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Badgers and the law

Badgers and badger setts (burrows) are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, in England and Wales. The law is different in Scotland.

Against the law

It is an offence to:

  • Wilfully kill, injure or take a badger (or attempt to do so)
  • Cruelly ill-treat a badger
  • Dig for a badger
  • Intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to a badger sett
  • Cause a dog to enter a badger sett
  • Disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett

There are exceptions where licences can be granted to disturb the badgers or block access to a sett, for example, because of development work or forestry operations.
If you're concerned that someone has illegally injured or killed a badger, please contact the police or contact us.

Protecting badgers

Badgers were given some limited protection in 1973, but weaknesses in the law meant that badger setts were still being dug, bulldozed, blocked or the animals were cruelly killed.

We successfully campaigned for better protection and continue to help enforce the law by assisting with police investigations or prosecuting people involved in wildlife crimes such as badger digging and baiting.

Undercover RSPCA inspectors have helped bring a number of successful badger digging cases before the courts. Some of these have involved the use of advanced forensic techniques including DNA evidence.

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