Fed up with the constant interference and blocking up of badger setts by the Sir Watkin Williams Wynn (Wynnstay) Hunt, activists decided something had to be done and a plan was hatched to catch the suspects in the act.
On 3rd February, they did just that. The Wynnstay’s huntsman Christopher Woodward and whipper in Charlie Young were caught red-handed blocking a badger sett near Whitchurch, Shropshire, in preparation for the following day’s hunting in the area. Sabs confronted the two, who quickly scarpered the scene.
Just three weeks prior, the two were also caught on camera blocking the same sett.
Hunt staff such as Woodward and Young take orders and are directed by hunt masters. One of these for the Wynnstay Hunt is Lord Daresbury (Peter Greenhall) who sits on the board of the Countryside Alliance. It seems this blatant wildlife crime goes all the way to the top.
Hunts block badger setts to prevent foxes escaping hounds and ‘going to ground’. Badger setts have been protected since 1992 against acts like obstructing access and being interfering with, but this cruel, yet routine activity happens regularly across the UK.
Despite badgers ability to live underground and with lower levels of oxygen, in some cases badgers can suffocate underground as a result of their setts being damaged.
Records held by Badger Trust show that incidents of sett interference escalate as soon as the hunting season starts and then dwindle at the end of the season, clearly indicating this is a problem nationally and illegal fox hunting and badger sett interference as a result is rife.