Mobile-phone footage passed to the Hunt Saboteurs Association shows members of the Wiltshire-based Avon Vale Hunt throwing and bolting foxes to their hounds.
In the damning footage, Avon Vale whipper-in Aaron Fookes and three terriermen are seen crouching over a fox earth, with the excited hounds being held back by hunt master Stuart Radbourne and others.
After an orange terrier – sent into the hole to find and attack the poor fox – is removed, Fookes grabs the fox from the earth, whoops to further excite the hounds, and then throws the poor animal to the pack.
As the hounds close in to savage this first victim, a second terrified fox bolts left from the earth and is pursued by some of the pack. This leads a hunter off-camera to scream excitedly that “There’s a brace!” – the hunting term for a pair of foxes.
As the footage closes, Fookes is seen to stretch out his arms in celebration, before he and Radbourne run to their horses to pursue the second fox.
Wiltshire Hunt Sabs told us:
“We routinely sab this particularly vile and vicious hunt, so we aren’t surprised to see them shrieking in delight as the whip chucks the first fox to the hounds as a second fox tries to flee. It’s almost a year to the day since they seriously assaulted a hunt sab after sabs stopped a similar dig out of a fox from an active badger sett near Erlestoke.
We hope Wiltshire Police do their jobs properly this time. For too long this hunt has gotten away with murder, largely because of the protection of Wiltshire Police who have had serving officers riding with this hunt. The Avon Vale are now truly exposed for the bloodthirsty criminals they are.”
A HSA spokesperson commented:
“This disgusting video shows the full hierarchy of the criminal Avon Vale Hunt working in concert to torture animals. The lowly terriermen find the foxes, the whipper-in throws one of them to the hounds, while the long-standing hunt master supervises the whole sick spectacle. All of this is for the entertainment of the Avon Vale’s paying subscribers who can be heard jeering and laughing off-camera.
The fact that this video has emerged just a week before the 18th anniversary of the Hunting Act – proves, yet again, what we have been saying for almost two decades. Fox hunts are nothing more than rural OCGs – Organised Crime Gangs – who have been allowed to act with impunity for far too long. It is high time that Westminster followed Scotland’s recent example and finally clamped down on the criminal fox hunters.”
Watch the full video below (viewer discretion advised)