It’s a Dog’s Life (or Death)

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Gary Thorpe, Huntsman of the East Essex Hunt

For decades the Countryside Alliance, Hunting Office, Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and various hunts have claimed that hunting hounds are rehomed when they start to slow down. They deny as nonsense that sick hounds are killed and claim to have very regular visits from the vet.

Anti-hunt campaigners have long argued the opposite and with fair proof. RSPCA figures put the figure of hounds killed each year at 10,000.

Gary Thorpe, Huntsman of the East Essex Hunt
Gary Thorpe, Huntsman of the East Essex Hunt

Enter Gary Thorpe, Huntsman of the East Essex Hunt. He has admitted in a recent Facebook post that sick and older hunting dogs are killed and incinerated.

“Hounds wouldn’t be happy [being] retired, so to me this would be a far crueller life than being put to sleep.”

This statement sums up the warped thinking of your average hunter. Dogs are demonstrably sentient beings and will always choose to live if given the choice. It is why they can sense danger and have the same fight or flight mechanism as humans.

Thorpe then attempts to dress up the reasons for killing older hounds. He claims they are not suitable as domestic pets. With this lie he inadvertently drops every other foxhound pack in the country in the hound muck. If fox hounds cannot be rehomed then they must all be killing their older hounds, something the entire fox hunting fraternity denies.

Of course the killing takes place for a different reason – Business.

Hunts are businesses and to them the hounds, just like their horses and vehicles, are assets and when they are no longer fit for purpose, either through sickness or age, they are disposed of.

Huntsman Thorpe even points out the obvious problem with trying to rehome so many hounds every year – there are simply too many.

“I use a pistol, the same pistol I use to euthanise horses and livestock on a daily basis.”

He then claims that kennel staff “administer most of the medications they [the hounds] require.”

We find this difficult to believe as diagnoses and supply of medication would still require a vet and both are usually costly for one dog, never mind a whole pack. So again, from the business point of view it is far more cost effective to monitor and if necessary “dispose of” the sick animal, or damaged asset, as the business would see it.

Foxes are not the only victims

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:

“Gary Thorpe confirms what we all already knew. A hunts dogs are no more than a tool, a tool that can be disposed of when it is no longer useful. The fact that he is willing to talk about it openly on Facebook proves how common place these practices are in the hunting world.

Many of their media outlets are currently using puppy and hound pictures to polish their public image. Thorpe has just given the world another glimpse into the grimy and morally corrupt world of organised bloodsport extremism.

Thorpe’s blunder has come at a time when hunting is reeling from several very public howlers. Since the widely publicised Hunting Office webinars hunts have lurched from disaster to disaster be it the Quorn flouting lockdown to illegally hunt on a masters birthday to the Kimblewick chasing and killing a fox in an industrial estate. From the Western Hunt in Cornwall killing a pet cat to the Grove and Rufford attempting to flush a fox from an artificial earth to be hunted.”

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