Hunt saboteurs have begun the gruelling fightback against cub hunting, one of the hunting world’s most sordid secrets.
The practice involves meeting at the crack of dawn – when the scent is strongest – to train new hounds to kill young foxes. Fortunately, the cub hunters are not unopposed: across the country, dedicated sabs have been up before dawn to save fox cubs wherever and whenever they can.
On Saturday 13th August, multiple groups – bleary-eyed from sabbing the Glorious Twelfth the previous day – descended on the United Pack at Corndon Hill, Powys. Hounds were found quartering across the hillside, but the huntsman quickly packed up in the face of a sizeable sab presence.
On the same day, Weymouth Animal Rights were in action against old enemies, the South Dorset Hunt, while North Dorset Hunt Sabs stopped the notorious Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt from killing in one of their favourite woods.
Mid-week, Devon County sabs caught the Eggesford Hunt – whose terriermen were recently convicted of interference with a badger sett – acting suspiciously near their kennels. The following Saturday, the mere sight of Devon County sabs was enough to send the hunt scuttling home. It’s almost as if they had something to hide…
Monday saw Surrey sabs begin what promises to be an intense campaign against the Surrey Union’s cub hunting programme, while Northants sabs and Hertfordshire sabs are already all over the Cottesmore Hunt’s early morning outings.
A HSA spokesperson commented:
“For sabs, cub hunting – or cubbing – is one of the most challenging but important forms of hunting to sabotage. The hunters usually meet in remote locations at the crack of dawn, with only the most trusted followers invited to attend. When sabs are not present, cubbing is simply a bloodbath – riders and hunt followers surround the woods to scare fleeing cubs into the jaws of the hounds. However, as the reports above make clear, we can often stop cubbing just by turning up. This saves lives on the day and also disrupts the longer-term training of the hounds. So, please, call our tip-off line on 07443 148 426 if you have any information about cub hunting.”