Police and the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) carried out five searches in County Down over recent weeks as part of a UK wide operation to clamp down on badger baiting.
Two men were arrested and several dogs were rescued – some of them seriously wounded from confrontation with wild badgers.
Badger baiting is the illegal practice of digging badgers out of their sets and releasing them in the open where they are set upon by the baiters’ dogs. This horrific and barbaric practice results in the death of the badger and often horrendous injuries to the dogs.
"Apart from the suffering endured by dogs being used in the activity of badger digging, it is illegal to take, injure or kill any badger or indeed interfere with any badger set,” said a police spokesman.
"It is believed that those involved in this illegal activity see the season as running from Boxing Day until 14th February. Police will continue with a robust enforcement of the Animal Welfare and Wildlife legislation where they come upon such matters."
The report below from UTV outlines the operation in Northern Ireland (NB. the report contains scenes of badger baiting that some viewers may find disturbing):