The Masters of Foxhounds Association gave clear guidance to hunts around the country that during lockdown hounds should only be exercised from their kennels. In violation of that guidance, Joss Hanbury, senior hunt master for the Quorn Hunt in Leicestershire, drove hounds to land near his home for what he claimed was “hound exercise”. He did this as part of a seventieth birthday surprise.
Footage shows the hounds digging into what anti-hunt activists believe was a foxhole or badger sett. As a consequence, the Masters of Foxhounds Association suspended Hanbury for two seasons. Another master, Rowan Cope, was suspended for six months. The association said that their behaviour was irresponsible and the reputation of the sport had been seriously damaged.
Neither master is going to continue their roles according to ITV News as confirmed by a letter to Quorn Hunt members. The police are investigating. The Hunt Saboteurs Association said that the punishment would not have occurred if the matter had not come to light.
Comment: for people like me, animal lovers, the reputation of foxhunting has always been very, very low. The entire pastime should be banned and expunged from society. It harks back to a different time when it was deemed acceptable to be cruel to animals in the interests of entertaining people. The world has moved on and this sort of activity is no longer acceptable. The partial ban on foxhunting did not go far enough. It should be entirely banned. The country pursuits advocates would hate that and say that foxhunting employs a lot of people. Big deal, I say. They can find jobs elsewhere like millions of other people have had to do during the coronavirus pandemic.