Horrific fox hunting incidents through the roof, as the rich continue to break the law
New figures show the scale of fox hunting cruelty in the countryside – enacted by the wealthy and privileged. They show that in just five months, there were over 350 incidents of potential illegal hunting. However, one saboteur group says that the numbers are likely the tip of the iceberg.
Fox hunting: still prolific even though it’s illegal
Fox hunting is still a huge problem in England and Wales. As the Canary previously reported, groups – or hunts – of rich, generally white people routinely still track, hunt, and kill foxes for enjoyment.
One such example was Wiltshire’s Avon Vale Hunt. In a video, fox hunters are blatantly digging two fox out of an artificially-dug hole, so hounds can chase and kill her. Police have been investigating. Meanwhile, the British Hound Sports Association has kicked the Avon Vale Hunt out of its organisation. And the footage below unquestionably shows illegality:
If you haven’t seen it – the disgusting reality of fox hunting – then please watch this and join us in doing all we can to put an immediate end to this savagery . Please RT @RSPCA_official @LeagueACS @HuntSabs @wiltshirepolice @ukwildlifecrime pic.twitter.com/aY5CHkKsa8
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) February 9, 2023
As the Canary‘s Tracy Keeling previously wrote:
In the wake of the footage, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) lead on fox hunting crime spoke out on social media. Matt Longman described the deliberate killing of a fox with hounds as illegal, wrong, and “prolific in the UK”.
Now, new research backs up the idea that illegal fox hunting is prolific.
Carnage and law breaking
Figures on fox hunting have been compiled by animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). They were taken during the last hunting season. The group said that the numbers:
show the scale of the carnage fox hunts caused in just five months in England and Wales between the beginning of November and April.
It found that there were 621 cases of what it calls “hunt havoc”. LACS describes this as including hunts:
- “Trespassing on private land and railway lines”.
- “Running amok on roads”.
- “Chasing livestock and people’s pets”.
- Having incidents involving the “welfare of horses and hounds”.
- Damaging badger setts “to prevent foxes fleeing”.
- Intimidating people, and causing mental distress.
- Chasing other wildlife like deer.
However, what LACS also exposed was the scale of potential law breaking around fox hunting. It said there were 361 incidents of hunts being involved in suspected illegal hunting. This included 315 cases of a hunt being seen chasing a fox.
Brutality: the top fox hunting offenders
None of these these figures include cub hunting. LACS describes this as:
a barbaric activity which takes place from August to October in the run-up to the hunting season.
When cub hunting is included, the total number of fox hunting incidents reaches 1,367. This includes 841 incidents of hunts wreaking havoc and 526 cases of suspected illegal hunting. 400 foxes were seen being chased by hunts. The worst offending hunts were:
- South Dorset Hunt: 49 incidents overall, including 34 incidents of hunt havoc and 15 incidents of suspected illegal hunting.
- Blackmore and Sparkford Vale: 43 overall, including four incidents of hunt havoc and 19 incidents of suspected illegal hunting.
- Duke of Beaufort: 38 overall, including 25 incidents of hunt havoc and 13 incidents of suspected illegal hunting.
- Warwickshire Hunt: 36 overall, including 23 incidents of hunt havoc and 13 incidents of suspected illegal hunting.
- Flint and Denbigh Hunt: 32 overall, including 19 incidents of hunt havoc and 13 incidents of suspected illegal hunting.
White people “marauding around” like they always have
Deputy CEO of the LACS Chris Luffingham said in a press release:
These figures show that fox hunts are out of control, still brutally chasing and killing animals and exhibiting a shocking range of anti-social behaviour that is blighting rural communities nearly 20 years after hunting with dogs was supposed to have been banned. It’s time for change, time for politicians to step up to the mark and for hunting laws to be strengthened.
It beggars belief that 18 years after the fox hunting ban came into force, hunts are still marauding around the countryside and getting away with their disruptive and callous activities.
Politicians have a responsibility to ensure law and order is being upheld and need to crack down on what amounts to a rural crime wave by the hunts – the Hunting Act needs to be strengthened to end the misery being inflicted on the lives of both people and animals.
However, the LACS figures are probably just the tip of the iceberg. Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association Lee Moon told the Canary:
The true figures will be far higher. Much of the LACS information is gleaned from Hunt Saboteurs hit reports and sadly hunts are out multiple times a week across the country meaning we’re unable to attend every meet.
18 years after the Hunting Act it’s ridiculous that we’re still having to do the police’s job for them. Hunts have shown time and again that they’re unwilling and unable to comply with the Hunting Act and the only solution is for the hunts to be disbanded.
Rich white people killing animals for fun should have stopped in the last century. However, due to successive Tory governments having personal involvement in fox hunting, or with the barbaric individuals that do it, it’s of little wonder the practice is still rife.
Featured image via Jonathan Hutchins/Geograph, resized to 770×403 pixels under licence CC BY-SA 2.0
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