Rocco: Privatise the Badgers!

The badger cull gets people a bit worked up, doesn’t it?  Most normal, caring, animal loving British people have something to say on the subject. It might be pro or con, it might be measured or not so measured, but it seems that everyone has an opinion. So you’ll be pleased to know that I have a solution. Its a little unorthodox, perhaps. But I think its a solution that will please all parties. Yeah. Privatise badgers.

Bfft…<splutter>…privatise badgers!? This bloke can’t be serious, can he? What a silly idea. What could be gained from such folly if it were attempted? Why would you want to privatise badgers? Who on earth would suggest privatising badgers?

Hello. I’m Rocco, and I’m a private property anarchist. And just to be absolutely clear right at the outset, I am completely, 100% opposed to the badger cull. It is my firm belief that not one badger should be culled. Not one. With that out of the way…

Word on the street is that badgers, who are carriers of bovine TB, infect cattle with it, whereupon the cattle must be destroyed. The farmer makes a loss on cows infected with TB. Therefore, the State must step in to cull the badgers as a preventive measure (using money it takes in taxes), so that  farmers don’t lose out. However, this is opposed by various people and groups who say either that badgers don’t cause bovine TB, or that badgers do cause bovine TB, but culling them won’t help matters. This is a fairly rough and ready picture, but its accurate in essentials. So, what would privatising badgers do to sort this out?

Well, firstly it’s important to understand  that none of this actually needs concern anyone except farmers. Farmers livestock is getting infected with TB. Now, this is terrible for the farmers obviously. But why does anyone else need to get involved, including indirectly via taxation?  The reason, the only reason, is that badgers are a protected species. And why are they a protected species?  The reason, the only reason, is that they look just adorable! That might sound facetious, but I challenge anybody reading this to give an explanation as to why badgers are a protected species, that does not come down to: Awww, don’t they look adorable! It can’t be done. “Sorry mate, your cows have got to be incinerated, because badgers look adorable. Bad luck.” At least that’s what it says on the T-shirt I got from Barry’s World of Badgers (Yeah, alright, now I’m being facetious.)

But there is a serious point here: if they weren’t a protected species this debate wouldn’t even exist. There would just be farmers, their property, and wild animals causing damage to that property. It would be a technical problem, akin to greenflies damaging crops. Further, protected status creates the illusion that this is now a ‘moral’ problem. So, what should have been a matter for farmers alone, now requires  society to act. And by “society” is meant “the State.” And “to act” means “to spend”, of course. And because it is a ‘moral’ issue there will be time-wasting naturally, which means yet more State spending. At least that’s what it says on the T-shirt I got from Barry’s World of Bureaucracy (formerly America).

It might be objected that it is indeed a problem for society, because if there are fewer cows, the price of beef will go up. There are several problems with this. The big one, is that the argument, if accepted, proves far too much. If the fear of prices going up necessitates State intervention in the case of beef, then we should stop messing about and nationalise the entire economy. Because there is literally no place to stop if we accept this argument for so much as one product. Why should beef be a special case? The other one I’ll mention, is that the argument fails to understand the function of prices. Prices act as signals to producers: Low prices signal that supply of a given good is too high relative to current demand; high prices signal that supply of a given good is too low relative to current demand. Now, as ‘them greedy buggers what only care about making money’, do indeed only care about making money, they will voluntarily and without need of a central plan, increase the supply of a good that they can make alot of money on. That same increase of supply will bring the price of the good down. (In Henry Hazlitt’s wonderful phrase “the cure for high prices is high prices.”) As for what concerns us here then: If the amount of beef is insufficient for the demands of a territory, the price of beef will rise there. Other producers, seeing that beef is now more profitable in that territory, will sell beef originally meant for other markets there instead in an attempt to rake in some extra profit for themselves. Thus, more beef will come to market, and therefore the price of beef  in that territory will have to fall. Without State interference, the problem solves itself.

What of the privatisation of badgers then? What would it involve? Well, what I mean is that those who are keen on badgers should take ownership of them. Not in the ridiculous “adopt a badger” RSPCA sense, where you give a couple of quid to some youth with a clipboard. No, I mean really become the owner of one (or more, of course), like you’d become the owner of a budgie, dog, or horse.  Once protected species status is removed, badgers will be just another wild animal.  From there, if you want one, just make it your own, like how you might take in a stray cat. If it be objected that badgers are too dangerous to be kept as family pets, they can be kept outside in a cage. They could even be kept locked away behind protective glass, the way owners of poisonous snakes keep their dangerous pets. Really though, its not my place to say. If someone cares about badgers that much, they’ll figure something out – mankind is incredibly inventive.

This could even be done on an industrial scale. Badger lovers could take over closed down factories, for example, refurbish them as badger friendly environments, and house hundreds of them. Such places could be funded through charging admission fees to visitors, perhaps even the sale of merchandising.  Profits might be spent setting up new badger sanctuaries, and encouraging private individuals to (genuinely) adopt badgers, and informing them how to keep badgers safely. Lets not forget charity, either. Plenty of people would gladly give money to fund such activities. We know this because they already give money to similar causes. And, yes, even I (cold-hearted sod that I am) think badgers are adorable.

Or perhaps badger lovers might become owners of woodland. Any badgers who inhabit that land would become the legal responsibility of the owners. Now, assuming badgers do cause bovine TB, the owners would be legally responsible for any cases caused by their badgers. Therefore, it will be in their interest, so as to avoid possible lawsuits, to either inoculate their badgers, or prevent their badgers getting close enough to cows to infect them. (This would also hold for private owners.)

As a result, farmers will not kill badgers willy-nilly, because then they would be up before a judge for destruction of private property. Any wild (that is, unowned) badgers, assuming there are any, might be killed by farmers if they feel them to be a risk to their livestock. But here again there’s a non-violent solution. Farmers, becoming aware of wild badgers near their fields, could inform badger enthusiasts of this, who could then take ownership of them, preventing the need for bloodshed.

So, there you go. Privatising badgers. Doesn’t sound so silly now, does it?

10 comments on “Rocco: Privatise the Badgers!

  1. grumpyoldmanuk
    October 21, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Why don’t we allow animal rights activists, FoE and Greenpiss loons to offer themselves up for culling in place of a badger? Each badger could be recycled many times, there would be less wear and tear on Russian prisons, the loons would achieve immolation for Gaia and the lunatic fringe would be reduced to a manageable size. it seems like a win-win solution to me.

  2. Talwin
    October 21, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    ….and if you owned a badger, there’d always the be the option, in these straitened times, to recoup expenses by fattening it up to serve as Christmas dinner.

    • Rocco
      October 21, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      There would indeed, Talwin. I hadn’t even thought of that.
      Thanks! 😀

  3. theaustrianway
    October 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Very good once more Rocco.

    Once more into the breach, dear friends…. said the State.

    Not to give away my hay seed roots, but badgers became protected over a hundred years ago, when gamekeepers (in the interests of protecting their boss’ private property) became rather good at killing ’em off. At this time, it might have been true that badger numbers were very low, hence protective legislation etc…

    Now the pendulum has veritably swung back the other way and badgers are very common in the countryside and widely perceived as a pest by landowners, farmers and small-holders.

    I don’t know if the cull will be effective or not, but either way a private solution would be best 🙂

    • Rocco
      October 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks. Much appreciated.

  4. kevinsmith2013
    October 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    It won’t work and can’t work unless they plan to completely eradicate every single badger in Britain. I don’t know the details on this, but I suspect that badgers are only the primary host, there is almost certainly a secondary host, a biting fly, a mozzy, a gnat, a flea, a tick or something. It seems unlikely that badgers just mingle with the cattle and then just cough all over them, thus spreading the TB bacterium.

    A more effective, and cheaper option would be to innoculate cattle, but who pays? The farmer could pay, but he would then expect to be able to get more for his beef, also if they use antibiotics it may pass into the human food chain.

    However, recently in the MSM news they announced that high doses of Vitamin C were controlling human TB, where antibiotics wre failing.

    Growing up (North) in a predominantly farming community, I never thought I would see the day when we shoot badgers and protect foxes from hunting – WTF is the world coming to.

  5. Anthem
    October 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Apparently badgers can be tamed and kept as pets. Seems like a plan. Shoot the rest. The cons of their survival outweigh the pros.

    I would just add this: If you take one in as a pet and then get fed up with it, don’t release it back into the wild. Shoot it.

    • Rocco
      October 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      Also, if you get one as a pet, whatever you do, no matter how much it begs you, don’t feed it after midnight!

      Or is that just gremlins? 😀

  6. Phil B
    October 21, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    If badgers (or baby seals, for that matter) looked like cockroaches, no one would care how many you killed.

    I know from personal experience of working on motorways (M6, M1 and M62) that there is a badger set about every 1/3 to 1/2 mile on the motorway embankments – no one goes there and they are a restricted area. Causes massive (i.e. expensive) problems when work needs to be done as you can’t disturb the oh! so rare! badgers …

  7. silverminer
    October 22, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Cattle are getting TB because they are being kept in sheds out of the Sun and fed on grain (the seed of the plant) when they should be out on pasture except in the depths of winter (eating the actual plants).

    Remember what mammals need the Sun for (amongst other things)? Making Vitamin D. What does a mammal need Vitamin D for? It’s the master hormone that controls the immune system. So, a Vitamin D deficient cow gets everything going, including TB, when it finally gets out for a bit of fresh air and comes into contact with badgers.

    This is pretty much a self inflicted problem through bad animal husbandry practices. Break the cows out of the feedlots and give them a high dose Vit D supplement and I imagine the problem will be much reduced (I guess you could say something similar for humans also…).

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