North London Hunt Sabs have filmed Paul O’Shea, terrier man for the East Essex Hunt, trapping and torturing a fox with a pitchfork.
The incident took place on Saturday 4th December when O’Shea and an unidentified female visited an artificial earth in Great Monks Wood, just two miles from the East Essex Hunt kennels. Hunts build artificial earths, an underground network of pipes and chambers, to encourage foxes into an area. They are then trapped in the earth and released before a hunt to be chased and killed. This artificial earth was rebuilt in 2020 and North London sabs have been monitoring it since then with concealed cameras.
The pair first approach the earth at 1.30pm to confirm a fox is present. They then return a couple of hours later armed with a terrier, rods, a net and pitchfork. They place the net over one end of the earth then use the rods and terrier to force the trapped fox into the net. O’Shea then holds the fox by its tail, picks up his pitch fork and repeatedly attempts to stab the fox against a tree before walking off camera carrying it by the tail. Sadly, the fate of this poor creature remains uncertain.
A spokesperson from North London Hunt Sabs commented:
“This behaviour, from someone who has been a terrier man for the East Essex Hunt for 30 years, just proves that this hunt is steeped in animal abuse. If the East Essex Hunt are lawfully “trail hunting,” there is no need to build artificial earths and even less need to capture foxes.”
Paul O’ Shea has been a terrierman for the East Essex Hunt for 30 years and has now been joined by his son Charlie. When he’s not fulfilling this role, he helps out whipping-in to huntsman Gary Thorpe. His father John O’Shea was the East Essex huntsman for 36 years and is considered a “legend” in hunting circles. Paul’s wife Wendy is one of the hunt Masters, the individuals who are responsible for the overall management and conduct of the hunt. When the East Essex Hunt masters deny all knowledge of and involvement in the sickening acts of cruelty shown in this video, it should be remembered that one of them is married to the man wielding the pitchfork! The family even gets a special mention in the East Essex Hunt write up in this week’s Horse and Hound magazine.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, commented:
“This is some of the worst abuse we have ever witnessed by hunters and the wanton cruelty is hard to fathom. Whilst most people who watch the video will be horrified, the calm and methodical manner in which the two individuals go about catching and torturing this poor fox show how commonplace their actions are.
The East Essex Hunt and the Hunting Associations will no doubt quickly try and distance themselves from this individual and his depraved act but it’s clear he is part of the fabric of the East Essex Hunt and will have been indoctrinated into such behaviours since the day he was born.
Boxing Day is fast approaching, and the media will be full of stories about the ever-popular Boxing Day Hunt featuring finely dressed huntsmen parading their hounds up and down high streets. That is not the reality of hunting in 2021, this video is. Cruel and psychopathic individuals who see wild animals as their playthings to be tortured for their own sick ends. Acts like this are sickeningly commonplace within the hunting community and it is thanks to brave, resourceful hunt saboteurs that such abuse is increasingly being exposed.”
In 2019 the HSA released footage of two terrier men from the Kimblewick Hunt trapping a fox and releasing it in front of the hounds. Full story here. The two men were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering due to their use of draining rods and holding the captured fox by its tail and received suspended prison sentences. The decision in that case shows that O’Shea should certainly be found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering and should expect a prison sentence.