Alive and Well in East Powys

Despite the upbeat title to this piece, the story that attaches is not so. Indeed it is quite dreadful.

Passing four badger corpses between Bleddfa and, 8 miles away, Llandrindod Wells yesterday, it become quite apparent to me that Badger Baiting is alive and well in Eastern Powys.

When I lived in the Central in the 1990s I was wakened one night by the most dreadful howling and frightening wailing coming from across the fields. I lay awake wondering what on earth it could be. It wasn’t like a football crowd, though it had something of the same strength to it.

I realised it was badger baiting the following day when I came across the body of a female badger discarded by the side of the road. The perpetrators of this dreadful gambling pursuit like to pretend the torn bodies are ‘road kill’. The horrible thing was that this female was, herself quite young, pregnant with three little ones inside her.

Let’s be clear, this is not a new thing in Wales. The Mabinogion, that Medieval chronicle, records a pastime called ‘Badger in the bag’. In this a supposed badger was thrown in a bag on the the floor where it was kicked and beaten with staves until the thing was lifeless. Of course, needless to say, it was often not a badger but some person the host of the event had taken exception to and wanted to get rid of them. Bound and gagged there was no way of knowing that it was not a badger until the identity might be revealed at the end of the night.

I am saddened to see such barbarous practices are still carried out in Wales – no doubt in other parts of Britain as well. Where money is concerned there is little room for conscience.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.