How does the law protect badgers?

What is the law that governs the protection of badgers?

Badgers are protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The Act was passed to consolidate the law, which was previously contained in the Badgers Act 1973, the Badgers Act 1991 and the Badgers (Further Protection) Act 1991.

What acts are forbidden under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992?

Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 the following acts are criminal offences:

Taking, injuring or killing badgers

It is a criminal offence, except where permitted by the Act, for a person to wilfully kill, injure or take or to attempt to kill, injure or take a badger.

If there is evidence from which it could reasonably be concluded that a person was attempting to kill, injure or take a badger, if will be presumed that that person was attempting to kill, injure or take the badger unless he can prove otherwise.

It is also a criminal offence, except where permitted by the Act, for a person to have in his possession or under his control a dead badger or any part of, or anything derived from, a dead badger unless he can show that:

  • the badger had not been killed, or had been killed otherwise than in contravention of the Act or of the Badgers Act 1973; or
  • the badger or other thing in his possession or control has been sold to him or another person and, at the time of the purchase, the purchaser had had no reason to believe that the badger had been killed in contravention of the Act or the Badgers Act 1973.

Where one of these criminal offences is committed the owner or occupier of the land, or any servant of the owner or occupier, or a police constable, has the right to require that the person who has committed the offence leaves the land immediately and provide his name and address. If that person wilfully remains on the land or refuses to give his full name or address he commits a further criminal offence.

Cruelty

The following are criminal offences:

  • cruelly ill-treating a badger;
  • using badger tongs in the course of killing or taking, or attempting to kill or take, a badger;
  • digging for a badger (unless permitted by the Act). If there is evidence from which it could reasonably be concluded that at the material time a person was digging for a badger it will be presumed that that person was digging for a badger unless he can prove otherwise;
  • using for the purpose of killing or taking a badger any firearm other than a smooth bore weapon of not less than 20 bore or a rifle using ammunition having a muzzle energy not less than 160 footpounds and a bullet weighing not less than 38 grains.

Interfering with badger setts

The following are criminal offences (unless permitted by the Act):

    damaging a badger sett or any part of it; destroying a badger sett; obstructing access to, or any entrance of, a badger sett; causing a dog to enter a badger sett; disturbing a badger when it is occupying a badger sett.

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For more information on:

  • Selling and possession of live badgers
  • Marking and ringing
  • What are the exceptions?
  • General exceptions
  • Exceptions to the criminal offence of wilfully killing, injuring, taking or attempting to kill, injure or take a badger
  • Exceptions to the criminal offence of interfering with a badger sett
  • Exceptions to the criminal offence of selling or possessing a badger
  • Licences
  • How is the Act enforced?
  • What are the penalties and powers of the Court?