In his new TV show, Jeremy Clarkson laments that you can’t shoot or gas badgers

The badger is Britain’s most persecuted animal. It is attacked on many fronts – by the government during its annual badger cull, by badger baiters, and by the fox hunting community. But in his new programme, Clarkson’s Farm, Jeremy Clarkson spouts dangerous lies about the creatures.

And now the Badger Trust has hit out at Clarkson, calling out the TV presenter-come-farmer’s lies. The organisation said:

“[One] episode, which focuses on Clarkson’s attempts to protect his new cattle herd from bovine tuberculosis, is directed in a way that portrays badgers as disease-ridden, unfairly protected, and the nemesis of cattle and cattle farmers.”

Shooting and gassing

Series two, episode four of Clarkson’s Farm shows the man himself inspecting a badger sett on his land.

His advisor says: “Unfortunately, Jeremy, you’re facing one of the most heavily legislated mammals in the country.”

Jeremy replies: “You can’t shoot them?”


“Or gas them?”


“Or fill in their holes?”


“It’s always no. But, let’s put it this way. I have a friend…”  Clarkson then stares intently and nods vigorously a few times at his farming advisor, who nods back at him, before continuing, “…who lives nearby, and he’s dealing with his badger problem at night…”


Jeremy Clarkson
Clarkson looks disgruntled as he realises that he can’t legally gas a badger. Screenshot taken from Amazon Prime Video

Running badgers over and hitting them over the head with a hammer

Later on in the episode, a National Farmers’ Union (NFU) rep visits Clarkson. She tells him about the horrors of bovine TB (bTB). She says that precious tax payer money has been spent on slaughtering cows with bTB, to the tune of £150million in one year. Of course, both the NFU rep and Clarkson squarely blame the badgers for the millions of pounds of state money spent, not once questioning the effects of intensive cow farming on the rates of bTB.

Then the NFU rep informs Clarkson that he should test badgers for bTB. To do this he should pick up fresh roadkill or somehow find other dead badgers. Clarkson then says to her:

“If I found a carcass on the road, which is fresh, like I’ve just run over….I mean, someone’s just run over it…it could be me, or Kaleb [Clarkson’s farm assistant]… we put it in a bag, and then if it’s got TB, there’s a good chance that the other badgers around here have got TB?….

So how many badgers have to be run over for you to have a meaningful figure?”

The NFU rep then tells Clarkson what to do if he finds a badger that isn’t yet dead. He asks her:

“You don’t just hit it over the head with a hammer?”

Later on in the episode, Clarkson is filmed driving along a country road, where he very conveniently finds a freshly-killed badger. He prods the poor creature with his foot, saying, “still squidgy”. Bagging the badger up to be tested for bTB, he moans, “ghastly animal”, before informing the tax payer that this is, of course, being paid for at their expense.

Such is his contempt for an animal that he knows nothing about, Clarkson even dreams about making “badger-flavoured crisps” with his new crisp-making machine.


dead badger
Clarkson bags up this dead badger. Screenshot taken from Amazon Prime Video

Bovine TB lies

It’s not very surprising that Clarkson and his producers spout the government and the NFU’s bovine bTB propaganda. But as the Badger Trust points out:

“Cows are the primary spreaders of bovine tuberculosis in England, not badgers. It’s an infectious respiratory disease – over 94% of cattle infections are cow-to-cow. So the biggest risk factors for any cattle herd are cow-related – poor biosecurity, including poorly regulated cattle movement, and outdated, unreliable cattle testing. Yet it’s easier to scapegoat badgers.”

This scapegoating of badgers is handy for farmers. They can go about business as usual without having to question their farming practices. And for as long it successfully demonises badgers, the government can continue its annual badger cull, which begins every September. Half of the UK’s badger population has now been killed off in the government’s senseless campaign to eradicate bTB.

In 2021, the government carried out its own postmortem examinations of culled badgers in two areas, and published the results in March 2022. In one zone, Cumbria, the government admitted that:

All badger carcases underwent post mortem examination and were negative for Mycobacterium bovis infection on bacteriological culture.”

Another study, published in the Veterinary Record journal and analysed by the Canary, provides yet more evidence that badgers are not the cause of bTB in cattle. The study spans more than ten yearsfrom 2009 to 2020.

The Canary reported that:

It compared both the prevalence and incidence of bTB in cow herds in areas that had badger killing and those that didn’t…

…areas with culls generally had higher incidences and prevalence of bTB than areas without badger killing.”

Feasting on hedgehogs?

Clarkson’s contempt for badgers has spanned both seasons of his programme. In one earlier episode, which was released in 2021, Clarkson watches badgers through a thermal imaging camera. He whispers:

“I hate badgers. Apart from the fact they’ve eaten just about every hedgehog in Britain, they’re like teenagers! They lie in bed all day, get up at night, transmit diseases, knock walls over, and then when the sun comes up, they go back to bed again. Today, however, they wouldn’t be getting any sleep at all…”

Yet more ridiculous claims by Clarkson. Britain’s hedgehogs are on the Red List for British mammals, listed as a creature at risk of extinction. But this isn’t because badgers are feasting on them. It’s common knowledge to anyone who knows anything about hedgehogs, that toxic pesticides – used widely all over the country on both farmland and in gardens – have massively contributed to the decline of hedgehogs, reducing their food supply. In the UK, the use of pesticides continues to rise: by 2016, 73 million hectares of land were being sprayed, often multiple times. As a farmer, Clarkson should know this. But, of course, it is much easier to scapegoat a creature who can’t argue back.

Dangerous propaganda will contribute to extinction

Of course, the majority of people will watch Clarkson’s programme and assume that what he is saying is factually correct. This is extremely worrying, given that badgers are now so persecuted that local extinctions are being reported in some areas of the country.

On top of the government’s annual cull, badger baiting is rife throughout the country, with more than 10,000 badgers being murdered by baiters every year in the UK. The fox hunting community is responsible for targeting badgers, too, blocking their setts week in, week out, as they attempt to stop foxes from going seeking safety underground.

The Badger Trust says it has complained to both Amazon Prime and OFCOM about Clarkson’s Farm. You can also complain to OFCOM here.

Featured images via Amazon Prime Video / screenshot