Fox killers who showed ‘total disregard for the law’ get away with small fines

Fox hunters

A court found three fox hunters guilty of hunting a fox with dogs on 14 March. Yet the punishment they received serves primarily as a reminder of why the Hunting Act is doing so little to deter the continuation of this barbaric practice. The three received fines. But the penalties that the court bestowed on them were not even severe within the range of options available. Even though Nottinghamshire police said the group showed “total disregard for the law”.

The Hunting Act

The Hunting Act 2004 states that:

A person guilty of an offence under this Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

The standard scale of fines has 5 levels which impose maximum fines of:

  1. £200.
  2. £500.
  3. £1,000.
  4. £2,500.
  5. Unlimited (it was £5,000 up until 12 March 2015).

The three people received fines of £800, £550 and £180. This means the first two fines were within level three, and the third was within level one. The court could have given a more imposing fine to deter other fox hunters. And although some people may feel that would have been inappropriate, offences that the government lists as meriting level five fines or prison time include:

  • Sale of alcohol to children – maximum penalty of 6 months in prison or a level five fine.
  • Unauthorised sale of (football) tickets – maximum penalty of 6 months in prison or a level five fine.
  • Making false statement or representation to obtain social security benefit – maximum penalty of 3 months in prison or a level five fine.

A slippery path

Despite the Hunting Act, hunting groups are still getting away with killing foxes. Partially, this is because the police have neither the time nor resources to pursue every hunt. But the law itself also provides loopholes for hunts. Because even if a pack of dogs kills a fox, it is up to prosecutors to prove that the dogs acted on the command of their handlers.

Writing in The Telegraph, Laurence Dodds said:

Read on...

[Tony Blair], by his own admission, was never ideologically opposed to hunting. But the ban was necessary to satisfy a key block of his MPs who had pushed tuition fees through Parliament. This quid pro quo swiftly became politically costly, however, and Blair became convinced he had made a mistake when a woman he met in Italy, who was mistress of a hunt near Oxford, explained how deeply intertwined the tradition was with Britain’s rural economy. ‘From that moment on,’ he writes in his memoir, A Journey, ‘I became determined to slip out of this.’ In the end, the law was ‘a masterly British compromise’ which left hunting ‘banned and not quite banned at the same time’.

No deterrent

If the authorities do not enforce laws, they fail to act as deterrents. This is also true of laws which result in very little punishment even when they are enforced. The UK still overwhelmingly supports a ban on hunting. But if the Hunting Act is failing to stop foxes being killed, then it’s failing to represent what people in the UK stand for.

Get Involved!

– Support Keep The Hunting Ban on Facebook.

– You can also contact your MP, telling them not to support a repeal of the Hunting Act.

Support the Hunt Saboteurs Association.

Featured image via Pixabay

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed