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Gone batty

Meanwhile, in Gotham City:

People who kill bats or destroy their roosts are to be targeted in a nationwide police campaign.

Officers are to be trained in how to investigate damage to roosts as part of Operation Bat, which is officially launched on Wednesday.

Police will also be warning builders, roofers and pest control workers that it is a crime to destroy bat roosts.

Ker-pow! Take that, you builders. Spla-tt! Not so fast, roofer-man. Ka-boom! It’s the Gotham City jail for you, pest control worker.

Conservationists hope the crackdown will help protect dwindling native numbers of the nocturnal mammal.

With the added benefit of thwarting the fiendish plans of The Joker, The Riddler and The Penguin.

Surely you do not have to be Superhero to appreciate that the very essence of private property is exclusivity. That means the owner is entitled to eject all manner of other living things regardless of the number of legs and wings they possess. Otherwise, what is the point of private property? If we are obliged to maintain our homes as wildlife sanctuaries then we may as well revert to living in forests under the shelter of banana leaves.

Never mind the ‘dwindling native numbers of nocturnal mammals’, what about the dwindling native numbers of property rights?

I just hope that these apparently well-connected ‘conservationists’ do not take it into their heads to add wasps, rats or cockroaches to their little list.

39 comments to Gone batty

  • Mark Ellott

    I just hope that these apparently well-connected ‘conservationists’ do not take it into their heads to add wasps, rats or cockroaches to their little list.

    Unlike bats, they are not endangered. While the operation itself may be OTT (it is possible to preserve wildlife without massive disruption or invading peoples’ property rights) – the general principle of preserving our wildlife is valid. Frankly, if it’s a choice between people or bats – given mankind’s general behaviour, I’ll take the bats ;-)

    Incidentally, my home in France is a wildlife haven with all manner of birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians in residence. They are all welcome and are a delight to watch. If any bats want to come my way, I’ll happily oblige….

  • anonymous coward

    I heard about this several years ago, and that at least one British church is being ruined by bats, but parishoners are enjoined from doing anything about it. Since (I believe) churches in Britain are State property, I guess the state is within its rights, but it is a push to see this come to private property.

    In the United States it is illegal to fire even an air rifle in town, and squirrels in attics must be trapped and released in the wild. I assumem that eventually only licensesd parties will be permitted to trap the little darlings.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I’m sure my cats would like to go after a squirrel in the attic. :-)

    If animals have rights, wouldn’t they have responsibilities too? Can I sue the bear that destroyed my bird feeder?

  • Bob Dacron

    Typical. It’s absolutely ridiculous that you aren’t allowed to kill vermin in the comfort of your own home!

    “Come on dear, we’re out – the bats have taken over the home we spent years paying for. We’ll have to move to one of those council houses.”

    Honestly how many people have been made homeless by Blairs ‘batty’ policy?

    Keep it to yourself, but if I saw a bat even viewing my property I’d reach for the air rifle. Who would ever know? Just like next door’s ‘missing’ cat. Ha ha ha.

  • toolkien

    I can go one better. This case is the State preventing an individual to remove existent animals. In the US the State actually reintroduces harmful animals that were once removed for obvious reasons. In northern Wisconsin, wolves have been reintroduced causing all sorts of havoc for keepers of livestock, and their is evidently nothing that can be done about it.

    Bound up in ‘endangered’ is a collectivist value judgement driving a collectivist Law with the resultant destruction of individual rights. It is simply control of the individual with but one of the laundry list of Good Deeds. Either a bat has utility or it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, it is removed.

  • Jack Olson

    My part of the country spawns large numbers of mosquitos. The flying bloodsuckers are unpleasant in their own right but the worse problem is that they spread diseases like West Nile virus and encephalitis. It was the destruction of mosquitos which finally allowed the conquest of yellow fever but unfortunately within my lifetime many horses in my region died of the Venezuelan equine encephalitis. This is why to many of my neighbors it is wiser and safer to accommodate the flying bug zappers than the mosquitos they daily consume in large numbers.

  • Mark Ellott

    This is why to many of my neighbors it is wiser and safer to accommodate the flying bug zappers than the mosquitos they daily consume in large numbers.

    Exactly. They also pollinate plants – for example the saguaro cactus in desert terrain of the western USA relies on bats to survive. It is simple to decide that “they” (“they” being whatever you or I might consider a pest or vermin) should be removed. It is also arrogant and short sighted. it is during discussions such as this that I am reminded just what it is that I dislike about mankind.

    It is neither collectivism nor statism to conclude that there is a balance in the ecology and we should attempt to maintain it – it is plain common sense. Nor, for that matter is it an invasion of property rights to protect species that are in danger of extinction. In this case it merely means not disturbing nesting mothers. It is possible to relocate bats outside of the nesting season. The requirements not to disturb them in the meantime is perfectly reasonable.

    We are seeing reintroduction of lost species in the UK, too – Wales now enjoys a flourishing population of red kites and I for one am glad of it. They are a true beauty to behold. Not too sure about wolves though. As in all things; balance.

  • Julian Morrison

    If you want to maintain bats in someone else’s home, there’s a solution: offer to pay rent, on the bats behalf.

  • toolkien

    It is simple to decide that “they” (“they” being whatever you or I might consider a pest or vermin) should be removed. It is also arrogant and short sighted. it is during discussions such as this that I am reminded just what it is that I dislike about mankind.

    It is neither collectivism nor statism to conclude that there is a balance in the ecology and we should attempt to maintain it – it is plain common sense.

    Thank you for proving my point.

    It’s not collectivist, but the State will stop you from disposing and enjoying your property as you see fit, when you have in no way threatened harm on another person or their property.

    You rely on the concept of ‘ecology’, which is simply another entry on the register of ‘collectvist’ value systems.

    And when anyone trots out ‘common’ sense that is the simplification. Obviously the ‘common’ in ‘common sense’ is to remove them or the Force of the State wouldn’t need to be used to prevent from people acting freely.

    By all means, convince people WHY they should embrace bats. There is nothing stopping you. Please extend the same courtesy to others.

    We are seeing reintroduction of lost species in the UK, too – Wales now enjoys a flourishing population of red kites and I for one am glad of it. They are a true beauty to behold. Not too sure about wolves though. As in all things; balance.

    Please present your concept of ‘balance’ to the rancher who sees his assets rotting in the field after a visit by ‘noble creatures, wonderful to behold’. I think they might object to being the folcrum upon which balance is maintained.

    Suffice it to say that you view the world in different terms than I do. You see the world through a filter of a whole of which there are ‘subjugatable’ parts, I see the world as an association of soveriegn individuals and resources to be used by them. You see the world in terms a quasi-relgious nature based collectivist, with singular valuation, upon which claim can be made on others, and I see the world in terms of the individual and the associations he makes based on varied valuations. We aren’t likely to change each others’ minds, and as we are both guests here, we shouldn’t overstay the welcome in debating it.

  • ThePresentOccupier

    Well, I for one am delighted to see the police being set upon yet another inconsequential soft target unlikely to do anything to fight back.

    I do hope they take their time over completing those pesky risk assessments before going in guns blazing.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, there is a magpie problem that needs my undivided attention for a few minutes. I’m assured they taste like beef, although I’ve got some misgivings about eating carrion eaters.

  • Pete(Detroit)

    There has been a fairly successful program to introduce falcons into metro detroit While it’ spretty cool watching them take out the pigeons, I now have to wonder if ‘falcon nests’ will be able to halt demolition/reconstruction of dilapidated buildings…

  • Bob Dacron

    Pay rent on behalf of a bat? What a stupid socialist idea. Why should I have to pay a tax ( B.A.T?) because someone else wants to protect bats?

    I don’t want to protect bats so why should I contribute to that cause?

    Libertarianism in a nutshell.

    I don’t want the state to care for other people who are sick, unemployed, educationally subnormal or too old to be of any financial use to our economy – so I don’t want to pay taxes for that either.

  • llamas

    What will happen, of course, is an expansion of the 3S policy – shoot, shovel and Shut Up.

    Maybe I miss the mark, but I suspect that almost every effort to ‘protect’ endangered species that involves people’s residences has actually resulted in an eventual net loss, both of specimens and of habitat.

    One thing to bear in mind is that bats in most parts of the world transmit rabies, which (AFAIK) is still absent from the UK, and that adds a public-health aspect and may explain the nature of some non-UK comments vs some UK comments. There are rare but regular deaths in the US, for exmaple, from rabies contracted from bats.

    As said, this is always a question of balance. Sometimes the balance slips too far the wrong way and needs corrected. It sure seems to me that sending the overworked constabulary out to pretect bats is a bit too far. They can’t protect the people, and I think people have to come first . . .

    llater,

    llamas

  • Julian Morrison

    Pay rent on behalf of a bat? What a stupid socialist idea. Why should I have to pay a tax ( B.A.T?) because someone else wants to protect bats?

    What tax? I only said, anyone who wants a person to look after bats, should get out their own wallet and pay for their upkeep! I don’t even believe in a state at all, I certainly wasn’t advocating a tax!

  • Bob Dacron

    Pay for a bat’s upkeep. What planet are you on?

    Choosing to pay for it implies I send an invitation to the critter.

    If it lands in my loft and I’m not allowed to kill it then there is no choice on my part. Paying for its upkeep sounds like a tax to me.

    I should be free to do what I want on my property so long as it doesn’t affect anyone else.

  • Uncle Bill

    Sheesh, they are only trying to protect their own — the Barking Moonbats I keep hearing about.

    (And snide of snide.org, you keep out of this. :-))

  • Julian Morrison

    Look, learn english will you? I’ll spell it out in baby steps:

    - property is good

    - killling bats on your property should be allowed

    - if by contrast, you want bats on somebody ELSE’s property to survive, and you’re worried the owner will kill them, then maybe you ought to pay the property owner to make space for them.

    That’s all I was saying, sheesh.

  • Bob Dacron

    Julian are you sure you know what you believe in? You say learn English? How about the fundamentals of libertarianism?

    Why the hell would I want to pay for a bat to be looked after on someone else’s property?

    1 I don’t give a hoot about bats (or owls)

    2 It’s none of my business what goes on on someone else’s property (although I’m against libertarians who are OK with paedo type activities and definitely against some activities that our Islamic friends may be up to).

  • The preservation of bats at the expense of property rights was constantly attacked by the late ‘Bron Waugh in witty, if savage style.

    His writings, now probably out of print, are well worth reading

  • Maniakes

    Bob, what I believe Julian was saying is that if an INDIVIDUAL wants other property owners to allow bats to live on their property, that INDIVIDUAL should PERSONALLY offer those property owners a financial incentive. Since you, Bob, don’t care about whether or not your neighbors keep bats, then you, Bob, should not offer your neighbors any bat money.

  • Joe

    How long do you reckon before Hampshire batty folk start noticing a drop in numbers due to the new hatred of bats this legislation will create.

    It be alot more productive for the conservationists to supply bat boxes and other roosting facilities all over the country in which to house the critters, rather than annoy the very people they want to instill a love of bats in.

    If there is plenty of good roosting places then the critters can be turfed out without disaster when they try to roost in unconvenient places.

    Taking legal action will ensure that at the first sign of a bat – people will kill them.

  • Doug Collins

    I certainly wouldn’t want to add any futher fuel to this fairly incendiary discussion, but did any of you know that some bats are reservoirs of rabies? Apparently, it is not a fatal disease with them. In some caves with large bat populations, the dust and vapors are dangerous.

    Considering Britain’s freedom from rabies, I would think this should be a consideration.

  • Guy Herbert

    I rather like bats. However irritating they may be from time to time, they are not the villains here (we don’t have vampires in Britain, Doug Collins, not warm enough).

    Bats would generally prefer to be away from people, and I suggest that the reason they are roosting in occupied properties is the shortage derelict buildings. The planning system and agricultural subsidy that combine to make every would-be ruin either valuable or compulsorily maintained. Wildlife (the clue’s in the name) and paralysed picture-postcard conservation are as inevitably in conflict as the latter and human freedom.

  • Bob Dacron

    How many times do I have to say it?

    What goes on at someone elses property is nothing to do with me.

    If someone else wants to keep the vermin – why should I have to pay?

    Let’s say I was batty enough to pay someone to look after ‘their bat’ and they got bitten and contracted rabies – would I be liable?

    This site is turning into a haven for eco friendly socialist loonies – as it’s private property do we have the right to blast them???

  • Julian Morrison

    Bob Dacron: you seem so very unable to read plain english, I suspect you of being a subtle form of troll. If so, very clever, now please go away.

  • sa

    By killing the bats in my loft am I not, de facto, appropriating them for myself? By what principle am I justified in doing so? It’s very unlikely I have explicitly purchased rights over them, and anway, who would have had the right to sell me those rights in the first place. Am I not taking something essentially unowned and making it mine, and if so aren’t I obliged to offer compensation to those who may be made worse off by my appropriation?

    Not a troll, just curious.

  • Julian Morrison

    sa : if i recall right, wild animals on your land are your property, until they wander off again.

    Also, as I understand the common-law rule for genuinely unowned things is that if you take it and make use of it, it’s yours. Hence the concepts of “enclosure” and “homesteading”. (Payment is a tool for persuading a property owner to agree to an exchange. If there is no owner, there is no need to pay anyone.)

  • llamas

    Guy Herbert wrote:

    ‘I rather like bats. However irritating they may be from time to time, they are not the villains here (we don’t have vampires in Britain, Doug Collins, not warm enough). ‘

    You don’t understand. It’s not a question of ‘vampires’. Any contact with a rabid animal, and especially contact with bodily fluids, and especially with saliva, can and does transmit rabies. A bite is not necessary. I suspect that this is understandable complacency due to the fact that the UK appears, to date, to still be free of rabies. But it is not. A death from rabies transmitted by a bat was recorded in Dundee in November 2002. So it’s there, and it will spread.

    In places where rabies is endemic, this is no laughing matter. Wild animals can and do transmit rabies to livestock and domesticated pets. And when they interact with humans, they transmit it to humans.

    Rabies is a horrible disease that is invariably fatal. Even the course of vaccinations, if administered in time to prevent the disease, is costly, time-consuming and (I am told) incredibly uncomfortable. The US CDC recommends automatic rabies vaccination in any case where a bat has been found in the same living space with a child, sleeping person, mentally-handicapped person or intoxicated person – that’s how serious the danger is.

    Dealing with animals that may have rabies is similarly no laughing matter. We’ve all likely seen the scene in the movie ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, where Gregory Peck’s character shoots a dog that’s ‘acting funny’. It may seem hopelessly provincial and irrational, but that’s a reality of life in many parts of the world. Where I live, a dog, or a raccoon, or a skunk, or a cat, that’s ‘acting funny’ or which shows the classic signs of rabies, is going to be [i]shot out of hand[/i], and treated as the potential deadly threat that it is. Livestock farmers will routinely poison or gas bats out of their barns because that’s their livelihood.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like bats too, and I hang bat houses because I like bats more than I like powerful insecticides. But there’s a line to be drawn, because bats are not harmless. I suspect that, if and when rabies becomes widespread in the UK and a few people have contracted it, the idea of across-the-board protection of bats and heavy fines for messing with them, won’t seem quite so smart.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Bob Dacron

    Ha – me the troll?

    That’s rich coming from the man who advocated ME paying for someone else to look after a bat.

    Why don’t you come back when you’re a little less confused Julian, my old ‘bat social worker’.

    You’re acting so odd we may have to shoot you.

  • Tom

    I am a licenced bat worker, voluntary I may add before we get onto the wastage of taxes, and spend a considerable amount of time trying to protect bats. I would like to correct some typical misunderstandings coming through on these comments.

    Firstly no one is forced to have bats on their property, just not to get rid of them by killing them. The relevant statuatory nature conservation bodies, English Nature in England, have to be consulted about the best way to deal with a bat roost should one be found in a house. Obviously it is preferrable that the roost be maintained but if the property holder is set against this then the conservation body will advise on the best way to get rid of the bats without harming them.

    Secondly bats are not vermin. They eat insects at night and hang upside down during the day. They cause no damage, in the way a rat or mouse may, don’t build nests, chew or have any other verminous habits.

    Thirdly a very, very few bats in the UK do carry a rabies like virus but the chances of this being transmitted to a human is vanishingly small. This virus is not the sylvatic rabies of foaming mouthed dogs but a type specific to bats and can only be passed to a human by close contact. It is people like me who regularly handle bats who are at risk.

    The law regarding bats is not aimed at removing property rights but at the protection of a group of creatures whose numbers are rapidly declining due solely to human intervention in their environment.

    Take a look at
    http://www.bats.org.uk/ for some facts.

  • Bob Dacron

    Sodding new labour do gooder.

    It’s all lies. Tony Blair “Bliar” lies.

    If I see a bat I’ll shoot it!!

  • llamas

    Tom wrote:

    ‘Thirdly a very, very few bats in the UK do carry a rabies like virus but the chances of this being transmitted to a human is vanishingly small. This virus is not the sylvatic rabies of foaming mouthed dogs but a type specific to bats and can only be passed to a human by close contact. It is people like me who regularly handle bats who are at risk.’

    With all due respect to your voluntary work, this is all more-or-less untrue.

    The chance of EBL being transmitted to a human is not ‘vanishingly small’, as the death of Mr McRae shows. EBL is widespread in Europe, as is ‘classical’ rabies (hydrophobia), and it is only a matter of time before they become widespread in the UK – especially now that there is a dry-foot route between the two.

    The fact that EBL is not the exact-same thing as classic hydrophobia is irrelevant. It is transmitted the same way, and is just as fatal.

    While bat-handlers like you are at the highest risk, the risk for everyone else is not thereby reduced, because accidental contact with bats is hard to predict and hard to avoid. And that risk only increases when bats are ‘protected’ with the force of law.

    Once again, don’t get me wrong, I like bats and encourage them – within limits – and I live where rabies is endemic and contact with bats is a much higher risk. I pay good money every year to have all my animals vaccinated against rabies, partly so that I can have bats around, that’s how much I like them. But to suggest that bats are harmless and benign is misleading and dangerous – even in the UK – and will only become more so, and blanket, across-the-board protection of bats will only increase the risks to the public as time passes.

    llater,

    llamas

  • A_t

    llamas, hmm… who do I trust best.. A man who lives in the UK & works with bats, or someone who lives somewhere else & appears to have no special bat experience?

    As far as I can gather for now at least, bats are pretty harmless in the UK. If we develop a rabies epidemic at some point in the future, then we’ll decide they’re not so innocuous, but given that rabies is almost unknown at the moment (we can pet strange cats without fear of anything worse than fleas; an experience not open to most Europeans or North Americans), I fail to see why we have to be ultra-paranoid over bats. Why not tell us to be paranoid about malaria-carrying mosquitoes while you’re at it? I’m sure someone contracted malaria in London recently, thanks to a mosquito that had somehow escaped from an intercontinental flight. Still doesn’t mean it’s worth losing sleep over, or actually taking any measures against.

    In terms of self-protection, you’d be better off wearing a crash helmet all the time; although you’d look like a total whackjob, it’d probably be much more effective in safeguarding your life than making an enemy of harmless little flying mammals.

  • Bob Dacron

    A t you are so wet and naive. Just because the rabies epidemic hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. And won’t you feel silly when we’re all frothing at the mouth?

    It’s a typical namby pamby socilist attitude “poor little bat, he hasn’t hurt anyone….aaaarrrgh the flapping bastard has just bitten my hand……froth…..froth….RIP”

    Doesn’t sound quite so far fetched now does it?

    And another tip for you – a crash helmet will not protect you from bat bites or rabies.

    Your probably against space travel as well. You are so backward looking. We need to invest more in space exploration so when the bat bites and half the population is wiped out by disease then we can travel to a space station just beside Jupiter and continue te human lineage – and tickets wil be deliberately expensive – we won’t want disease carrying socialists to be able to afford private space travel.

  • A_t

    :) well trolled Bob, you at least put a smile on my face anyway!

    & the crash helmet’s not to protect you from (rare as hell & even rarer with rabies) bats, but from various far more likely causes of death like falling off a stepladder etc.

    & I fail to see how the person who’s scared of a wee bat gets to call the other a “namby pamby”, but hey, there ya go.

  • Tom

    llamas wrote:-
    “The chance of EBL being transmitted to a human is not ‘vanishingly small’, as the death of Mr McRae shows. EBL is widespread in Europe”

    Indeed David did die from EBL but he was, as may be deduced by my use of his first name, one of a small group of bat handlers which puts him in the at risk category. He was probably bitten by an infected Daubenton’s bat and made the fatal mistake of not seeking treatment after the bite, becoming one of only four people known to have died from the virus.

    As you correctly state EBL is endemic in Europe and since 1982, 200 Europeans have been known to have been bitten by an infected bat. Not one of these people died because they sought treatment. Indeed there was another case of a bat worker being bitten by an infected Daubenton’s in 2002 in Lancashire. She sought treatment and I was speaking to her last week so it appears to work.

  • llamas

    Tom – noone is suggesting that rabies treatment does not work, but that’s not the point.

    Mr McRae died of it – and he was a trained bat handler who knew what to do.

    Rabies is present in the UK, let’s not split epidemiological hairs about which exact strain of lyssavirus it is. In the nature of the disease, it will spread and become endemic, just like it is in many other parts of the world.

    If we look to other parts of the world, we see what happens when potentially-dangerous animals are ‘protected’. In California, for example, the mountain lion or cougar is strenuously protected, with the result that attacks on humans are increasing and people are starting to die.

    In Africa, the elephant is strenuously protected, with the result that widescale destruction of crops and infrastructure are a commonplace and direct human deaths are on the increase.

    In mainland Europe, bats are strenuously protected, and, as you yourself noted, hundreds of people have been infected with rabies by bats. Forgive me if I take cold comfort from the fact that almost none of them actually died of it.

    Continued protection of bats in the ways described will serve only to increase their populations, expand the range of habitats which they colonize, and increase the amount of direct (if inadvertent) interaction with humans. And that will mean more cases of rabies, most of which will (hopefully) end with successful treatment, some of which (unfortunately) end like Mr McRae’s. The WHO estimates between 40,000 and 70,000 deaths from rabies worldwide per annum, with as many as 10 million persons being successfuly treated for rabies infections.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs099/en/

    Once again, I have nothing against bats, and see nothing wrong with encouraging their population – within limits. But the fact that they carry and transmit deadly diseases cannot be glossed over, and regulations for their protection need to be seen in that light, and especially so since bats like to live in places where it is inevitable that, sooner or later, they will intercat with humans.

    Try this mental exercise – every time you think ‘bat’, think ‘rattlesnake’. Imagine that rattlesnakes are endemic in the UK. Now, they are retiring creatures and will usually flee from humans, but not always. Their bite is treatable and not usually fatal – but it can be, and sometimes is.

    Now imagine that you are forbidden by law to disturb a rattlesnake, or disrupt its habitat, and, if you do, the boys in blue will come around and you will be prosecuted. Seem reasonable to you?

    Rabid bats in the UK are not to the point that rattlesnakes are in some parts of the US. But the disease will spread, and people will die of it, and this level of draconian protection will only quicken that spread and hasten those deaths. And, to me, a law that encourages the spread of a deadly disease and increases the chances that people will die of it – is not a good law.

    llater,

    llamas

  • the "real GONE BATTY

    hello. i just typed my own name into the search engine and you are 1 of dozens of pages that come up. i have held that moniker since about 2000, gonebatty. i just wanted to say hello. i like bats. i have 2 tatooes of them. one on my left calf and one on my lower left hip in back. they are funny , perplexiong little creatures. although my name is is result of being held hostage by teenagers since 1996-still (youngest is 15) bye bye. thanks for giving me something to read.

  • Mary Malatesta

    You folks having actual encounters with bats are lucky. Living here in San Mateo, California, USA, we are sadly missing this great opportunity to observe these rare creatures of Nature. Hopefully the Creator will send some my way. They are magical to behold.