RSPCA England and Wales fears “a second spike in cruelty to wildlife” as lockdown 2 starts.
THE animal charity said new data has revealed it received reports of more than 2,200 incidents of cruelty to wildlife in 2020, with numbers spiking in May.
“From hunting and fighting to beating and mutilation, incidents of ‘illegal activity’ and ‘intentional harm’ to wild animals started rising at the start of the lockdown this year,” said the RSPCA in a statement.
There were 194 incidents in March, 241 in April, and 381 in May.
And the charity is concerned that as the nation goes into lockdown again and everything shuts down, “some may turn to this barbaric behaviour for entertainment’ and incidents may rise”.
The RSPCA’s National Wildlife Co-ordinator, Geoff Edmond, said: “Our data shows that reports of cruelty to wildlife surged during the first lockdown. We fear a similar peak could happen all over again during this second lockdown, as some people again look for savage ways to pass the time.
“Our inspectors see first-hand the suffering inflicted by criminals on animals through wildlife crime such as badger baiting, dog fighting, hare coursing and trapping birds.
“We’ve seen some particularly distressing incidents in recent months, such as a magpie shot with a crossbow and two hedgehogs doused in fuel and burned alive.
“Police forces have reported a rise in anti-social behaviour during the first lockdown, when pressures and frustrations led to more of this type of crime, and we fear it may lead to some seeking ‘entertainment’ through these sorts of barbaric incidents involving wildlife.
“There’s no place for cruelty to animals in today’s society and we urge anyone who spots anything suspicious when out on their daily exercise or sees anything online to report it to our cruelty line or their local police force.”
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