Dog-Fighting Undercover

2007, Nature  -  60 min Leave a Comment
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I was approached by the BBC 18 months ago with the idea of trying to infiltrate a dog-fighting ring in the UK. My views on animal welfare have always been strong and the thought of people fighting dogs makes me sick to the stomach. I wanted to expose these people. This was an investigation that needed doing.

But where would I begin? The people involved in this barbaric so-called sport are so close knit that a stranger on the scene arouses instant suspicion. And as for the scene - where was the scene? Where do these people meet? Where do they fight the dogs? How do you recognise a dog-fighter?

I knew very little about dog-fighting and my knowledge of the dog they used - the pit bull terrier - was limited. My priority was to research the pit bull terrier and drill myself on the dog's characteristics. I tested myself over and over again until every detail was etched on my brain. It had to be.

An anonymous source had given me information about one of the largest dog-fighting gangs in the UK - The Farmers' Boys. They're based in a small town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland called Tandragee and have been dog-fighting for years. The Farmers' Boys seemed to thrive during The Troubles - obviously the police had to concentrate on other things. (Excerpt from