Boxing day is the biggest day in the Fox Hunting Calendar. It's a massive propaganda event run by the Countryside Alliance to portray “trail hunting” - a harmless, legal activity supported by millions of ordinary country folk. They troll out endless pictures of happy children on horseback and contented hounds licking youngsters faces that are lapped up by the right wing media.
The reality is somewhat different. There have so far been three confirmed kills by the Thurlow Hunt in Suffolk, the Cheshire Forest Hunt and the East Kent Hunt who met at Elham and killed at Etching Hill. All three kills were witnessed and have been reported to the police and the Thurlow huntsman has been arrested by Suffolk Police.
Elsewhere supporters of the Grove and Rufford Hunt in Nottinghamshire threw rocks at a vehicle belonging to Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs smashing a window and causing damage to the bodywork
Fox Killed by Cheshire Forest. Credit Cheshire Against the Cull.
In Tredegar, South Wales, a supporter of the Tredegar farmers hunt was arrested for assault after clashing with protestors and hounds have run amok on the A55 in North Wales causing traffic chaos. Witnesses claim a fox was killed by a car whilst trying to escape the hounds who are believed to belong to the Eryri Hunt.
Fox Killed by Cheshire Forest. Credit Cheshire Against the Cull.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “If this is what hunts are happy to do when the eyes of the world are on them imagine how they behave the rest of the year. Most hunts act as if the hunting Act doesn't exist and they flout the ban with impunity. Trail hunting is a myth created by the Countryside Alliance to allow fox hunting to continue unchecked. Hunted animals will never be safe while packs of trained dogs are allowed to rampage across the countryside. The only way the Hunting Act can be enforced is if the hunts are forced to disband.”
On Monday Hunt Saboteurs were in action to stop the Gloucester-based Royal Agricultural College Beagles from killing hares in Aberdeenshire. The RAC pack are in Scotland for a week of illegal hare hunting at the invitation of the Kincardineshire Foxhounds.
The Sabs have on video a police officer at the scene telling them that the hunt are flushing hares to guns and if the sabs follow then they will be arrested. The sabs have gone to the local police station with the video and pointed out the law, and the police have realised that they have helped facilitate an illegal activity. They have now sent a wildlife crime officer to the hunt and told them that they have to stop.
The RAC are one of the most controversial hunts in England. In February 2013, their then huntswoman, Libby Gilbert, was filmed illegally hunting hares. Gilbert chose to flee to America rather than face justice in court. Two years later, a mob of drunken RAC supporters were filmed attacking a small group of hunt saboteurs and attempting to overturn their vehicle.
Given this reputation, and the intense scrutiny Scottish hunting is currently under, it is extraordinary that the Kincardineshire Foxhounds thought it to appropriate to offer a 'hunting holiday' to the RAC.
HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "People in Scotland will be outraged to learn that their wildlife is being terrorised by a gang of hare hunters from England. The fact that this visit went ahead in the midst of major political moves against Scottish hunting shows just how arrogant the hunters are. Even now these people think they are above the law."
Notes for Editors
(1) The RAC Beagles are the official hunt of the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. The Queen and Prince Charles are the university's patron and president respectively.
(2) Beagling is the practice of hunting hares by scent with packs of beagles. (This is different from hare coursing, where the hare is hunted by sight with greyhounds or lurchers). However, there are no beagle packs in Scotland and, as hunted hares run in large circles, it would be physically impossible to 'flush to guns.'
(3) League Against Cruel Sports footage of RAC huntswoman Libby Gilbert hunting a hare on 20/02/13: https://youtu.be/Hs0
(4) HSA press release on RAC attack on hunt saboteurs 10/01/2015. Includes footage of dead rabbit being thrown at sab vehicle and drunken attempts to overturn occupied vehicle: https://www.huntsabs.
(5) Details of the Jed Forest Foxhounds conviction - the first under the The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002: https://www.league.org.u
(6) Hunting in Scotland is currently under pressure from several quarters: https://www.league.o
On the 4th, 5th and 6th of December, Hy Fly Game Hatcheries in Lancashire hosted the International Gundog League Retriever Championship and a small group of hunt saboteurs headed to the area to gather valuable information and formulate a plan about how best to sabotage next year’s championships.
Hy Fly is a vast game farm that intensively rears pheasants, partridges and ducks in appalling conditions to be sold on to shoots all across the UK. Birds used for breeding are confined to barren wire cages and their offspring are artificially incubated on site. Hy Fly even boasts of producing up to 1.5 million pheasants, partridges and mallards per week. In January this year, the farm was close to bankruptcy after bird flu was found on the site and a staggering 10,000 birds were subsequently culled.
The shooters, dog trainers and spectators met at Moss Cottage, not far from Poulton-Le-Fylde, before walking to the surrounding fields to kill pheasants and partridges who had previously been released into the area from the endless rows of pens at Hy Fly. The event attracts some high profile people, for example this year's championship was won by a dog owned by serial animal abuser and fox hunt master, the Duke of Buccleuch (who is also the largest private landowner in Europe). The Queen has also awarded prizes at the IGL in past years.
The International Gundog League has recently come to the attention of the HSA as part of our ongoing campaign against the shooting industry. It is sickening that large numbers of factory farmed birds are gunned down simply for dog trainers to win themselves medals. The organisers of next year's event should certainly expect mass sabotage.
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