Posts Tagged ‘ Badger ’

The Day I Lost Faith In Humanity

I recently witnessed something horrific. I thought that I should write about what I saw a) because I can’t get it out of my mind and b) I don’t believe people much care about this issue. I am, of course talking about roadkill.  Now I am no stranger to the red mush in the middle of the road. I live in the countryside and unfortunately see too much of it. Often it’s dead rabbits, pigeons, hedgehogs and rats. These poor little fellows have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and have paid dearly for it. When I see them I often think, who is missing them? Offspring? Mates? Someone must be. And then there are cats. Too many times I have spotted tabby stripes laid out along the kerbside. My partner recently picked up  very young cat from the side of the road. He knocked on doors to find the owners, but to no avail. Someone was missing that little cat and probably still is.

Now I understand that it’s difficult when you’re driving. I am a driver. I came across a squirrel on the A14 early one morning and he was in the left lane so I moved over and slowed down. He then ran into my path and I felt a bump. I was horrified but I couldn’t see him behind me and on checking the next day there was no body. In this instance I wasn’t able to stop, so I can understand why there are many dead animals on busy A roads and Motorways. It doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking though when you see a beautiful fox ripped apart and strewn across the road.

A few times I have stopped to move dead / injured animals from the road. Once was an injured hedgehog whom I took home and twice I have removed dead badgers from the roadside. It still amazes me that people fail to notice such large animals. Ok, Ben tells me they might suddenly dart out in front of the car. Yes that’s true. But I would say that can’t always happen. Badgers with facial injuries… Clipped as they stood at the roadside? And I would admit I pay more attention to the verges sometimes than I do the road.  I’ve etched every detail of the roads to my house into my mind so I know if there’s something different on the road.

So back to the reason I’m writing this post.

It was approximately 6:40am and I was on my way to work. I was travelling through a 30MPH village when I saw a lump in the road. It was half-light but I saw him clearly. A Muntjac Deer. I slowed up, drove carefully past him and turned around so I could stop on the other side of the road. He appeared to be dead as his neck was twisted in such a way it looked broken. I put on my hazards lights and found my rubber gloves. I also had a Hi-Vis vest that I put on. I exited my car and stood next to it, waiting for the traffic to pass. I’d assumed that they too would see the deer. It was fairly large, about the size of a dog and in the middle of their lane. To my disgust the first driver drove over him. Their tyres bumped over this animal’s fragile body as though it was rubbish in the way. The next thing I saw will haunt me forever. As the first driver went over him his legs began to kick out. He was still alive. I cried out as the next one went over and flung him nearer the centre of the road. I ran out and stopped the oncoming traffic and scooped him up. He seemed only small but he was incredibly heavy. Blood was pouring from his back-end as I laid him on the grass. I was shaking with anger but I checked for a pulse. It was so fast and erratic but he was indeed still alive. I needed to call the RSPCA so I went back to my car and called. She asked me if he was still alive; I told her he was but I’d go and check. But when I got back to him, blood had started coming from his nose and his pulse had gone. He was dead. I told her he was gone and she said their was nothing they could do. After that I couldn’t catch a lot of what she was saying on the other end as I was choking back my tears. I admired how beautiful his big, dark eyes were, gave him a stroke and said my goodbyes.

As I got into my car I started to cry at the callousness of people. I genuinely couldn’t believe what I had seen human beings do. That poor animal. I couldn’t begin to imagine the pain he must have felt when those huge cars crushed his delicate body. The image of him flailing around in the road didn’t leave me all day and I still can’t forget it now. I asked Ben to call the council that morning to collect him which they have done now.

There seems to be a lack of responsibility when it comes to hitting an animal with your car. If you hit a dog, you are required to stop by law (Road Traffic Act 1988)  and I would presume that most people do. But many people hit animals and forget them. As with my deer and my hedgehog, they could still be alive. Wild animals are sentient too and don’t deserve to be left suffering on cold tarmac. What dignity is left for that animal when it’s remains are spread across the road in a mush of fur and innards? We wouldn’t do that to a fellow human.

If it’s safe to do so, stop your car with your hazard lights on,  put on a high visibility jacket and some rubber gloves and move the animal to the verge. If it’s alive, stay with it and call your local wildlife rescue or the RSPCA emergency line: 0300 1234 999. I always carry some old towels in my boot just in case I need them for an injured animal. And obviously, don’t compromise your own saftey, but please give a second thought to whoever or whatever will be waiting for that creature sprawled out in the road.