Pack Foxhounds HuntingApart from the Queen who is the law, if she was to break the law, there isn’t very much that anyone can do about it.

The rest of the Royal family aren’t quite on the same level as the Monarch. They have more in common with us regular folk when it comes to laws we need to abide by. It’s about time those followers and worshippers of traditional hunting were reminded of the Hunting Act 2004 and the ban on hunting with dogs in the UK. Just because we have a new Conservative Prime Minister doesn’t mean that they can illegally hunt. The impression may have been given that a Conservative government would allow such a barbaric and abhorrent tradition to continue but it is still unlawful. Nothing has changed. Not only that but an overwhelming majority of British people think it’s cruel and has no place in our modern society. Some people have suggested there may be plans afoot to curb the wonderful and brave activities of hunt saboteurs and hunt monitors on public or private land………but there would be uproar. The British public won’t tolerate it. Hunting our wildlife just for fun and pleasure is totally offensive in our country. But none of us should be complacent about the hunts!

Fox Hunting IllegalSince the ban came into force on 18 February 2005, hunters have been faking ‘trail hunting’.

‘Trail hunting’ was an idea, based on drag hunting, where hounds followed a scent that had been laid down for them to follow. Hounds used in drag hunts follow an artificial scent made up of a chemical mixture mixed with oil and water. There is no question of their hounds being trained to chase live quarry. On the other hand, ‘trail hunting’ uses an animal-based scent where fox urine is often claimed to be used. The hunts deliberately use fox urine because they want to train their hounds to chase and kill foxes. Where do they get fox urine from? Well that should be part of another blog but for now let’s say the hunts appear to illegally acquire live foxes and cubs. According to sabs and monitors, there appears to be no evidence of a ‘trail’ laid on nearly every hunt they attend. On the odd occasion there have been farcical attempts by the hunt to pretend they have laid a ‘trail’.

Red Deer Stag HuntingIt’s not just fox hunting which is illegal with a pack of hounds but also stag hunting, hare hunting and mink hunting are illegal too.

Stag and deer hunting is illegal but the hunts continue to kill hundreds of deer every year. They claim, in many instances, they are doing it for scientific research. What scientific research is this then that warrants chasing stags and deer with hounds for hours across miles of countryside until they collapse? Then the animal is shot and dragged into the back of a van where it is driven to some chosen spot for carving up. Various parts of the animal’s body are given to the hunters and owner of the land. This is typical of some ancient traditional ritual that has been handed down through generations WHICH HAS NO PLACE IN TODAY’S SOCIETY. If deer need to be culled why do hunters need to callously chase them until they drop with exhaustion? It’s a vile practice and totally unethical.

Hare hunting and hare coursing are both banned. Hare hunting is carried out with packs of hounds and hunters on foot or on horseback. What can be more disgusting then our gentle hares being chased mercifully by a pack of hounds. The hare will tire before the hounds and then it will be caught and torn to shreds by the hounds. Since the late 1880s our Brown Hare population has been reduced by 80%. They are on the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan ‘Short list of Globally Threatened/Declining Species’. But that counts for nothing by the hunting fraternity and even some MPs in government.

Mink hunting became popular after the otter population was depleted due to hunting. So otter hunting was banned in 1978. Hunters did a good job of nearly wiping them out so they turned to mink hunting. Mink are non-native to the UK and it’s thought many escaped or were released from fur farms. They are hunted on foot with a pack of hounds along riverbanks. Like foxes and hares, when mink are caught they are torn to pieces by the hounds.

Brown Hare HuntingThe actual consequences of hunting with hounds are not just the end result of causing our precious wildlife to suffer as they are agonisingly ripped to pieces.

There is much more at stake. Many of the hunts have nowhere to hunt without causing havoc to farm animals. Hounds running through fields of livestock have caused pregnant ewes to abort. Hounds running across farmland and spreading bTB to cattle. Hounds running out of control on busy roads and high streets in towns and villages. Hounds running amok in peoples’ gardens and even going inside their houses when they’ve chased a pet cat or dog. Hounds killing pets when people have been out walking their dogs on leads. Hounds running through small holdings and animal sanctuaries. Hounds running through graveyards. Recently they were reported jumping over an open grave as the service was finishing at one graveyard. Imagine the upset that caused to grieving family and friends. 

Hunts are happy to ride roughshod over farm crops and farmland. They don’t see the need to stop hounds, pursued by their huntsmen. Private land owners receive the same attitude that ‘it’s an unavoidable situation’ from the perspective of the hunts who cannot control their hounds. The arrogance of huntsmen allowing their hounds to run wild on the roads with busy traffic is normal practice for hunts. No concern on their side that their hounds could cause fatal accidents killing innocent people. It’s certainly not acceptable when hunts assume they have the legal right to stop traffic at any time because they have a pack of hounds running across main roads. Hunts are hardly sticking to trails because even they wouldn’t be that stupid to lay trails across busy roads and railway lines. Simple fact is their hounds are eagerly hunting foxes just like the good old days before the ban came in! Yes but hunting foxes to death with a pack of hounds has been banned by law! So what? Hunts don’t care.

If sabs and monitors try to film them, photograph them, follow them or call their hounds away from them they call for their terriermen to assault and attack them. But it’s not uncommon for huntsmen to jump off their horses and assault and attack the sabs and monitors themselves. Their hunt supporters are happy to assault them too and block them in their vehicles. It‘s particularly nasty when they start ramming the vehicles with farm machinery or battered old 4 x 4s whilst sabs and monitors sit inside their own vehicles. They are particularly violent and abusive towards female sabs and monitors. It is particularly disgusting behaviour coming from male huntsmen and utterly deplorable. Many of these sabs and monitors have ended up in hospital and previously two have died from their injuries. The Belvoir Hunt was ordered to pay almost £50,000 compensation in 2019 to two Investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports for breaking the neck of one guy and causing injuries and stealing the video camera from the other. On most occasions when the police turn up they often do absolutely nothing except maybe check that the vehicles belonging to the sabs have been taxed. They more often than not say nothing to the huntsmen even though they have been shown previous video evidence of the hunt committing crimes by the sabs. Why? May be they will in the future as our recently elected Prime Minister has committed the government to employing 20,000 more police officers. 

Mink American HuntingYet there are hundreds of hours of film taken on video and phones which contain all those misdemeanours by the hunts!

Look at these films on YouTube and other forms of social media. It actually shows a great amount of aggressive and unlawful behaviour towards the sabs and monitors by huntsmen across various hunts. It beggars belief that the police do nothing. What other form of ‘sport’, ‘hobby’ or ‘interest’ tolerates these forms of occurrences which can be illegal, dangerous, grievous assault, criminal, violent and unethical? Probably none. It’s worth noting that we even have at least one MP in our current government who allows hunts to meet at his home. Yet hunting is illegal if it’s not ‘trail hunting’ and hunts go out deliberately to chase and kill wildlife. Should we really think we live in a decent country where the law is there to protect decent law-abiding people and their property? Hell no!  It’s about time the hunts were brought to heel for breaking the law and illegally hunting. They can call it a British tradition as much as they like but it belongs to the dark ages with bear baiting, cock fighting. badger baiting and  dog fighting. This is exactly what the overwhelming majority of British people would agree on!

For more information:

HUNT SABOTEURS ASSOCIATION    Address: BM HAS, London UK WC1N 3XX Tel: 0845 2501291 with information on hunts in your area.

LEAGUE AGAINST CRUEL SPORTS     Address: New Sparling House, Holloway Hill, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1QZ      Tel: 01483 524 250 with information and crime number on incidents by hunbts reported to the police.

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