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Badgers Not Joining in Properly in Campaign to Slaughter Them

So let me get this straight; Owen Patterson, the Environment Secretary, admits he has been outwitted in the War on the badgers.

So let me get this straight; Owen Patterson, the Environment Secretary, admits he has been outwitted in the War on the badgers.

Mr Patterson, incidentally, is a Cambridge-educated human being and Cabinet Minister, while badgers are four-legged mammals, none of whom are known to have ever received any formal education. (Although several are now thought to be working as biology teachers in free schools on the strength of their untrained yet undeniable passion for rooting out grubs and bumblebee nests).

Mr Patterson has complained that the badger-culling campaign is not going as well as planned because the badgers have "moved the goalposts" by trying to avoid being shot by hiding and moving away from the killing zones. He accuses the badgers of acting like wild animals. And sorry, you can't take that away from him.

But who could ever have seen it coming? When they were planning this whole huge operation, who knew wild animals would act like wild animals? Surely, it's against nature? Who could have expected the badgers to have a survival instinct and to sneak off to live somewhere quieter when gunmen started surrounding their setts? That's just cheating!

Trying to escape death is a jolly unfair way to conduct yourself in a cull. Especially in a time of austerity when cost-efficiency is crucial. But this shameless moving of the goalposts reminds us what a dangerous opponent the largest indigenous member of the weasel family presents to the average Cambridge-educated hominid.

Some people seek to characterise the free-shooting badger cullers and their supporters as a bunch of ignorant bloodthirsty trigger-happy fools who never wanted to consider any option that didn't include redecorating Dingly Dell with the brains and body parts of Britain's largest wild mammal because it wouldn't be as much fun. But this would be unfair (despite all the evidence to suggest it's true) for legal reasons.

You've got to remember that in some areas where the culls are being conducted, human interbreeding is probably more of a problem than it is within the badger population, and so intellectually it's a much closer fight than smug urbane Islington-dwelling lefties such as myself might first assume. In some areas of the West Country for example, rival branches of the most distinguished families have been known to fight to the death over a chin. There are rumours that badgers have slipped past DEFRA-licensed gunmen fiendishly disguised as pandas, and when challenged, have replied "Of course we're not badgers escaping the killing fields. Look - we're not even carrying any goalposts." That kind of cunning shows what a formidable enemy the badger really is. It's probably time that GCHQ got called in to monitor all badger traffic on the internet, and target militants with drone strikes.

No one denies that TB in cattle herds is a serious problem, but a lot of scientific research suggested that vaccination would be a marginally more expensive, but more humane and crucially a more effective way of dealing with the problem. However, that solution simply fails to take into account the fondness of English country-landowners and their lackeys for loud explosions and bloodshed. With Armistice Day coming up and our thoughts turning again to the First World War, I for one would have expected any decent British badger to patriotically accept the value of a huge and pointless sacrifice. In fact you could believe the whole thing was planned by the General Staff of 1916: projected targets have not been met and deadlines may have to be extended several times before failure is finally admitted. Oh, and by driving the badgers to disperse you're not just failing to control areas infected with TB, you're making the problem worse. But heaven forbid they admit the mistake straightaway. That's not in the noble traditions of the British Establishment. The right thing to do is to carry on with lots and lots of pointless killing, and if anyone argues it should stop, you can turn round and say - but look at all this terrible killing we've done! If we stop now it will be pointless!

Surely you don't want that? You want a Cambridge-educated minister to be defeated by a large member of the weasel family? What kind of message would that send out about the people who govern us?

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