The Badger Trust has joined forces with Naturewatch Foundation to help train police forces to deal with the issue of badger baiting. It has put out this press release about the initiative. Please spread the word!
It’s February, which means all across the UK badger cubs are being born in the warmth of their setts. By March and April, the cubs will be exploring the tunnels and chambers, gradually making their way out into the open world in late April. In April, our newsfeeds are flooded with wonderful pictures of young badgers playing and discovering their new world. But not all cubs will make it this far…
Cub season is also a favorite time for badger baiters.
When a sow is with her cubs she will fight ferociously to defend her babies and protect them from these vicious intruders. Baiters will dig down into the sett, exposing the cubs to the cold winter air, and force the new mother to leave her young as she is set upon by a pack of dogs.
Both the new mother and the dogs will face countless injuries. For the badger this is almost always a death sentence for both mum and her cubs. The fighting dogs rarely receive proper veterinary care and often succumb to their injuries or are killed inhumanely.Every single day in the UK a badger becomes a victim of wildlife crime. Last year alone, we received 624 reports relating to badger crimes across England and Wales. Despite the widespread nature of these crimes only seven cases were heard at court.
While progress has been made in recent years, many police forces are still ill-equipped to tackle the growing issues of badger cruelty and effectively investigate these cases.
It's not too late to help...
Accredited badger persecution police training
We have joined forces with Naturewatch Foundation to deliver our accredited training course to at least five police forces across the UK before the end of the year. We have worked with Naturewatch Foundation to identify forces that have high reports of badger cruelty allegations with low prosecution rates.
The one day course will cover:
* Badger ecology, behaviour and habitats to enable police to recognise unusual activity and identify active badger setts.
* How to best use legislation to protect badgers.
* How to act as an expert witness in court to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that an active badger sett was interfered with, or that a person had willfully killed, injured or taken, or attempted to kill, injure or take a badger.
* How to investigate a crime scene and properly gather, record, keep and present evidence that will stand up in court and lead to a successful prosecution.
* How to work with key partner organisations like Naturewatch Foundation and the Badger Trust.
Andy Swinburne, crime and intelligence co-ordinator for the Badger Trust, says:
“The Police have a statutory requirement to investigate wildlife crime including badger baiting and the digging of their setts. Unfortunately, wildlife crime training is not a compulsory subject on the national Police curriculum, and therefore too often it is not understood or dealt with in an efficient and effective manner. Problems can occur from the very beginning, when the call first comes in to the control room. When a member of the public phones to report the disturbance of a badger sett, some Control Room Officers have been known to dismiss the issue as not a police matter, instead referring callers to council dog wardens, or to the RSPCA. Past the control room to the Officer attending the crime, inexperience or a lack of knowledge has also at times failed the effective investigation. There has of course been some very good police work carried out across the wildlife crime arena, including badger crime, and the intention is to build upon that through education, and ultimately reach an improved level of response and investigation.”
* Naturewatch Foundation is a registered charity working to improve the lives of animals. Their Mission is to end animal cruelty and advance animal welfare standards around the world.
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