David Thomas, master and huntsman of the Dwyryd Hunt, has been convicted of running a horrific badger-baiting ring from his hunt kennels.

 

RSPCA investigators found an elaborate system of pipes, artificial setts and cages at the kennels - all built to facilitate the premeditated torture of foxes and badgers by dogs. The HSA is now calling for the immediate disbanding of the Dwyryd Hunt.

 

This latest incident follows the closure of the South Herefordshire Hunt after their staff were filmed throwing live fox cubs to the hounds.

 

HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "This horrifying case highlights, yet again, how hunt personnel are routinely involved in the most serious and disturbing of wildlife crimes. In press interviews following the 2005 hunt ban, Thomas made very clear his intention to become a wildlife criminal saying 'I've been doing it for 15 years and it's something you can't give up.' Perhaps if Gwynedd police had acted against Thomas at the time then these depraved acts might have been prevented."

 

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Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 13th January 2018

A Hunt Saboteur is in critical condition after being punched to the ground and ridden down by members of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers. The huntsman from the hunt was present and involved in the attack. Cameras and radios were stolen during the attack.

 Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers

Saboteurs had been following the hunt when a small group of three were lured into a premeditated attack. The injured sab was punched to the ground before being ridden over by one of the hunt horses. He is currently in hospital undergoing a CT scan and repeatedly lost consciousness after the attack. He also has a hoof print in his head.

 

Devon and Cornwall police are investigating the attack after being called by other members of the group whilst the attack was taking place.

 

Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteur Association, stated: “This was clearly a premeditated attack by a hunt that have been put under increasing pressure by South Devon Animal Rights. Unable to kill with impunity they are taking out their frustrations on those that stop them. We hope that Devon and Cornwall Police carry out a thorough investigation but given their usual pro hunt bias we won't hold our breath.”

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/Hs0vOjjhFYI

(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.org.uk/index.php/92-news/press-releases/554-criminal-activity-by-members-of-the-rac

(5) Details of the Jed Forest Foxhounds conviction - the first under the The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002: https://www.league.org.uk/news/borders-huntsmen-found-guilty-of-illegal-fox-hunting

(6) Hunting in Scotland is currently under pressure from several quarters: https://www.league.org.uk/blog/on-the-trail-of-the-hunts