Hunting’s ‘governing body’ gives thumbs up to criminal hunt

Seavington Hunt release a bagged fox to be hunted

The ‘governing body’ of hunting, the British Hound Sports Association, has given the thumbs up to the criminal Seavington Hunt.

In March last year, Hunt Saboteurs Association captured footage which showed the huntsman and 5 terriermen belonging to the Somerset-based Seavington Hunt pulling a captured fox out of a sack, releasing it in front of hounds, and then hunting it.

Seavington Hunt release a bagged fox to be hunted
Seavington Hunt release a bagged fox to be hunted

The footage was published by the national media in August with Avon and Somerset Police launching an investigation.

Following this publicity, the British Hound Sports Association, which had only just been set up to replace the disgraced Hunting Office as the governing body for hunting, released a statement.

It said: “In March the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) was made aware of a serious incident involving the Seavington Hunt.

“The MFHA unequivocally condemned this behaviour which was wholly unacceptable and would not be tolerated by any of the hunting associations. The MFHA committee immediately suspended the hunt and revoked the membership of its Master. Following a police interview the huntsman left the employment of the hunt.

“The hunt remains suspended from the British Hound Sports Association, the new governing body for hunting with hounds, until a full enquiry is carried out by the Hound Sports Regulatory Authority, the new regulatory body that is responsible for disciplinary matters. This will take place following the conclusion of the legal process.”

That legal process concluded in October 2022, with the huntsman Benedict Hood pleading guilty to hunting the fox.

Fast forward to May 2023, and the findings of the Hound Sports Regulatory Authority’s ‘full enquiry’ haven’t been forthcoming, the 5 terriermen present in the footage still haven’t been brought to justice, and the Seavington Hunt are still out there terrorising wildlife in the Somerset and Dorset countryside.

Added to this, the BHSA have recently shared posts in support of this criminal hunt on their social media pages, including one of their ‘point to point event,’ a big fundraiser for the hunt. Far from a transparent, ‘zero tolerance approach’ to rule breaking that they claim to uphold, this is a nod and the wink for more of the same to continue.

The bagged fox at the Seavington isn’t an isolated incident.

Hunts across the country are not only still hunting foxes illegally, but are doing so in ways that were allegedly banned by their own governing bodies even when fox hunting was legal.

In February, hunt sabs released footage of the Avon Vale Hunt throwing and bolting two foxes to hounds. This has led to an ongoing police case and the BHSA kicking the hunt out of the association, however it has since emerged that they plan on continuing as an ‘unregistered’ pack.

A live fox is thrown to waiting hounds
A live fox is thrown to waiting hounds by the Avon Vale Hunt

In March, it was the turn of the Cotswold Hunt, who also found themselves on TV news after hunt sabs found a live fox tied up in a sack in an ‘artificial earth’ where the hunt was that day. We recently reported that they received a slap on the wrist from the British Hound Sports Association.

A Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson said:

“With glaring inconsistencies in sanctions for rule breaking hunts, and the British Hound Sports Association promoting the work of a hunt that was supposedly suspended only 8 months ago, is it any surprise that other hunts have felt emboldened to continue to not only act outside of the law, but also outside of their own conventions?

The honeymoon period is already long over for the BHSA as infighting grips the hunting community and more hunts choose to operate outside of their realm.

18 years after fox hunting was supposedly banned, hunts are still operating as criminal gangs, and what other organised crime gangs would be allowed to police themselves? It’s clear that nothing short of a total hunt ban is needed.”

With an election on the horizon, now is the time to write to your MP and tell them to support a total ban on hunting to stop the out of control, criminal hunts. Keep it polite, to the point, and use personal experiences and recent incidents published here to help you.

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