Sunday, 18 February 2018

Two men jailed for badger-baiting in Wales

Huntsman David Thomas sentenced to 22 weeks and accomplice to 20 in case RSPCA says shows animal cruelty is rife

Mon 5 Feb 2018 17.45 GMTFirst published on Mon 5 Feb 2018 16.34 GMT

An experienced huntsman has been jailed after being caught badger-baiting on remote farmland in north Wales. RSPCA inspectors and police also found two foxes in a cage next to a pack of dogs on the farm, a meeting place for the Dwyryd Hunt, and believe they were going to be released for dogs to attack.

The RSPCA said the case showed that badger-baiting, which has been banned since 1835, and other forms of animal cruelty were still rife.

Some animal campaigners claim it also suggests the government’s badger cull has caused the mammals to become “demonised” and led to an increase in cruelty towards them.

Speaking after the sentencing, Ch Insp Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “This was a major and landmark investigation in which the RSPCA caught individuals red-handed in the act of using their dogs to barbarically fight with a badger.

“Badger-baiting has been illegal for over 180 years and it is sickening to find people still seeking to spend their time inflicting pain, suffering and misery on animals in this way. This was coordinated and carefully planned cruelty.”

He added: “Badger persecution is rife across the country. There are numerous gangs out to target badgers. The badger is seen as the most worthy opponent, the biggest test for their dogs. But the people involved in this sort of activity just like killing things.

“It’s extremely difficult to detect. These people are going out into secluded woodlands, sometimes on to farmland with permission of the owner, which makes it extremely difficult to investigate.”

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