Thanks to Mendip Hunt Sabs for this post. You can follow them at www.facebook.com/mendiphuntsabs.
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s links to the disgusting Mendip Farmers Hunt are well documented. His wife, Helena, was a former Master of the hunt and her and their children are still regular field riders. In January, the hunt met in a field owned by his family, and he has previously hosted them at his mansion and attended their hunt balls. His support for this band of criminals is still holding strong – on Saturday he hosted a meet of the Mendip Farmers Hunt at his Somerset home, Gournay Court in West Harptree. It is truly scandalous just how much criminality is endorsed by our local MP as he welcomed this mob of thugs in fancy outfits to the grounds of his home and plastered them with port and hot cider.
Just a week prior, Hunt Master George Pullen was filmed savagely beating a hound barely a kilometer away from Mogg’s place in a shocking incident that is still under investigation by the RSPCA. This hunt also has a string of convictions for violent crimes and persistently illegally hunt our wildlife. Since the collapse of the disgraced Avon Vale Hunt, they have also welcomed terrier men and riders from the AV as they desperately try to bolster their numbers in a clear endorsement of the despicable actions that caused the AV’s demise.
Yet Rees-Mogg seemed to gloss over the hunt’s rampant criminality and morally abhorrent behaviour and proudly boasted of the occasion on twitter as he sauntered between attendees. He waved off his wife and children when they rode out with the hounds, behind terrier men who swiftly donned their balaclavas as they passed through the gates.
One might expect the Mendip Farmers Hunt to be on their best behaviour, given such a high profile host. But the opposite was true and we witnessed numerous crimes throughout the day including:
- Illegal fox hunting
- Badger sett blocking
- Drunk and disorderly hunt supporters
- Drink driving
- Hunting in a nature reserve
Having been plied with drinks at the meet, hunt support and terrier men returned to their driving seats, and many continued boozing throughout the day. Police failed to respond to our reports of drink driving and wasted hunt support accosted sabs on footpaths and common land, spewing vile derogatory language whilst stinking of alcohol.
Brazen, illegal hunting was witnessed from the off. The first fox of the day was flushed from the reed beds surrounding Herriott’s Mill Pool, a nature reserve on the edge of Chew Valley Lake owned by Bristol Water. The huntsman actively encouraged the hounds when they picked up a scent in the reeds, and the fox was pursued across fields and went to ground in a badger sett. The sett had been freshly blocked, but fortunately for the fox, a couple of entrances by the adjacent footpath had been missed by the sett blockers. Hounds followed the line of the fox in full cry and marked to ground at the open entrances.
As shown in the recent Ollie Finnegan case, blocking badger setts (a crime in itself) proves intent to illegally hunt foxes, as there is just no need to prevent a legal, pre-laid scent trail from escaping underground. More blocked setts were found in the area, and when combined with the fact they were actively hunting inside a nature reserve, there can be no doubt that the hunt was intending to hunt foxes rather than legally follow a trail.
This is not the first time we have witnessed such crimes when JRM hosted the hunt. He received national media attention in 2019 when sabs found blocked badger setts during his meet. When the meet was held on Rees-Mogg’s land in January this year, one of their teenage children was seen illegally riding on an overloaded terrier quad (which also had its number plate obscured) with two other men on a public road.
The family has also participated in the hunt on several other occasions when we have seen foxes illegally hunted this season alone, including during barbaric cub hunting. Most notably, on Boxing Day 2022, his wife and children were present when a fox went to ground in a badger sett after being chased over a kilometer by hounds. This incident remains under investigation by the police.
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s actions spit in the face of democracy and prove once again that it’s one rule for us and another for them. How can we have any faith or trust in the law or police when senior politicians so openly flout the hunting ban. Given recently exposed links with police and hunts by Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs, this stinks of a much deeper, criminal conspiracy at the very core of our system.