Two weeks on from East Essex Hunt terrierman Paul O’Shea pleading guilty to serious Hunting Act and Animal Welfare charges, there is a deafening silence from hunting’s new ‘regulatory body’ the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA).
The BHSA claims to be a replacement for the wholly discredited Hunting Office, whose reputation was destroyed by the leaking of its ‘smokescreen’ webinars. However, the BHSA’s leadership is also comprised of hardcore hunters, many of whom were involved in the Hunting Office.
If the BHSA was really concerned about improving “accountability, transparency and confidence in hunting activities” as it claims, its first act should have been to expel the East Essex Hunt. Instead…nothing.
O’Shea was convicted following an expert surveillance operation by North London Hunt Sabs. In the sickening covert footage, O’Shea is seen netting a fox from an artificial earth, setting a terrier on her and then – most disturbing of all – repeatedly gouging her face and body with a pitchfork.
In such cases, the hunt master’s usual tactic is to sack the terrierman and claim they are a ‘bad apple’ who does not represent the true values of the hunt. This is impossible in the case of O’ Shea: he is married to one of the hunt masters, his son is junior terrierman, and his daughter assisted in the torture of the fox!
Cruelty is a family affair at the East Essex Hunt – yet the BHSA has done nothing.
A HSA spokesperson commented:
“Even hardened hunt sabs were reduced to tears by what is shown in NLHS’s footage. The cruelty inflicted by O’Shea – and the fact his family operate at all levels of the East Essex – means the hunt should have been booted out of the BHSA and told to disband. The fact that this hasn’t happened proves that – just like the Hunting Office – the BHSA is not fit for purpose. It has fallen at the first hurdle.”
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