Kempton Estate gamekeeper Kyle Burden, 19, of Lydbury North, Shropshire, who killed birds of prey and clubbed snared badgers to death could be sent to prison.
Burden had set spring traps to catch birds of prey and snares to catch foxes and badgers betwen 14th and 21st July. One witness saw the clubbing of badgers taking place. Badgers had been caught in snares and were then clubbed to death.”
Witnesses initially brought the matter to the National Gamekeepers Association, but “were unhappy with their reaction.” They then brought the matter to the attention of the RSPB who investigated and brought the evidence to the attention of the police.
The National Gamekeepers Association (NGA) might be expected to sweep the matter under the carpet; they are credited with persuading the Countryside Alliance (CA) to support the use of snares. The CA, formerly the British Field Sports Sociaty, used to condemn the use of snares, but when it tried to get more clout to defend hunting with dogs it had to endorse snares in order to get the NGA on board.
This is exactly why the “middle way” of self regulation can never work in policing bloodsports.
A GAMEKEEPER who killed birds of prey and clubbed badgers to death could be sent to prison.
Kyle Burden, of Lydbury North, appeared before Ludlow Magistrates last Thursday on several counts of animal cruelty.
The court heard how Burden, aged 19, used guns and illegal traps to kill badgers and buzzards on the Kempton Estate between May 14 and July 21 last year.
He will be sentenced next month in Telford after admitting nine charges. Six other offences were taken into consideration.
Phil Mason, prosecuting, said the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) was tipped off by two whistleblowers working on the 6,000-acre estate in 2007.
He said a complaint was first reported to the National Gamekeepers Association (NGA) but the witnesses were unhappy with the NGA’s reaction.
“One of the witnesses saw Burden shooting at a number of buzzards and attempting to shoot a number of buzzards,” he said. “The first witness also saw the clubbing of badgers taking place. Badgers had been caught in snares and were then clubbed to death.”
Mr Mason added that spring traps, sometimes used to legally catch birds, had been surrounded by food and items to attract larger birds.
Huw Williams, for Burden, said the defendant “knew he did wrong”, but was trying to protect a group of pheasants.
“His life is ruined. He was on his own, 24 hours day, seven days a week, looking after his pheasants,” he said.
“The buzzards and badgers were attacking and he was losing big numbers. The shooting season was coming so he had to keep numbers up.”
Burden had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of intentionally killing a buzzard, two charges of attempting to kill a buzzard and two charges of possessing a shotgun to commit the offences. He also admitted two counts of intentionally killing a badger and one count of setting eight spring traps.
Magistrates warned Burden he could face prison when sentencing took place on September 19.