The Persecution of Badgers: A Guide for Investigators in England & Wales

Badgers have a long history of cruelty and persecution in the UK spanning hundreds of years. To this day badgers remain one of the most persecuted of all species despite having one of the highest level of protection in law.  From blood sports to development concerns, thousands of badgers become the victims of wildlife crimes each year.

Badgers are one of the UK’s most iconic species and have enjoyed a long history in England and Wales, with the earliest evidence of badgers dating back millions of years. 

Sadly, badgers have faced sustained cruelty and persecution by man for hundreds of years and despite their current legal protection continue to be ill-treated at some of the highest-ever rates. As a result, in 2009 badgers were made a UK Wildlife Crime Priority.

The Badger Trust and Naturewatch Foundation have now produced a publication, ‘The Persecution of Badgers: A Guide for Investigators in England and Wales.’

The guide aims to outline the legislation currently in place to protect badgers in England and Wales, and to provide guidance to police forces regarding best practice in the investigation of crimes against badgers and the enforcement of the law.

The guide was launched at the 31st UK Wildlife Crime Enforcers Conference in November 2019 by Badger Trust Wildlife Crime Officer, Craig Fellowes, and Naturewatch Foundation Animal Crime Manager, Andrew Swinburne.


As a specialist document, the guide is restricted in circulation. If your work involves wildlife crime investigation please contact Craig Fellowes, Wildlife Crime Officer at the Badger Trust, to request a copy. You can email him at

"The badger is probably the most persecuted wild animal in Britain today"

Badger Trust CEO, Dominic Dyer, comments, “Despite being a legally protected species, the badger is probably the most persecuted wild animal in Britain today. 


Across the UK and Ireland, badgers face multiple threats from badger baiting with dogs, to persecution on shooting estates and the illegal destruction of their setts by fox hunts and building developers. 

To counter these threats, it’s hugely important that we provide expert advice and training on badger persecution and the law to police officers, the Crown Prosecution Service and expert witnesses from badger protection groups.

Badger Trust is therefore delighted to work with Naturewatch Foundation to produce this new training manual on all aspects of the law in relation to the persecution of the badger. 

We believe this manual, combined with the wildlife crime enforcement training courses we run for Police Constabularies across England and Wales, will play a vital role in the fight against badger persecution and will result in more wildlife criminals being brought before the courts.”

The Badger Trust provides training to police forces across England and Wales. Since 2017 we have trained 30 forces.

You can support our training by making a donation or make a difference to badgers all year round with our new supporter plans.

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