Create an account

Opening an account with Naturewatch allows you to buy items from our online shop.

Member Type:

Join the Naturewatch mailing list
Be kept informed of events, campaigns and news.
We will never send you spam or share your details.

Not got an account?   Register here Login
Return to login Forgot password?

Facts about Badger Baiting

Badger baiting involves torturing badgers until death and is a thriving ‘blood-sport’ across the UK.  Both the badgers and dogs suffer inconceivably painful injuries. 


Small terrier-type dogs are sent down setts to locate badgers and hold them at bay whilst baiters dig down.  Once exposed, the badgers are dragged from their setts and either baited there and then by a pack of savagely-trained dogs, or they are sold to underground baiting rings, earning someone in excess of £500.  

Lamping for badgers is another favoured pastime, with perpetrators choosing to stalk foraging badgers late at night before unleashing their dogs in terrifying and gruesome combat. 

One way or another, the badgers always die.  In addition to their horrific injuries from being viciously attacked by dogs, they are also often deliberately wounded by the baiters in order to guarantee a longer fight by breaking their jaw, teeth or even a foot.   

If the dogs survive, rather than receiving veterinary treatment for their open gashes, ripped ears and lips, and any other unimaginable injuries, they are stitched up by their owners without pain relief or anaesthetic; or they are killed. 

  • 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 nine years by the National Wildlife Crime Unit. 

This chart shows the number of reports of badger related incidents received by the Badger Persecution Delivery Group in 2016.  Reports were sent by animal welfare groups and law enforcement agencies.

Sett interference and baiting/fighting account for 62% of all reports in 2016.  In relation to sett interference the top four were:

  1. Blocking: related to Hunts - 25%
  2. Blocking: reason or type of offender not established - 21%
  3. Development projects - 17% 
  4. Setts Dug - 15 %

Data for the second half of 2017 is still being collected and analysed – we will share these results once they have been published by the Badger Persecution Delivery Group.  

In the meantime, a comparison was made between 01/01/2016 to 30/06/2016, and the same period in 2017:     

  • 2016 – 320 reports in total
  • 2017 – 416 reports in total

This shows an increase of 30%, which is believed to be due to better reporting rather than an increase in crime.  Again, sett interference and baiting/fighting remained the top areas of illegal persecution in the first six months of 2017.