Yesterday The Duke of Rutlands' hounds, The Belvoir Hunt, chased and illegally killed three foxes.
The hunt met at The Wolds Farm near Holwell, Leicestershire. Initially sabs were able to take the hounds off huntsman John Holliday in two locations as he encouraged hounds to hunt a nearby covert and hedge. Unfortunately by the time sabs had caught up with him in a farmyard near Scalford Hall, hounds were already tearing apart a terrified fox they had cornered in the yard. Holliday sat watching making no attempt to control his pack. Sabs immediately intervened and were able to recover the still conscious fox. At this point Holliday dismounted and assaulted a female sab. The fox was unable to be saved due to extensive wounds and died in the sabs arms.
The police and Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, who were both present on the day, confirmed that immediately prior to this incident two other foxes were killed by the hunt in the grounds of a nearby nursing home. The police were alerted by a horrified member of the public. All three foxes have been taken as evidence by Leicestershire Police.
Earlier this year the Belvoir were implicated in the keeping of captive foxes to be illegally hunted. Members of the hunt subsequently attacked the two League Against Cruel Sports investigators who had exposed them, putting one of them in hospital with a broken neck. They are currently awaiting a court case in 2017.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “2016 has shown the world exactly what the Belvoir hunt are like. They were implicated in keeping captive foxes, then viciously assaulting those who had exposed them. Now as the year draws to a close they brazenly hunt and kill three foxes in the presence of Leicestershire Police. Members of Leicestershire Police, including former wildlife crime officer Sharon Roscoe, are known to ride with the Belvoir and we hope this doesn't influence any investigation. It is perhaps fortunate that the Leicestershire PCC was also present on the day to insist that this latest law breaking by the Belvoir is not brushed under the carpet.”
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 3rd Dec 2016
The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt illegally chased and killed a fox today despite the efforts of hunt saboteurs who were seconds away from saving it.
The hunt met at the Spotted Dog Pub, Smarts hill, South West of Tonbridge, Kent. Huntsman Mark Bycroft and his gang of bully boys have history of illegally killing foxes and attacking anyone who tries to stop them. They had already chased one fox before killing one in Frienden Gill Wood at approximately 3pm. The hunt terrier men had holloaed to inform the Bycroft that a fox had been spotted. Hounds then went into cry and chased it for between 5 and 10 minutes before ripping it apart in the wood. Hunt staff were nearby throughout and made no attempt to stop the hounds. Hunt saboteurs arrived just as the hounds were ripping the fox apart but were unable to save it. They retrieved the body and it has been taken to a sympathetic vet for autopsy. The incident is now being investigated by Kent Police.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Mark Bycroft has previous convictions for assaulting hunt saboteurs. His hunt have also been filmed illegally chasing and killing foxes but have never been prosecuted for this due to the inadequacies of the police and the Hunting Act. We hope this time it will be different but won't hold our breath. Whether they get prosecuted or not this video footage speaks for itself. The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent are a bunch of rural law breakers who think they are above the laws of the land. Well done to the sabs present who, although they weren't able to save this particular fox have again highlighted the reality of hunting since the ban.”
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 21st November 2016
Lord Bonomy has agreed with anti-hunt organisations and Police Scotland that the current law offers too many loop holes, and is unworkable, in his review of the Protection of wild Mammals (Scotland) Act. He goes as far as to say “there is a basis for suspecting that there may be occasions when hunting, which does not fall within one of the exceptions, does take place and that the grounds for that suspicion should be addressed”
Sadly the review does not focus on the welfare of the fox or how much suffering the fox may endure before death.
Scottish Hunt Saboteurs who have experience of the current situation at Scottish Hunts have studied the review and have the following observations:
The proposed changes would only strengthen the outcome of an illegal kill and does nothing to address the illegal hunting that still takes place, or does anything to protect the fox on the day of a hunt.
The idea of part time monitors would only work if those involved are impartial from both sides of the hunting argument and have enough knowledge to be able to correctly convey what is happening in front of them. We feel it is not a role that just anyone can take without substantial knowledge of how hunting actually works and then this leaves the role open to people who could also be biased. If the role is voluntary then again the wrong type of person without the correct knowledge could be in place and in a situation they simply would not understand.
We welcome the concept of tighter rules and a recklessness clause being applied to the hunts who pretend to accidentally kill outwit the current law. But again the recent story regarding the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire hunt shooting and not killing a fox and causing it to suffer before being killed by hounds needs to be addressed.
We also welcome the idea of all participants of the hunts being registered to the police making it easier to identify those breaking hunting laws, which would include landowners who allow hunting to take place on their land.
We call on the Scottish Parliament to take Lord Bonomy’s words into account when drafting new legislation to remove loop holes but to take it further and finally ban hunting from Scotland once and for all.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Only weeks ago Scottish sabs retrieved the body of a fox that had been shot by the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt. This poor creature took 5 minutes to die and was savaged by the hounds after being shot. Whilst we welcome Lord Bonomy's review, hunters have shown consistently over the past decade that they aren't willing to abide by any laws and regulations relating to their barbaric pastime. The only remaining course of action is to disband all the hunts.”