Things have gone from bad to worse for a hunt convicted of animal cruelty

Kimblewick Hounds
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Oxford Magistrates’ court convicted Mark Vincent and Ian Parkinson of animal cruelty charges on 30 October. Anti-hunting group Covert Film Unit filmed the pair forcing a fox from a man-made earth into the path of hounds. The crime occurred during the Kimblewick Hunt’s New Year’s Day 2019 meet near Moreton.

The judge during the case described the pair’s actions as “deliberate and pre-meditated” and convicted them of unnecessary cruelty to a fox. She also told the pair to expect custodial sentences.

Since then, things have gone from bad to worse for this hunt.

Thame Town Council

Within days of the judgement, the Kimblewick Hunt faced further repercussions. On 5 November, Oxford Mail said that Thame Town Council had “voted to refuse permission” for the hunt to meet in the town centre on New Year’s Day. This location has been the ‘traditional’ pre-hunt meet for New Year’s Day “in recent years”.

The Kimblewick Hunt set out from Thame on the same day that the Covert Film Unit caught Vincent and Parkinson. The council actually decided to refuse permission before the conviction. Minutes from the 29 October meeting show that, although the hunt had not approached the council to hold the meeting in the town centre, the:

default position [is] that permission will not be given this year.

However, a spokesperson for the hunt told Oxford Mail that it still “looks forward to welcoming huge crowds over the festive period”.

Read on...

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Forestry England

That’s not the end of the hunt’s woes, though. Several days later, it emerged that Forestry England (FE) was also reconsidering its position on the Kimblewick Hunt. The government body is responsible for forests across England, and licenses hunts to use its land. It initially licensed six dates for the Kimblewick Hunt, which are still listed on FE’s website at the time of writing:

Forestry England licenses for the Kimblewick Hunt

However, FE said on 8 November that it had cancelled the Kimblewick Hunt’s next date on the commission’s land. In an email also sent to The Canary, FE said that it’s “taking time to consider the issues raised by the recent convictions at Oxford Magistrates Court”.

Anti-hunting campaign group Stop Hunting on the Nation’s Land described the news as “positive”, and said it expects FE to ‘fully ban’ the Kimblewick Hunt “soon”.

“Open and accountable”

Commenting on the Kimblewick Hunt’s conviction, pro-hunting lobby group the Countryside Alliance told BBC News that there’s “no justification for this type of activity”. It also said that:

Hunts should be open and accountable whilst operating to the highest possible standards at all times

Companies House shows that director of the Countryside Alliance Guy Portwin was a director of the Kimblewick Hunt between 2008 and 2012. Horse & Hound‘s hunting directory for the 2012/13 season also lists Portwin as a joint-master of the hunt:

Furthermore, his wife Polly Portwin is also the Countryside Alliance’s head of hunting.

Widespread animal cruelty

The Kimblewick Hunt hit mainstream news in March 2017 after it killed its hounds following an outbreak of bovine TB (bTB). The hunt at first claimed that “about 25 hounds” had been killed in December 2016. But a research paper published on 31 July 2018 revealed that the hunt had actually killed 97 hounds. It also revealed that one human at the Kimblewick Hunt’s kennels had contracted bTB.

It’s clear this hunt is involved with reckless, criminal and immoral activities. Both Thame Town Council and Forestry England recognise this. It’s time that other landowners and the hunt itself recognise this. The Kimblewick Hunt must end its widespread animal cruelty immediately.

Featured image via Lydia Knight/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Things have gone from bad to worse for a hunt convicted of animal cruelty
      Just the point there on this matter. Killing anything just for a sport or pass time is a NO-NO in my eyes.
      What is it was a human person being hunted by a pack of dogs?
      uncontrolled by rich Tory party members for sport would,
      Prime Minister Boris, let it carry on just for RICH new voters plus party funding yes or no?
      Would the local forestry council let it carry on yes or no?
      Would the local area county councils let it carry on yes or no?
      Most important/PART
      would the resident of any area let it carry on if it was a human?
      being pulled apart just for sport and a weekend riding lessen.
      All killing for sport ONLY should be band FULLY by all County/ Councils and local area M.P. of all parties.

    2. I have always thought hunting for one fox with a pack of hounds whilst dressing up in silly clothes was sick and perverted. Killing any animal for fun is horrific sadistic and disgusting. I hope they all go to prison-that should give a life lesson they will remember.

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