insufficient and out-of-date and that has to be overhauled, but the priority is to minimise the chance of any cross-infection and that has to mean really serious control of the wild deer population," said Mr Comer.

Over a quarter of all Bovine TB infected herds are now being identified through lesions found on carcasses of animals at the country's meat plants.
In 2014 a total of 4,111 herds were restricted for TB, but 1,160 of these were identified on the killing line rather than the annual farm tests carried out by vets. Some 48pc of all suspect lesions found on carcasses at slaughter have been found to be positive following laboratory tests.



Maureen O’Sullivan
Maureen O'Sullivan

25,000 Badger body bags on order       Maureen O’Sullivan


Posted date: September 26, 2014:
On Tuesday I asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason he is pursuing a badger cull when guarantees have been given about rolling out a vaccination programme for badgers infected with TB; the reason his Department is tendering for the provision of 25,000 units of biological material, which are essentially body bags for badgers.

He said “targeted badger removals will continue” until “a viable oral delivery method can be put in place” which was a most unfortunate answer because in the context of a badger cull we are talking about a most inhumane, cruel and barbaric way of dealing with bovine TB, when first, it has not been fully proven that the badger is totally responsible for the disease. 

There are doubts over some of the experiments that initially proved that was the case. Second, a reduction in TB in cattle can also be linked to improved husbandry and other factors, not especially through the badger cull.

A badger cull is a particularly cruel way to deal with the problem. Illegal ways are in use to kill badgers. Such horrible practices, include putting slurry in badger setts, and throwing badger carcases onto the road to give the impression they have been killed in road accidents. That is what is happening to a badger population that we do not know is 100% responsible for bovine TB.I also asked the Minister to explain the urgency to kill thousands of an ecologically important species, namely, the badger? Recent reports have shown that injecting badgers significantly reduces the progress and severity of TB. Unlike culling, vaccination does not disrupt the badger’s social group and it provides immunity indirectly to unvaccinated badger cubs. Overall I am happy that the Minister made a guarantee that in the long term vaccination programs for badgers are the preferred option over the current practice of culling. There as still major concerns which I felt were not answered, such as the findings of various conservative agencies reports that the tests which cite badgers as the main cause of the spread of bovine TB amongst cattle is at the very least flawed. I still feel that the findings of these agencies should not be ignored and I will keep campaigning for the culling of these ecologically significant creatures to stop with immediate effect



Badgers may shun cattle but it isn’t enough to save them being culled

Margaret Donnelly

Badgers may shun cattle, but it’s not enough to save them according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. However, he also said that a move to vaccination of badgers is something he would like to see happen. The Minister was responding to questions from TD Maureen O’Sullivan, who said that recent research had shown that badgers avoid fields of cattle and farm buildings containing cattle and if he would acknowledge that badgers have been wrongfully vilified and suspend his Department’s practice of badger culling.

She said the current practice of badger culling has resulted in the snaring and killing of a large number of badgers. However, Minister Coveney said that the badger removal strategy, which has been part of the TB eradication programme for some years, has been developed in response to research which has demonstrated that the eradication of the disease in cattle is not a practicable proposition until the reservoir of infection in badgers, with which it has also been found they share localised TB strains, is addressed.

“This is based on a number of studies which showed that badger removal had a significant beneficial impact on the risk of future breakdowns, with areas where badgers were not removed being some 14 times at greater risk than in areas where badgers were removed.
“It is also notable that there has been a significant improvement in the disease situation in Ireland both in the cattle and badger populations since the badger removal programme was put on a more structured footing in 2004.”

He said that the incidence of TB in cattle has fallen by almost 40% since 2008 and is currently at record low levels. “It is particularly interesting that the incidence of TB in Northern Ireland, where badger removal is not prioritised, is approximately twice as high as on this side of the Border.”
He also said that the badger study referred to by O’Sullivan is still ongoing and is designed to find out how exactly the disease transmission between badgers and cattle takes place, with a view to building up a comprehensive picture of badger movements and helping to design a viable vaccination programme for badgers.

“The fact that badgers tend to avoid buildings does not mean that they do not transmit disease to cattle. The position is that badgers can and do transmit TB to cattle via faeces, urine or latrines, and strain-typing has shown that badgers and cattle share the same strain of TB which is prevalent in the locality.
“Apart from this, research has shown that, as I have stated above, the removal of badgers from a locality has resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of TB in cattle.“I want to move to a vaccination programme where we vaccinate badgers against TB.”




NI Badger Group Defends Badgers Against Bovine TB Claims   March 24th 2015

The NI Badger Group has issued a statement on Bovine TB and culling and has attacked “scaremongering” about Bovine TB.
Peter Clarke, coordinator for the Northern Ireland Badger Group said that the group is an independent voluntary conservation which draws its membership from all walks of life, including the rural and scientific communities. The core objective of the group is the conservation and protection of badgers. It has a longstanding commitment to engage constructively with industry and government in a spirit of good faith, common ground and mutual understanding.

Badgers are in the spotlight as the DARD TVR project unfolds.

“We advocate, and are committed to supporting, an evidence-led strategy for addressing bovine TB in cattle. In that context we have a number of concerns, not least the continuing pressure from some individuals and groups to conduct a programme of badger culling in Northern Ireland similar to those carried out in SW England and the Irish Republic.

“We totally support the DARD TVR initiative (test and vaccinate or remove). It is a good objective study.”
“We do not believe that badger culling will have any impact on bovine TB in cattle nor is there any evidence to support claims that current badger culls have contributed to bovine TB control in Ireland or Great Britain.
“We believe there is an unjustified and disproportionate emphasis placed on the role of wildlife in the persistence of bovine TB within cattle. For example, biosecurity seems to have been redefined by industry as wildlife control when, in reality, it refers to infection control in the context of best practice in farm management and animal husbandry.”

Peter Clarke added: “We also have concerns with regard to the large amount of scaremongering and misinformation about bovine TB that is peddled as fact in the public domain. Bovine TB is NOT a public health issue. Bovine TB is FALLING in Northern Ireland. In the last two years, herd incidence has fallen faster in Northern Ireland than in the Irish Republic where over 100,000 badgers have been culled.

“Bovine TB is, understandably, an emotive topic. However, any strategy is only as effective as the quality of the information and data it is based on. Consequently, fact-based evidence and objectivity is paramount to establishing an effective bovine TB strategy in Northern Ireland.




Views expressed in An Broc may not necessarily be those of Badgerwatch (Ireland)


Badgerwatch. 5, Tyrone Avenue, Waterford.. Ireland. 051-373876.


Address 1 .......................................................……………………..


Address 2 .......................................................……………………..

Address 3 .......................................................……………………..

Phone ...........................................................................................



Subscription: 7E Individual …….. 15E Family……..  Donation optional…….

(Please include SAE for receipt if required)