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16 October 2017

Campaigners condemn Ukip leader’s “stupid statement” about throttling a badger

And question Henry Bolton’s attempt to “prove his manliness”.

By media mole

The only thing you probably know about the new Ukip leader Henry Bolton, if anything at all, is that he thinks he could throttle a badger with his bare hands.

During an interview on the RT (formerly Russia Today) show News Thing with Sam Delaney, Bolton remarked that “I reckon I could” strangle a badger. Later in the show, when asked to sip a drink, he quipped: “It’s probably better than dead badger.”

When asked on Sky News about these comments, Bolton reiterated the claim, saying:

“They gave me a few options as ideas for an initiation ceremony into the leadership of Ukip, and the one that was probably most suitable for me was chasing a badger across Dartmoor, capturing it and breaking its neck with one’s bare hands, which is a slightly unusual thing but…”

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Ukip’s general secretary Paul Oakley tweeted: “Unlike the feeble old parties, only UKIP has a leader who is mighty enough to kill a badger with his bare hands.”

Pro-badger groups are not happy about Bolton’s remarks. Dominic Dyer, the CEO of the Badger Trust, calls it a “stupid statement”, and reveals that he will be bringing it up in a meeting he has about badger culling with the Environment Secretary Michael Gove next week.

“I think from what he was saying he was trying to prove his manliness by saying he’d kill it with his bare hands, which is disgraceful in my view,” he tells your mole.

Dyer adds:

“It is disappointing – I’m not surprised, I think it’s just part of a broader picture that we’re seeing of this poor animal being demonised and being given the impression that it’s an out-of-control menace, a vicious predator that needs to be controlled… We’re very worried that this type of demonisation, these types of statements just give the greenlight to people who want to be cruel to these animals.

“I think this politician’s stupid statement is partly to do with that… Presumably he doesn’t like badgers much. He probably feels that badgers are a scourge of the countryside and he wanted to claim that he could single-handedly strangle one because he’d like to get rid of it. It’s a shame.”

It’s not the first time a Ukip figure has randomly urged violence against innocent beasts. The Ukip energy and industry spokesperson and former parliamentary candidate and MEP Roger Helmer commented in 2006 that beating “dumb” seal cubs on the head was a “humane” way of killing them, and accused seals of being “guilty” of eating too much fish.

He also said a “good reason for a badger cull” would be that it “would bring down the exorbitant price of shaving brushes”.