Crime and Persecution

Badgers have no natural predator yet are one of the most timid animals in our countryside. Their greatest threat is man.
Badger crime can take many forms. Crimes may occur during development, when a badger sett is destroyed or damaged. Occasionally farmers destroy badgers setts through ploughing, and damage to setts can occur during careless forestry activities or through home-owners trying to deal with a badger problem without understanding fully what is legal and safe to do. Badgers can sometimes be caught in badly or illegally placed snares. Perhaps the worst but least known is badger baiting. Most people are surprised to learn that badger baiting is not a thing of the past.
In recent years however lamping has become popular with lurcher or greyhound and bull terrier crosses being bred to bring down anything that moves (including deer, foxes, hares rabbits and badgers).

The latest report from Operation Meles – an intelligence-led UK-wide police operation gathering evidence of badger persecution and identifying and targeting offenders with a view to prosecution – can be found here.

Badgers are protected by The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Note that other laws may apply too, where the use of dogs (Hunting With Dogs Act), ferrets or protected species are involved. Differently named but equivalent laws apply in Wales and Scotland.

These Acts of Parliament make it ILLEGAL for any person:

  • To kill, injure or take any badger.
    This includes the use of gas, poison or snares.
  • To cruelly ill-treat a badger.
  • To dig for badgers.
  • To possess a dead badger or part of a dead badger.
    This includes things like pelts and illegally gotten taxidermy, sporrans and badger trophies.
  • To sell, try to sell or keep a live badger.
  • To intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy, or obstruct access to any entrance of a badger sett.
  • To cause a dog to enter a sett.
  • To disturb a badger which is in a sett.

The badger group recognise that occasionally badgers can cause problems of subsidence where they excavate setts, so the group willingly works with landowners to minimise the detrimental effects the presence of badgers may cause.