Derry hunters who posted footage of dogs mauling rabbits, foxes and hares on the internet have been branded “barbaric”.
David Wilson of the USPCA described the series of videos that have appeared on file sharing site Youtube over the past month as “ protracted cruelty.”
One video shows a group of hunters, speaking in strong local accents, carrying out the practice of lamping - hunting at night and using strong lights to transfix prey.
Mr Wilson says the practice of lamping is not illegal in the north and has proved to be an effective means of pest control
“But where dogs are used then lamping is protracted cruelty and barbaric,” he says.
Further footage shows lurcher and terrier like dogs, viciously mauling their prey while hunters gather to watch.
In one clip, two dogs fight over a fatally injured hare while it struggles to break free.
Meanwhile a group of men, are heard continually goading the blood thirsty dogs to “shake him up”. As a smaller dog joins in someone shouts “Happy days, that’s the stuff, this is great to see.”
In another clip a spade is wedged between a fox’s jaws as two dogs tear at its throat and abdomen. One of the hunters is heard to say “ it’s still alive the b*****d.”