Facts about Badger Baiting
- Badger baiting was first made illegal in 1835 under the Cruelty to Animals Act.
- Badgers have since been granted further protection by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
- Badger persecution has been classified as a priority for the past eight years by the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
Yet badger baiting continues to be a thriving ‘sport’ across the UK.
- 230 reports were received by the Badger Trust in 2016 relating to perceived badger baiting, sett digging, illegal lamping, killing and other acts of cruelty towards badgers involving the use of dogs.
Yet only 7 cases were heard at court throughout 2016 according to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Badger persecution is not a standard part of basic police training. It would therefore be unfair to expect police officers, even some Wildlife Crime Officers, to apply the level of knowledge on badger behaviour and ecology that is necessary during an investigation and be acknowledged as an expert witness in court. Also, it is common for shortcomings to occur in the collection, recording, keeping, and presentation of vital evidence, which is essential for a prosecution to be successful.
Our research and Freedom of Information requests suggest that many police forces are ill-equipped to properly investigate cases of badger cruelty, and has exposed inconsistencies and failures in the reporting of crimes to the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
After 182 years of being illegal it’s time to put an end to this thriving ‘sport’ and see badger baiters are put behind bars.
That is why we plan to deliver vital police training to forces across the UK throughout 2017 in partnership with the Badger Trust.