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Activists to Use Drones to Nab Illegal Badger Hunters

Activists to Use Drones to Nab Illegal Badger Hunters

The League Against Cruel Sports, a British animal advocacy organization, has announced plans to use drones in order to catch illegal hunting activities.

“There is a war in the countryside and whilst there are still individuals determined to flout the law and seek new ways to avoid detection, the League will continue to explore safe, tested and innovative technology to further our charitable aim of ending cruelty to animals in the name of sport,” said Joe Duckworth, the organization’s Chief Executive.

The group hopes to stop hare coursing, badger baiting and illegal fox hunting. It has been illegal to fox hunt with dogs in England and Wales since 2005 and in Scotland since 2002, but it’s still going on.

The League will be the first animal welfare organization in Great Britain to explore the use of drones.
 However, it has been used by the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Northern Ireland to deter badger baiters, and by the World Wildlife Fund in operations against poachers in Africa. They’ve also been used by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and in the U.S. by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness in an effort to expose cruelty at pigeon shoots. Unfortunately, hunters here evidently deal with the issue by shooting them down.

The technology will will be  provided by the non-profit aerial surveillance and monitoring organization ShadowView, which was launched in January to aid with conservation efforts, among other things, and also just announced a partnership with another organization to stop illegal driftnet fishing in the Mediterranean.

The pro-hunting crowd is balking over the move, and raising questions about privacy and civil liberties being violated. However, in the UK it is “legal to fly your own drone without any special permission if it weighs less than 20kg and is flying more than 150m from a congested area,” according to the BBC.

“No one owns the upper stratum of airspace so provided the drones fly at a reasonable height so as not to cause a nuisance they will not be trespassing,”  said a spokeswoman for the league. “We would only use this equipment if we believed illegal activity was taking place, we wouldn’t just go out and monitor anybody.”

The Police Federation said that evidence obtained through the use of drones would be treated in a similar way to that obtained using CCTV.

ShadowView is also being very straightforward about what they’re doing.

“We fly and film within the law and within the CAA flight regulations of the UK. We are filming illegal hunts, so if you’re not acting illegally you have nothing to worry about. It’s interesting that poachers and illegal hunters are the first to complain about invasion of privacy when activists document their crimes; I cannot imagine the police or courts being very sympathetic to an armed bank robber complaining that his crime was filmed, as being an invasion of his privacy,” said co-founder Steve Roest.

Hopefully, the group will be able to collect evidence of crimes that would otherwise go unseen and undocumented and use it to have violators prosecuted.

“We are excited to be the first animal welfare charity in Great Britain to be exploring drone technology. We are confident that it will make a fantastic contribution to bringing wildlife criminals to justice,” said Duckworth.


Related Stories:

Over 5,000 Badgers Will Die in England Beginning This Summer

After a Fox Attacks Baby, Should We Kill All Foxes?

Animal Welfare Group Criticizes for Trying Too Hard to Protect Animals


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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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9:10PM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

thanks for sharing - a great idea, need to do the same with poachers in Africa and Asia

9:50AM PDT on May 1, 2013

great idea, thanks for sharing :)

5:44PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Cool ... hunt the hunter ...

4:39PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Use whatever technology availability to get these people!

7:52AM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

They are doing the right thing to catch the cold hearted Ba****ds !!!!!!!

9:50AM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

What ever your opinions on this, it does not alter the Fact that this is surveillance, and can be used to monitor innocent people, its a spy bot! (thats what it is folks!) and can be used for sinister purposes, just bear this mind, before you jump to its defense. i don't want my country's populace under the supervision of BIG BROTHER. Benign to start with maybe, but before you endorse it, please do some research!!!

11:50PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Thank you.

11:49PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Thank you.

12:21PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

A fabulous idea. I so hope it works and leads to convictions for the law breakers.

10:36AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Good ,great news!!!

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