Many of you reading this will have seen the BBC’s expose on dog-fighting last night. It’s a merciless, practice, and hard to think of anything crueller. That’s why it’s been banned since 1835 in this country, but as we have seen, still goes on in the United Kingdom and abroad. Dogs endure isolation, the most appalling living conditions, brutality, and finally, die the most agonising slow deaths. The last thing they hear is the cheers of the crowd, enjoying the spectacle and revelling in the suffering of man’s best friend. What does this tell you about our society?

I am so glad that, working closely with the BBC and others, we have now finally exposed this horrible practice. It has taken a huge effort, started a couple of years ago and now finally aired for all to see on prime-time national TV. The background work to support this expose, and also more widely to establish what is going on in the UK regarding dog-fighting, has been extensive. To begin to tackle it in meaningful ways, including bringing our proposals to the government to strengthen and broaden the law to deter those involved in dog-fighting, including the supply and training of fighting dogs, as well as to catch the perpetrators, is skilled work.

I wanted to recognise our courageous and dedicated staff, across the League, that helped make this expose happen. Led by Martin Sims, our Director of Investigations, they have brought their skills to bear, many learned in their previous careers as police officers, to place us in a position where we can help end dog-fighting in the UK. With your support, and with the conscience of the nation now pricked, they will!