Saturday, 29 November 2014


A survey carried out by Friends of the Boar has revealed that road diggings are 90% down on the same time last year.

"Both the area of diggings and degree of diggings is down to 2007 levels," states David Slater, Founder of Friends of the Boar.

The Forestry Commission has for years attempted to portray the length and degree of  roadside diggings as some sort of population indicator.  Using the Forestry Commissions own method of census, today's findings point to a huge population reduction.

This flies in the face of the Forestry Commission's recent Census using distance sampling and night-vision equipment.

"If the Forestry Commission succeed in promoting their scientific fraud of a census to the Forest of Dean District Council, with their aim of killing 400 wild boar next year, then the Forest of dean would not only loose all the boar, but the public confidence in the Forestry Commission too," says Slater.  "Our roadside diggings survey would suggest there are nowhere near 400 boar to kill right now, but of course that won't stop the Forestry Commission."  "They all too readily know that the mismanagement techniques they purposefully employ only lead to increase boar numbers for next year because of a natural rebound response in boar breeding behaviour."

Maybe it's time for the Forestry Commission to release some boar into the Forest?  Yes, that's right, just like they have done in the past.

Saturday, 15 November 2014


The phrase "Animal Rights Activist" has long been used to create in your mind a form of anti-social, often aggressive and bullying behaviour.  The phrase rolls of the tongues of those who wish to harm or otherwise profit from animals for their own interests.  We are increasingly encouraged to believe that the people and groups who stand up for animals are operating under a dangerous form of anarchic, tree hugging, greasy-haired and subversive ideologies just for the hell of it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Such people are activists not just because they get off their arses and attempt to make the changes they wish to see, but because they also take the time to research and understand the topic.

This is the last thing our Forestry Commission in the Forest of Dean wish you to do - to become educated. It is the time-honoured method by which our  national government wishes to keep the populace in ignorance by dumbing down the would-be dissenters.  They operate via the printed media and education system, the TV and via committees that are easily infiltrated with unscrupulous place men who are employed to push an agenda.

The worst form of "activism" may well, of course, refer to that minority of people we know must exist, whom have reached their wits end at the injustices foisted upon living creatures that have no legal protection or voices. They can and sometimes do over-react.  This is not their intention but when the red mist descends you can find yourself doing things you never thought possible.

The anger felt by well-meaning people, can and does manifest as direct action at times.  This form of direct action is certainly not limited to counter and stop the abuses upon animals, but upon humans as well.  These people will just as readily stand up for YOUR rights in a totalitarian, fascist or communist regime.

They need your moral as well as physical support, because when these people are silenced and criminalized, there will be nobody left to defend YOU when corrupt governments come knocking on your door to get rid of YOU.

Friends of the Boar understands this frustration and deep seated anger that can be created when innocent animals are mistreated by those with vested interests and low empathy - often those in positions of power who feel they are untouchable and unaccountable.

Although Friends of the Boar are NOT an animal rights group, we strongly sympathise in the case of wild boar.

Animals Rights groups are now enraged enough at the recent calls by the Forestry Commission for the unnecessary mass slaughter of wild boar that the local population and tourist industry have now come to accept, promote, welcome and tolerate.

This new emphasis of acceptance of the boar by residents in the Forest of Dean threatens the sustainability of profits and blood-lust by our government's animal "managers".

Over the last year, Friends of the Boar and other groups have been asked by the national and international media for their views on the ongoing slaughter and mismanagement of a much needed and loved animal - the wild boar.

Friends of the Boar know the proposed 2015 slaughter is unnecessary simply because the Forestry Commissions guess at a population of wild boar is absurd and a scientific fraud.

Because of this fraud, we have no choice to but to support any person who bravely converts their thoughts into actions.  The public no longer has any other recourse to justice.  The Forestry Commission is using immoral and unjustified tactics to get the unsuspecting public and the media to portray a non-existent problem of over-population of wild boar in the Forest of Dean.

We cannot but help compare these actions of injustice against innocent animals to that of a wider political type of social-engineering - that of creating terrorists due to the outrageous foreign policies of the UK Government.

Although Friends of the Boar are a conservation group and remain strictly apolitical, we do agree that action is often needed to counter a political injustice, an action that those responsible will often brand as terrorism.

This kind of verbal diarrhea comparing animal rights activists to terrorists has recently been employed by Kevin Stannard of the Forestry Commission in the Forest of Dean (Bank House) attempting to silence and distance these brave people, who will go out at night in all weathers to protect the killing of innocent animals, from the rest of society.

The Guardian newspaper is but one newspaper that has become actively involved in the debate, and we would like you to have a read so you may judge this debate for yourselves.


Monday, 10 November 2014



Forest Research, along with the Forestry Commission, published its latest guess work over the population of wild boar in the Forest of Dean.

We know it is guess work because they say so themselves in their own conclusion!

But this has not stopped them promoting a scientifically indefensible argument about numbers to gullible councillors and the public alike.

In what appears to be science, Forest Research's latest attempt to support the Forestry Commission's urgent need to increase meat sales is one of sheer incompetence and blatant cronyism.

Here is the link to download the Forest Research document that alludes to a wild boar population of 819.

Now, we will ignore the amateurish style of the document and its footer margin claiming these survey results are for 2013.  These numbers are a result of transects made by rangers in vehicles between 17th February and 11th March 2014.  The length of transect totalled 167.4km about an area of 66.4km2 (almost the entire Forest area).

It is a series of line transects the rangers have used for many years, principally to calculate deer numbers but now expanded to include wild boar too.

The transects start in the evening as darkness falls and take place every other night and continue for up to 8 hours per night over the period.  The transect of 167.4km is a cumulative total made over various parts of the Forest during the 3 weeks.  Each transect is passed over once.

They use sensitive thermal cameras to detect the boar and deer and put the observations into a program called "Distance", using the methodology according to Buckland et al (Oxford University Press, 2001).


This methodology is known as "Distance Sampling".  It is a method requiring great skill by the observers, for not only MUST they record EVERY boar seen on a transect, they must also ACCURATELY calculate its distance and direction from the transect using laser technology or using marked distances on the ground.

It is a statistical method of counting that alleviates any need to count every single boar in the Forest, but a REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE that can be scaled up to the size of the entire Forest.

Of course, driving along even 167km of track does nowhere near allow visible checks on the entire Forest even IF the surveys were done in the daytime.  So only a tiny (<<1%) fraction of the Forest is surveyed.

But the thermal equipment employed does allow the ranger to see very clearly if an animal is detected by a bright glow in the viewfinder.  Of course, the further away the boar is, the smaller is the glowing object becomes.  This often proves impossible to determine the difference between species of animal (say deer and boar) at even moderate distance from the vehicle.  Additionally, animals beyond just 10 metres usually means the animal is in tree cover and undergrowth adding to the difficulty.

Indeed, the FC in 2011 argued that wild boar often hide in the bracken out of the view of their thermal cameras.  These were the words of Ian Harvey in 2011 after that year's census found only 16 boar (scaled up to equal several hundred of course!)

Distance Sampling is a technique that actually grants bias to more distant observations - the more boar seen at greater distances, the greater becomes the population result.  Can we trust rangers to observe small glowing animals in a viewfinder correctly after travelling a tiring 8 hours through the night?

According to Buckland (2001): "Sloppiness in detecting objects near, and measuring their distance from, the line or point has been all too common [in previous research]..{and] proper  design and field protocol have not received the attention deserved."

Buckland (2001) states categorically that animals must be detected with CERTAINTY. "Its importance cannot be overemphasized." (Chapter 2)


This difficulty is the LEAST of Forest Research's problems (which they purposefully keep from you)!

Even a quick read through Buckland et al (2001) soon highlights several major requirements for the sample size to be anywhere close to accurate (Chapter 7):

1. A pilot study is required to calculate starting assumptions such as encounter rates, distance bias, average boar group size, ratio of group to lone boar, and so on.
2. Transects must NOT be along roads or tracks were animals may prefer to travel at night.
3. The animals must NOT MOVE when observed.
4. The actual observed number MUST be greater than 60.
5. The distribution and density of boar must be equally distributed throughout the entire areas of sampling.
6. Locations of groups of boar must be plotted accurately using a mid-point of the group.
7. Every boar on a transect MUST be seen and counted (no hiding in the bracken this time please).
8. Distance to the animal must be calculated accurately.

In all 8 requirements, Forest Research have either broken these rules or could not have complied with them.

Here's just a few blatant errors....

No pilot study has been done nor published.

Counting an individual more than once (including over successive nights if used) obliterates the accuracy of the result, increasing the final total.  Well, well.  Forest Research seem ignorant of basic boar behaviour! 

Using tracks or roads is junk science for boar counting.  Some boar prefer roads and tracks to move at night as witnessed by verge diggings.

Some boar will readily move towards an observer for a closer look or sniff.  Boar moving closer reduces the final population figure.  Many boar prefer to run, especially from a noisy ranger's vehicles (they are smelly and have association with guns) and therefore, will increase the population figure - and quite significantly too!

The wild boar in the Forest of Dean are NOT distributed equally - and even the Forest research document shows you this by way of a plot and its words even says so! 

Average group numbers on any night cannot be averaged as this changes throughout the seasons.  Assuming too high a group size, or numbers of groups (put at 41 in the report) will massively exaggerate the final total.  In some calculations within the distance-sampling method, individuals are allowed to be counted as a group of a predetermined size - but this doesn't work for boar - every boar MUST be counted.

Forest Research admit in their report to calculating distance to boar by assessing the size of the boar!  OUTRAGEOUS!

Even the dim-witted Dougal McGuire and Father Ted have learnt about the difference between baby pigs near to, and big fat pigs far away.


According to Forest Research's own document, it concludes by saying that  "...clustering of boar has the effect of reducing the precision of the estimated density in the forest as a whole."

Sadly the very next sentence compares this year's scientific abomination to their 2013 guesswork for some form of mutual corroboration.

  "The 2013 estimate is within 95% confidence limits obtained from the 2014 survey, indicating that it is plausible (although still unlikely) there has been no change in numbers AT ALL."

This last sentence regarding 2013 is both pseudo-scientific and intentionally misleading.  2013 was not a pilot study nor was it calculated using distance-sampling.


The Forestry Commission are increasingly relying on the gullibility and scientific ignorance of local councillors to support an unnecessary cull.  The FC no longer care what the public think, they want the councillors to decide.

The descent from science into the employment of  "Localism" as a weapon against the boar is far too transparent a tactic for us to be conned.  This is the government treating us like idiots folks.  Infiltration into committees by government stooges to win debates is nothing short of "behavioural adjustment by propaganda" -something that 1930s Germany also sleepwalked into.

Given that many requirements for distance-sampling could NOT have been met, and hence easily leading to vastly over-estimated numbers, the last sentence of Forest research's propaganda document should have stated (if there is any scientific integrity within Forest Research)..

Wild Boar numbers in the Forest of Dean cannot be calculated accurately using the method Forest Research have chosen, and boar numbers may have increased, stayed the same, or decreased compared to our previous guess based primarily upon a need to generate meat sales and roadside diggings.

Buckland would not be impressed.