cruel practice | 

Animal charity says 150 people actively involved in badger baiting in Northern Ireland

The USPCA charity revealed the figures during the BBC Spotlight programme Exposed: Hunting With Dogs

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Christopher LeebodyBelfast Telegraph

There are 150 people actively involved in animal baiting, including 14,000 cases of badger baiting in Northern Ireland each year, according to a BBC Spotlight report.

The USPCA charity revealed the figures during the BBC Spotlight programme Exposed: Hunting With Dogs.

The report suggests the cruel practice is still widespread across the province despite being banned almost 190 years ago.

Badgers’ habitats are also protected under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and even to disturb their setts is a criminal offence.

However, hunting animals, such as foxes, with dogs remains legal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the United Kingdom in which it has not been outlawed.

During the programme, set to be broadcast on Tuesday evening, USPCA chief executive Brendan Mullan said he believed 99% of the people involved in baiting in Northern Ireland were targeting both foxes and badgers.

"While fox hunting is legal the chances of a badger baiting conviction are undermined, because there is the defence, the cloak of 'well, I was just out hunting foxes', whereas in fact it was badgers that they were hunting," he told BBC NI.

"We would like to see, even on a time-limited basis, a special task force set up by the police to proactively investigate this network of over 150 badger baiters in Northern Ireland and to hold them to account in the criminal court.”

The PSNI told the programme it takes reports of animal-related crime seriously and it was an important part of policing.

BBC Spotlight, Exposed: Hunting With Dogs will be on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10.40pm and available afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.


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