DNA test to catch badger-baiters

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Scientists at Leicester University have developed a DNA test for animals which could make badger-baiting a thing of the past. The technique allows prosecutors to link any animal matter found on an alleged baiter with a specific animal.

In the past scientists could only say whether or not the blood or tissue was from the badger species.

This has allowed baiters to claim in their defence that they were digging for foxes - which is lawful - and that any badger tissue found on them came from the foxes' den.

The new technique is similiar to Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys' human DNA test - which was also developed at Leicester.It is now to be used for the first time in an RSPCA prosecution next month.