News reaches us from multiple sources that the latest crisis the BHSA are desperately trying to keep quiet is the sacking of various huntsmen following police raids on hunt kennels.
The raids in January this year led to the arrests of 6 men and the seizure of 22 terriers. We have been informed that as a result the huntsmen from three hunts – Sam Staniland at the Essex and Suffolk, Matthew Vater at the East Kent and Oliver Thompson at the Old Berks have all been suspended by the BHSA and consequently sacked by their respective hunts.
Both the Essex and Suffolk and the Old Berks advertised for new huntsmen on the 3rd May, a highly unusual move when all new contracts for hunt staff start on the 1st May, and the Essex and Suffolk cited “unforeseen circumstances” in their rather desperate advert.
At the time of the raids a WhatsApp group message circulated to those inside hunting and shared with ITV News says the RSPCA and the Police were “looking for damaged terriers” and they should “alert everyone in your area they could be visited”.
Sources inform us there is significant evidence against the suspended huntsmen including maps of where foxes were killed and multiple videos evidencing illegality against both foxes and badgers. Terriers with damaged faces were also seized during the raids.
Sam Staniland was previously convicted of illegal hunting whilst huntsman at the now defunct Meynell and South Staffs Hunt. He is also close friends with the notorious Ollie Finnegan who was convicted of illegal hunting in 2022 and caused national outrage when he breached the national lockdown to take the Quorn hunting.
A Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesman commented:
“The BHSA look increasingly like the Dutch boy with their finger in the dyke. Already this year they’ve had to permanently expel the Avon Vale and suspend the Cotswold Hunt, both following horrific incidents of animal abuse. The fact they’ve now had to suspend three “professional” huntsmen following more sickening allegations shows that hunting is rotten to the core and attitudes amongst hunts and hunt staff haven’t changed in the 18years since the Hunting Ban.
It’s no longer if but when the whole hunting house of cards comes tumbling down and is finally consigned to history.
We’ll be following with interest as Lord Astor, chairman of the BHSA, investigates the Old Berks Hunt of which he was formerly chair.”