Defra and the hedgehogs

I know we are a nation of animal lovers, but isn’t this taking things a bit too far? Defra is prosecuting Great Yarmouth Borough Council following the death of two hedgehogs who ate rat poison.

Defra has pursued the case for three years, even though the RSPCA, Health and Safety Executive and police all dropped it. Costs have escalated to £10,000 on the council’s side – and could more than double. Defra has not disclosed its legal bill so far.

And who is really paying the final bill for this? Hasn’t Defra got far more important issues to worry about?


  1. I am with Jim.. I will try anything.. Had the Aussie coat of arms for dinner once… EMU and Kangaroo on the same plate….

  2. ‘Defra and the Hedgehogs’ would be a good name for a pop band.

  3. > but have qualms about eating bambi, or ostrich steaks (Quasar9).

    I don’t!

  4. Yes, this is carrying sentimentalism too far.

    I once got a small research grant from the St. Tiggiwinkle’s Hedgehog Welfare Society to do a bit of research on them on North Ronaldsay in Orkney!

  5. You have to question why the police, RSPCA and Health and Safety have dropped this, yet Defra insists in pursuing it at great public expenditure. Where is the public interest in this when a stiff warning would have sufficed. If it had been a regular occurance, then I’m sure the other agencies would have been keen to follow it through.

  6. Motley crew in the photobloc, Ellee.

  7. I would think a pro-active involvement to prevent the situation from arising again would have been better.

    What is justice? seem crazy to me.

    (on another topic of justice) David Hicks-convicted of terrorist activity (admitted guilt) gets 9 months in an australian jail.

    AND one of politcal parties wants him as a candidate…..

    The world is looney!

    I could get more gaol time for cruelty to animals…

  8. Yes, Ellee, I think a warning probably would have sufficed. I wonder if this was the first time that the pest controller had transgressed, it would seem so as the council is also charged with failing to train him properly.

  9. I’m afraid I support it. Last year a dog was killed by a farmer who recklessly coated a popular walking spot with rat poison. Young children also use this field on a regular basis. They need to be held to account before a child is killed, a hedgehog today a child tomorrow…

  10. council officials are not judged on the best use of their time, merely that they do something to fill their time and spend the budget before the year end.

    This meets those criteria nicely.

  11. Kevin, Wouldn’t a warning have sufficed?

  12. electro-kevin

    This case isn’t about the preservation of hedgehogs. Defra are persuing the case on the grounds of reckless endangerment to pets and children through the misuse of poisons. A district judge has also deemed the case worthy of trial.

  13. PS – And you must have heard about how ro bake a hedgehog or porcupine – and I overhead some people at Starbuck’s talking about
    “Roadkill Chef” – yep how a couple of chefs cruise around preparing succulent dishes from roadkill they pick up on their journey

    Such is life! A Riot!

  14. hmmm Elle, Politics at its most ???

    Yep, we are always caught in the cunnundrum of preserving wildlife – I think the best one is when we have to ‘cull’ wildlife if they are too successful? and become pests. And of course one man’s wildlife is another man’s pest, whether pigeons, crows or cute squirrels.

    Culling deer thru hunting licences, to preserve a ‘healthy’ stock – Or raising funds for National Parks and Safaris in Africa, by charging the ‘white hunter’ to shoot big game.

    Our relationship with animals is complex, we neuter our pets (cats and dogs) (unnatural) for our convenience …
    We eat beef, lamb or pork hamburgers & chicken, but have qualms about eating bambi, or ostrich steaks.

    Odd how the word beef lamb and pork came into the english vocabulary – better than saying we have COW or SHEEP or PIG for dinner?

  15. Hasn’t Defra got far more important issues to worry about?

    I don’t know that you’d convince Mr. And Mrs. Hedgehog of that.

  16. Has DEFRA ever been to Great Yarmouth – that’s where I grew up and still have family. Like many seaside towns it has a great many human problems that could do with more support from government funding. I’m all for protecting wildlife, but there does need to be more common sense too. Next it will be protecting the rats.

  17. I used to have a dog who would really go for hedgehogs [he’d bring them into the house, too – charming – full of fleas as the things are said to be] so I could have ended up in jail when he injured one! But poor little things – I do feel sorry for them and someone has to look after their interests!

  18. This is crazy. They used to eat hedgehogs, its a Romany tradition, will they be fined?

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