Hedgehog stoned to death among worst cases of rising wildlife abuse, RSPCA reports
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 11/08/2021
Thousands of calls were made to the RSPCA reporting deliberate harm to wild animals in the last five years, the charity has said.
The charity said it had received almost 10,000 calls since 2016 and reports of cruelty surged last year during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Some of the worst cases involved a hedgehog being stoned to death in Nottinghamshire and a swan being shot six times in Wrexham.
Wild birds and mammals were found to be the most abused, with cases increasing during the summer.
Of the 84,000 total calls received by the RSPCA cruelty line monthly, around 1,500 relate to intentional cruelty.
But this rises by 400 per month during the summer months – or an additional 47 calls a day.
The RSPCA has released the data as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, which is aiming to raise awareness of the increasing cases of abuse to wild animals and to raise funds for rescue teams.
The charity says its inspectors see the suffering inflicted on animals through crimes such as airgun and crossbow shootings, badger baiting, dog fighting, illegal hunting with dogs, including hare coursing, and trapping birds.
Head of wildlife Adam Grogan said: “We say we’re a nation of animal lovers and yet every year, we see wild animals in our wildlife centres and animal hospitals that have been badly injured or killed by being beaten, mutilated, poisoned, or shot for ‘fun’.
“Police forces reported a rise in anti-social behaviour during that first lockdown, when pressures and frustrations may have led to more of this type of crime, leading to some seeking ‘entertainment’ through these sorts of barbaric incidents involving wildlife.
“There is no place for cruelty to animals in today’s society and we urge anyone who spots anything suspicious when out and about or sees anything online to report it.”
Between 2016 and 2020, 4,383 cruelty incidents relating to wild mammals and 5,049 relating to wild birds were reported to the RSPCA.
Cases were high between June and August last year, during the lockdown, with 376 cases reported.
Greater London had the highest number of wildlife abuse cases reported with 101, followed by 37 in Kent and 36 in the West Midlands.
The animals intentionally harmed most frequently were foxes at 2,299, followed by deer at 500 and badgers at 497.
As for wild birds, pigeons received the highest number of 1,518 reports of cruelty, followed by swans at 700, and gulls at 648.
© Sky News 2020