The Essex Badger Protection Group celebrated their 30th anniversary last year on the 16th August. This was marked by an all day event which was held at the Hanningfield Reservoir Visitors Centre.
The group would like to give a huge thank you to all of their group members, the staff at the Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre, the Badger Trust and our special guest Dominic Dyer, for making the event on such a huge success.
The day wasn't just about raising money, it gave the group a fantastic opportunity to meet members of the public to talk about the work that we do and offer information and advice to those lucky enough to have badgers visit their gardens. On the lead up to the event the group managed to get lots of publicity in the local newspapers and on local radio stations. One of our radio interviews with Phoenix FM can still be heard online at http://www.phoenixfm.com/2015/08/16/animal-lovers/ .
The event itself kicked off at 9am with a visit from BBC Essex, who featured the celebration as part of their "Essex Quest" programme that morning. By the time the broadcast had ended, people were already arriving into the centre and enjoying the multitude of badger themed cakes available.
One of the highlights of the day came at 1pm, with a visit from Badger Trust CEO Dominic Dyer who gave a typically passionate and inspiring speech about the problems facing badgers today and the crucial role played by local badger groups in protecting them. During his speech Dominic, who also works with Virginia McKenna's Born Free Foundation, stressed that whilst it was right to be concerned about Trophy hunting and the death of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, it was equally right that we look to protect our wildlife at home. He went on to criticise the government's badger culling policy, explaining that ministers had been warned even by hunters that badgers would be extremely difficult to shoot at night yet this continued to be authorised, with scant regard for its lack of humaneness, simply because it was the cheapest option. Dominic pointed out that the role of badgers in the spread of bovine tuberculosis between cattle in the West Country continued to be overstated and, as a consequence, the culling of badgers would never provide a solution to the problem anyway.
Dominic then opened the floor for a lengthy Q&A session, covering such diverse subjects as to whether supermarkets should be encouraged to better support farmers in an effort to change their policies on badgers, to the threats faced by badgers due to property development and the role which can be played by local badger groups to mitigate these.
Frank Last, the group's former chairman, was then on hand toward the end of the day to deliver a presentation on the life of badgers, followed by another Q&A session.
Here's to the next 30 years and beyond!