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Essay Ideas 11 to 15

11. Threats and Generalisations

A boy gets a puppy to look after for a few weeks, whilst his grandmother is in hospital. On a night-time walk, the puppy is attacked by a badger who is protecting her young cubs. The boy is understandably very upset and says "I hate badgers - they should all be killed!"

  • Is he wrong to hate badgers?
  • Was the badger wrong to attack the dog?
  • What are the risks in making generalisations from a singular situation?

12. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge?

In the woodland near a scientific research centre are a colony of unusual wild red badgers. About half of them are red - this is because they have a very minor genetic difference from normal badgers, but otherwise seem to be just like any other badgers. The scientists want to capture the badgers and breed a new type of badger which is always red.

  • Should the badgers be forced into this badger "apartheid"?
  • Would the experiment have any more justification if the scientists claimed that red badgers seem to be immune to contracting diseases such as tuberculosis?

13. Night-vision?

A highways department want to stop badgers being killed in traffic accidents on a stretch of road. Over the past three years, 13 badgers have been killed at the same spot. In the most recent accident, a badger ran out into the path of a motor-bike, as a result of which the motorcyclist was killed. To make badgers easier to see at night, the highways department want to spray local badgers with a water-based dye, which will fluoresce and reflect the headlights of vehicles. The highways department believe that, on the face of it, the high-tech dye appears harmless to badgers.

  • What are the pro and cons involved in this scheme?
  • Is it likely to work?

14. Homes for Badgers

A large property developer has a huge brown-field site. He wants to build 1,000 executive homes on the site. This will give him a profit of about 30,000,000. So he can boost his environmentally-friendly marketing campaign, he wants to build a couple of setts for some badgers in an area of new woodland that he will plant too.

  • How does the use of concrete, stone, steel, aluminium, plastic and wood for the houses, balance against the planting of a new woodland and helping wildlife (like badgers)?
  • How does it affect things if he builds a small house for an on-site nature warden to live in too?

15. What is a "vermin" species?

Because of their tendency to kill chickens and ducks, foxes are classed as vermin. This means that that can be killed, on a whim, by farmers; and should not be given significant life-saving treatment at the vets. However, badgers can also kill chickens; but they are not classed as vermin.

  • Why should be class some animals as vermin, and others as protected species?
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