The League Against Cruel Sports has partnered with a non-profit aerial surveillance organisation to use its drone technology to catch people breaking animal welfare laws.
ShadowView has been working with the League to document illegal hunting in the UK using two different types of UAV (surveillance drones).
Video evidence collected by cameras attached to the remote control aircraft can be used to prosecute people breaking the law, said the charity. Drones will be used by its investigating teams in locations where the League has intelligence suggesting illegal activity is taking place.
Head of intelligence at the League, Mark Randell, said: “We are continually exploring new ways for how we can gather evidence.”
He added that there have already been some flights and that the charity would review the evidence before passing anything relevant to police for a potential criminal prosecution.
The charity believes it is the first to use the technology in the Great Britain, but the USPCA (Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in Northern Ireland has been using drones to deter badger baiters and similar technology is used by the WWF against poachers in Africa.
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “There is a war going on in the countryside and whilst there are still individuals determined to flout the law and seek new ways to avoid detection, the League will continue to explore safe, tested and innovative technology to further our charitable aim of ending cruelty to animals in the name of sport.”
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