Benedict Hood, huntsman of the Somerset-based Seavington Hunt, has pleaded guilty to hunting a ‘bagged’ fox that was dropped in front of the hounds. His five-strong gang of terriermen, who also participated in the abuse, appear to have got away with their crimes.
Hood’s conviction follows a police investigation after footage of the incident was passed to the Hunt Saboteurs Association by a member of the public.
The footage (link opens in new tab) shows a terrierman lifting a sack – containing the fox – from a box on his quad bike. Hood holds the pack of hounds back, before urging them forward as the terrierman tips the poor animal from the sack.
The revolting practice of hunting bagged foxes is designed to ensure a kill and thereby keep the hounds ‘in blood’. Terriermen will dig the fox from her home, mutilate her – either by slashing her pads or severing her brush – then stuff her in a sack. The wretched animal – terrified, disoriented and injured – is then tipped in front of hounds when required.
Like all hunts, the Seavington claim to operate within the law, and – also like all hunts – they are liars who commit the most depraved acts of animal abuse when they think no one is looking. Use of ‘bagged’ foxes wasn’t even legal in the dark days before the Hunting Act 2004; to see it practiced today shows just how mired in cruelty and criminality they still are.
A HSA spokesperson commented,
“Although rarely caught on film, ‘bagging’ foxes is common practice amongst today’s fox hunters. Such disgusting behaviour shows that attempts to ‘regulate’ hunting are a bad joke.
Indeed, it is sickening to recall that the last time the Seavington were convicted of Hunting Act offences, they enjoyed the full support of the Countryside Alliance and the Hunting Office. Emboldened by these organisations, it’s hardly surprising that the gang of thugs at the Seavington thought they could get away with hunting ‘bagged’ foxes.”