Hunter who threw a fox to hounds is punished

This is another episode in the story of a foxhunter who supervised the throwing of a live fox to a pack of hounds on Christmas Eve. Thomas Ledbury, 38, was working for the Avon Vale hunt at the time. He was employed as a terrier man. He was caught on video supervising another man digging the fox out of the ground after which he threw the fox to the hounds to be killed by being torn to shreds.

Fox hunters convicted of animal cruelty
Fox hunters convicted of animal cruelty

RELATED: Illegal fox hunting in the UK is still prolific says a police chief

Normally, terrier men are employed by foxhunts to block up badger sets and fox dens to force them out into the open where they can be hunted. Any foxes that hid would be located using the dogs.

But in the UK, hunting mammals with dogs was made illegal in 2004. In substitution of that ban, foxhunts invented trail hunting which is meant to replicate traditional hunting by following a scent on a trail laid by runners or horse riders.

We can thank fox hunting saboteurs for gathering together the evidence which supported the prosecution of these men. In a leaked video from an online lecture series held in 2020 by the Hunting Office, a Hunt official said: “A lot of people would say that if you’re going trail hunting why do you need terrier men following you around? Yes, it is totally legal for them to be out doing everything if they follow the correct exemptions but it does flag up a bit of a marker to everyone, you know, why do you as trail hunters, do you need them there?” This was a hint, I presume, of the fact that foxes were illegally being attacked by dogs.

The Avon Vale hunt was disbanded in February 2023. This was because it was removed from the sport’s governing body, the British Hounds Sports Association. This happened because a leaked video showed two foxes being dug out of the ground and thrown to hounds on December 20, 2022. This was a different event but the same sort of animal cruelty took place.

At the prosecution of Thomas Ledbury, mentioned above, the magistrate court was told that two other men were previously convicted for their involvement in the 2020 Christmas Eve incident.

One of them was, I understand, Oliver Thompson, who was found guilty after a criminal trial of causing unnecessary suffering to a fox and he was sentenced to a 20-week suspended prison sentence.

The other was Stuart Radbourne, the Avon Vale hunt master, who pleaded guilty and received an 18-week custodial sentence. It was suspended for 12 months.

My thanks to The Times newspaper for this report.

RELATED: Cotswold fox hunters accused of burying a lactating female fox alive in prepared hole

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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