What IS Badger Baiting?
Badger Baiting was made illegal in 1835 and is currently an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, but it has never died out.
Small terriers, are sent into a badger sett to locate a badger and hold it in position. Many diggers attach a radio transmitter locator collar to the dog and use a receiver to determine the exact location of the dog and badger. The baiters then dig their way down to the animal and drag the badger out of the sett.
The badger may then be fought against dogs at the sett, sometimes using terriers, sometimes with bigger dogs (like lurchers) brought for that purpose.
There is a danger of the sett tunnels collapsing on the badger and the dog during the digging, and the baiter’s own dogs can suffer horrific injuries during the fight. Often they are not treated by a vet but left to heal without antibiotics, or stitched by the owner themselves.
Sometimes, to increase the length of the fight injuries will be inflicted on the badger to prevent it winning too easily. They may have a foot, jaw or teeth broken using a spade.
Occasionally badger baiting involves gambling where large sums of money can change hands. The badger is not fought at the sett, but instead taken away to be baited later on. This may be a barn, shed or cellar or similar. The badger is placed into an arena, or pit, from which it cannot escape (as in typical dog fights). Dogs are then set on the badger and betting takes place. Ultimately, no matter how hard it tries to defend itself, the badger’s fate is sealed.
Eventually, through injury and exhaustion, it will not be able fight any longer and if not already dead it will be shot or clubbed to death.
Where gambling is involved a winning dog’s value will increase – along with the price of any puppies. It is thought that up to £1000 can be paid for a badger for this purpose.
Badger baiting is alive and well in our countryside.
Those who carry out badger baiting are often involved in other criminal activity.
If you see suspicious activity near a badger sett, call the police and let them know a crime is in progress, giving as much detail as you can on the position of the sett. Call us so that we can help the police with their work. DO NOT attempt to approach anyone you suspect of badger digging.