Voodoo Curses, Vuvuzelas, and British Badgers

There is quite the vigorous political debate going on in Britain right now. And it’s on an issue so important that it’s brought together Meatloaf and Dame Judi Dench. (I really would love it if those two kids had a cooking show. I’d totally watch that)

National Geographic reports:

Britain’s Parliament held a four-hour debate in the House of Commons this past Wednesday, and it wasn’t about public spending cuts, the war in Afghanistan, or abortion rights.

It was about badgers.

save the badger

Yep, badgers. Sort of like that honey badger who doesn’t give a shit. Except, honey badgers are in Africa, so this is a different breed.

A badger, for those not acquainted with the species, is a mammal about three feet long with gray fur, a mouthful of sharp teeth, and a black-and-white face striped like a zebra crossing. Meles meles, the European badger, is indigenous to the United Kingdom, lives in an underground labyrinth of tunnels called a sett, and feeds on worms and grubs. There are about 300,000 badgers in England.

300,000 badgers in England!? Holy rodents outbreak! I lived there for seven months on a work exchange program in college and while I saw plenty of rats, I can’t say I ever saw any badgers.

That’s a badger there, on the right. Yep, pretty dang cute.

The badger has been around long enough to have survived two Ice Ages, but if the Conservative-dominated coalition government executes its plan, some 5,000 will not survive two government-led trials that are the prelude to a culling policy that aims to reduce the spread of tuberculosis (known to be carried by badgers) in cattle.

Last year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced its intention to test the “safety, humaneness, and efficacy” of culling by targeting 5,000 badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset—two infection hotspots.

As the proposed cull drew closer, the controversy widened to include celebrities like Queen guitarist Brian May, who led a protest march in London last Saturday and recorded a song called “Badger Swagger”; the rock star Meatloaf; and actress Dame Judi Dench, who posted a video on YouTube calling for a stop to culling.

Hmmm, I’m starting to see the problem here and I’m afraid the badgers are doomed. You’ve really got to try to get some more younger, high-profile people on this campaign. I love me some Dame Judi, but she’s hardly a Hollywood hottie. What about that Channing Tatum dude? He’s stuck in London filming a movie….let’s get him in on this.

Hey badger, I just want you to know….I’m there for you. Always.

Or, maybe we can turn badgers into a hipster mascot and get those folks from that show “Portlandia” to take up the cause. You know, those two actors who say “Put a bird on it,” all the time? Maybe they can do a PSA and say, “Put a badger on it,” or something. (I’ve never seen that “Portlandia” show, but I have heard about it, and apparently, American Express figures we all know who they are since they put the chick from that show in their latest ads. I had to Google her because I had no idea who she was.)


An anti-culling petition has 235,000 signers, and there’s an online threat of a voodoo curse on Environmental Secretary Owen Patterson, a hard-line advocate of the cull. Others have weighed in with tweets, blogs, and letters to the editors of British newspapers. “Cull the politicians instead,” one reader wrote the Daily Mail. On the other side, a farmer’s wife pointed out that “we wouldn’t be having any of this nonsense if this was about culling rats.”

Ah, farmer’s wives are just so practical, aren’t they? You are right, madam, I would not be riled up about some rats. But badgers seem, I don’t know, different. Larger, more cuddly, maybe? What the hell do I know? I’ve never seen one. It would probably eat my face off if I tried to cuddle one.

cull protest
Yeah, this old dude from Queen is not helping the cause.

But seriously, British badger supporters, an online voodoo curse? Is this really the best you got?  What next, a wishing spell? Listen, I’m not advocating violence or anything, but maybe you could step it up a tiny bit. Perhaps collecting badger poo and lighting it on fire on the politicians doorstep, just for example. Or signing the secretary up for some hunting magazines or something.

The controversy is full of biological complexities, colored by politics, and awash in contentious statements. “The policy appears to be little more than a sop to [the] farming sector,” the executive director of the Humane Society International/UK wrote in a piece on the website Badgergate.

Um, it sounds very bad indeed, especially when you add the suffix “-gate” to something, but I have to admit I do not have a clue what a “sop” is. Dangit, where’s my British to American dictionary. I must’ve left it at the nearby sop shop.

If the cull happens—plans are to use marksmen with rifles and shotguns—animal rights activists have announced that they will disrupt culling activity by blowing vuvuzelas, setting off fireworks, and shining lights.

OK, several things here: marksmen! Where does one find marksmen for hire? And what’s the pay for that? Also, so glad we finally found an additional use for all those leftover World Cup vuvuzelas. They’ve just been sitting around, collecting dust. Fireworks might be fun.

Fun fact: baby badgers totally love fireworks. And vuvuzelas.

Exactly where and when will the culls take place? “We don’t comment on security matters,” a DEFRA spokesperson said.

Sure, sure. Quite obviously. I guess we’ll all just have to keep an eye out for sharpshooters, and people carrying vuvuzelas, fireworks and large spotlight equipment.

To learn more about our badger friends, I took a little stroll over to Wikipedia and found this disturbing fact:

In Russia, the consumption of badger meat is still widespread. Shish kebabs made from badger, along with dog meat and pork, are a major source of trichinosis outbreaks in the Altai region of Russia. In Croatia, badger meat is rarely eaten. When it is, it is usually smoked and dried or, less commonly, served in goulash.

Got it. No goulash in Croatia or shish kebabs in Russia. No problem. And no cuddling with sharp-teethed trichinosis carrying badgers. England, I leave you to handle this one on your own.

Maybe you guys should do like the “Game of Thrones.” I don’t watch that show either, but I know people got riled up by some “Red Wedding” episode last week. As far as I can tell from the Interwebs, some really evil dudes invited the good dudes over to their house for a wedding feast and then betrayed them and killed a bunch of them. Sorta like a Trojan Horse situation.

Anyway, maybe the British government should invite a bunch of badgers over for a worm and grub feast and then slice their throats. It sounds exceptionally violent, but apparently made for good TV. Personally, I’d rather see Dame Judi and Meatloaf make Shepherd’s pie, but that’s just me.

brace yourself

Bringing New Meaning to ‘Kitchen Nightmares’

I actually saw this story a couple of days ago thanks to Gawker, one of my main sources for all things weird and head-scratching. It came across my Twitter feed with some irresistible teaser. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but I do know that it included the words “dwarf,” “Gordon Ramsay,” “dead,” and “badger,” and that was enough for me. The full story in the Daily Telegraph was even more intriguing.

“Dwarf porn star Percy Foster who was also Gordon Ramsay’s double has been found dead in the most bizarre of circumstances.”

Ramsay’s “double”—that part just really stumps me. As far as I know, there isn’t a great need to a wee-Ramsay in a lot of porn movies. But then again, what the hell do I know? I just can’t imagine (nor do I want to imagine) a scenario where our esteemed chef is working in the porn industry, but then needs to step out of the frame and be “doubled” by a dwarf.

Also: there’s actually some dispute (apparently) over whether it’s proper to title the late Mr. Foster a “star.” More like, a novice, according to Gawker. Which leads me to wonder: at what point can one be labelled a “porn star?” Are there a certain number of movies or a particularly tricky move that raises one immediately to the esteemed porn heavens? Maybe I should Google that……Anyway, back to our report:

“Percy Foster’s 107 centimetre (3’6″) body was discovered partially eaten in a badger’s den in Wales.”

Hmmm, he doesn't seem that scary, sitting in his little house.

EWWWWWWWW. Partially eaten? How much is “partially?” Is it weird that I’m wondering which part? It is. It’s weird. Right? I mean, does a badger start with the toes and work its way up? Or does it eat your face!?! Blech. I don’t want to think about this anymore. Wait, one last question on this part–is this like one of those honey badgers? Y’all already know about the honey badger right? You’ve seen the Youtube video, right? Oh come on! Everyone’s seen it. Don’t make me elaborate. Moving on:

“The report says the 35-year-old was found, deep in an underground chamber by Ministry of Agriculture experts ahead of a planned badger-gassing program’.”

What’s that you say? A ‘badger-gassing program?’ Is this a thing? Is it annual? Is it because they are so obviously keen on human flesh and therefore a danger to small people like, children?? And how on earth does the badger pull someone, even a small someone, “deep in an underground chamber?” Are these things freakishly strong? I’m actually kinda scared now. And looking at Petunia with a bit more respect, I must say.

Come into my den and I will eat your face off. I even have glowing eyes, I'm so scary.

“Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of suicide, according to the report.

Adult film producer Dexter Yamunkeh said ‘Percy was a little guy with big problems… He was doing well but was under pressure like everyone else in this god damn industry.’”

Really? Suicide? Is there not an easier way to go about killing oneself? I can think of several ways and I’m not the least bit suicidal. It’s honestly about the most obscure way I can think of. And, Dexter, can I call you Dexter? You seem really (and understandably) quite upset with this job. You might want to consider a career change.

“In a recent interview Foster, star of  X-rated movie Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, It’s Up Your Arse We Go,  spoke of his excitement about his growing career as Ramsay’s double.”

First off, awesome movie title. I feel like I already know what to expect with this title. There’s no real confusion or mystery – clear as a bell. Second, again with the whole “growing career” thing. Please, please, please enlighten me about how this is a career.

‘Porn lookalikes get more money than normal actors. Dwarf lookalikes are as rare as hen’s teeth and so can command top dollar. I’ve already ordered a new BMW and a diamond-encrusted Soda Stream,’ he said.”

Alright. I guess I have to accept his explanation. I mean, that’s not what I would look for in a porn, if I were in the market for one. Which I most vehemently am not.

Also, I’m more than a little sad that this little dude isn’t going to get a chance to enjoy his BMW (Would that be a small car or a normal-sized one, by the way? How does that work?) and “diamond-encrusted Soda Stream,” which apparently turns normal water into sparkling. OK, and by the way, does this sound like a man about to commit suicide? He was actually making plans and enjoying his money.

All told, I’m very suspicious of this whole suicide thing. I suspect, per usual since I’m a paranoid freak, foul play. I think someone took out the poor little fellow. Someone should track down those other dwarves from “Hi-Ho Hi-Ho” and see if their stories check out. Or that angry adult film producer. Might be a case of jealousy. Or, and I hate to point fingers here (actually, finger-pointing is one of my favourite hobbies), but maybe we should all be taking a look at Mr. Ramsay himself! Maybe he doesn’t want some dwarf porno star (allegedly) making money off his likeness. AND, he has a well-documented temper (hello? “Hell’s Kitchen?”) 

Or maybe he just tripped and fell in the hold and the badger was startled and attacked. Whatever the case may be, I am now adding badgers to my list of animals I am going to do my best to not piss off. Which is basically all animals.

That badger is freaking scaring me! No, really, he is! Just look at those teeth. Yikes.