Badger-baiters busted in Ulster
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2009:
ULSTER–Many of the most prominent badger baiting web sites
disappeared in early 2009, John Mooney of the London Sunday Times
reported on March 3, 2009, after an undercover investigation by the
Ulster SPCA and another Sunday Times reporter led to a series of
police raids on the homes of several alleged badger fighters.
“We believe a number of prized dogs were moved south of the
border,” Ulster SPCA chief executive Stephen Philpott told Mooney.
“The baiters know the authorities in the republic will take no
George MacManus of the Sunday Times on January 4, 2009
disclosed that the Ulster SPCA had begun investigating badger
baiters, “in a bid to curtail the practice and to prompt
prosecutions,” after only 10 alleged badger baiters had been
prosecuted in more than 20 years.
“Badger baiting has grown in popularity in Northern Ireland
since the end of the Troubles, due to the significant reduction in
police patrols in rural areas,” wrote MacManus. “Animal baiting
was outlawed in Ireland and Britain in 1835. Digging badgers using
terriers was made illegal in Northern Ireland by the Badgers Act of
1973. Badgers were afforded full protection in Ireland under the
1976 Wildlife Act,” but enforcement of the laws has been erratic on
both sides of the border.
The subjects of the investigation apparently did not read the
Sunday Times. Eighteen pit bull terriers were seized in the February
2009 raids, along with other evidence identifying “an international
blood sports network operating between Ireland, Britain, France and
America,” Mooney said.
“Until now,” Mooney wrote, “the existence of organized
badger baiting was considered something of an urban myth.”