Thugs beat up activists, and foxes are torn in two. This is the reality of fox hunting.

fox hunting
Support us and go ad-free

Animal lovers across England should be celebrating right now, as the National Trust has declared that it will finally ban fox hunting on its land. But despite the good news, November has been a brutally violent month. Foxes have been murdered across the country, while the activists trying to save them have been physically assaulted and hospitalised.

Northants Hunt Saboteurs and Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs – who are activists on the ground trying to stop illegal hunting – were beaten up at the weekend while trying to prevent a hunting meet from taking place. They say that they were targeted by “masked thugs” and that:

Sabs were assaulted from the start, one being punched in the side of the head and knocked to the ground and was then kicked in the head whilst down. Another sab was repeatedly assaulted and punched in the face as he held his ground.

All sabs present were subject to serious threats of violence in the field. Being forced back to the road sabs were knocked to the ground but refused to be marched away.

The activists went on to say:

One sab, who had earlier been hit in [the] head, began to feel unwell and it was decided [they] needed to go hospital. Sabs called an ambulance and waited… within a short while hunt thugs…arrived and again assaulted sabs in and outside their vehicle with one female sab being pulled out of the vehicle.

The saboteurs say that the thugs stole the keys from their vehicle, as well as two camcorders. Camcorders are used by activists to film illegal fox hunting activities, as well as assaults like this.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
Foxes ripped apart

As awful as this was for the activists, it is, unfortunately, nothing compared to the brutality that has been inflicted on foxes this November.

Distressing footage from Weymouth Animal Rights on 13 November shows a fox being ripped up by hounds, while another fox was torn in two. Activists say that they managed to save two more foxes from the same fate that day.

Meanwhile, Devon County Hunt Saboteurs published a different video of a fox being torn up by hounds, while their activists on the ground filmed another incident of a dead fox’s body being carried to a quad bike to be used as a trail for hounds to follow.

These are just a few examples of the incidents that hunt saboteurs witness across the country, week in, week out.

A small victory, but there’s still a long way to go

On 25 November, the National Trust finally announced that it would ban hunting on its land. The decision was made after a top fox hunter was convicted for encouraging others to hunt foxes under the guise of ‘trail hunting’. Trail hunting is when packs lay an artificial trail for hounds to follow, instead of chasing a real fox. But activists have known for years that real foxes are consistently hunted and murdered on National Trust land.

Rob Pownall, founder of anti-hunting organisation Keep The Ban, told The Canary:

Finally the National Trust have made the decision they should have made years ago and banned the hunts from their land. The lie that is ‘trail hunting’ is well and truly over and this should prove to be a momentous day when it comes to finally ending the cruel and barbaric pastime of fox hunting for good.

Natural Resources Wales has also banned trail hunting on its land, as has the Malvern Hills Trust. But a number of land owners, including the Ministry of Defence, haven’t. In fact, the MoD is still handing out licenses to hunt. As the Hunt Saboteurs Association says:

how can an organisation, funded by taxpayers, continue to licence illegal hunts?

Whether the National Trust will actually enforce their trail hunting ban remains to be seen. After all, it has repeatedly ignored ample evidence that stags are hunted and murdered on its land. Public pressure, as well as active monitoring on the ground by hunt saboteurs, will be key in ensuring that the ban is upheld. And it is also up to all of us to ensure that big landowners like the MoD and Forestry England follow suit and ban trail hunting for good.

Featured image via Weymouth Animal Rights / Screenshot

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

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
  • Show Comments
    1. People have developed a reality protection screen between them and what they see on their screens. That animal’s flesh is the same stuff as your own flesh! Next time you cut your finger bump your toe and it fucking hurts try to imagine what those foxes felt being ripped apart by vicious, powerful dogs and the same for the images of dead Palestinians, dead Yemeni, dead Syrians, dead Iraqis, dead Afghans, etc! They are real people not pictures that doesn’t really exist, REAL BEINGS! They could have been on the phone to their Nanna in the UK two blocks from you, moments before some sick bastard put a bullet in their head, bombed their school bus, etc, etc, People are more Fucking offended by “bad language” than children, animals, civilians ripped to pieces by bombs, dogs, bullets, etc!
      Humanity is an Incurable Disease!
      How many people still say gratitude to the animal for it’s life that was sacrificed to feed and nourish them!? How many People have cut their meat consumption to enable more humane farming and slaughtering? How many people have even tried the new vegan foods available in the supermarket? You’ll be pleasantly surprised if you did! Stop feeding the Greedmongers and Warmongers who cause all this Evil in our Diseased World!
      We need to relearn Gratitude and Empathy! Somehow it got destroyed from screen to eye, from eye to brain, from brain to concioisness!

    2. Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 says that anyone who trespasses on land and does anything to intimidate someone engaged in a lawful activity or to disrupt or obstruct a lawful activity on land is committing a criminal offence. Thus a “sab”, whose intention to sabotage is in the name, is not an observer, he/she is a criminal who sets out to obstruct someone going about their lawful business of hunting. That’s why they get into an altercation with people who are frustrated that the police simply don’t do their job of preventing crime.
      This is not about fox welfare, is it? Since foxes will still have to be controlled by unselective shooting (often inexpertly), poisoning with blood thinning agents or snaring, all of will cause agonising and prolonged death, stopping hunting, in which the best foxes escape and the worst are caught (as naturally selective in nature) stopping hunting will, overall, bring only extra suffering to foxes. Well done.
      If hounds catch a fox, death ensues relatively quickly. Hounds merely replace the larger predators that we have already driven to extinction. Animals in nature are fleet of foot and camouflaged because nature is a dangerous place where they live brutal lives that we could not contemplate. Nature has no morals, no cruelty, no unfairness. These are human values.
      Foxes chase rabbits all day long…what about rabbit suffering? Why sympathise with foxes? Good PR?
      Nature isn’t kind – it doesn’t care and you have no right to impose your touchy-feely human values on it – you will turn the countryside into a zoo, just so you feel better, and the animals die out of your sight.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.