The Fate of the Badger - extract 3

The following extract which ends this chapter was written 34 years ago.  And of course much worse now than it was then.

 

"Have we in the past, and are we now, grossly underestimating the capacity of social animals to feel emotion? If so, what are the consequences for a social group of badgers - in other words, a tightly- knit extended family - of an insensitive and heavy-handed culling operation? And what if the slaughter is protracted and inefficient? It seems not unreasonable to expect increased incidence, relapses and a general lowering of natural resistance. Moreover, the indirect disruption caused to neighbouring groups and their inter-relationships, deeply ingrained - often over many centuries - can perhaps be imagined. The boundaries between badger tribes represent an equilibrium - where countering force and influence is spent - and where an uneasy alliance could represent security. A system of scent signals, like banner waving, normally forestalls physical conflict. When normality is destroyed, by nature or man, anxiety increases, and health and rational behaviour take a dive - in man as in nature."