Badger baiting is a cruel sport that we have long suspected is sometimes organised by those also engaged in illegal hunting.
The Master of the Dwyryd Hunt in north Wales faces prison having been convicted of badger baiting and six further animal welfare offences.
David Thomas, 51, was convicted last week at Llandudno Magistrates Court of causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by making it fight with dogs at his kennels at Cwm Bowydd Farm in Blaenau Ffestiniog - the hunt’s kennels.
The League Against Cruel Sports is now calling for him to step down as Master of the Hunt and for the Dwyryd Hunt to be disbanded and the hounds relocated elsewhere.
Mike Nicholas, a spokesperson for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "Badger baiting is a cruel sport that we have long suspected is sometimes organised by those also engaged in illegal hunting.
"There was an artificial badger sett found at the kennels where the Master lives, together with what is believed to have been several badger and fox skulls. Violence against animals is abhorred by most people but sadly still goes on. Killing animals for sport has no place in our society."
Thomas was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two foxes by keeping them caged close to dogs which left them terrified and further animal welfare allegations, according to local newspaper reports.
Clive Rees, defending Thomas, argued that there had been an “institutionalised and systemic failure” and identification of his client was unsatisfactory. “There’s no real evidence these (caged) foxes were suffering any sort of trauma until approached by the police and RSPCA,” he added.
Jordan Houlston, 24, of Llandudno - an alleged hunt terrier man - was convicted in the same case of ill-treating a badger, and unnecessary suffering by causing a badger to fight with dogs at the farm. Houlston denied being present at the time of the animal fight.
Marc Wyn Morris, 26, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, pleaded guilty to wilfully injuring a badger, being present at an animal fight and causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by causing it to fight with a dog.
Sentencing will take place on Monday, 5 February 2018 at Llandudno Magistrates Court.
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist and tweets at @EcoMontague.