The prestigious Heythrop Hunt, based in the Cotswolds, has been found guilty of illegal hunting. Heythrop Hunt Ltd, the Huntsman Julian Barnfield, and the Master Richard Sumner all admitted four counts of illegal hunting during a hearing at Oxford Magistrates Court. This is the first occasion since hunting was made illegal in 2005 that there has been enough evidence to take an entire hunt to court rather than specific individuals. The case was brought by the RSPCA using evidence filmed by Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA) and both organisations should be congratulated for their hard work and dedication in bringing such a watertight case against a powerful and influential adversary.
The hunting community will now try and confuse the issue by talking about this as a politically motivated case and complaining about how much it has cost the RSPCA. And they’re right, it shouldn’t have cost the RSPCA a penny. This case should’ve been brought to court by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service but it is their reluctance to take action against these well connected hunts that forces charities to act. The Heythrop have repeated broken the law of the land, and happily admitted to doing so, because they think they are above the law and that their powerful friends in Westminster, the police and the judiciary will protect them.
How dare Tim Pattinson, the District Judge who ruled on the case, feel it is his place to comment on how much the RSPCA chose to spend on enforcing the law. He should be using his position to call on the police to enforce the Hunting Act not to pass comment on those who dare challenge his cronies.
As the Heythrop Hunt has pleaded guilty to these charges we would like to see their hounds confiscated and re-homed and the hunt forced to close down as a lesson to all the other hunts that obeying the law is not optional, however well connected you may be.
Hunt saboteurs association Press Release November 28th 2012
Graphic footage of the Ledbury Hunt killing a fox has today been released. The incident happened on the 23rd November 2012 in a private garden in Eldersfield, Gloucestershire and was captured on film by members of Three Counties and Coventry Hunt saboteurs.
They were sadly too late to rescue the fox, but one did obtain film of the hounds repeatedly savaging the animal for a protracted period, whilst she and a colleague attempted to get the dogs off it. It is unclear at what point the fox succumbed to its multiple wounds, but when they were able to retrieve the animal from the pack it had been effectively disembowelled.
Footage of the kill, and from beforehand, is being examined by lawyers from the RSPCA to determine if there are grounds for prosecution under the Hunting Act. Results of a post-mortem are being withheld pending a decision.
The footage can be seen here.
This incident is a sad contrast to the events of a week earlier when hunt monitors from POWA saved a fox from the Old Berks Hunt. Footage of that incident is here . The BBC South TV News report on it is here.
Volunteers for a fox rescue project are being harrassed and terrorised by their local hunt, believed to be the East Sussex and Romney Marsh.
On Saturday 17th of November they were walking their 15 year old blind dog on their land in Trolliloes, East sussex, when they saw a pack of hounds chasing a young fawn. The fawn was inches from the hounds jaws and was swerving desperately to keep away from them. The hounds briefly had the deer on the ground but luckily it managed to get back up and fled across the property's boundary. During the chase the hounds knocked over the old dog and it fled in distress.
When members of the hunt arrived on the scene they were abusive to the landowners and tried to run them down with horses and vehicles. The police were called but claimed they were too busy to attend the incident.
This is the latest in a series of incidents including dead animals left on their property, repeated trespass and threats of arson. The landowners have had it made clear to them that their ongoing work with animal charities and rehabilitation of wildlife has made them a target for the hunt.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs association, stated: “ For the hunt to so blatantly target land that is purposely kept for animals to take sanctuary, and for the landowners to be treated in this way, is indicative of the mindset of these people. They have no respect or regard for anyone but themselves”
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