An Broc (The Badger) is the

Newsletter of Badgerwatch (Ireland)


Spring 2009




An Broc (The Badger) is the newsletter of Badgerwatch (Ireland).
5, Tyrone Avenue Waterford, Lismore lawn. Rep. of Ireland.
Co-ordinator; Bernie Barrett Ph. No: 00-353 (0)51-373876. Mobile number: 087-9394096




Badgerwatch and The Irish Council Against Bloodsports  (ICABS)  held a peaceful  protest at the Green’s Party conference in  which was held in White’s Hotel, Wexford on the 8th March.


Both groups were highlighting  their anger and concern at the lack of action by Minister John Gormley whose Department -  Environment, Heritage and Local Government - continues to licence the brutal snaring of badgers for ‘scientific purposes’, continues to allow carted stag hunting and has ignored pleas for the outlawing of live hare coursing in this country.


There are no immediate plans by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and  Food to halt badger eradication. The long-awaited badger vaccine will not, according to DAFF documentation, be available before 2013.


Figures released by DAFF  for 2008 (January to  31st October)  indicate that 5,427 badgers  were eradicated.   The number of TB reactor cattle removed  in the same period rose to 25,406  which was an increase on the 23,071 removed in 2007.  It would appear that  DAFF’s massive badger culling operations  are having little impact on the war on bovine TB. 


Questions  about the numbers of non-targeted species, i.e. foxes and dogs caught in DAFF badger snares were  raised at the Department’s Conference held in Dublin, October 2007. The reply given to Dr. Richard Yarnell, former CEO of the Badger Trust (UK) was that they didn’t collect that data.


We  were told that they caught lots of dogs and some foxes and that they were ALL released.  Now we  know this is incorrect and an unknown number of foxes ARE shot by DAFF’s badger trappers.  Badgerwatch has had a number of reports from  people who live in areas where this is happening. Are we surprised?  Simple answer is no.


Persons  who carry a  licence to trap and shoot badgers  (a protected species!) for a living would probably be the last persons  in the world who might be tempted to release an unfortunate fox (not legally protected) live from a snare.  The fate of the doggies remains unknown.




John Mooney

Sunday Times 22/02/09


An international network of badger baiters has been exposed following an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times


The  inquiry runs in conjunction with the USPCA prompted a series  of police raids yesterday on the homes of blood sports enthusiasts in Ulster.  Six dogs including three pit-bull type terriers were seized at one location in county Armagh.  More raids are planned for today.


Authorities in the Republic are unable to mount similar raids on the homes of badger baiters identified in the six month investigation.  There is no provision in Irish legislation to allow the seizure of abused animals from private property. Until now, the existence of organised badger baiting was considered to be something of an urban   myth. But a Sunday times journalist infiltrated an international blood sports network operating between Ireland, Britain, France and America.


Dog breeders were secretly recorded offering to sell terriers that had been specially bred to bait badgers.  Footage of wild badgers being dug from their setts and baited in County Down was also obtained. The inquiry also uncovered a lucrative trade in terriers used for the illegal blood sport.  A prized fighting terrier exported from Ireland to   America last January was sold for €10,000.The investigation has also prompted renewed calls on the government to introduce further legislation to protect animals and stop illegal bloodsports.  Stephen Philpott, the USPCA’s chief executive, said the joint investigation revealed that badger baiting was a  more organised pastime than previously thought.


He said the network  may have thought it was untouchable, but with the information gathered during the investigation would enable police and USPCA inspectors to raid homes and kennels.  “We have identified the people behind this bloodsport and their cohorts in Europe and further afield,” he said.


Badger baiting networks have traditionally  proved difficult due to the secrecy in the underground sport which involves pitting fighting terriers against badgers, a protected species.Orla Aungier, a spokeswoman for the Dublin SPCA,  said” We are currently dealing with a legislative fiasco whereby the authorities cannot take any action to seize dogs from people involved in this type of crime because gardai cannot enter property and seize animals that have been ill-treated,” she said


The  late Tony Gregory  T.D.

It was without doubt, a sad day when the announcement was made. Tony, who  was  Dublin Central Independent T.D. died on January 2nd after a long illness at the relatively young age of 61. Our wildlife had lost one of its staunchest  allies. Tony is seen here (third from the right) at a protest in Dublin some years ago.


Tony championed local issues, social justice  and will  forever  be remembered for his  fearless commitment to the drugs’ problem. Equally so, his dedication to wildlife issues is on record.  He never turned us down when help was needed. In 1993, Tony’s Private Members’ Bill  to outlaw live hare coursing was defeated in the Dail.  An activity which was and remains to this day, repugnant to the vast majority of Irish citizens somehow failed to get the backing of our elected representatives. Tony will be  missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

 May he rest in peace.


Call for ban on hare and fox hunts

Sinn Fein Ardfheis

February 2009


Delegates backed an Ogra Shinn Féin motion calling “for a total ban on all blood sports, including hare coursing and fox hunting”. Dublin Ógra member Aine Downes said 30 hares had been killed at recent coursing meetings. The ardfheis rejected a separate motion from cumainn in Ardfert, Co Kerry, and Thurles, Co Tipperary, calling delegates to accept that “hare coursing is not a blood sport, and that it opposes any attempt to ban a popular rural sport”.


Badger Group condemns pilot cull as 'slaughter dressed as science'


Press Release


Immediate issue 6th April 2009


The Northern Ireland Badger Group has condemned Department of

Agriculture plans to kill 1000 badgers in a pilot cull as 'slaughter

dressed as science'.


In a response to questions from the Public Accounts Committee, DARD admitted it is about to implement a pilot badger cull with permission to kill 1,000 badgers in a bovine TB intense area. DARD claims that the purpose of the cull is to gauge how many, if any, were carriers of the disease.


Incredibly, even when under fire from the Public Accounts Committee,

DARD remains determined to squander public money on a pointless cull.

Yet again the badger card has been played to deflect attention from the

failings of DARD and the veterinary sector to implement and police

measures at the farm gate.


Badger Group spokesman Mike Rendle said, 'Killing 1000 badgers in a TB intense area can be nothing else but a cull. Both DARD and the NIEA, who issued the licence to kill the badgers, have failed to provide any genuine scientific justification for this appalling act of slaughter.'


Mr. Rendle also challenges Department claims that profiles would be built on the results of the cull and recommendations made for the future.

'This cull will do nothing to advance our knowledge about the control of

TB,' he said. 'The Department has been processing road-kill badgers for

over 30 years now. There is no shortage of badgers killed on our roads

and yet DARD has failed to collect and use that data efficiently.



A properly managed study of road kills would produce the information that the cull is supposed to provide in a humane and more cost-effective

way.' 'Let's be clear, this is not some benign experiment - its sole purpose

is to kill badgers in response to the hysteria generated by elements in

the  farming sector. Badgers caught using wire snares will suffer

horribly. This is not science, it's not humane and it's not necessary',

he added.

Notes to Editors


Subject: Press Release from Northern Ireland Badger Group

Date: 06 April 2009 11:45. The Northern Ireland Badger Group is an independent, not for profit initiative which aims to promote the understanding, protection and welfare of badgers.


 It opposes all inhumane acts against badgers including baiting, digging, gassing and snaring. The NIBG is affiliated to the Badger Trust and works closely with Badger Watch Ireland.


The group seeks to work with the farming community to resolve the bovines problem.  However there is no scientific evidence to suggest that culling badgers is in anyway an effective measure against TB.



For further information please visit our website at

<> Press contact: Timothy P Clarke on 07743740938 Email From: "Badger Trust Press"



For a most riveting and enlightening read be sure to pick up Bad Hare Days by John Fitzgerald, a lifelong campaigner against blood sports.

The 400-page memoir reads more like a thriller than your typical autobiography. In it he recounts how he became involved in the campaign to protect the endangered Irish Hare, which faces a twin threat from coursing/hunting activities and the loss of habitat caused by urbanisation and modern agriculture.


John Fitzgerald paid a high price for his stance against blood sports...bullying in the workplace, including assaults; the loss of his job with a Farmer's Co-op, and a series of arrests and interrogations at the height of the militant anti-coursing activity of the 1980s when mysterious night-time raiders sabotaged hare-holding venues and released the fleet-footed creatures from captivity.


Though not part of this underground movement, with its clandestine balaclava-shrouded figures darting about like shadows and creating mayhem within the greyhound industry, the author of Bad Hare Days was targeted frequently by the Forces of the State, wrongly and unfairly, due to his high profile in the legitimate anti-hare coursing campaign.


His no-holds-barred accounts of interrogations, dramatic courts cases revolving around alleged "ALF" actions, and the treatment meted out to protesters on the picket lines by coursing fans... make for compelling reading.


The book is written in a free-flowing, highly readable style and once you open it you won't be able to put it down. It is alternately shocking, thought-provoking, informative, and quite hilarious in a darkly comic way.


Anyone remotely interested in animal Rights/welfare/protection causes or in the politics of environmental activism will find this book immensely provocative Bad Hare Days is published by Olympia Publishers in the UK.


It can most easily be obtained from UK Amazon ( or your local library will order it for you. Perhaps it is best to approach your library because once it is available there its message will reach a wider public.

Badger Trust condemns "brutal" and "abhorrent" decision to kill badgers in Wales.   24/03/09


 Badger Trust Cymru today described the decision to kill badgers in

 Wales to control bovine TB as the start of a "brutal pogrom",

 following an announcement by Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs.

 The Badger Trust for the UK as a whole said it was an "abhorrent



Steve  Clark, spokesman for Badger Trust Cymru, commented:  "This

 decision marks the start of a brutal pogrom against badgers. "Elin Jones has ignored the weight of scientific opinion [2] and caved  in to bullying farming unions and cull-mad vets.


 "By combining badger culling with other TB control measures, Elin

 Jones will have no idea which particular measure reduces the disease.

 "But any resulting fall in bovine TB will inevitably be attributed to

 badger culling, spelling doom for badgers across both Wales and the UK

 as pressure mounts to repeat this brutal extermination elsewhere."


 David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust for the UK as a whole,

 commented: “ To  slaughter badgers in Wales when, in England, trials of a vaccine for  badgers are about to get underway [3], is a truly abhorrent



 "The evidence is clear that cattle spread bovine TB, with recent

 reports from the National Audit Offices in both England and Northern

Ireland  confirming that bovine TB testing is inadequately enforced and

delivered  [4,5].  "These problems also exist in Wales, but rather than putting farming  in order, Elin Jones has decided to make a scapegoat of badgers instead.  This is cheap, nasty politics of the very worst kind."


The  Badger Trust has vowed to examine the decision in detail and

 consult with its legal advisors over whether it can be subject to a

 Judicial Review.  Mr Williams added: "We will look at every legal

 means possible to stop this cull going ahead."





 For further comment in Wales contact:


 Steve Clark in Cardiff on 07867 673054 for TV, radio and press.

 Michael Sharratt in Carmarthenshire on 01994 240320 or 07968 681742

 (press interviews only).  Gordon Lumby in Ceredigion on 01570 480571 or 07837 260219 for TV,  radio and press.

Badger Trust is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation of

badgers across Great Britain.


Tel: 08458 287878  Fax: 02380 233896



Registered charity no.1111440

Company registered in the UK No.5460677

Badger TB vaccine project gets cautious welcome from Badger Trust. 19/03/09



A field trial of a bovine TB vaccine for badgers has been given a

cautious welcome by the Badger Trust. Commenting on the announcement of a project to test the vaccine's practical application in the field[1], Badger Trust chairman David

Williams commented:


"Cattle, not badgers, are the primary reservoir of bovine TB.  

Nevertheless, badgers are a protected species.  Even though the badger culling trial found that barely one per cent of badgers had

significant TB infection[2], we hope that this vaccine will give

badgers further protection from bovine TB, which continues to be

spread by cattle because the TB testing regime is inadequately

enforced by Animal Health[3,4].


"The challenge now is to get tough on TB testing so that the real

cause of this epidemic - cattle to cattle transmission - can be put

into reverse.  The science shows it can be done, but it requires real political will to deliver that objective."




For further comment, contact David Williams on 07768 518064.


A CANTERBURY farmer has admitted recklessly interfering with a badger sett by using a burrow blaster to blow it up.

David Botting, of Island Road, Upstreet, Canterbury, admitted to magistrates on Wednesday (October 22) that he put the Rodenator down into the ground on the badger sett and set it off.

The pest controller is normally used to collapse rabbit burrows, but interfering with badger setts is illegal.

In a case brought by the RSPCA with the support of Natural England and a police wildlife crime officer, the court heard there was evidence it was a live badger sett and badgers had been seen in the area.

The court was told the farmer was trying to get rid of rabbits but did not check to make sure he wasn't interfering with a badger sett.

Magistrates ordered him to pay a total of £2,262 in fines and costs.
RSPCA Inspector Teresa Potter said: "It is vitally important that farmers carry out an environmental assessment before using these kind of tools. It is breaking the law to interfere with a badger sett."

Animal tunnel blaster is 'barbaric'
Monday, December 08, 2008, 07:30

A blasting device now widely used to destroy rabbit warrens across Lincolnshire must not be used to kill animals, the Government has warned. The Rodenator collapses animals' underground tunnel systems by pumping them full of oxygen and propane and igniting the mix to create an explosion. Now Natural England, formerly known as the Countryside Agency and English Nature, has urged landowners to consider the consequences of using a Rodenator.

A spokesman said: "Although designed to kill, Rodenator type devices must not be used for killing wild animals in this country. "Legally, they can be used to collapse burrows and tunnels if there are no animals present, and used in this fashion they do not require a licence or Defra approval."
In a promotional video for the device, Ed Meyer, spokesman for its creator Meyer Industries, says: "It creates an enormous underground concussive force, an expansion of gases that instantly and humanely eliminates any burrowing pest you may experience.
"People comment to me all the time about the Rodenator, I'll see them in trade shows around the country, and obviously the big comment is 'man we blew those suckers out of there, they were gone'."
John Lill (79), a Louth pest control trainer said: "This is a barbaric piece of equipment. "Rodenators should definitely not have been brought into this country." The Lincolnshire Machinery Ring, an organisation which leases out agricultural equipment to farmers, has seven rodenator machines in regular use.
LMR spokesman Ian Dawson said: "The Rodenator does make quite a disturbance."But our aim is to destroy burrows rather than wildlife."


Co-ordinator:  Bernadette Barrett

5, Tyrone Avnenue

Lismore lawn


Tel:  00-353 ++(O)  51373876





Views expressed in An Broc are not necessarily those of Badgerwatch

(Ireland)  May 2008


Next newsletter will be in September.









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