Hunt saboteurs have been in action this weekend to stop mink and otter hunts at opposite ends of the country.
The Northern Counties Hunt were rumbled near Selby, North Yorkshire, while the Courtenay Tracy Hounds were found in the depths of Somerset’s Chew Valley. Both packs headed home when confronted by large numbers of dedicated hunt sabs.
So, why exactly were these packs of hounds gathering in remote riverside locations?
Their governing body – the wholly discredited Hunting Office – claims they are legally engaged in “trail hunting, rat hunting or riverbank surveys.”
However, the Northern Counties Hunt just couldn’t get their story straight. One supporter told sabs they were “exercising hounds” while another claimed they were simply “having a picnic.” And last time they were sabbed, their terrierman explained he was only carrying a large, evil-looking spade “in case he needed the toilet.”
To be fair, we don’t blame them for thinking this risible nonsense sounds more convincing than “trail hunting”, especially in the week that yet another huge landowner – the Lake District National Park Authority – banned this bogus activity from their land.
A HSA spokesperson explained:
“All of these packs illegally hunt mink, and an increasing number target otters too. But we know we are winning the war against them: both these hunts used to attract scores of violent supporters. The pitiful numbers they can turn out these days tells a bigger story about the demise of hunting. However, we are not complacent and will be stepping up our campaign against the mink and otter hunters as the summer progresses.”