Badgers are very useful animals. They are present in a very huge quantity all over the world. Owing to their abundance, they were being hunted for commercial reasons. It has been reported that every year hundreds of badgers have to face horrific death just for badger baiting as a sports activity in the UK.
The laws were made for the protection of the badgers. However, these animals are still being persecuted on a very huge scale. In 2019 alone, 598 cases of crimes were reported against them. Most of this persecution is being done under the guise of badger baiting.
In this article, we are going to explore this badger-baiting phenomenon.
What is badger baiting?
It is actually a sporting activity in which terrier-type dogs are sent down in the badger sett to locate badgers. Once they find the badger inside, these baiters tried their best to dig them out. Once they come out they are attacked by a group of larger and highly vicious dogs or captured for selling latterly. It is a very horrific “blood sport” or you can say premeditated cruelty against animals. They give unthinkable suffering to not only badgers but also the dogs which are forcefully engaged in this activity.
Badger baiters mainly use small terriers like Dachshunds, Jack Russells, Lakelands, Patterdales, or some crossbreed to locate badgers inside the Sett. The baiters from outside then dig down to the quarry and pull out badgers from their dens. Sometimes, they also attach a radio transmitter to the dog’s collar to find out the exact location of the dog.
In this activity, hunters deliberately use a beam of a spotlight on badgers for mesmerizing them and then unleash their dogs to kill them ultimately. Sometimes, hunters also intentionally injure the dogs by breaking their teeth, jaw, or limbs for making them more vulnerable.
Badgers are extremely frightened in this activity and go through extreme excruciating pain and they ultimately die in this pain. Sometimes, dogs also have to face some injuries or terrible wounds and they could also die in this fight as badgers are very wild and dangerous animals.
Types of badger baiters
There are two types of badger baiters. Some baiters do this activity just for pleasure while others do it for commercial reasons.
For these baiters, no money or commercial reasons are involved in the killing or persecution of badgers. They just do it for fun. Sometimes badgers are shot or run away if it is lucky enough but in most cases, they set their terriers in such a way that these dogs could easily catch these badgers and then these baiters watch the suffering of badgers as they are stabbed to death with a shovel.
Sometimes, both dogs and badgers die due to the collapse of the sett and they suffocate under these setts. Many badgers have also fortified their local setts for extra protection.
These baiters do gambling and do it purely for commercial reasons. A very large sum of money is involved in this activity. These baiters dug out the badgers same as done in the previous practice but they don’t kill them and put them in the bags and keep them for baiting purposes. In this case, badgers are put in the shed, barn, or cellar, and dogs are set upon them.
Sometimes, they also injure the badgers for the protection of their pet dogs. In this way, they seal the fate of the badger as they could not fight actively. If the badger loses the fight then they are killed by clubs or shot by a bullet. The winning dog’s value also increases through this activity. It has been estimated that in many countries badgers are being sold for about 500 pounds for baiting.
In this fight, badgers also act very aggressively and defend themselves when they are cornered. They could also give some serious harm to dogs with their sharp claws. Several pet dogs also got seriously injured while digging and baiting.
Current legislation regarding badger baiting
In 1835, badger baiting activity was made illegal by passing laws like the cruelty to animal act. But the baiting activity was not reduced. In 1992, the protection of badgers act was passed for the full protection of badgers. in 2009, the wildlife crime unit declared an emergency for removing this badger baiting activity and saving the badger’s persecution once and for all. However, several laws were enacted but not a single one was implemented forcefully. There are several cases of badger baiting being reported every day.
In the UK, almost 10,000 badgers are persecuted and killed each year by the huntsmen and this figure has been continuously increasing every year. According to terry spammer, RSPCA inspector, there are almost 2000 people who are involved in this badger baiting activity. It has been estimated that only 3 people are caught on average every year for doing this vicious activity and most of them are continuously breaking the law.
What should we do if we see badger baiters in our area?
People should take the following measures if they see any badger baiting activity in their areas.
- You should never approach these people as you could put yourself in danger.
- Record the number of people who are involved in this cruel activity.
- Check if dogs are being used and how many of them are being utilized.
- Check the registration number, color, model, and the number of vehicles.
- If it is possible record their activities on the camera as proof.
- Call the relevant authorities.
Badgers are very useful animals for the maintenance of our biodiversity. Although they are available in a very huge number in our world it doesn’t mean we should persecute them just for seeking pleasure or commercial reasons. They must be protected by implementing all the relevant laws or it is possible also make some new laws and implement them as soon as possible. We should save this creature from all kinds of baiters as soon as possible.
Izzy is an experienced ranch worker who has a passion for exploring nature and getting up close to wildlife. With her connections to various animal organizations, Izzy is well-versed in animal care and rehabilitation.