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Badger Baiting in the UK

Watching badgers and dogs fight until death is perceived as good fun for some people.  In fact, some baiters have even been known to join in the fight, brutally beating the badgers with spades or stamping on them. 

The badgers always die in the end, but that ‘end’ is the result of a long, excruciatingly painful and frightening struggle.  The dogs may also die.  But if not, their wounds that usually include torn ears or ripped-off lips, are treated without professional veterinary care.

These sadistic acts of violence are happening all over the UK in the name of entertainment.

Our aim is to bring an end to badger baiting, sett digging, illegal lamping, killing and other acts of cruelty towards badgers involving the use of dogs. 

Here’s what we’re doing to make this happen:

1. To increase our influence with fundamental decision-making processes among partner organisations, including police and other leading animal welfare charities, we have joined:

2. We have appointed our first Wildlife Crime Adviser, Andy Swinburne to promote, support and contribute towards the fight against badger crime.  He is a former Wildlife Crime Officer and has 13 years’ experience fighting badger crime.

The illegal persecution of badgers continues to be listed as one of the six UK Wildlife Crime Priorities and can be found within the new National Wildlife Crime Unit Strategy for 2018 - 2020

The Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group will lead the UK strategy to combat badger crime, and as Secretariat of the Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group, our Wildlife Crime Adviser, Andy will play a vital role in the administrative running and direction of this group and its UK strategic response to illegal badger persecution through Prevention, Intelligence and Enforcement initiatives.  

3. In February 2018, we launched a campaign calling for all wildlife crime in England and Wales to be centrally recorded by the Home Office.  Current recording methods are inadequate, and subsequently, wildlife crimes are going unpunished, and wildlife is dying.

4. We continue to work with the Badger Trust to deliver badger persecution training to police forces and are aiming for all forces in England and Wales to receive the one-day course by the end of this year.  The training equips police to identify whether a sett is active and recognise unusual activity, and demonstrates the best use of legislation to bring perpetrators before the courts.

5. We are also conducting our own investigations into badger crime, but I can’t elaborate too much on this given the covert nature of the work.  Know that we are working hard to gather high-quality information that we will pass onto police.

6. We are working with Badger Groups and Police Forces to deliver a School Awareness Programme to school children aged 13 years old and above to raise awareness of badger ecology, illegal badger persecution and legislation.  The presentation contains a mix of eye-opening video footage and photographs of crime scenes while informing pupils how they can help police fight badger crime.

7.  We have launched an illustration competition, asking children aged between 13 – 16 years old to draw badgers.  Seventeen lucky winners will win the chance to have their artwork published in ‘Badger Boy’ - a wildlife crime mystery novel that is aimed to educate teenagers about badgers and the cruelty of badger baiting. 

Chris Packham will judge the competition. The closing date is 15 April 2019, and the winners will be announced on 01 May 2019.