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In January 2012, seven criminals were sentenced [1] at Scarborough for causing  the “horrific and barbaric” deaths of two badgers ripped apart by dogs. Badger Trust was one of 15 leading wildlife organisations that sent a joint statement to a national newspaper in response to their article printed on 3rd January [2].

Following convictions on December 19th, RSPCA inspector Geoff Edmond, a key professional supporter of Operation Meles, said: “I have been in this job for 20 years and this was the worst, most horrific badger case I’ve ever had to deal with. Seeing the foetus that day was one of the most distressing things I’ve come across.”  Wildlife artist Robert Fuller and a friend spotted the incident and were commended for taking pictures, later used as evidence, and calling the police.

This is the text of the joint statement:

Your article "Badger baiting has been illegal since 1835 so why is it making a comeback?" (January 3rd, 2012) made horrific reading, exposing not only the unimaginable suffering of badgers illegally baited but also the extent of cruelty to many other species illegally pursued, tortured and killed by people using vicious dogs as status symbols.

The article has inspired us, the undersigned, to unite as representatives of the animal welfare community and as concerned, compassionate individuals to unanimously condemn this appalling criminality.  We ask for increased vigilance from users of the countryside who may be in a position to catch these despicable criminals in action or as landowners to prevent their access.  Cruelty to animals in this way is barbaric and the perpetrators must be brought to justice and feel the full force of the law for their illegal activities.  There should be a zero tolerance policy by the authorities for those caught.  It is already evident that more and more people are prepared to show courage by reporting sightings of suspected wildlife crime, gathering evidence and helping to prosecute those involved.

This inhumane and illegal activity must stop.  The advice for anyone who suspects badger baiting or any crime against wildlife is taking place is as follows.  Members of the public should always avoid putting themselves in danger.  Where possible, details of location, vehicles involved (colour, make, registration number) should be obtained, plus descriptions of perpetrators and ideally, photographs.  Then move quietly out of sight and earshot and ring 999 immediately to pass on the details, ask for immediate attendance by the police and obtain an incident number.

We hope that many other organisations and caring individuals will unite with us in our campaign against cruelty in the countryside by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   in order that their signature can be added to future publicity.

(Signed)

Save Me, (Dr. Brian May, Founder)

Badger Protection League, (umbrella organisation representing other groups and celebrities)

Badger Trust, (David Williams, Chairman)

Born Free Foundation, (Virginia McKenna, Founder)

Born Free Foundation, (Will Travers, CEO)

Conservatives Against Fox Hunting, (Lorraine Platt, Co-founder)

Hare Preservation Trust, (John Rimmington, Press Officer)

Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue, (Anne Brummer, Founder)

Humane Society International/UK, (Mark Jones, Executive Director)

IASJ (Animal protection think tank, Dr. Dan Lyons, CEO)

International Fund for Animal Welfare, (Robbie Marsland, Director

League Against Cruel Sports, (Joe Duckworth, CEO)

Network for Animals, (Andrew Plumbly, Executive Director)

OneKind, (Libby Anderson, Acting Chief Executive)

RSPCA, (David Bowles Director of Communications)

Secret World Wildlife Rescue, (Pauline Kidner, Founder)

[1] Four men, Alan Alexander, 32, from York, Richard Simpson, 37, from York, Paul Ian Tindall, 31, from York, and William Edward Anderson, 26, from Pickering pleaded not guilty and were each sentenced to 16 weeks' imprisonment. Forfeiture orders were also made for the guns owned by Alexander and Anderson. Two more who pleaded guilty, Christopher Martin Holmes, 28, and Malcolm David Warner, 28, of York were both given 12 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. They were also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

A 17-year-old from York, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a Youth Rehabilitation programme, ordered to carry out 10 sessions with the RSPCA’s Animal Cruelty and Care Unit and to attend 18 Thinking and Behaviour sessions with supervision.

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