The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) found that there are over 150 people actively involved in animal baiting in Northern Ireland.
The organization told BBC Spotlight that there could be up to 14,000 cases of badger baiting in Northern Ireland each year. Baiting is deliberately setting up fights between hunting dogs and wild animals such as foxes and badgers.
Baiting badgers is illegal because badgers are a protected species but unfortunately, baiting foxes is not illegal as those animals still have yet to have any legal protection.
BBC Spotlight and the USPCA teamed in a program called Exposed: Hunting With Dogs to investigate and monitor alleged animal baiters. The program shows a deep and dark online world where people share photos and videos of horrifically injured dogs and their innocent prey.
“While fox hunting is legal the chances of a badger baiting conviction are undermined, because there is the defence, the cloak of ‘well, I was just out hunting foxes’, whereas in fact it was badgers that they were hunting,” he said.
In 2021, a bill was put forth by an Alliance MLA and would have closed the loophole by banning all hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass.
There are existing laws in the rest of the UK that ban hunting with dogs, so why can’t Northern Ireland? BBC Spotlight, Exposed: Hunting With Dogs is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.
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