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QOTW: Badgers? We Don' Need No Steenkeeng Badgers!

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Greg writes:

My name’s Greg, recent DE convert …

Due in no small part to you and your YOUTUBE videos.

However upon investigation was VERY UPSET TO LEARN Badger Hair Brushes were actually made from real badger hair (duh !!) supplied by CHINA.

Living a block away from Walmart I don’t think I have to tell you just how much economic damage China’s done to the USA

Not to mention their human rights record or ongoing ethnic cleansing of Tibet.

But, as bad or worse is China’s (Asia in general) environmental record.

Some years ago the Chinese Military almost destroyed the world’s Rhino population by intentionally buying, stockpiling and once extinct selling tons of black market rhino horn —  reaping billions !

No animal, in part or whole is safe from Asian markets … want poached US Bear gall bladders, Asian Sun Bear paw soup, Indian Tiger Bone … NO PROBLEM !

And now we can add Badgers to that list …

                                    DISGUSTING !!!

You, more than anyone I can think of have a unique opportunity to help put and end to at least a small part of such rapacious barbarism.

I know you wouldn’t think of using Rhino Horn Razors or Asian Whale Oil shaving cream or Elephant Ivory brushes … so why promote Silver Tip Badger Brushes ?

There are finely made Italian Synthetic Shaving Brushes that claim to be the premier choice of professionals … also there’s Black, Taylor and Men-U brushes to name a few more.

                And even if they not “perfect” — SO WHAT !

            No animal should suffer and die for someones vanity

Please champion the use of synthetics  — show photos/ clips of baby badgers — just look on YOUTUBE !

Besides saving your fellow creature, hopefully you’ll help deny China any more of the US’s wealth. 

I’m sending along several badger videos so you can see just how cute they are and completely undeserving of such treatment.

Please Help !

Setting aside the political issues for a moment, I don’t believe badgers are in any significant danger of “cruelty” or extinction.  The worst of the abuse (badger baiting, sett blocking) seems to be long over with in the western world, and China is culling them when they become pests (damaging crops and spreading rabies and bovine TB for example) according to Wikipedia.  But how do you feel about this?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

29 thoughts on “QOTW: Badgers? We Don' Need No Steenkeeng Badgers!”

  1. To me it seems like a lot of people are missing an important point. While the badger may not be endangered in China and it is in fact a source of meat in that culture, it does not justify inhumane methods of harvesting the meat and fur. The problem I think is worth mentioning is how the Chinese think any exotic animal is going to help them have healthier boners and thus spearhead the overhunting of animals not only in China, but around the world. This year (2013) already saw the official extinction of one species of rhino in Africa due to poaching in order to supply demand for their horns in China, and for what? Rhino horn does not have magical medicinal properties.
    My personal beef is that I don’t trust China (or the people involved in the fur trade) to do things right, so I personally won’t be buying another badger brush when boar is a perfectly good material and more easily sourced around the world, and synthetics are now at the point that they are matching and even surpassing performance standards of badger hair. Yes, PETA does resort to shock and awe, but there’s also some truth to their message.
    Lastly, the reason most, if not all, badger hair for shaving brushes comes from China is becuase it is protected elsewhere. I think it would be difficult for most of us to ensure animals aren’t treated cruelly other there, and I certainly won’t tell anyone not to buy or use badger brushes (like I said, I already own one). But at least consider that the Chinese badger that died for your brush may not have had a quick and easy ending, even if it is part of the food chain over there.

  2. Now the whiners have invaded my favorite shaving site!
    If a badger died so a family can eat AND I can have a good shave brush, so be it. If a pig dies so I can have bacon in the morning AND I can have a good hair brush, so be it. In the time I spent in Asia, I have eaten badger, dog, monkey, snake, lizard, and several “mystery meats”. Do what YOU need to do for YOU, but DO NOT presume to tell ME what to do!

  3. Badger meat is a very traditional dish in China and other parts of Asia and Europe. As far as I know, the Chinese keep the skin and oil (which is used for ointments). They finally export the hair to Europe for the manufacturing of shaving brushes.

    Shaving brushes aside, badgers would be killed anyway because they are part of the chain food not only in China.

    Why throw the hair into the trash?

  4. I have no problem using a badger brush if I know the animal was killed fast and quick then harvested.
    I eat meat and I believe there is great cruelty in that industry for cows and chickens.

    However I need to eat food to survive and quite frankly I can't afford to eat a healthy vegetarian diet
    being sure I get a full complement of iron in my diet. I don't want to hear the arguments about this I've tried
    vegetarianism and it doesn't work for me.

    Before I get too off topic though lets continue.

    Using a badger brush is not about survival. I will still live if I don't use one. Since I can't verify
    the badger wasn't skinned alive I can't allow myself to use one.

    Watch that video and see if your opinion changes. If it doesn't then I dare say you are in denial and simply don't care if the animal was skinned alive for your badger brush.

    If you already own a badger brush then keep using it. You already have it so throwing it away at this point isn't going to change anything. Why bother buying a new one though?

  5. The spanish companies Vie-Long and Tres Claveles have got some well priced horsehair brushes. I have not tried them, but I've heard they're good.

  6. Greg said…

    "As The Origional Poster I must say: I find it hard to believe my concern about animal cruelty would engender so many idiotitc comments."

    "Horse Hair raises other issues: byproduct of the meat industry or naturally collected."

    Um, horsehair brushes, as previously observed & mentioned (at least by me, if nobody else in this highly flammable thread), does NOT require the 'donor animal' to be dead for, or to die after being "harvested". So I'm wondering what issues it raises if one has good information about the providers of the products.

    The hair merely needs to be clipped from the mane and/or tail of the horse – NO need for any death of, pain to, blood from or cruelty inflicted on the horse being clipped (though, I'm pretty certain it would still occur, as some people are just evil/greedy shitheads like that).

    Amazingly enough though, trying to source a horsehair knot for a custom brush, has so far found one company, and they happen to be in China, so: caveat emptor, and all that.

    (If anyone can provide the URLs/contact details for other horsehair knot providers, please feel free to post them here or contact me some other way)
    Thank you.

  7. As The Origional Poster I must say: I find it hard to believe my concern about animal cruelty would engender so many idiotitc comments.

    First, I'm no PETA member & second reread my post: No One Said Badgers Were Endangered !

    The issue's twofold:

    1.) Badgers Are Being Needlessly Killed Because Of Human Vanity.

    2.) From Which China Profits To The US's Further Financial Detriment.



    "Something about Rhinos magically translates into … Badgers"

    "No Facts, No Statistics…"

    Where to begin Gary: It's about stopping Badger Cruelty, supported by FACTS about China's attempt to destoy the world's Rhino's for money !

    US Bear Gall-Bladders poached for Asain Markets, that to's a FACT !

    Bear Paw Soup (chopped-off live): FACT !

    Powdered Tiger Bone: FACT !

    If it's got skin, nail, tooth, horn
    etc. millions of Asians will use it to treat impotency.

    Our China Trade deficet is all to painfully factual.

    SO GARY:

    Don't Need Statistics GOT FACTS !

    Horse Hair raises other issues: byproduct of the meat industry or naturally collected.


    A simple statement that eliminates all need for statistics,extinction issues or "cuteness" hierarchies.

    And one that can be applied to all manner of things from tallow soaps, to fur trimed coats and red fox artist brushes.

    Some of your more thoughtfull comments were most welcome, while sadley others were just stupidly callous.

    As for the latter, perhaps rewatching "Soylent Green" might prove helpful to understanding.

    Happy Viewing !


  8. Right off the bat – I'm a vegetarian and animal rights supporter so if anyone considers me weak/sick/stupid/retarded/insane/etc. and in need of a life, so be it. Tolerance and the ability to peacefully co-exist along with others that don't think, look or act just like you is, IMO, pretty important.

    I have my beliefs that I feel quite strongly about but at the same time I don't shove it into peoples faces. I go along to get along.

    As far as the brushes are concerned, I can't bring myself to use the animal-based ones regardless of how well they might kick up a better lather. For me, they're wrong.

    It's been mentioned that the badgers are already being killed and eaten so it's pretty much null-and-void at that point if the hair is then used to make brushes. It's OK, right?

    Now, to follow that LOGIC, here's another scenario:

    The belongings, personal effects and various remains of the Jewish people killed by the Nazis was collected and processed so that it could be used in various ways in the continued war effort or by the general population. These "processed materials" only existed because of the horrific murders that occurred. But to some people, these "materials" were quite handy and welcomed.

    So what is more important: the usefulness of the "materials" or the initial reason in which they became "materials" in the first place?

    And no, I AM NOT directly comparing the holocaust to badgers being killed for food/brushes. I am only following the same "logic" or thought in a different direction to try and make a point.

  9. What Mike said – If they are using badger meat for food (I haven't looked into this), would this change the dynamics of whether it is moral or not?

  10. Incidentally, it's my understanding that horse-hair brushes are clipped from the horse's tail without harming the horse itself, so, along with synthetics, they're a "vegetarian" shaving brush option for those who want to avoid animal cruelty.

  11. "…help deny China any more of the US's wealth."

    Um, Greg? China isn't taking the US's wealth.

    China is in the business of lending money to the US to feed Americans' insatiable hunger for credit. China is a nation of diligent and stoic savers, scraping together what they can from (in most cases) meagre income and saving for a better future.

    America is a nation of reckless borrowers, carelessly taking out loans and credit they can (in most cases) not afford.

    If it wasn't for careful Chinese savers, the US economy would simply shut down.

  12. WATCH THE VIDEOS THAT pjorge1036 LINKED! I swear that is the saddest thing I have ever seen…It doesn't matter if the damn animal isn't going extinct….that way of killing a badger..OR ANYTHING.. is way beyond words. For Christ's sake they break the poor animals neck, and skin it alive!! They can live for 10 minutes afterwards! Nothing deserves that…

  13. For the record here folks I really have no opinion on this subject. I'm giving it some publicity so everyone can form their own opinions and make informed decisions.

  14. I think Mantic has already spoken of the benefits of synthetic brushes. I use one from the Body Shop and it's great!

    I sympathize with the guy in question, but at the same time I'm willing to bet majority of viewers simply don't care about Badgers or any other animal for that matter. Even if Mantic took up the noble cause of defending animal rights, who would he even convince?

  15. this doesn't have anything to do with badgers being in danger of extinction (they aren't) but it has everything to do with the barbaric and inhumane treatment that they receive being beat until they are paralyzed but not dead to avoid damaging the fur, then having their extremities cut and being skinned while still alive just to harvest their furs.
    They do the same with cats and dogs.

    I don't have a problem with killing animals to eat but this is a completely different thing.
    watch the following videos and then ell me that it doesn't bother you.

  16. NEVER in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one of the last bastions of better days gone by, traditional wetshaving, would be subjected to political correctness and the likes of PETA crowd.

    When does it end!?

    Greg! Hey buddy! You obviously have to carry on and pursue saving the world. Please, don't let wetshaving get in your way! Don't look back; just keep going . . . somewhere else . . .

  17. This guy is a perfect candidate for nylon bristles , oh wait they might hurt the environment too, Oh boo hoo!

    Get a grip, it's a badger. Only other animal that will attack a bear besides a wolverine.

    Anyways, there are other choices like Pig and Horse hair for brushes but that probably bothers Mr. Sensitivity.

    As for Walmart, great stock to own and they carry Wilkinson Blades!! Made in Germany.

  18. I started out with a pure badger hair brush by Omega but moved up to best badger brush by C&E. While it was an improvement over the more abrasive Omega, I eventually chose a synthetic brush by Taylor of Old Bond Street. Animal cruelty never entered into the equation, but I thought a synthetic would be a better alternative as my skin is extremely sensitive and prone to rashes. It has been the superior choice thus far. There. I just endorsed a synthetic brush without denigrating those who prefer an animal hair brush.

  19. The poster is just ignorant. Something about Rhinos magically translates into something about badgers. No facts, no statistics, just "look how cute they are". Probably in favor of making dogs and cats wear clothes. I disregard such silly rants. Horse brushes are fine, badger brushes are the best. Keep 'em coming, I say!

  20. Eldarin said…

    "I'm a DE shaver and a vegan, so the use of a badger brush is out of the question for me. I for one am glad there are great alternatives to animal products. I can't use a product that was created by killing an animal when it isn't necessary.

    I am completely committed to being a vegan, won't compromise it for anyone, but I can't agree with the tone of the first post. Angry posts telling people what to do rarely bring about change."
    August 31, 2010 5:11 PM

    @Eldarin: This is not a lippant dig at you, but an earnest question about choices (open to any/all vegans):

    As a vegan would you prefer to use an enviromentlally unfriendly synthetic hair brush which very likely is made in a factory pouring pollutants into water, air and earth, or would you prefer to use a horsehair brush, which is obviously a product derived from an animal, but which does not kill or harm the animal in question?

  21. I'm a DE shaver and a vegan, so the use of a badger brush is out of the question for me. I for one am glad there are great alternatives to animal products. I can't use a product that was created by killing an animal when it isn't necessary.

    I am completely committed to being a vegan, won't compromise it for anyone, but I can't agree with the tone of the first post. Angry posts telling people what to do rarely bring about change.

  22. If Greg wants to use a synthetic brush out of his concern for badgers, he is free to do so. I agree with him that we should not use products from endangered species. However, badgers are far from being endangered, so those of us who want to use badger brushes should be free to do so as well. I have no issue with the way Greg chooses to lead his own life; I do have issues with his attempt to tell me how to lead mine.

    On the China issue, I don't think there are many other practical options for top quality badger hair. I understand that some brushes are made with European badger, but I don't know how much is available, or how good it is. At least the really good brushes are still made in Europe. If we buy them, we do limit somewhat our dollars that go to China.

  23. I was under the impression that many badgers were shorn like sheep and not killed. Is this not the case? Even so, while he makes a valid point for the sake of animals, I don't feel badgers are the highest concern. I've always believed "To each their own." If someone feels the need to use synthetic brushes as opposed to boar or badger hair brushes, for the sake of animals, then so be it. The same should go for those who prefer animal hair brushes.

  24. Personally, I feel the guy has some very relevant points to make. While most wanton cruelty to badgers is kerbed these days in the western world, here in the UK however, some are still being targeted by some people. Succh as people who don't (or refuse to) realise that no definitive study has shown any real link between badgers and bovine TB, will go out of their way to kill nearby creatures, or fill the setts full of concrete, or burn the brush around the setts, and such. Drunken and sadistic yobs will get a snootful and go off provoke a fight with a badger and kick it to death with steel-toed boots, to prove how manly they are. Cruel 'sporting' types do have illegal badger bating (as well as their dog- (& cock-) fights etc etc etc blah blah blah). Brits who haven't read or heard these things are people who don't want to hear or see it, as far as I can tell – or they live nowhere near the badgers'.

    To the shaving part now …

    I own and use a couple of good, no excellent, badger brushes, and some excellent boar and some pretty good synthetics, and 1 cheap horsehair, which I thought at first was another boar brush.

    They might not have been alive going into it, either, but boars, as well as the badgers, don't come out of the brush making industry alive. Horses do. T

    here was a long and wonderful history of horsehair shaving brushes (as well as other brushes), until that anthrax thing wiped out so many horses in the early 20th century, and anything that used to be derived from horses was viewed as thoroughly inferior, if not literally (and I mean literally literally) poxy.

    That isn't the case today. Horses are pretty healthy for the most part. If I could find a decent source of good horsehair knots, I'd buy a few and get some custom brushes made. Why not?

    Just because someone is on a different wavelength, doesn't mean they need to be shunned and glommed off as being weird or extremely naive. Hey, if you don't try and change things, they aren't likely to change the way you want them to.

  25. I too am a recent convert to DE shaving, also due to your videos, Mantic (my fiancee got a kick out of your "sensitive areas" response)… anyway….

    If this guy wants to get all political over something being made in China, he might as well remove himself from… well… the entire global economy, because China has their hand in… oh I don't know… virtually all of it.

  26. Where can I get some whale-oil shaving soap? It sounds like it would make for quite a comfortable shave.

  27. Don't they eat badger in China? It would seem to me that if the animal is killed for food, it makes sense to use ALL of it rather than being wasteful and throwing the hair away.

    Just because we don't eat badger in the USA doesn't make it wrong for the Chinese to do so. Same thing with cultures that eat dog–who are we decide what animals should and should not be eaten? If one is to argue that it's because dogs are smart, pigs are actually some of the most intelligent animals known to man, yet we eat them in this country (and they're so tasty, too)!

    Having watched your videos comparing boar, badger, and synthetic brushes, I think you certainly indicated that synthetic brushes are great for people against using animal products, leaving it up to the viewer to decide what to buy, whereas this email sounds like he'd rather see you become an animal rights activist. And, quite frankly, were you to start pushing the animal rights agenda, I think I'd have to stop reading this blog. PETA makes me sick.

  28. Or use a boar-bristle brush or a horse-hair brush. Those are not in any danger of going extinct.

    Of course, neither are badgers – in Europe or in Asia. The IUCN red list says that both European and Asian badgers are of "least concern" and are abundant in many regions. Hunting and trapping are allowed by law in many countries, including Germany and Finland. But in most developed countries, cars kill more badgers than hunters do.

    The IUCN has more details.

  29. wow…that guy is a piece of work. he should be more worried about the economic damage done to the USA by our own government…

    but yes, politics aside, i will not use anything other than badger hair brushes for shaving.

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