The Fire-raven is Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax better known as the Chough, more correctly these days, as the Red-billed chough, or in olden days, the Cornish chough. It is Cornwall’s national bird. When I moved there in 1971 it was virtually extinct. Here, in its last English stronghold, there was just one pair left. Both died in my first year there, not, I hasten to add, through anything I did, but this rekindled my love of a bird which had begun in North Wales where I grew up. There were four of them on the County of Flint’s coat of arms and when I accompanied my father to Caernarvon castle – where he was responsible for it as an ancient monument – I used to see a tame one wandering round the precincts, under the care of the custodian. The odd thing is that there is no record of the Chough ever having lived in Flintshire.
So, 30 years later, when we had to come up with a name for the micro publishing venture set up to publish the second edition of my 1986 (Batsford) book, The Fate of the Badger, I looked no further than this iconic bird. The ‘we’ referred to were great badger stalwarts: Mike Rendle (N.Ireland), Pat & Jeff Hayden (England), Jane Brown (USA & Eire) and Steve Jones (Wales). The success of the venture was indisputably down to the huge amount of unpaid work they did in preparation and promotion.
Fire Raven Writing, apart from its badger work, would like to continue publishing and promoting other small environmental literary projects. To this end, all proceeds from the sale of Fate have gone to, and will in the future go to, furthering conservation, such as Tom Langton’s Judicial Review.
Kissing cows are to blame for bovine TB - so stop this bloody badger cull..
What can Pride and Prejudice teach us about the fate of the badger?
'The Fate of the Badger': the great badger scapegoating conspiracy.
'[Fate of the Badger is] so important to the Fate of the Countryside. There is so much to unlearn. Then we may have to start paying attention.' Michael Morpurgo
‘Richard is one of the best nature writers we have and our parallel lives and books have seen the fate of badgers swing one positive way and then swing back to these negative, dark days he describes so well. His new edition of a classic study of badgers is a must read for everyone and brings things right up to date.’ Michael Clark, author of 'Badgers' (Whittet)
‘Richard has a penetrating insight into the development of this country's policy of bovine TB management having been closely involved, sometimes at a personal level, for more than three decades. In my view he has hit on the shameful truth about why we are still killing badgers - political expediency and dogma.’ Dr Chris Cheeseman, Bovine TB expert
Every key issue in Richard’s book is as relevant today as when he put pen to paper 30 years ago. If our political leaders and the farming industry had taken note of Richard’s wise insight, today we would not be seeing tens of millions of pounds wasted on killing mostly TB free badgers, in a cruel culling policy which has no scientific or animal welfare justification.’ Dominic Dyer, CEO, Badger Trust