Investigators expose reality of the badger cull

In their own words: investigators expose the reality of the badger cull

In October 2022, badger cull investigators sent Protect the Wild video and photographs taken using hidden and handheld cameras at what is described by its owner – Mick Wills, a former huntmaster of the Grafton Hunt – as a pet crematorium. The undercover recordings showed in graphic detail the stark reality of how badger carcasses are handled and disposed of at a government-licenced facility.

One hidden camera was positioned near a large plastic container behind some farm buildings where cullers drop the bagged corpses of tagged badgers, another up in the roof supports of a large structure housing an incinerator and farm machinery with a wide-angle view across a concreted yard to an industrial-sized skip.

The investigators left the hidden cameras in place for three weeks, and also recorded on handheld cameras as they walked around the site, which was left unlocked at all times, looking into unsecured vehicles and containers.

Here is the story of that investigation in their own words.


“Thanks to a tip off from someone close to the Mick Wills family we found out that they were processing badger bodies at his site in Moreton Pinkney, Northamptonshire.

We got to work and quickly found what their schedule was, picking up bagged badger bodies from different bins around Northamptonshire and the Buckinghamshire border. Cage trappers and shooters regularly discarded the gloves in the bushes near the bins.

Those collections would always end up in the Pet Crematorium, where they would be gutting horses for what we presume is feeding the Grafton Hunt hounds, right next to piles and piles of badger bodies.

Those bodies would be removed from the plastic bags that cull shooters are required to use and thrown into an industrial-sized skip, possibly for collection by a bigger company to be turned into meat and bonemeal (MBM) renewable biomass fuel.

We made multiple shocking discoveries during our investigation. The site was easily accessed as the gate was left unlocked, so cameras were installed to find out how they deal with the badgers’ bodies.

One of the nights, after having seen the back of their main van full of bagged badgers, we peeked over the side of their pick-up truck.  Inside were a handful of unbagged, gutted badgers laid on the cold metal. We could not understand exactly why those badgers had been left like that or why anyone would open and empty the guts from a badger’s body.

Equally shocking, and certainly illegal, was the realisation that they were processing ‘high risk’ Category 1 animal body parts which could potentially carry TB without care for biosecurity. Dead livestock was routinely put into the same skip as the badgers. In the three weeks that it took for us to conclude the investigation, they did not cover the skip once, allowing birds to scavenge on the corpses on a regular basis.

On the last Saturday of our investigation, the owner of the crematorium Mick was rushing to unbag badgers to put in the skip while a young person was waiting around and talking to him.

Once he finished a pallet, he decided to move the other one away, presumably to unbag at a different time. Whist moving the second pallet one of the badgers fell on the floor, and instead of putting the body back in the pile, he just threw it into the incinerator. Clearly he was not supposed to burn bodies in his crematorium, but with little oversight, operators will do as they please.

To us it was clear that they didn’t see the badger bodies as a biohazard, but as a mess to clean up after using badgers as a scapegoat for poor husbandry and treatment of cows.

The number of badgers that had been killed during our three weeks of investigation is unthinkable. The lack of care, respect and biosecurity measures clearly showed us that the cull was not really about controlling TB in cattle, but about having carte-blanche to kill as many badgers as they want.”