Badger baiting: could it be on our doorstep?

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A man from the Rasen area is ‘disgusted’ after alleging he has found more than 14 dead badgers in a month, which he suspects have fallen victim to badger baiting.

Stuart Wheatley, who lives in a village a few miles from Market Rasen, says the local badger population has reduced in recent years due to a surge in badger baiting with dogs.

Mr Wheatley claims to have found dead badgers with ‘puncture wounds’ which he says is evidence for death by dog attacks - typical of badger baiting.

He said: “Badgers are beautiful creatures. They don’t do anyone any harm.

“You can hear the dogs late at night - that’s how you know baiting is going on.

“And it’s not just the baiting - these people are trespassing as well.

“We find countless badgers on the roadside with puncture wounds to their face and neck - there is no way they have been hit by a car.”

“I just don’t know how people can do this in the name of sport.

Mr Wheatley - who has worked on farms - says that badgers are often painted as the enemy and carriers of bovine TB.

He said: “No one can remember the last time there was a case of TB with badgers involved.”

Mr Wheatley is also disappointed there is not as much concern over badger baiting as hare coursing.

He claims that when he called Lincolnshire Police, they were unable to help with his complaint.

He said: “Lincolnshire Police told me to contact the RSPCA, who were unable to help.

“I just want some answers.

“It seems like everyone is focused on hare coursing as a crime rather than badger baiting - let’s give the badgers a chance.”

Lincolnshire Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer Nick Willey said: “Badger baiting is taken very seriously by the police. It is barbaric.

“In addition there are links with other illegal activity which we are also seeking to stamp out, such as hare coursing, trespass and damage to crops.

“If you believe that badger baiting has taken place please report it to me via 101.

“We understand that not all roadkills are what they seem and certainly some badgers, illegally taken from the sets, are dumped at the roadside from vehicles. I will be hosting a badger awareness training day for relevant officers in June, so I hope this is further reassurance to the gentleman that we do take all wildlife crime seriously.”

Badgers and the law: a factfile

According to the Badger Trust, badgers have been the victims of wildlife crimes for hundreds of years in the UK - despite being one of our most protected species.

In 1992, the Protection of Badgers Act gave badgers unrivalled protection from intentional cruelty and the results of lawful human activities, such as urban development.

However, the Trust says thousands of badgers are still at risk.

They say 26 per cent of crime reports have evidence of baiting - a bloodsport in which badgers are captured and forced to fight dogs,