A man convicted of badger baiting and six other animal welfare offences is the Master of a fox hunt in north Wales.

David Thomas, 51, was convicted last week at Llandudno Magistrates Court of causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by making it fight with dogs at his kennels at Cwm Bowydd Farm in Blaenau Ffestiniog. He has been the sole Master of the Dwyryd Hunt since 1994, and the offences took place at the hunt’s kennels.

The League Against Cruel Sports is now calling for him to step down as Master of the Hunt and for the Dwyryd Hunt to be disbanded and the hounds relocated elsewhere.

Mike Nicholas, a spokesperson for the League Against Cruel Sports, also called on the police to establish if any other hunt members were aware of the illegal animal baiting taking place at the kennels, where an artificial badger sett was found.

He said: "We are calling for this Master of the Hunt and convicted badger baiter to step down and for the hunt to be disbanded for good.

"Badger baiting is a cruel sport we have long suspected to be organised by those engaged in illegal hunting.

"There was an artificial badger sett found at the kennels where the Master lives, together with several badger and fox skulls – this cruel sport must have been going on for some time and other members of the hunt may have known and said nothing.

"We are calling on the police to investigate this matter further to see whether other members of the hunt should be charged.

"Violence against animals is abhorred by most people but sadly still goes on. Like the horrific dog fighting cases we have uncovered, the setting of dogs on badgers and foxes is deeply unsettling and barbaric. Killing animals for sport has no place in our society."

Jordan Houlston, 24, of Llandudno, and a suspected terrierman with the hunt, was also found guilty of animal welfare offences related to the welfare of dogs.

The evidence used to obtain the convictions was gathered by the RSPCA who conducted a surveillance operation at the hunt kennels.

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Notes to editor

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).