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Badger baiting hotspot crackdown

1 November 2007 - BBC News

A crackdown on a hotspot for badger baiting is underway in the Cynon Valley by police and environmentalists. Rewards are being offered to people who report suspicious behaviour which leads to a successful prosecution, amid targeting of badger setts in the area. The plea follows an increase in the number of incidents reported to wildlife police from the area. Flyers have been delivered to homes in towns and villages in the valley highlighting the problem.

South Wales Police forest crime officer Pc Andrew Scourfield said: "Many offences of wildlife crime go unreported. Although in recent weeks, there has been an increase in the number of incidents reported to me, and most occurred in the Cynon Valley," he said.

His colleague Sgt Ian Guildford added: "The so-called pastime of badger baiting or digging is an immensely cruel and barbaric activity. Immense cruelty is inflicted on the badger with the dogs involved also suffering serious injuries. We know that those people involved in this activity are willing to travel in pursuit of badgers and recent convictions and intelligence indicate that areas in both west Wales and the English border counties are popular destinations for these people. South Wales Police are committed to prevent and detect this illegal activity and we can succeed in this with the help and information that we receive from members of the public."

Badgers are a protected species, but have been illegally targeted by baiters for more than 150 years. Dogs are usually sent into the sett where they hold the badger at bay while the baiters dig the creatures out. The dog and the badger will then fight and after the fight, the badger is usually clubbed to death.

Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd, who is supporting the Naturewatch campaign, said: "I am ashamed to discover that some people from the Cynon Valley are actively involved in badger baiting. It is a cruel practice and I am determined to stamp it out. It is wholly unacceptable that a barbaric practice which has been against the law since 1835 continues today."

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