Sunday, 1 May 2022

George Eustice Moves Betty to Tears

Hello Betty Badger Fans,

On 17th March, me and Mary met George Eustice.  It was one of the saddest days of our life together.  I will tell you more about it later because I don't want to start this long awaited Blog on a sad note.

Since my last Blog I have been busy going to Defra every week and helping my Cubs and Grand-cubs bring their new Cubs into the world.  I am a menopausal Badger now, so I will not be having any more little ones, but I am still a very useful old Grand-Badger and I do still enjoy bit of slap and tickle with my beau Boris. The new Cubs are a handful of delightful raucous energy and we are careful to teach them about the dangerous boxes on wheels that come fast along the black Human tracks.  We let the Cubs out at night when most of the Hupeople are asleep but danger still lurks from gamekeepers and Badger baiters and night drivers. Here are some pictures of Cubs to cheer us up. 

This week at Defra a nice Human came along and said to us, "I suppose this is about the Badger Cull".  Mary said "Yes; do you know they have killed 176,000 Badgers now?" He gave a dazzling smile and got into the back of his black Jaguar box on wheels (of course he doesn't drive himself) escorted by two young Huwoman assistants. I asked my friendly security guard friends if he was important, as he had the look of someone who felt important.  They told me it was Dominic Raab who is the Deputy Prime Minister. Anyway, I am glad we had a chat.  Here is a picture of him so we can all recognise him if we meet him again.

Mr Raab was wearing the Conservatory Party blue suit, the engaging smile and the look of supreme confidence that says "I am a really powerful person and you know it".  Still, he was kind enough to talk to us and that is good.. 

Anyway, back to George Eustice, the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. You might remember that back in December I met my MP Grant Shapps outside Defra and he promised to get me an appointment to meet Mr Eustice. Well I was offered an appointment at less that 3 days notice to meet Mr Eustice on 17th March. Mary had to work day and night to gather her thoughts and talk to clever people to help her get her facts right.  It was excellent timing because only that week, a new scientific report had shown that the Badger cull had made no difference to the rate of Cow TB. Oh and on top of that, it was announced that the number of Badgers killed in the autumn cull was 40,000 bringing the total of us lovely badgers killed to 176,000.  Which broke our hearts, but we would  not let that stop us from going and speaking out for the Badgers. 

17th March was a Thursday so we were at Defra anyway.  Mary had to pack her best suit and high heeled shoes and even hairspray inside my Betty Bag. I can tell you that I wasn't too pleased about that.  Mary felt pretty confident as she had previously had a good discussion with Michael Gove and the new report on the ineffectiveness of the Badger kill-cull gave lots of reasons why the Badger Cull should stop. 

Me and Mary were greeted by lots of our fans in the Defra and Home Office building . We were taken in a moving box to the very top if the building and then along bright sunlit  corridors.  A nice young Human came to collect us but they wouldn't let me in to see Mr Eustice because he doesn't like Badgers but I was allowed to sit in my Betty Bag under a desk outside Mr Eustice's door.  Obviously I couldn't hear what was going on but when Mary came out she was white and trembling in fury. 

Mary told me that she had started her meeting by saying that she would like an immediate halt to the Kill-Cull, especially in the light of the report which was backed up by the situation in Wales where they weren't killing Badgers yet the rate of Cow TB was going down.  She also said that there was no political will to stop killing badgers because, if there were, then why hadn't they achieved the Cow vaccine as 2014 .  She commented that the scientists had managed to get a Covid vaccine ready in a short time so why had they made no progress in fifteen years on a vaccine for Cow TB.  Yes, a small trial has begun in Sussex, but why not have a moratorium to stop killing badgers while that test when ahead? 

Mary used the expression "lamb to the the slaughter" to describe how she felt when it became clear that Mr Eustice had absolutely no intention of stopping killing Badgers and even though he had said publicly that the Cull would end in 2023. He will continue killing us through what is known as Supplementary Culls which would take place where and when he felt it necessary.

Worse, he admitted that although he had only been the Secretary of State for a couple of years, he had been driving the policy for the past 7 or more years.  Clearly it was his pet project and, although it flies in the face of science, biodiversity considerations and animal welfare issues, he will not lose face by changing his mind. So hundreds of thousands of my Badger friends will still be killed. He seemed to delight in his power and his abuse of power. The policy will not change while he is in charge of Defra. 

When we left the Defra building Mary began to cry and the nice security man gave her a hug. The tears were about the irrationality, cruelty and injustice of the killing ,and the loss of all those 176,000 innocent lives.  I think Mary also felt guilty that she had been dragging me to London every week for nearly five years as well as to Manchester and Birmingham for the conservatory Party Conferences.  I am not sad about that because I have seen so many wonderful things such as silver bullets under the London pavements and trains that look like Badgers what take us to exotic places such a Birmingham; and I have seem Huwomen walking on stilts and putting burning leaves in their mouths and the human thinly disguised mating rituals all those remarkable clothes they wear.  I have learned how to write on this computer;  I have learned about the Google Oracle, and the Book of faces.  And I have met so many different types of Hupeople, some lovely some horrible. 

Me and Mary will keep going to Defra every week until the Badger killing stops or until one of us dies. We will not be beaten by an arrogant, supercilious, wicked  cruel Human who lacks integrity, compassion and only cares about getting votes and keeping his farming friends in the NFU happy.  George Eustice must go. 

Most of the Hupeople are back at work in Marsham Street now and it is very heart warming that so many of them are so pleased to see me.  They say "thank you Betty for still being here" or Keep it up Betty".  Sometimes they want to give me money or food or drink but we say no.  This week we met a homeless Human who offered to share his large tumbler of whisky with us and I think Mary was quite tempted as she has been so miserable since meeting Mr Eustice.  

Rather than drinking herself into oblivion Mary decided that if she couldn't save all the Badgers then she would save some more rescue Chickens from death. So, even though she had told everyone that she wouldn't get any more, on 2nd April she picked up six more to add to the eight she already has.  There has been an outbreak of Bird Flu (AI) so no Chickens have been able to range freely for five months so the poor old Hens had been kept shut in crowded barns where their only entertainment was to pull each others feathers out.  They were in a bit a of a state....  I have promised not to eat them even though I am very tempted.  This is a picture of Willow who stole Mary's heart immediately:

And here are some of the other girls:

The Easter holiday is the start of the protest season and the Police Humans were prepared for the wide variety of protestors. They have put of lots of barriers in Marsham Street and we had our own little protesting region behind the barriers. 

I have met XR, NHS, a Refugee who wanted to camp on the grass, and Hupeople worried about fish.   Here is an XR Huwoman and her son who had lost her protesting friends. 

There is so much injustice and stupidity everywhere that there could be protests every day but I am beginning to wonder if they really make a difference.  All these powerful Hupeople with their lobbyists and vested interests make me and Mary wonder if Humans can have a rational and honest government.  Mary thinks that government should  be made up of ordinary Hupeople who are chosen at random by lottery. She says it can't be any worse than the present system.  

Many of the Badger protestors have given up in despair after trying so hard for so long, although there are still many Badger Lovers working on the ground to help Badgers in Kill-Cull zones, and saving them from road accidents as well as doing really clever things such as taking the government to court and writing important reports. 

But me and Mary never forget how lucky we are to live where we do away from London Town.  This is close to my sett and Mary lives only a short distance away.  She enjoys the sight and scent of the bluebell wood and we Badgers enjoy eating them.

Next time I write a blog I will tell you about another battle Mary is fighting to stop barbed wire fences being put up where 200 Fallow Deer roam.  You might have seen pictures of these at the bottom of Mary's garden  in previous Blogs. Mary is very upset about this because they might hurt their legs as well as being prevented from walking their ancient paths. There are lots of silly Hupeople harming wildlife homes and I know that the good Hupeople who read this blog will do everything they can to stop these cases of ignorance.  This is one of the fences we are worried about; it gets in our way too but we Badgers are very strong and good at digging and we won't be put off walking our ancient paths by a bit of wire

Time to go and clean out the sett of all the prodigious amounts of poo the little cubs create.  We badgers are very clean and we like our homes to be sweetly scented with hay....and bluebells. 

Love from Betty.

Night night🐾🐾🐾

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Betty Carries on..and on..

 Hello Betty Badger Fans,

Your favourite Badger is writing again about her adventures in London Town.  It's getting colder now winter is coming.  I am getting very fat and wobble along Westminster streets when Mary gets tired of pulling me along in the Betty Bag.  All sensible Badgers fatten themselves for winter and snuggle down in their setts waiting for the cold to pass.  But Mary and I are on a MISSION  and we will keep going to Defra until the Badger Kill-Cull ends, or if one of us dies, whichever is first.

I went to Man Chester again to the ConservaTory Conference in October.  Me and Mary were dreading it because the weather was supposed to very wet and windy, but in the end it was fun and the sun shone.  The security was more serious than in previous years but we did get close to the delegate entrance and chatted to lots of ConservaTories.  I put up my lovely new signs made for me by Mary's friend Vanessa. This is a pretend Tory Fat Cat with the lovely signs Vanessa made for me: 

A surprising number of Tory members were very pleased to see me there and thanked me for continuing my Mission to stop the Kill-Cull.  Some of them even had leaky eyes because they were so sad about killing my friends.  One of them told me that Mr Eustice plans to carry on killing Badgers until he has killed 1 million of us, in spite of his weasel words about phasing out the Kill-Cull.  I will talk to Mr Eustice when I see him next, although he does tend to hide from me because he feels guilty. Here are some of snaps from Man Chester.

This is Man Chester Piccadilly:

Here are the Brexiteers:

Here is me in my Betty Bag:

Here is our train

In Man Chester we were standing next to the anti-Brexiteers and they had a very loud music machine and played lots of happy songs such as Money, Money Money which I danced around to for hours.  And they also played the Russian National Anthem because they accused the Government of being in the pockets of rich Russians.  They also played a song called Mad World which made Mary cry a lot.  A nice journalist comforted her.  Here is the song:   Mad World by Michael Andrew I wonder if it will make you cry too because it is a mad world when Badgers and other Animals are being killed for no good reason.

Mary has written a letter to Grant Shapps .  Did you know that Badgers have MPs? Well Mr Shapps is my MP because my sett is  in his constituency.  He probably doesn't know he's my MP but he certainly knows Mary is his constituent because he gets lots of letters and emails from her.  In her last email she accused Defra of Institutional Corruption. She also said that some Defra staff are either bowing to vested interests (such as the National Farmers Union) or were too stupid to realise that killing 200,000 Badgers has made no difference to the incidence of bovine TB.

Anyway, Mary wasn't very impressed by the reply she got from his assistant Nicholas, so she wrote again telling him that she wasn't going to be fobbed off with a standard reply when she is an expert on Badgers (!).  

Then something lucky happened when we were standing outside Defra in Marsham Street.  Mary saw Mr Shapps walking towards the Defra entrance, surrounded by three members of staff.  One of them, a Huwoman said, "Don't talk to the Badger".  I imagine that she didn't want Grant to be photographed talking to a 6 foot Badger, particularly with all the transport problems he has at the moment.  He is quite keen on flying apparently and some Newspapers are saying that he is trying to prevent housebuilding on airfields. 

Anyway, Grant said " I have to talk to her, she is my Constituent".  Isn't that nice; he realised that Betty Badger was indeed his constituent. So he came to talk to me.  Mary asked him if he would arrange an appointment with Mr Eustice, like he did for Mary to see Mr Gove, who was very kind to us.  He said he would do his best. I am still waiting.... but he did come and see me again after his Levelling Up meeting and reminded Mary to email him with her request.  This is a picture of Grant Shapps.  

Mary wants a Meeting with Mr Eustice, even though he banned us from sitting on the Defra wall and nearly got us arrested last year.  We are getting old and now have to bring a stool with us as Mary is too old to stand for hours. Mary did once do a magic spell for Mr Eustice's bottom to get covered in boils so that he would have trouble sitting down too.  If we do get to see him I will ask how his bottom is.

Mary believes Mr Eustice is being misled by Defra staff and the NFU about the real cause of the spread of bTB.  Mary wants to put him right and tell him to stop killing Badgers now and start vaccinating Cows instead, after all Cows are spreading the disease around the country.  The Welsh Government has stopped killing Badgers and their recent research on outbreaks of bTB shows that they were all caused by moving infected cows around the country.  As if that's news! We have known this for ever!

The best thing about standing outside Defra every week is the wonderful Hupeople I meet.  Everyone likes to tell me their stories, perhaps because i am a Badger and won't judge them. I have met some really nice Hupeople recently.  Every week the Police Officers come to see me. One day a Police Huwoman who looks for terrorists came and stood with me for 20 minutes and we had a nice chat.  She might have thought I had a bomb in my big belly but then she realised I was a harmless Badger. These are the Chaps that came to see me this Thursday:  

This week I met two Electricians called Denis and Daniel.  I am not sure what an electrician is but they were very jolly.  They came over to see me because Denis thought my sign said "140,000 Badgers Killed by Gout".  I had to point out that we haven't died of GOUT from excessive good living but have were killed by GOVT., which is short for Government.  We laughed a lot about that. They didn't know anything about Badgers and had never seen a living one before, just lots of dead ones by the road so they were very pleased to learn all about us.  Mary gave them a leaflet which they promised to read. This is an old picture of Gout.

Most weeks I see a Huperson who is a Christian and tells us to Turn to Jesus and blesses the Security Staff and the Police Officers.  Sometimes he has a music machine on wheels which blast out Holy Music.  Sometimes I sing along.  He always says to me "No one is innocent, turn to Jesus" because I have my "I AM INNOCENT" sign around my neck.  I tell him that animals are Innocent and it is the humans who are sinners.  But he doesn't listen.  He wears signs around his neck just like me! Here is his picture.  

One day he brought two visitors with him who were missionaries from another country, probably India.  The young Huwoman said to me, "Have you embraced Jesus?" which left me speechless because I haven't met him to the best of my knowledge. Then she burst out laughing saying, "What am I doing trying to convert a Badger to Christianity " and we both had the giggles and couldn't' stop laughing. I wonder if I talk to this Jesus person he might help to stop the Badger Kill-Cull because everyone says what a great and kind person he is. Here is a picture of Jesus.  You might recognise him because his heart is on the outside of his body, which is quite unusual:

This week I was touched by the stories of three Huwomen.  The first is called Victoria. Her colleague told me that she is terrified of Badgers like me and is too frightened to come out of the front entrance of Defra in case she sees me.  She was traumatised when a man who wanted to marry her dressed up as a Badger and proposed to her.  She refused and has been afraid of big Badgers ever since. Her friend took a picture of me and said he would show it to her and tell her what a nice Badger I am and that I she doesn't need to be scared of me because I don't want to mate with her....

Then along came Jaqueline who gave me a big hug in spite of fears about Covid Virus. She introduced herself as a Mad Cat Woman. She has 14 cats.  We liked her a lot as she had a huge heart for animals and doesn't even eat them.  Here is a cartoon of a Mad Cat Woman from something called The Simpsons:

The third Huwoman who came along was called Josephine and made us very sad.  She told us that a man she loved and had saved her life had been imprisoned by the British Government on false charges when he is a good kind man.  Mary said that although the Government was a bit corrupt she didn't believe that they would imprison someone for no good reason but we promised to read his story when we got home.  The Google Oracle and Wikipedia told us all about the Human called Aravindan Balakrishnan who ran an organisation called the Workers Institute of Marxism-Leninism-MaoZedong Thought. He convinced his followers that everything was controlled by him including the sun, moon, wind, fires; that he could overthrow governments control natural disasters and  make people live and die.  I wondered if he could stop the Badger Kill-Cull.... Anyway, he was convicted of child cruelty, false imprisonment, rape, six counts of indecent assault and other things in what became known as the Lambeth Slavery Case.  He was jailed for 23 year. It was so sad that Josephine had lost her hero and was still fighting for him five years later. .

Last week we met a Human who was an environmentalist and had just come back from a place called Sudan.  He looked very upset by what he had experienced.  He said that all animals including things called Elephants and Antelopes and Giraffes have been killed for food because Hupeople are so hungry because of a War. Hupeople fight Wars all the time and the ordinary folk suffer, starve and die.  It is all very strange when Hupeople think they are so clever.  Did you know that Hupeople are even talking about going to live on other planets in the sky?  I don't think the Universe will allow that.  I must agree with Bill Hicks who said that Humanity is "a Virus with Shoes".  Don't tell Mary I said that...  These are Giraffes.  I have to admit that they are really peculiar looking and would have a real problem in my wood because they would keep banging their heads.

The last person I want to tell you about I met two days ago.  He was walking past Defra with holes in his shoes, a grey beard, dirty clothes and a can of something called Beer in his hand.  He had bright blue kind eyes. He told me that his name is Badger and we shook hands as kindred Badgers.  He said that Badger is a kind and happy man, until he drinks and then he is not Badger any more, but is someone not very nice at all.  He begged me and Mary not to drink Beer or other alcohol because it would destroy us, as it was destroying him.  He spent a lot of time in hospital recently and thinks he may die soon because he is a slave to alcohol. We wanted to take him home and look after him but he wouldn't fit in the Betty Bag with me. 

In the Badger world we are all waiting to hear how many Badgers Defra has killed this autumn.  They usually release the figures in the week before Christmas because everyone is caught up in some sort of tinsel-fuelled frenzy and too focussed on buying things to notice this really tragic news. 

In a few days time it will be the shortest day and the longest night.  Although it will be cold for some months yet, it gives us Badgers hope of Spring and hope of a new year when the British Government may finally listen to the sensible scientists and stop blaming Badgers, because we are innocent and lovely.

Night Night,

Betty 🐾🐾🐾🐾

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Betty and Mary's 4 year Anniversary

Hello Betty Badger Fans.

On 25th August 2017 when Mary was holding her weekly Badger vigil outside 10 Downing Street I, Betty Badger, came into her life. I was introduced to Mary by a Huwoman called Heather, who is still fighting for us Badgers.  Me and Mary have been together almost every Thursday for 4 years outside Defra or Downing Street having lots of adventures, laughter and tears. We have been there in the snow, the rain and the blazing sun.  We have grown old and achy together. We have quite a following and Thursday is now known in Westminster as Betty Badger Day because that's the day me and Mary have our weekly vigil.

Here is a picture of Mary pretending to be a Badger outside Downing Street before I came along.  

She really doesn't look much like a Badger..... so it's good that I joined her. I am much more impressive. 

I last wrote my blog in late February when we were allowed to go back to London Town after Covid Lockup.  Then we hit a bit of a problem....  Mary was doing a survey for Badger setts before a proposed housing development when she was lassoed by a bramble and fell over broke her shoulder on a tree.  Her friend Tom was with her and took her the the place where Hupeople get repaired. She wasn't able to drive for 3 months, still we got back to our vigil in May as soon as she could carry me in my Betty Bag.  By then my cubs were old enough to be left on their own.  Here's me in my Betty Bag when I was on the way to the ConservaTory party Conference in Man Chester a couple of years ago. 

Everyone at Defra (apart from George Eustice) was pleased to see us back and made us feel so welcome.  Even the people in Caffé Nero across the road from Defra gave Mary a free coffee. 

Extinction Rebellion has been busy on the streets of London town and loads of Police Officers lined up outside Defra to protect the building.  

They are very kind and protected me by putting me behind their lines in case my lovely fur got covered by paint.  One of the Officers came up to me and aid how much he admired our commitment; this made us blush.. Here are some lovely Police Officers from Downing Street:

Last Wednesday I was on the BBC 1 news for several minutes.  I was outside Defra with lots of Hupeople for a protest about an Alpaca called Geronimo. This was Geronimo:

His mother Helen gave a loud talk about how he was dragged away screaming with fear from his home by Defra staff in hazard suits and then they shot him.  

Helen was very sad and also angry and she is determined to stop this happening to other Creatures.   Here she is with Geronimo:

If you have read my blog before, you will know that the test Defra uses to tell if cows have CowTB is very inaccurate.  Geronimo tested positive for CowTB with the old test and his mother asked for the more precise test.  Defra reused her 
request because they didn't want to admit that their old test didn't work.  The better test would have cost only £20 but it might have meant that everyone would then know that hundreds of thousands of Cows and Badgers had been shot for no good reason. Mary says that the early result of Geronimo's post mortem show that he didn't even have CowTB.  

Although it is very sad that Geronimo was shot and his mother made so sad, it has brought the cruel stupidity of the Badger Kill-Cull back into public attention. That is a good thing because the media are bored with Badgers- we are old news.. Another way of bringing the Kill-Cull back  into the news is to start shooting cats and dogs.  As Mary's very logical friend said:  

"The latest news is that cats & dogs: (a) catch COVID from humans; (b) it does not affect them much; & (c) no evidence of significant transmission from them to humans.

That sounds so familiar. Badgers: (a) catch TB from cows; (b) it does not affect them much; & (c) no evidence of significant transmission from them to cows.

Therefore the government should logically order a cull of cats & dogs."

Mary wouldn't really like that because she loves her cats.  However, although she likes dogs, she doesn't like dog owners who let their dogs eat wildlife.  One of Mary's chickens called Radish nearly died when 4 dogs came into her garden and carried off Radish the chicken.  Radish was bitten through to her spine, but has miraculously survived.  Mary shouted at the owners so loudly that she lost her voice for a few days. Here is Radish feeling much better:

Anyway, the protest was great fun because everyone called for George Eustice to resign and for Defra to be disbanded.  The wonderful vet Ian McGill, who went to a place called Afghanistan to help a Human called Pen Farthing to save hundreds of Animals, asked for Defra to be replaced with a new Office of Food, Farming and Animal Welfare- OFFAW  That's  a really good idea.  Defra seems to be run by people who hate Animals, especially Badgers.  We met a man some years ago who works in Defra and hates Badgers because he got CowTB as a child probably from drinking milk straight from the Cow.  He blames Badgers not the Cow and he might be driving the policy, along with the  National Farmers Union. 

I have been keeping clear of Mary's garden for a few weeks because there's major competition for her peanuts.  It's the time of year the Fallow Deer grow trees on their heads to impress the females and it's best to keep out of their way.  Here is a little film of the goings on at the bottom of Mary's garden last night. 


If my Bertie grew trees on his head he wouldn't be able to get down the sett and would keep getting caught on all the brambles.  Mother Nature sometimes does some really rather silly things.  

Mary's garden is once again full of baby Pheasants who are released by the Game Keeper from pens at this time of year.  Mary gets very sad because they are so young and look  lost, worried and confused about being dumped into the countryside with no parents to tell them how to survive. Here are some young boy Pheasants

The Humen with flashbang sticks will be killing them in just a couple of weeks time when the Shooting Season starts.  Such a short and scary life they have.  Mary tells me that fifty Million Pheasants and Partridges are shot in the UK every year- I am not sure how big that number is but it sounds huge.  And of course, to keep the Pheasants alive until they are ready to shoot them, the Game Keeper traps and kills any Animals that might eat them before they are shot; this includes Foxes, Weasels, Stoats, Buzzards and Badgers, even though it is illegal to kill some of them.  

Mary gets very very sad and angry about all this killing by the Game Keeper and his friends.  I told her that she should kill him to stop the suffering.  Mary told me that although she would like to kill the Game Keeper she is not allowed to do that because, although shooting lots of creatures for fun is legal, it isn't legal to kill Game Keepers or hunters... not even just one.  That all sounds rather silly to me.

I am sorry but I have to tell you some really sad news now.  The Badger Kill-Cull has started again and my Badger friends are already being shot.  Do your remember how George Eustice said he would be phasing out the Kill-Cull?  Well, he is a liar. 141,000 Badgers have been killed in the last seven years but this year he wants to shoot another 65,000, more than ever  before.  And he is allowing Kill-Culling in 5 new areas including Buckinghamshire.  They are getting close to my sett now and I am very scared. . I think he is trying to kill every Badger in the country and then he will bring the Kill-Cull to an end.  My heart breaks for every one of those Badgers who is trapped in a cage, tempted by peanuts and then has to wait there until the evil Humen come and kill them. And Defra doesn't even test the Badgers to see if they had Cow TB which more than 99% haven't.

I am sorry if this Blog has been a bit sad, but Mary and I are both feeling quite down after 4 years of fighting cruelty to Badgers and things are getting worse, in spite of Defra promises.  We must remember all  those lovely brave Hupeople who are fighting for us and going out at night trying to save our lives, releasing us from the traps before we are shot.  What can you do?  Write  to your MP, tweet Defra, contact the press. Do whatever you can to save my family of Badgers. 

Mary has booked us onto a train to Man Chester to visit the ConservaTory Party Conference again in October. I don't suppose they will let us in but we will do what we can by hanging around outside looking menacing  and cute..

Let us finish by cheering ourselves up with Mary's Chickens.  They are funny and naughty and make Mary laugh.  Yesterday Broccoli grabbed Mary's peanut butter and Marmite on toast from her hand and ran around the garden with it in her beak with another 9 chickens in hot pursuit. Last week they stole her cinnamon bagel and jam from her mouth.  Their latest game is to leap into the air and steal the low hanging grapes on the grape vine. 

Mary's Cat Rufus hates the chickens because they have stolen his garden.  Yesterday he decided to get his revenge by urinating in their dust bath  so the chickens now smell of Cat urine.  And people say that Animals aren't sentient!  Here is a happy picture of Rufus hiding on the roof to escape the Chickens:

Until the next time,

Night Night

Betty Badger 🐾🐾🐾

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Betty has News

Hello Betty Badger Fans.

I am back above ground after a long cold winter of discontent. I have so much to tell you about me, and about Mary who has had her adventures too. 

My biggest and best news is that, as a result of a bit of slap and tickle with Bertie, I have become a Badger Mother again. I have three new cubs, Barbara, Boris and Bradley. Here is a Badger Cub:

Who would have thought that an old Badger like me could manage that?  I still love my Brian who was shot in the Kill-Cull three years ago but life has to go on, particularly as Defra has now killed around 150,000 of us so we have to get our numbers up again.  

The Cubs were born three weeks ago and I am busy feeding them my milk. Oh I do worry about what will happen to them when they go above ground.  There are so many dangers for a little Badger: snares, Dogs, cars, Foxes and, worst of all, Hupeople who seem to find great pleasure in harming us Badgers.

We have spent a most of our time over the last few months under the ground in our setts. I ate so much food to keep me going over the winter months that I grew enormously fat and had to make the tunnels bigger so I could get in.  We have used up our stored fat now and I am looking forward to  Mary's peanuts once I can leave the Cubs for a while. 

We haven't been to Defra since December when I wore my Christmas hat. Here I am in my hat:

Then the lockup was announced and Mary was told that if she came again she would indeed be arrested and locked up.  She wouldn't have minded so much but the Chickens would have died without her to feed them.   We are going back as soon as we can.  Boris, the Prime Minister not my little Boris, announced last night a gradual end to your lockup starting soon. This is what the BBC says you can do from 8th March.

  •  "Recreation in outdoor public spaces - such as a park - will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic"

I wonder if that means me and Mary can meet up again outside Defra?  We will have to take advice. 

Now, you might be wondering why we need to keep protesting outside Defra when George Eustice announced in January that the Kill-Cull was coming to an end. Just for a moment mine and Mary's hearts lifted when we heard the news on her wireless but then we remembered  how he said last March that the shooting was being phased out.  All lies and weasel words as he went on to increase the number of zones where Badgers could be killed and the numbers of us being shot. Weasels are known for being ruthless killers so I think that suits Mr. Eustice very well. 

George Eustice killed 38,642 in the autumn, the most Badgers ever.  Just think about all the fear and suffering and grief of their families.  This time he has decided that, until the end of 2022, he will still issue four year licenses for killing Badgers so that means we could be shot for another 6 years.  On top of that, he will allow Supplementary Licenses so Badgers can be killed where deemed necessary (!!!), with no end in sight.  How many more tens of thousands of innocent Badgers will be shot? My heart was broken again.

On the positive side, George is now thinking about what Mary has been suggesting for the past decade.  It is only sad that we have had to wait so long for Defra to see sense.  We know these proposals have been delayed because most of the farmers and the NFU want as many Badgers dead as possible. Mary has been telling Defra for so long that the solution to Cow TB is Cow vaccination, better biosecurity and using the more accurate gamma interferon tests. That means fewer infected Cows will be moved around the country infecting more Cow herds for  which Badgers will inevitably be blamed.  

Mary has asked Defra to investigate why Cows are moved around the country quite so much-1.5 million a year-  they hardly do it in other countries. The Europeans laugh at the British saying that moving our livestock around is a national sport.  And it's not very nice for the cows and sheep who must be very scared when they are loaded into trucks.

Mary has had a hard three months so she probably wasn't up to going to Defra anyway.  She caught Covid 19 in October when she went into a school to talk to the students about being kind to Animals, including Badgers.  She was very ill and thought she would die. She was too ill to feed the chickens but her friends Mike and Vanessa did that for her until she was better.  Then she had both her eyes sliced open in something she called cataract surgery. I think she is mad but she says she is glad she had it done because she can see the stars in the sky again.  Then her mother Nora died of Covid in January and then Mary caught an evil stomach bug from the Chickens. 

Mary got six new rescue Chickens in December.  Oh dear, they were in a dreadful state when she brought them home.  They had lived in little cages no bigger than a piece of paper all their lives.  They had never seen the sun, or the grass, or night or ever scratched in the earth for worms.  I am so glad I'm not a caged Chicken. I wouldn't want to live if I couldn't dig for worms.   Here is a picture of the first Chicken to come out of the coop on their first morning at Mary's. 

She is called Boudicca because she was so brave to come out and face the big world. 
  They didn't have many feathers and Mary was worried they might die from the cold but they are tough little warriors.  The others are called Parsnip, Radish, Sweetcorn, Pumpkin and Broccoli.

The Chickens have been in lockup too since December 14th because of something called Avian flu brought in by immigrant Birds flying in from other counties for the summer. The new Chickens don't realise they are in lockdown because they have so much space in comparison to what they had before.  The old girls are very unhappy because they can't wander around the garden now. Barbara the Chicken who used to go to bed up a pear tree can't do that any more because trees are out of bounds now, but she makes a bid to escape every day and sometimes succeeds. She is a very spirited Chicken. As some of you will know, Badgers eat Chickens but I have restrained myself and just eaten the odd egg. Mary thinks it's the rats. 

Spring is coming and the bulbs are pushing through the ground and me and Mary are full of hope for a new beginning.  Today I heard the Woodpecker banging on a dead tree trying to attract a mate. Giving yourself a headache and making a loud noise to get a girl seems an odd thing to do.  And they keep me awake when I am sleeping during the day. Here is a woodpecker.  

I have to go back to feed the Cubs now.  I hope to see my friends at Defra very soon and begin to write my blogs again, if Boris, Bradley and Barbara will let me.

Night Night,
Betty  🐾🐾🐾🐾

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Betty evicted from Defra

Hello Betty Fans,  After three years me and my family have been evicted from Defra Marsham Street .  My cubs can no longer frolic on the grass and Mary has nowhere to sit. This is how things used to be just a couple of weeks ago:

And now the Marsham Street lawn is devoid of wildlife. 

is that all the security staff who were my friends have been told not to talk to me so I get quite lonely on my Thursday vigil. 

This is what happened last Thursday.  The nice young security Human who asked me to leave said he thought it was something to do with Covid19, which was clearly silly.  Mary said she wouldn't move until the head of security asked her to move.  The head of Security is called Andy and finally came out and she said the security services wanted me to move.  Mary said that was rubbish because the Chief Constable or Inspector or someone else very important had recently said I could stay .  

Mary asked Andy what the real reason was but he wouldn't say.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that Mary challenged George Eustice, the Secretary of State for Killing Badgers (SSKB) two weeks ago.  If you read my last blog you will know Mary had a word with him and asked him why he was killing Badgers and not just vaccinating Cows?  Clearly he didn't like being challenged over his wicked illogical policy.

Anyway, we have moved away from the entrance and are now on the pavement outside which means we are even more obvious to passing Public and Cars and Buses and they wave at us.  But we do miss our Security Staff friends who look very uncomfortable now.  One of them, who will remain nameless, said he was so sorry because I was never any trouble and always kept out of the way of any other protests.  Last year I was called " A magnet for Trouble" but I am just standing and waving and saying hello.

Since I wrote my last Betty Blog George Eustice has announced the killing of around 70,000 of my Badger friends this autumn.  They have already started killing them.  It is so so wrong.  Here is a sign that was found in one area. 

The cry of despair from animal lovers when the announcement of the Kill-Cull was made could probably be heard throughout the universe.  When Mary heard it on the news when she was in bed she screamed so loudly that her cat Rufus shot off the bed as if jet propelled and hid under a piece of bubble wrap which always helps his anxiety

Mary was so upset and sat up all night writing letters to Farming Today, the BBC Today programme, The Times, and everyone else she could think of. After our initial rage we settled into despair.  I took to my sett and Mary took to her bed with her cats. But we are not easily beaten and we will never give up.  There was a question in the House of Parly Ment this week about when the  Kill-Cull would be phased out and it looks as if Defra intends to kill us Badgers for at least ten more years.  So me and Mary will be standing outside Defra when she is very very old. She will be 66 next week and so a pensioner.  I hope one of my cubs will take over from me because I will not live that long.  I will ask young Boris; he will do it for his sister Bryony who was shot 2 years ago

We saw George Eustice this week and he said hello and gave his sickly triumphant smile.  Mary is looking for ways to stop the cull so she went on the Dark Web to look for a contract killer to deal with the SSKB. I have never heard about the Dark Web and thought it meant the really big spider web in the back of her old shed, but Mary explained that the Dark Web is a place where illegal or immoral stuff happens.  Do you know, it would only cost around £15,000 to kill George Eustice.  Mary said she is planning to set up a Go Fund Me page.  I am not sure if she is joking....

Last week at Defra I had company which was a good thing because Mary was in no state to look after me.  The company was called Neill who came with us on the train the silver tube.  He is a vegan and ate vegan cheesecake from Caffe Nero in Marsham Street.  Mary was pleased to have him along for when she was very upset and I was relieved because in our state there was a distinct possibility that we would leave some of the cubs behind. 

Mary and I went to Somerset on Saturday.  In Somerset they used to have lots of Badgers and even the buses are named after us.  Here is a picture to prove it. 

Sadly a lot of the Badgers in Somerset have been killed in the Kill-Cull. Perhaps one day the only Badgers in Somerset will be the drawings on the buses.
 I had to hide in Mary's bag in  Weston Super Mare in case the wicked Shooters with flash-bang sticks killed me.

We went to there to see Mary's ancient Mother. She is nearly 90 and lives in a house for Hupeople who have mislaid bits of their brains.  She is more like a Badger now because she takes each day as it comes and doesn't want anything except to have nice food and be warm and comfortable. She doesn't want the things Hupeople often want such as clothes and jewels and handbags and cars and ornaments.  She is very happy and healthy and loves to hear about Badgers and Chickens. She is happy because she has found a reason to get up in the morning.  Lots of Hupeople lost that reason during the Covid  Lock Up and became very depressed.  What saved her was finding  a broom, not to fly on but to sweep with.  All day she is found to be sweeping her community home and the garden.  Mary thinks there is some deep significance in this to do with sweeping away and putting right all the sad and dark things in her life.  I think she just enjoys making everything clean and tidy.  We badgers do that; regularly cleaning out our tunnels so they are lovely and fresh.

Two other bits of news, one sad and one happy.  Last week Buttercup the Chicken had to be put to sleep because she had a big growth in her tummy .  Lots of Chickens get those because of all the eggs they grow inside them. Mary's eyes leaked a bit, but she is getting used to Chickens dying because their little bodies are pretty worn out by the time they get rescued by Mary.  

Mary's good news is that the 2 sick Fox Cubs she rescued are now better and have been released into the wild.  They have been released away from Mary's house so that Nick the evil gamekeeper won't shoot them. He shot sixteen foxes the other year including 11 cubs who used to play in Mary's garden. The rescued cubs  have gone into the countryside where there isn't a shoot. 

Mary has one more sick cub to catch and get treated for mange, but we heard rifle shots last night so Nick might have already killed her.  Mary is very worried about me because some Hupeople are killing Badgers in non Kill-Cull areas and then taking them down to the Kill-Cull areas and getting the money for them. She was out looking for me last night when she heard the shots.  

If you are out and about in the countryside in the dawn and dusk you will probably see lots of Deer now.  They are busy mating.  They get so excited and they even run around in daylight so you need to be very careful because they are too aroused to even notice cars.  Over the summer me and Mary have been watching the male Fallow Deer, called Bucks,  grow trees on their heads.  What a waste of energy, not only all the effort of growing them but then carrying them around for months.  And they they bang them together fighting over Does.  The Does just look on bemused.

I will finish my short and quite sad blog showing a video Mary took of me and my Fallow Deer friend
 Fred when his antler trees were growing.  You should see Fred's antlers now; they are huge. I will keep well out of his way until he loses his antlers and starts behaving sensibly again

Night Night,

Betty. 🐾🐾🐾