Sick gamekeeper filmed badger torture for social media

A Scottish gamekeeper set his dogs on foxes and badgers, filming the attacks to make money. Like other men before him, his desire to brag about his acts is what incriminated him.

Ryan Martin, from Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire, was convicted on 5 December. He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs under his care and to keeping or training dogs for the purposes of animal fights. He has been banned from owning or keeping animals for five years.

The SSPCA investigated Martin after it realised that the gamekeeper’s videos were being made public. On 9 February 2022, the charity’s investigations unit, along with police officers, searched the gamekeeper’s home and seized his mobile phone. They also took away his three dogs, Storm, Beau and Boss, who all had old and new injuries from fighting animals.

Scotland’s Daily Record reported that:

“[Martin] intended to produce more content featuring animal torture for the social media platform, in the hope of attracting a huge following among sickos who enjoy sadistic animal cruelty.”

Posting to social media

Martin posted videos to both TikTok and Snapchat, showing his dogs fighting both badgers and foxes, who had no chance of surviving the attacks. Badger baiting – forcing dogs to fight badgers – is very common throughout the UK, but fox baiting is less heard of.

The Daily Record reported:

“[One] video included Martin’s voice shouting: “Chi chi chi chi chi, go on, dogs, get on, go on, get in.” [Prosecutor] Ms Stewart told the court: “The video then shows Storm with the top of a badger’s head in her mouth whilst Beau and Boss are biting and attacking the badger all over its body and legs.”

Another video, posted on TikTok, shows Storm standing in a field with blood on her coat around her chest, face and head. A series of photographs showed various dogs standing in a field and a video of Storm beside a dead fox.”

Martin had initially denied the charges, but later changed his plea. As mitigation for his awful acts, he told investigators that he could make money from TikTok if his audience grew.

His defence lawyer told the court that his client was “immature”, and that he saw badgers and foxes as “vermin”.

Pitiful sentence

As well as being banned from keeping animals, Martin was sentenced to 175 hours of unpaid work. All too often, we see badger baiters being handed paltry punishments that will do little to deter them.

An SSPCA investigator said of the sentencing:

“No animal deserves to be injured or killed in the name of sport, or left to die a slow painful death. Without a custodial sentence, our fear is that Martin, and others who are involved in animal fighting, won’t stop offending.”


User-generated Content

Gamekeepers and fox hunters’ bloodlust

The conviction is the latest in a trend of gamekeepers and hunters carrying out sadistic acts on badgers. Protect the Wild’s Glen Black previously reported:

“While badger baiting has its own dedicated groups, there is sometimes close ties to local hunting and shooting communities. A court convicted Rhys Davies, gamekeeper at a major Scottish shooting estate, to eight months in prison for badger baiting offences [in 2022]. David Thomas, huntsman for Dwyryd Hunt in north Wales, was jailed for 22 weeks in 2018 after the RSPCA filmed him badger baiting. And disgraced former Tory PCC Jonathon Seed narrowly escaped a conviction in 2013 after he was caught involved in a sett dig out as master of the Avon Vale Hunt.”

And on 11 December 2023, fox hunter Oliver Thompson was spared prison after baiting a terrified fox cub.

Filming their own crimes

Martin is the latest in a line of men who, through filming their crimes, have incriminated themselves. In October 2023, ex-jockey Brandon Lawlor was jailed for eight weeks, guilty of badger baiting. Footage found on his phone was described as “absolutely horrific” by the RSPCA. And in November 2022, Protect the Wild reported on masked-up groups in Norfolk, who were setting their dogs on badgers. The gangs were reported to be livestreaming their kills so that viewers could bet on the outcome of the fights between the badgers and the dogs.

Report badger baiters

We can all play a part in protecting badgers. Stay vigilant: if you see suspicious activity around badger setts, you can call the police. You should also let your local hunt saboteur, wildlife defence and animal welfare groups know, so they can actively protect the setts on the ground. DO NOT approach badger baiters, though, as they are typically very violent.

(Header image User-generated Content)


  • Learn more about how we can work together to end badger persecution.
  • For more on learning to Recognise, Record, and Report crimes involving badgers see our Protectors of the Wild page Badgers and the Law