RARELY a week passes without badgers being demonised and blamed for every ill befalling the countryside. Last week it was reported that a badger caused a car to set alight.

Publicity surrounding the proposed cull in England has thrust badgers into the spotlight and now Brock stands constantly in the dock. One article claims badgers are responsible for the sharp decline in hedgehogs. The writer states he has seen “many hedgehog skins turned inside out”. Never seen a fox roll a live hedgehog into a stream to unfurl it? Or seen 1,000s of roadkill hedgehogs slaughtered by motorcars? Badgers are accused of killing ground- nesting birds and leverets, and stealing eggs. I once experimented and left six hens’ eggs at a badger sett and watched. The eggs were eaten, not by badgers, which ignored them: foxes scoffed the lot.

Hedgehogs once faced being culled for thieving birds’ eggs. Badgers are a convenient scapegoat, portrayed by some as disease-riddled, vicious killers, yet observation reveals that when left alone, badgers are shy, gentle creatures, with clean habits, frequently changing their bedding, grooming and using a latrine for their toilet. Thankfully, Yorkshire is TB-free, so please give badgers a break and keep Brock out of the dock.

Ann Coates, York Road, Selby.