Skip to main content


Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions there have been for illegal actions relating to badgers in each of the last five years; how many of these were successful; and what guidelines he issues to police forces on this issue. (241707)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government believe that the cruel treatment of badgers is unacceptable and have put in place comprehensive legislation, including the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, to protect them. The Government also provide funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit, which provides advice for police forces on the detection and investigation of wildlife crime. The police have primary responsibility for the investigation and enforcement of offences against badgers and all forces have officers who have responsibility for investigating wildlife offences.

The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences relating to the Protection of Badgers Act, sections 1(1), 1(3), 2(1)(a), 2(1)(c), 4, 5, and 10 (8), for the years 2003 to 2007 can be viewed in the following table.

These data are on the principal offence basis. The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Court proceedings data for 2008 will be available in the autumn of 2009.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Protection for Badgers Act 1992, sections 1(1), 1(3), 2(1)(a), 2(1)(c), 4, 5, and 10 (8) in England and Wales for the years 2003 to 20071, 2, 3

Proceeded against

Found guilty
















1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts, and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

3 Includes the following statutes and corresponding offence descriptions:

Wilfully killing badger

Wilfully injuring badger

Wilfully taking badger

Wilfully attempting to kill badger

Wilfully attempting to injure badger

Wilfully attempting to take badger

Ill-treating badger

Digging for badger

Selling live badger

Offering to sell live badger

Unlawfully marking badger

Unlawfully attaching ring tag or marking device to badger

Possessing or controlling thing derived from dead badger

Possessing or controlling live badger

Failing to comply with condition of licence.


OCJR—E & A: Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis Unit.