We’re delighted to hear that the Crown Prosecution Service will be pursuing charges against Mark Hankinson, Director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), who featured in the leaked Hunting Office webinars that the Hunt Saboteurs Association exposed in November last year. The webinars clearly show a concerted attempt to pervert the course of justice and evidenced a nationwide conspiracy to illegally hunt. As ex-Police Inspector Phillip Davies said so prophetically in the webinars “I hope no police officers are watching”.
Whatever the outcome of the court case this expose has still been a turning point in the history of fox hunting. “Trail hunting” has been exposed once and for all for what it is – a smokescreen to cover up illegal activities. Ex-police Inspector Davies summed it up nicely in the webinars when saying: “Now you know more about hunting than the saboteurs or the courts will know but what it will do is create that smokescreen or that element of doubt that we haven’t deliberately hunted a fox, so if nothing else you need to record that and it will help us provide a defence to huntsmen.”
As a result of the police investigation many major landowners including The National Trust, Forestry England, United Utilities and Natural Resources Wales suspended hunting on their land. We don’t believe these landowners need to wait until the conclusion of any legal process before making these suspensions permanent as the evidence and weight of public opinion is clearly there for all to see.
Subsequent leaks from within the hunting community have unearthed a database held by the Countryside Alliance on anti-hunt activists. Individuals who appear on the database have been targeted in their own homes and have experienced criminal damage and intimidation from hunt supporters.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:
“Justice will never be served for the countless animals that have been chased to exhaustion and killed during 15 years of illegal hunting since the ban but it is pleasing that the judicial system is at least interested in bringing the leaders of this criminal conspiracy to justice. We ask Devon and Cornwall police, the force leading the investigation, whether they plan to widen their investigation to all those who attended the webinars. The criminality of what they were hearing was clear yet none of them felt they should report it to the police.
We also expect that police forces across the country will now have to reconsider all convictions against hunt saboteurs since 2005, as they’re now all tainted in light of what we heard in these webinars.”
The full webinar story and videos can be found here