Badger Trust: Recent convictions reveal ‘tip of the iceberg’ of badger persecution in the UK

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Fears that thousands of badger crimes go unrecognised or unreported as badger charity calls for public support

Recent convictions for badger crime in Hull and Exeter reveal the relentless badger persecution that continues throughout Britain. They also show the commitment shown by wildlife crime partners who work to protect badgers and bring offenders to justice. However, Badger Trust knows that these crimes are just the tip of the iceberg and fears that thousands of crimes still go unrecognised or unreported.

The Humberside crime involves a man who was charged after videos of two dogs fighting with a badger were found on his mobile phone after it was seized for an unrelated reason. Callum Pullen appeared at Hull Magistrates on 30th July 2021 charged with Affray, Wilfully Killing a Badger and Causing an Animal Fight to which he pleaded guilty. Pullen was remanded to appear for sentencing at Hull Crown Court on 27th August.

And in Chulmleigh, Devon, two Eggesford Hunt followers were recently found guilty of interfering with badger setts during an organised hunt in November 2019. Filmed by hunt monitors, a terrier man and a kennel man blocked entrances with earth, debris and nets as they tried to flush out and 'humanely dispatch' a fox that had gone to ground.

Badger Trust Wildlife Crime and Training Officer, Craig Fellowes, commented:

‘Tackling crimes against badgers requires dedicated commitment and knowledge, but most importantly needs wildlife partners to come together with the same aim. Achieving that has paid dividends in these cases’

He continued: ‘The Hull case shows the combined approach within enforcement. There’s a clear commitment from wildlife crime trained staff and front line staff with a keen and enthusiastic approach, alongside the use of forensic technology. The Devon case is a prime example of partnership working, with organisations and individuals pulling together for the protection of this native species. This included those who monitor individuals committing the crimes under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, and witnesses providing evidence of the badger sett, to dedicated police resources and the Crown Prosecution Service.’

The badger is the only animal in the UK to have specific legislation to protect it due to the continuing persecution it faces. Badger Trust works closely with the police, other enforcement agencies, and related partner organisations to combat wildlife crime. It also widely promotes public awareness and crime reporting through its Stop Badger Crime’ campaign.

Fellowes added: