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Follow up: Illegal badger baiters exposed by undercover TV reporters

Last year we covered this expose on badger baiters. 

Thanks to the evidence from BBC One Wales, two of the above badger baiters have been jailed - for 20 weeks and 22 weeks. 

Unfortunately, barbaric acts of animal cruelty and wildlife crime are too common an occurrence across the UK today, involving multiple species. These cross border crimes illustrate the distances that criminals are prepared to travel to commit these atrocities.

The somewhat lenient sentencing under present guidelines is very disappointing given the persistent and intentional depravity shown to the wildlife - and also to the badger baiters' own dogs, who were shown no remorse and were excluded from professional veterinary care to avoid detection.

Additionally, the vulnerability of the rural community in which these acts took place, the bravery of the BBC undercover reporter and the ensuing high-profile television programme and criminal case have not acted as catalysts to ensure the current maximum prison sentence of six months was bestowed upon those convicted of such heinous crimes.

Cases such as these, which involve multiple animal fighting and cruelty against our wildlife, highlight that the statute books have, for a long time, been in need of increased sentencing powers.

On June 26, the announcement of the Animal Sentencing Bill was very welcome news. If successful, I hope we will see much harsher sentencing for persons carrying out such sadistic crimes, thus acting as a new deterrent and bringing us morally in line with other countries such as Ukraine - where the maximum sentencing of eight years in prison is in force. 

It is time to properly protect our wildlife and animals by increased sentencing and also recognise the links between animal abuse, violence, and child abuse.