According to a BBC Spotlight report, 150 people are actively involved in animal bites, including 14,000 badger bites in Northern Ireland each year.

He revealed the data during a USPCA charity event. BBC Spotlight programme Unmasked: Hunting with Dogs.

The report shows that despite being banned nearly 190 years ago, the cruel practice is still widespread across the province.

Badgers’ habitats are also protected under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and even disturbing their nests is a criminal offence.

However, hunting animals such as foxes with dogs is legal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where it has not been outlawed.

During the program broadcast on Tuesday evening, Brendan Mullen, chief executive of the USPCA, said he believed 99 per cent of those involved in baiting in Northern Ireland were targeting both foxes and badgers.

“While fox hunting is legal, the chances of a conviction for biting a badger are reduced, as there is the defence, ‘Well, I was out hunting foxes’, when in fact it was the badger that was killed. were hunting,” he said. BBC NI.

“We want to see that, even on a time-limited basis, a special task force is set up by the police to actively investigate this network of over 150 criminals in Northern Ireland and bring them before the criminal courts. Be accountable.”

The PSNI told the program that it takes reports of crime involving animals seriously and that it is an important part of policing.

BBC Spotlight, Exposed: Hunting With Dogs will be available on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10.40pm and later on BBC iPlayer.

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