Yesterday marked the first major hunting day since national media coverage of the leaked hunting webinars. Our exposé had a major effect on hunt behaviour with many packs meeting early in an unsuccessful bid to avoid sabs. Highlights included the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace sending their hounds home at first sight of sabs, and at least three hare-hunting beagle packs heading straight back to the meet.
Of course, not everything has changed. The criminal Cottesmore Hunt were openly chasing foxes as usual, while at the Barlow Hunt an air ambulance had to be called to attend an injured sab.
What sabs didn’t really see yesterday was any “overt trail-laying” – the infamous “smokescreen” designed to conceal illegal hunting. Yes, Lancashire’s Holcombe Hunt had a rider with a sock on a string, but he spent most of the day ambling along behind the pack. Most hunts were just too embarrassed to resort to a tactic their own leaders describe as a “smokescreen”.
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