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 consist of serious lacerations to the jaw and bite marks on their necks and muzzle, are treated without professional veterinary care.
These sadistic acts of violence are happening all over the UK in the name of entertainment. Due to the sheer volume of the illegal persecution of badgers, it continues to be listed as one of the six UK Wildlife Crime Priorities by the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
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.
What we’re doing to make this happen:
1. Appointed an Animal Crime Manager
In 2017 we appointed our first Animal Crime Manager, Andy Swinburne. He is a former Wildlife Crime Officer with 15 years of experience fighting badger crime in both the police and charity arenas.
2. We’re members of key coalition groups
To increase our influence with fundamental decision-making processes among partner organisations, including the police and other leading animal welfare charities, we have joined:
- The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime UK
- Wildlife and Countryside Link
- Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group
- Cyber-Enabled Wildlife Crime Priority Delivery Group
The Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group leads the overall UK strategy to combat badger crime. As Secretariat of this Delivery Group, our Animal Crime Manager (Andy Swinburne), is playing a vital role in the administrative running and direction of the group and its UK strategic response to illegal badger persecution through Prevention, Intelligence and Enforcement initiatives.
3. We’re lobbying the Home Office for badger crime to be better recorded and monitored
We’re the closest we’ve ever been to illegal badger persecution becoming recordable and notifiable to the Home Office, and that’s down to you. Last year many of you lobbied your Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) about this. Because of your letters and emails, the Home Office received a very clear message that recordable wildlife crime isn’t just something wanted by animal welfare and conservation charities, but also law enforcement agencies and the general public.
We will not rest until badger crime is being consistently recorded and reported on across England and Wales. We may call on you for one final push to help make this happen, so please stay tuned!
4. We’re investigating badger crime
in 2018 we launched our own covert investigations into badger crime, passing high-quality information packs to law enforcement agencies. They then use the information to initiate further investigations, gather intelligence, or take enforcement action, which is the ultimate outcome we’re aiming for.
We’re asking members of the public to tell our Animal Crime Manager about anyone they suspect are involved in badger crime.
Be a #Hero4Badgers
5. Launched a guide to help police forces prosecute cases of badger persecution
Partnering with the Badger Trust, we’ve published ‘The Persecution of Badgers: A Guide for Investigators in England & Wales’. The publication was proudly launched at the 31st UK Wildlife Crime Enforcers Conference in November 2019.
6. We’re teaching school teens about badger crime
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.
We’re making an annual financial contribution to the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Forensic Analysis Fund, which police can access to help pay for forensic investigations into badger crime, e.g. DNA testing of badger hair.