A new book by Dominic Dyer, a wildlife protection campaigner, writer, and broadcaster, exposes the incompetence, negligence and deceit behind the deaths of tens of thousands of badgers over the past 40 years.
Badgered to Death: The People and Politics of the Badger Cull paints a dark picture of how this protected species has been demonised by farmers and politicians and become a victim of the intensive livestock industry.
From Tony Blair’s government's decision to restock TB-infected cattle after the Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001, to the political campaign waged against it by David Cameron at the 2010 general election, the book argues that the badger has been sacrificed for political expediency by each of the main political parties.
Badgered to Death damns the well-funded green movement for failing to come to the rescue of the badger and the willingness of the BBC to become part of a propaganda campaign waged by the government and farming lobby against the species.
The book also shows how thousands of people harnessing the power of social and digital media have taken to the streets and fields to protect the badger, helping to truncate the Cabinet career of Owen Paterson and shaking the government and the farming lobby.
Its publication in August 2016, ahead of an expansion of the badger cull by the Government at the end of August, has been welcomed by leading conservationists, nature broadcasters and writers, including Chris Packham, Mike Dilger and Patrick Barkham.
Chris Packham, naturalist and BBC presenter, wrote in the foreword:
“I know of no one else capable of writing this book, no one has worked as hard on all fronts to examine and understand the complexities of the issue, no one who has worked as hard on all fronts to examine and understand the complexities of the issue, no one else who has the bigger picture in such clear sight. [Badgered to Death is] a precise analysis of this complex affair for the reader to dissect, digest and deliberate upon. And as such it is an immensely valuable resource which provides an opportunity for clarity. And, hopefully, for change.”
Patrick Barkham, natural history writer for The Guardian, said:
“A thriller a whodunit and impassioned polemic, this is the inside story of the badger cull. Dominic Dyer exposes the toxic brew of industrial farming, commercial lobbying and political ambition that is driving the slaughter of the badger. A vital must-read for anyone concerned about the badger’s enduring place in the British countryside."
Mike Dilger, a leading ecologist and wildlife broadcaster, said:
“Reasoned and scientific debate is the only way to tackle the thorny issue of the badger question. Dominic is forthright in his opinion, but when fighting his corner only punches with facts and immense expertise a style that the reader will find a deadly combination.”
1. Dominic Dyer is chief executive of the Badger Trust and policy advisor for the Born Free Foundation. The opinions expressed in Badgered to Death are his own.
2. Badgered to Death: The People and Politics of the Badger Cull ISBN 9780993040757
is available from Waterstones, Amazon, independent bookshops, and Canbury Press