Operation Brockwatch Now Active

USPCA & NI Badger Group hopes new initiative will lead to more convictions

The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Northern Ireland Badger Group have launched a new strategy ‘Operation Brockwatch’. The strategy which is now active is a joint initiative whose objective is to protect our Badger population, their setts, and the many dogs wantonly sacrificed in ‘Badger Persecution’ a vile activity that stains our landscape.

Both Animal Welfare organisations have joined forces with concerned farmers and landowners to create an effective rural partnership whose objective is to stop badger diggers and baiters trespassing on farms with the intention of committing barbaric acts of cruelty on a protected species. The Brockwatch project will be run as a pilot in the first instance at a number of sites which have experienced Badger baiting on multiple occasions. These Badger setts, identified as vulnerable, will be watched on a ‘round the clock’ basis using modern technology.

Superintendent Kee, PSNI Service Lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime stated: “We welcome this initiative as part of our wider Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) project. We would ask members of the public or landowners who suspect Badger Persecution or any other rural crime is being planned or taking place to contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland or Crimestoppers immediately.”

USPCA Chief Executive Brendan Mullan said “We will be liaising with the PSNI on this project and will pass any evidence we gather to the authorities in a timely manner. We have the toughest animal welfare legislation in Europe with five-year custodial sentences, lifetime animal bans and £20,000 fines available to Judges, but successful prosecutions for badger baiting are few due to, we believe under reporting to PSNI. We are determined to make all premeditated animal cruelty which includes dog fighting and badger baiting history and, together with our partners, we will ensure ‘Operation Brockwatch’ plays its part in making this happen.

USPCA Development Manager Colleen Tinnelly & the NI Badger group recently spoke with BBC Northern Ireland about their objectives of the new strategy and the horrific crime that is badger baiting.

Even though badgers are a protected species, they are still targeted by criminals on a regular basis. A new initiative called Brockwatch hopes to tackle badger-baiting using CCTV cameras. Two animal welfare groups behind the scheme told our south-east reporter Cormac Campbell that they hope it can lead to more convictions.

Posted by BBC Newsline on Monday, 28 October 2019