Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Old outlaw badger

Bad Badger and Good Badger made another appearance in Angela Cassidy's fascinating analysis of media coverage of this hot topic. Most of the broadsheet media coverage she has looked at favours culling, yet, we are told that "The Public will not tolerate culling" and science correspondents seem particularly reluctant to enter the fray. It was intriguing to hear how far back we can trace the Good/Bad Badger debate, which first makes an appearance in the 10th century. It was regarded as an agricultural pest, and at the same time a brave, and somehow typically British character, who cared for his family and was an important part of our natural heritage. Generous bounties on his head from Tudor times until World War I attracted few takers. Like Robin Hood, he seems to have lived outside society, attracting sneaking admiration. Is this still the case? Do we simply not know what "The Public" really thinks? Or, perhaps, our attitudes are as complicated as they were in the 10th Century.

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