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Fears about Badger Baiting Rise

25 Jan 2006 - BBC News

The number of badger baiting incidents in south east Wales doubled in the last year, according to a wildlife group. The Gwent Badger Group said that figures from 2005 showed that more than 20 incidents were reported to them compared with fewer than 10 in 2004. Steve Clark from the group said that many of the animals had suffered "horrific deaths following torture".

He said the killings were usually carried out by gangs with dogs and that it was seen as a "sport". "It is absolutely terrible, the badgers have been found with horrific injuries," said Mr Clark. "They often have injuries to the head where they have been fighting with dogs, they have head wounds from being hit with sharp implements and we've even seen some that have been shot. Some of them have even had their claws and legs broken to handicap them when the dogs attack them. They have horrific deaths."

Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 it is illegal to kill badgers and damage their setts, even when not occupied. Hunting badgers with dogs is also illegal. The maximum sentence is six months imprisonment and a 5,000 fine.

But Mr Clark said that in the last two weeks, a badger sett in Chepstow was found dug up and that three badgers were recently found dumped in a river in Abergavenny with injuries consistent with baiting.

"They are being persecuted by people who see it as a sport and although the badger isn't an endangered species, it is in danger," he said. He said that the group were receiving more calls from landowners about the problem. "People won't tolerate seeing setts being dug up on their land so maybe the increase in incidents can be put down to more people reporting the problem," said Mr Clark. "Whatever the reason for the increase, it is a very worrying situation and as the cub season approaches it is of real concern," he added.

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