This week the hunting world has been rocked by yet another scandal after Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and Three Counties Hunt Sabs rescued a fox from an ‘artificial earth’ in Cotswold Hunt country.
The poor vixen – who may well have had dependent cubs – was trapped in a sack and stored in a squalid underground chamber. The Cotswold’s terriermen intended to collect the disoriented, urine-soaked animal from the earth and drop her in front of hounds for the enjoyment of the hunt’s paying subscribers.
She wouldn’t have stood a chance.
This outrage comes just weeks after the Avon Vale Hunt were filmed throwing one live fox to their hounds and bolting another from an earth. And almost exactly a year ago, Somerset’s Seavington Hunt were filmed dropping yet another bagged fox in front of their hounds.
Incredibly, all four of these incidents are not only illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, they also contravene hunting regulations going back decades before the ban. The Masters of Foxhounds Association – the original regulatory body of hunting – had a Code of Conduct whose ‘Golden Rules’ stated that a fox could only be hunted in their “wild and natural state.” Under no circumstances could bagged foxes be used, nor could foxes be handled or bolted to be hunted.
Just let that sink in.
Hunts in 2023 aren’t just ignoring the Hunting Act, they are acting in ways that weren’t even acceptable in the dark days before the so-called ban. This is because there has never been any meaningful self-regulation of hunting, and the hunts know it.
A HSA spokesperson commented:
“The whole idea of hunting being a regulated activity is ridiculous; in fact, the so-called regulatory bodies themselves are part of the problem. Even hunters hated the Masters of Foxhounds Association for their out-of-touch arrogance. When the Hunting Act came along, MFHA governance was replaced by the Hunting Office, who famously lost all credibility when their ‘smokescreen’ training webinars were leaked in 2020. And now we have the British Hound Sports Association who claim to be a new organisation, yet share the same address, personnel, and lack of credibility as their predecessors.
As these horrifying recent incidents show, hunters cannot be trusted to police themselves. We need a real ban on hunting and – until that time – brave sabs like those from Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and Three Counties Hunt Sabs will continue to expose the criminal hunters and save lives out in the killing fields.”