Badger hair in shaving brushes comes from protected Eurasian badgers
Domingo-Roura X., Marmi J., Ferrando A., López-Giráldez F., Macdonald DW., Jansman HAH.
The Eurasian badger (Meles meles) is included in Appendix III of the Bern Convention and protected by national laws in many European countries. Badger hair is used to manufacture luxury shaving brushes, although it is frequently argued that the hog badger (Arctonyx collaris), which in Europe is an introduced and unprotected species, is the origin of the hair used. We applied an extraction protocol to recover DNA from the unrooted hair of shaving brushes obtained from commercial companies in The Netherlands and Spain. The tested brushes originated from The Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom where the Eurasian badger is a protected species. We sequenced 191 bp of the mitochondrial DNA control region and 170 bp of the cytochrome b gene and compared the sequences obtained with Eurasian badger and hog badger reference sequences of the same mitochondrial DNA regions obtained in our laboratory and from GenBank. Sequences obtained from four shaving brushes were clearly hog badger sequences, whereas four sequences clustered with Eurasian badger sequences of both European and Asian origins. One of the shaving brushes made of Eurasian badger was produced in France, where it is legal to capture or trade the species under certain conditions. The remaining three brushes originated from The Netherlands, where it is illegal to possess, sell, transport or use for commercial purposes dead Eurasian badgers or products derived from them. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.