Almost 10,000 calls reporting deliberate harm to a wild animal taken by RSPCA over past five years
Almost 10,000 calls reporting intentional harm inflicted on a wild animal have been taken by the RSPCA over the past five years, according to new figures from the animal charity.
As part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, RSPCA data showed that wild mammals and birds bore the brunt of the abuse across a five-year period from 2016 to 2020.
The number of cruelty incidents relating to wild mammals totalled 4,383, with wild birds persecuted in even greater numbers, at 5,049.
In East Riding, there were five cases of reports of intentional harm last year – one of the lowest figures across England.
In 2020, the five areas which topped the list with the highest number of wildlife abuse reports were Greater London (101), Kent (37), West Midlands (36), Greater Manchester (35) and West Yorkshire (30).
RSPCA 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’.
“Our data shows that reports of cruelty to wildlife surged over last summer.
“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 to either the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999, Crimestoppers or their local police force.”
Across a five year period (2016-2020), the RSPCA data shows that foxes were by far the most persecuted wild mammal, with a total of 2,299 reports of intentional harm, followed by deer (500), badgers (497), rabbits (388) and hedgehogs (331). Pigeons were the bird most likely to be harmed intentionally with 1,518 cruelty reports received, followed by swans (700), gulls (648), ducks (395) and geese (336).