Protection – Persecution and Threats

Badgers, their setts and dogs used to attack badgers, receive legal protection from a variety of Acts:

  • Badger Protection Act 1992
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 (and amendments 1985a, 1985b, 1991)
  • Hunting Act 2004, with a Code of Practice for the Use of a Dog Underground
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006 (protection from and treatment of illness and injury for pets – eg dogs, ferrets

Penalties include fines and imprisonment.   The Police have a variety of power of arrest/access to land or property under these and other Acts.

In essence, it is illegal to:

  • Take or ill-treat a badger (by digging out, snaring, baiting, trapping)
  • Interfere or destroy a badger sett
  • Fill/block a sett entrance
  • Put a dog up against a badger either in a sett or elsewhere

 

Active sett entrance filled with concrete and “hidden” with brush

 

Exceptions may be granted by applying to Natural England for a licence.  Examples include where a pet dog has entered the sett and has not found a way out, where a sett has encroached under roads etc, or when the sett has been attacked and is repairable.

Be very sceptical about any person claiming they have permission to be interfering with a badger sett.

Land owners, their subcontractors, foresters, land developers, individuals and the hunt etc. are all liable under the law.

Dog owners should have their dogs under close control  anyway, but if a dog does enter a sett – owners can not take matters into their own hands and dig into the sett.   Time – probably overnight should be left to allow the dog to find its own way out when the badgers have left to go foraging.  The sett should be left in peace to allow the badgers to do that.   If you don’t, you risk all animals underground staying put which makes the problem worse.   The police and fire brigade should not facilitate a “rescue” without taking proper advice.

INCLUDE THEse LEAFLETs

  

Information from Northumbria Police

The attached information includes information on how to report emergencies if you see suspicious activity at a badger sett, eg people with spades and dogs etc.   Do not put yourself at risk, but please dial 999 and report it to the police.   Some forces have a Standing Operating Procedure in relation to badger related reporting and all forces are all required to report wildlife crime to the National Wildlife Crime Unit where the intelligence is used to tackle badger-related crime throughout the UK.

Lamping

Individuals using a spot light (either hand held or on a vehicle) to pick up animals in the dark, using a variety of dogs depending on the intended victims - deer, hare, fox, badger.    Please report the location of any unusual activity at night to the police, if you can make a note of vehicle registrations or take a photo so much the better.  This activity also risks the safety of farm animals who get caught up in the mayhem.

Damage to a sett

Please report any damage to setts to us chairman@durhamcountybadgers@gmail.org.uk

If the damage is very fresh, please also consider the area as a scene of crime and inform the Police on 101. 

In addition to criminal intent,

Protection – Persecution and Threats

Badgers, their setts and dogs used to attack badgers, receive legal protection from a variety of Acts:

  • Badger Protection Act 1992
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 (and amendments 1985a, 1985b, 1991)
  • Hunting Act 2004, with a Code of Practice for the Use of a Dog Underground
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006 (protection from and treatment of illness and injury for pets – eg dogs, ferrets

Penalties include fines and imprisonment.   The Police have a variety of power of arrest/access to land or property under these and other Acts.

In essence, it is illegal to:

  • Take or ill-treat a badger (by digging out, snaring, baiting, trapping)
  • Interfere or destroy a badger sett
  • Fill/block a sett entrance
  • Put a dog up against a badger either in a sett or elsewhere

 

Active sett entrance filled with concrete and “hidden” with brush

 

Exceptions may be granted by applying to Natural England for a licence.  Examples include where a pet dog has entered the sett and has not found a way out, where a sett has encroached under roads etc, or when the sett has been attacked and is repairable.

Be very sceptical about any person claiming they have permission to be interfering with a badger sett.

Land owners, their subcontractors, foresters, land developers, individuals and the hunt etc. are all liable under the law.

Dog owners should have their dogs under close control  anyway, but if a dog does enter a sett – owners can not take matters into their own hands and dig into the sett.   Time – probably overnight should be left to allow the dog to find its own way out when the badgers have left to go foraging.  The sett should be left in peace to allow the badgers to do that.   If you don’t, you risk all animals underground staying put which makes the problem worse.   The police and fire brigade should not facilitate a “rescue” without taking proper advice.

INCLUDE THEse LEAFLETs

  

Information from Northumbria Police

The attached information includes information on how to report emergencies if you see suspicious activity at a badger sett, eg people with spades and dogs etc.   Do not put yourself at risk, but please dial 999 and report it to the police.   Some forces have a Standing Operating Procedure in relation to badger related reporting and all forces are all required to report wildlife crime to the National Wildlife Crime Unit where the intelligence is used to tackle badger-related crime throughout the UK.

Lamping

Individuals using a spot light (either hand held or on a vehicle) to pick up animals in the dark, using a variety of dogs depending on the intended victims - deer, hare, fox, badger.    Please report the location of any unusual activity at night to the police, if you can make a note of vehicle registrations or take a photo so much the better.  This activity also risks the safety of farm animals who get caught up in the mayhem.

Damage to a sett

Please report any damage to setts to us chairman@durhamcountybadgers@gmail.org.uk

If the damage is very fresh, please also consider the area as a scene of crime and inform the Police on 101. 

In addition to criminal intent, recklessness during timber extraction or other ground work is liable to prosecution and for a company found guilty of recklessness, the fine is unlimited.  

We also find a persistent issue with mountain biking across setts throughout the north east.  The official biking trails should have already been surveyed for wildlife/habitat considerations – the main problem is when bikers take it upon themselves to damage a woodland and use badger setts and badger paths as a route, sometimes re-profiling them to make better jumps etc  – this is a crime and should be reported to the police.   This activity also risk damaging fragile flora on the woodland floor.

 

Timber extraction – obliterated a main sett                                                                 Cycle/mountain biking over setts

                             
                                                                                             Examples of crowns and other damage to setts.

recklessness during timber extraction or other ground work is liable to prosecution and for a company found guilty of recklessness, the fine is unlimited.  

We also find a persistent issue with mountain biking across setts throughout the north east.  The official biking trails should have already been surveyed for wildlife/habitat considerations – the main problem is when bikers take it upon themselves to damage a woodland and use badger setts and badger paths as a route, sometimes re-profiling them to make better jumps etc  – this is a crime and should be reported to the police.   This activity also risk damaging fragile flora on the woodland floor.

 

Timber extraction – obliterated a main sett                                                                 Cycle/mountain biking over setts

                             
                                                                                             Examples of crowns and other damage to setts.

 

Badger Baiting

Damage indicating possible badger baiting, includes holes being dug above the sett entrances to try and access the chambers and tunnel to capture badgers or cubs.   Dogs will invariably be used and may be wearing a radio collar to locate the badger underground.   Digging into a sett involves quite a bit of effort and planning (often using social media) and these people travel the country and trade in badgers or their dogs.    It is not just local hooligans who take part, it also involves serious criminals who are also involved drugs, violence, robbery etc.    A great deal of money by gambling on fights or trading in badgers or dogs is part of that culture - much the same as dog and cock fighting.   These cruel individuals travel the country to ply their evil business.

The dogs used are put up against a frightened badger which can inflict serious wounds before dying.  The injuries inflicted on the dogs are never treated by a vet.    

Please report any unusual activity to the police.   If you come by names of people involved in this cruel and wicked crime please pass on the names or other information to the police, Crimestoppers, Naturewatch Foundation, RSPCA etc.   The National Wildlife Crime Unit collates and uses this intelligence to focus investigations and hopefully leads to a prosecution and the confiscation of dogs.

https://naturewatch.org/campaign/badger-baiting-in-the-uk

 

                                                                            

 

 

 

In the 21st Century people (not just men) gamble on the outcome of fights between dogs and badgers.

The photograph showing the leg – this was the result of a baiting incident and the individuals filled in the dug out sett so that superficially to the casual observer, the area was undamaged.  The badger was obviously thrown in the hole out of the way. 

 

Dead badger on the road side

Please report all apparent RTAs to chairman@durhamcountybadgers@gmail.org.uk with the exact location so that we are able to monitor any longer term issues.

Usually, the local council cleansing departments quickly remove the bodies.  We do not have the resources to collect and dispose of RTAs.

Badger (injured or not) found above ground during the day

Leave well alone as badgers are very likely to protect themselves if they feel trapped.  Call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 for advice.   An adult badger may have been “caught out” and will just lay up until the evening.  A cub may have become lost/separated when foraging and it may be appropriate to leave it so that it can pick up with the rest of the group during the following evening, or to be picked up and taken back to the sett.   Contact chairman@durhamcountybadgers@gmail.org.uk.  If it looks underweight or unwell, call the RSPCA.

Badger caught in a snare

If the badger caught in a snare is still alive, please call 999 and report to the Police and the RSPCA.    Things to note:

  • you risk injury to yourself if you try to release it
  • you could cause longer suffering and slow death to a badger that you “free” depending on the damage the snare has done
  • waiting with the badger might just cause it to be more stressed, so step away until the RSPCA arrive.

A Vet could also be contacted to prevent continued pain and suffering as snare wounds can be very serious by affecting the tissue under the skin.

If the badger is dead, please report to the Police and chairman@durhamcountybadgers@gmail.org.uk

Photographs of any snare in situ are very useful evidence.

Durham County Badger Group opposes the use of all snares, however as it currently stands it is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to:

  • use of self-locking snares
  • set of any type of snare in places where they are likely to catch badgers
  • fail to inspect snares on a daily basis
  • set snares on land without permission

Ironically, removing or destroying a snare could leave you liable to prosecution for theft or criminal damage so please contact the police about any snares you believe to be illegal.   We advise pulling the snare closed in situ so that it can’t trap anything.   Please also contact us with the location details of all snares.

Site of where a badger tried to free itself from an illegal snare. 

It did get free but was found dead feet away.

 

Badger dead near sett – consider poisoning

A badger found dead on a sett is relatively unusual (obviously excluding snares or baiting).  Sometimes a badger injured on the road will try and make it back to the sett.   Or it may have picked up some poison whilst out foraging or by a deliberate act.   If you suspect the latter please report it to the police/RSPCA who may refer it for testing to DEFRA.

General disturbance - photographers

A note of warning to anyone who decides to try and photograph badgers at their sett.   This very much risks disturbing them unless a great deal of preparation is carried out over a number of weeks/months even.   If the sett is already under stress (eg during a drought), something else going on at the sett could prevent them from doing what they need to do.    It is a criminal offence to disturb badgers at their sett and a photographer has been prosecuted.

Badgers in your garden