In March 2021, a newly built artificial fox earth was discovered in woodland in Cambridgeshire, on land frequented by the Fitzwilliam Hunt of Peterborough. This location was less than one mile from two regular hunt meet locations. This hunt have been known to make active use of artificial fox earths, as terriermen have been witnessed by sabs heading into woods which contain these earths while taking terriers with them, during a hunt.
Earths are built to encourage foxes in to reside in an area, meaning that one can be found more easily on a hunt day. They typically have two entrances, narrowed to keep out badgers, and are made of nine inch diameter pipework. It is important to the hunt to ensure fox habitation, and that the earth itself remains dry and secure.
Hidden cameras were placed around this earth with the intention of monitoring subsequent activity. What possible reason could the Fitzwilliam have for building a new fox earth over fifteen years after the hunting ban? Frankly this seemed a clear indication that fox hunting, as it was pre-ban, was being not only actively undertaken but planned for the future.
A week later the site was revisited. It seemed the hunt staff had got wind that they were being monitored and dug up the artificial earth and stolen the trail cameras placed to monitor the location. Did the hunt panic and remove the evidence?
This incident shows the actions of people planning on a long future of fox hunting, but also nervous and paranoid of surveillance. Why would anyone build a new artificial earth in 2021? If it was for any other purpose other than illegal fox hunting, why completely remove it after its discovery? As it stands there are no laws against digging trenches in woods and placing pipes in them, however this is a clear sign that the laws against fox hunting are being completely disregarded, and only serve as another reminder that hunting laws need to be both strengthened and enforced.