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Cumbria's Bovine TB problem - hidden for years but now in the news

Lesley Docksey

25th August, 2017

Slowly the incidence of bTB in Cumbria has increased without any real outcry from the agricultural lobby. Why then, at the beginning of this month (August), has all of this information suddenly become news asks LESLEY DOCKSEY more...

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist by Paul Kingsnorth

Lesley Docksey

3rd July, 2017

LESLEY DOCKSEY reviews Paul Kingsnorth's book, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist more...

Foxhounds and bovine TB edges (finally) into the news

Lesley Docksey

23rd June, 2017

The publication of research into foxhounds and bovine TB is being hidden behind a cover up, with an outbreak in one hunt's pack kept secret for three months before the news leaked out, writes LESLEY DOCKSEY more...
The Kimblewick hunt on its Boxing Day meet, 2016. Photo: Roger Marks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Foxhunting hounds and bovine TB - why the official silence?

Lesley Docksey

15th May 2017

Teresa May's promise to bring back foxhunting has proved one of the most unpopular items in the Tories' election platform. So we should not be surprised at the official silence over the TB-infected hounds in the Kimblewick hunt, writes Lesley Docksey. Nor, given the political power of foxhunting landowners, should we be surprised that officials are shrugging off any idea that bad biosecurity in hunt kennels could possibly have anything to do with TB in cattle. more...
Boxing Day Hunt and Hounds in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. Photo: Kentish Plumber via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Pity the poor hounds! Bovine TB, foxhounds and the biosecurity black hole

Lesley Docksey

15th March 2017

The 25 TB-infected hounds of the Kimblewick hunt, all put down, remind us that the lot of hunting dogs is not a happy one, writes Lesley Docksey. Unloved and at constant risk of slaughter, they are prone to a host of diseases, from bovine TB to brucellosis, neospora and botulism, which they can pass on to farm stock, humans and other dogs. They deserve better! more...
Hounds observing slaughtered fallen cattle.

Bovine TB found in foxhounds - and nothing to do with badgers! Now what?

Lesley Docksey

9th March 2017

The news that the Kimblewick Hunt's hounds are infested with bovine TB has come as a shock to farmers and hunters, writes Lesley Docksey. But it's no surprise to campaigners against the badger cull, who have long complained about poor farm hygiene and the feeding by hunts of disease-ridden 'fallen cattle' carcasses to foxhounds - never mind that the cattle are likely bTB carriers! more...
Badger trying to keep out of trouble in the Somerset cull area, September 2015. Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol via Facebook.

Putting the 'con' into consultation and the 'fiction' into science: England's badger cull

Lesley Docksey

27th February 2017

We know the outcome of Defra's latest 'public consultation' on killing badgers long before the results have even been analysed, writes Lesley Docksey. Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has already promised farmers to extend the cull 'even further' - although it brings no proven benefits. Welcome to the new world of 'alternative facts' that's driving UK government policy. more...
Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol Group via Facebook.

'You'll never walk alone': highs and lows of badger patrolling against the cull

Lesley Docksey

17th February 2017

If you love wildlife and enjoy country walks, you've got the makings of a badger patroller, writes Lesley Docksey. You can walk at night if you want to, but daytime observation on country lanes and footpaths is no less important, watching out for the signs of cullers at work. And with the trust and warm friendship that builds among badger patrollers, you'll never be without congenial company. more...
Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat. Image - from website: bobbythebrownlong-earedbat.co.uk.

Twinkle, twinkle ... Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat

Lesley Docksey

17th January 2017

This charming and beautifully illustrated story book will give pleasure to children everywhere, writes Lesley Docksey. It will also open their eyes (and with luck, those of parents and siblings) to the wonderful world of bats, and what we can do to look after them. more...
Bovine TB is above all about the cows themselves, and on-farm biosecurity (or the lack of it). Cattle in a farmyard in Pancross, Wales. Photo: Ben Salter via Flickr (CC BY).

Badger cull free TB eradication in Wales and Northern Ireland? The science demands it!

Lesley Docksey

6th December 2016

Al available science indicates that badgers have little if anything to do with bovine TB in cattle, writes Lesley Docksey. This is reflected in Wales's consultation on its 'refreshed TB Eradication Programme'. We must hope that Northern Ireland's bTB Eradication Strategy will be equally science based - and ready to campaign hard if it relies on cruel, ineffective and expensive badger culls. more...
Welsh Badgers at Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo. Photo: Neil Schofield via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Wales demands 'objective evidence' before killing badgers. Whatever next?

Lesley Docksey

21st October 2016

Wales has achieved enviable success in reducing bovine TB in its cattle herds without killing badgers, writes Lesley Docksey. The farming lobby is still demanding an England-style cull, but the Welsh government's 'refreshed' policy on bTB remains firmly science-based and no badgers will be killed without 'objective evidence' of infection. more...
Cover shot of trapped badger used for the new edition of 'The Fate of the Badger' by Richard Meyer, published by Fire-raven Writing.

'The Fate of the Badger': the great badger scapegoating conspiracy

Lesley Docksey

11th October 2016

Thirty years ago, there was no evidence that badgers spread bovine TB among cattle, writes Lesley Docksey. Nor is there now. Yet badgers are still being slaughtered in a futile attempt to control the disease. This timely republication of Richard Meyer's 1986 book reveals the belligerent ignorance of the officials, politicians and farmers driving the failed policy. more...

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Front cover of 'Badgered to Death' by Dominic Dyer (exerpt), published by Canbury Press.

Why are our badgers ‘Badgered to Death'?

Lesley Docksey

23rd August 2016

With today's news that badger culling will continue in Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset, and take place in three other counties, writes LESLEY DOCKSEY, there could be no more opportune moment for Dominic Dyer's new book 'Badgered to Death' to appear - expertly exposing the total absence of scientific evidence that badgers transmit bovine TB to cattle. more...

Why are Badgers always at the head of the 'Blame Queue'?

Lesley Docksey

5th August, 2016

With the publication today of a new report that admits badgers tend to avoid direct contact with cattle, LESLEY DOCKSEY asks why are badgers still being blamed for bovine TB? more...
Might England's badgers finally be getting lucky? Don't count on it. Photo: Andrew 3457 via Flickr (CC BY).

Post-Brexit Britain cannot afford the badger cull!

Lesley Docksey

27th July 2016

The government may want to press ahead with the English badger cull, writes Lesley Docksey. But after the Brexit vote it may just cost too much - for taxpayers and for the farmers who bear part an increasing share of the expense, now facing the loss of the 55% of their income that currently comes from Brussels. more...

Gertie's Story: the resilience of wildlife

Lesley Docksey

27th June, 2016

Anti badger culling campaigner Lesley Docksey tells a very personal story of her relationship with the badgers that live near to her home and come there to feed including one that miraculously survived the cruelty of a snare trap more...

Representation Denied - Britain's hidden citizens

Lesley Docksey

2nd June, 2016

There are a thousand million voices that will never be heard when we in the UK vote on June 23 - they are all disenfranchised citizens of this land. We should think of them in the coming referendum, urges LESLEY DOCKSEY more...
You think English badgers have it tough? Try France! Dead badger found on the Col de Planchamp, Haute Savoie, France. Photo: lechoucas via camptocamp.org (CC BY-SA).

The Eurobadger coalition - fighting for badgers Europe-wide

Lesley Docksey

10th June 2016

Badgers are having a rough time in England, writes Lesley Docksey. But it's no better in most other European countries, where they enjoy no specific protection and digging, baiting and shooting are widespread. Hence the new Eurobadger coalition formed to campaign for them Europe-wide. The one shining example is Holland - TB-free since 1999 without killing a single badger! more...
Photo of Fox hunt by TownePost Network via Flickr (CC BY).

Fair game? Hunting lobby's attacks on the RSPCA are proof of its effectiveness

Lesley Docksey

3rd May 2016

Lacking an official body to investigate and prosecute illegal cruelty to wildlife a unique charity, the RSPCA, took on that role almost 200 years ago, writes Lesley Docksey. But now it has ruffled high-ranking feathers by pursuing cases of illegal fox-hunting, and has been forced to leave prosecutions of such cases to the Crown Prosecution Service. But will the CPS do its job? more...
Dairy farm in Somerset, a county with a high bTB incidence. The farm has a certain dilapidated rustic charm, but it's hardly an environment in which strict biosecurity can be guaranteed. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tall stories: BBC's anti-science support for badger culling

Lesley Docksey

2nd March 2016

A programme to be broadcast on BBC2 promoting badger culling as the answer to bovine TB is praised in the corporation's flagship Radio Times, writes Lesley Docksey. But both are criticised by experts for their inaccuracy and bias. The main reservoir for bTB is, and always has been, the cattle themselves - and that's where the real solutions begin. more...
At least Canterbury's badgers will be safe, for now. Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Shoot first, ask no questions later: more badger culling, less science

Lesley Docksey

23rd February 2016

With 29 applications for new badger culls, writes Lesley Docksey, the government still has no idea how many badgers there are in the cull areas, or how many of them have TB. Nor does it want to find out. The badger culling project is getting less scientific by the day - or should that be by the square kilometre? more...
Why did the badger cross the road? Maybe to get away from an Environment Secretary on a personal mission of death and destruction to Britain's wildlife. Photo: Badger in the Quantock Hills of Somerset by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Truss's decision: badger culling will continue, with no evidence it works

Lesley Docksey

5th January 2015

Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in. more...
Bovine TB is above all, about cattle and their biosecurity. Happy cows in England's beautiful Peak District. Photo: Rick Harrison via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The NFU's dishonesty over badger culling

Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey

22nd August 2015

As they argue for an extended and intensified badger cull, some farmers have been making extravagant and improbable claims about giant badgers frolicking with their cattle in the sunshine, write Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey. But despite holding office in the NFU, they display astonishing negligence by failing to adopt the most elementary bio-security measures advised by Defra to keep their cattle TB free. more...
Coarse fishing on Filby Broad, Norfolk, UK. Photo: Colin via Flickr.

In defence of 'In Defence of Life'

Lesley Docksey

21st September 2014

Can you be a committed nature and animal lover, and enjoy shooting and angling? Only after extraordinary mental contortions, writes Lesley Docksey - who is only mildly surprised to find out that a Facebook critic is a PR man for 'country sports and associated technologies'. more...
A good day in the countyside? Seven brace of pheasant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr.

In Defence of Life - standing up against the lust for culling wildlife

Lesley Docksey

14th Septmber 2014

British officialdom and those they serve are obsessed with the killing of wildlife, writes Lesley Docksey. It seems that whatever the 'problem', from bovine TB to the serendipitous arrival of beavers in Devon, the reflex is the same - to kill wild animals. But increasingly, the British people aren't having it. And our fightback is making waves .... more...

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