Mark Vincent and Ian Parkinson have been given 12 week prison sentences, suspended for 1 year, and community service after being found guilty of keeping a fox captive and inflicting suffering upon it in breach of the Animal Welfare Act. Both men were employed by the Kimblewick Hunt at the time of the offence on 1st January this year.
The prosecution came about after footage was passed to the Hunt Saboteurs Association by the Covert Film Unit showing the two men releasing a captive fox to be chased and killed by the Kimblewick hunts hounds. Their actions not only cause unnecessary harm to the fox but are also carried out to facilitate illegal hunting.
The footage was filmed on New Years Day when the hunt met at Moreton, Thame, Oxon. It shows the hunt terrier men using draining rods to force the fox, that they’ve been holding captive, out of a drainage pipe then being thrown into the wood for hounds to chase. The terriermen can clearly be heard communicating with the huntsman agreeing when the best time is to release the fox which is given a brief head start so that the hunt riders experience a chase rather than a quick kill.
In her summing up the judge stated that it was high level, premeditated animal cruelty that had been done to facilitate illegal acts. In mitigation she said the two men were clearly acting under instruction from those higher up in the hunt.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “We're pleased that justice has been done and the two hunt employees have been punished for their part in this shocking incident. However lets be perfectly clear, what's shown in this footage is not an unusual act in the world of organised fox hunting but rather a common place, every day action carried out by hunt terrier men week-in week-out across the country. The only difference is that these two have been caught due to the actions of the Covert Film Unit who passed their footage onto the Hunt Saboteurs Association.
It's vital that this situation isn't passed off by the hunting community as a couple of bad apples ruining it for everyone else. The footage clearly shows the whole hunt were complicit in the events that took place in January this year and therefore should all pay the penalty for this inexcusable cruelty. We again ask the Masters of Foxhounds Association, who regulate fox hunts in the UK, why they haven't suspended the Kimblewick's membership and carried out their own investigation of this criminal conspiracy? Their lack of action appears to give tacit approval to this behaviour and again suggests how commonplace it is within the hunting world.”