Badger lovers’ campaign work sees badger baiting included in the recent parliamentary committee debate for the Online Safety Bill.
Badger Trust recently submitted a submission to the Parliamentary Committee reviewing the Government’s proposed Online Safety Bill. The Bill, which seeks to protect internet users from harmful and illegal content online, had not included animal cruelty offences within the initial proposal despite the harm these crimes cause to animals, humans and the environment.
In the submission, Badger Trust called for the Bill to be amended to include crimes against animals. Badger Trust provided evidence of the rising instances of violent crimes against badgers (particularly badger baiting) being shared in online spaces, and the increasing number of young people at risk of witnessing and taking part in these cruel and illegal activities.
It is clear to Badger Trust, as the leading voice for badgers in England and Wales, that badger baiting is a form of cyber-enabled wildlife crime, with gangs using social media platforms to recruit members and organise badger baiting activities.
Badger Trust was therefore encouraged that the Committee debated including animal cruelty in the Online Safety Bill. Badger Trust’s recommendations have been cited along with briefings from the RSPCA and Primate Action, and Asia for Animals Coalition, amongst others, who also presented evidence for the case of including animal cruelty in the Bill.
The submission was built upon evidence gained through research conducted by Badger Trust into badger crimes appearing online and would not have been possible without Badger Trust supporters. Their donations to us and their letters and emails to MPs concerning cruelty to badgers have been pivotal in raising awareness of badger crime issues.
Speaking on the public’s support for more stringent animal protection legislation, one of the members of the Committee reviewing the Bill Alex Davies-Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, explained:
“If my inbox is anything to go by, all of us here today know what so many of our constituents up and down the country feel about animal abuse. It is one of the most popular topics that constituents contact me about.
Today, the Minister has a choice to make about his Government’s commitment to preventing animal cruelty and keeping us all safe online. I hope he will see the merit in acknowledging the seriousness