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'Jail badger baiters' says Wilson

23 February 2009 - BBC News

People involved in badger baiting should be jailed, Northern Ireland Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has said.

Mr Wilson said: "There are laws to protect badgers, but in my view, the sanctions are not strong enough."

The minister said he would be putting forward proposals before the Assembly to strengthen existing legislation.

"In the revisions to the Wildlife Order, I am going to make proposals to have prison sentences handed down to people who engage in this activity," he said. "Anyone with any sort of humanity about them at all must take this very seriously."

Mr Wilson said he would like to increase co-operation with the authorities in the Republic of Ireland to tackle the problem. "Whilst we can seize dogs from people's homes in Northern Ireland, they can't be seized in the Republic which leaves a bit of a loophole," he said.

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