Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Badger Baiters are sent to prison

Four men were sent to prison for four months for badger baiting at Scarborough Magistrates Court yesterday. Sentencing them, the judge said that people in Yorkshire would not tolerate such "abhorrent" and "barbaric" behaviour.
I have photographed badgers for years for my paintings and it was because I know these wonderful animals so well that I knew I had to investigate when, one sunny day last January, I heard a pack of dogs barking incessently. When I reached the scene I saw eight men, some of them armed with shot guns, and 13 dogs torturing a badger. It was broad daylight close to a public path, and some of the men were laughing. Two of the dogs were tearing and ripping at a badger, which hung suspended between them like a rag doll in a grotesque game of tug-of-war.
I took out my camera and photographed them and the photographs were used as evidence in the trial that followed.
The story was picked up by journalists from across the country and even got a mention on the BBC World Service. But most of the newspapers shied away from publishing the photographs. 
I've decided, in the interests of letting the world know that this medieval sport is still alive and kicking, to publish them here. Some of the images are quite upsetting. 
I took this photograph shortly after the men shot the badger that the dogs had been tearing apart. You can still see the smoke in the air.
This was the badger the police found at the scene after the men had been apprehended.

Three tiny, still pink, foetuses, and a torn-off badger's tail were also found lying on the grass nearby. Realising that the carcass of the badger we had found was not pregnant, we knew that there had been more than one badger killed that day.
We then discovered this hole, which had been hastily covered over with turf. Inside was a disemboweled badger sow. She had been pregnant with the three young foetuses.
It turned out that the men had sent a terrier fitted with a locator collar into the badger sett and this dog had conered the badger in its sleeping chamber. They had then known where to dig down to get the badger out of its sett and force it to fight the dogs.
What those men did was truly horrific.


  1. A truly horrific story. I'm so glad that those men were apprehended. Around these parts, such behavior is commonplace. I remember a few years ago when a couple of drunken fools shot 200 Caribou, and left their carcasses to rot on the tundra.
    The men were put on trial but I dont remember if they were convicted. I know many people who would not hesitate to engage in similar activities. Shameful.

  2. Robert, thanks for having the courage to picture these men and provide the evidence to the Police.
    I hope they have time to reflect on their deeds, unfortunately somehow I doubt they will.
    You should be commended for your actions.

    I just wish that all of these low lifes had been put away for years rather than months.

  4. Thank you for your bravery, you could have put your own safety in danger. I hope these men rot in hell! I just cannot understand this blood lust or the men who seem to enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on animals. My skin crawls when I think of it.

  5. Thank you for your kind comments. John, that is terrible. At least the police were able to do something about these men.