Badgers and the Control of Foxes
|RSPB Spotlight on Badgers book
Lowen explores the lives of badgers and their communal
living, feeding habits and threats to their conservation. Click
here to buy:
Remember that foxes will sometimes co-habit or shelter in
badger setts, and this may cause problems to gamekeepers and farmers
intent on fox control.
The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 allows that
licences can be granted for fox control in and around badger setts. As with other licences to interfere with badger setts,
they are issued only for a specific sett.
Before an application can be
considered, licence applicants need to state the location of the sett,
provide evidence that serious economic damage is being caused by foxes or
will occur if a licence is not issued, and show that all other methods of
fox control are ineffective or impractical. Each case will then be judged on
The breeding season for badgers is a very important
consideration (as there may be helpless young badgers cubs still
underground), but is not overriding, and in extreme cases a licence may
be issued to interfere with a badger sett during the breeding season.
This creates an enormous problem, since most fox control
is undertaken in the winter or early spring, which is exactly when badgers
are either about to give birth, or when they have very young vulnerable cubs.
If dogs are sent into a badger sett to try to bolt
any foxes that might be present, it is impossible to control what they do
or where they go. If badgers are present the dogs are just as
likely to attack them as they are any fox that is present.
If someone puts a dog into a badger sett, they are cruelly-ill-treating badgers
as well as the dog: an
activity which is in 100% breach of the The Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
Importantly, the act of putting a dog into a badger sett is not one that
can be licensed to make it allowable. Accordingly, if fox control is done, we recommend that it is done outside
those periods when badger cubs or young badgers may be around; and that
the use of dogs avoided as much as humanely possible.
It has to be said that when fox control appears essential
it may be better for an experienced marksman to use the relatively "successful"
and humane techniques of cage-trapping or night-shooting
If farmers wish to use non-lethal methods, then they can,
of course, consider methods such as Fencing (to keep foxes out) or electric fences (at least 99% effective, once a fox
has had a "sting" to the nose). As from the 24th March 2005, Renardine is
no longer licensed.
When people chase foxes through the countryside on
horseback with a pack of dogs, there is a harmful tradition that badger setts will
be blocked up with soft straw, leaves or twigs; as these tunnels will prevent the
fox escaping from the dogs. In theory, hunters and their lackeys do not
use brute force or massive stones to block badger setts (although in
practice this does happen). However, as master-builders, badgers have a
keen sense of architecture and may have fine-tuned their sett to provide
good draught-free ventilation. If one hole is blocked, this can severely limit the
fresh air-flow posing a suffocation risk to badgers. We would prefer it if
badger setts were not blocked, but if they are, then care should be taken
to maintain sufficient airflow through the sett - perhaps by covering the
hole with a criss-cross of small twigs, rather than a plug of dense
|Legal Notice regarding the banning of
|Renardine was the only legally permitted chemical deterrent which was
effective against badgers.
As from the 24th March 2005, Renardine has been banned.
Importantly, ALL the approvals for Renardine have now expired. This
* Renardine can no longer be advertised for sale.
* Renardine can not be bought from any shop, wholesaler, mail order,
agricultural supplies merchants, internet or by private sale.
* Renardine may no longer be supplied, sold, given away or swapped.
* Renardine may no longer by used.
* Renardine may no longer be stored (so any stocks you have must be
( Renardine-impregnated cocoa shells) has also been banned.
For more information see the
PSD's web site at http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/approvals.asp?id=1567