NEWS AND OPINION: Illegal foxhunting is “prolific in UK” so says a police chief. And it is carried out under the guise of it being trail hunting which is legal. This article is about a recent instalment in that saga of illegality by the ‘countryside set’, the countryside people who present an image of respectability but who are cruel and barbaric in their nature according to people like me, Brian May and Chris Packham.
Chris Packham said this about a secretly filmed video which was given to ITV, a major television channel in the UK:
“To witness this barbarity, this pre-meditated callous cruelty inflicted on a wild animal in the UK countryside in the 21st century is absolutely sickening.
“But this is the brutal face of fox hunting. This is not an isolated incident. We see this week in week out and the hunts have been exposed. They have been exposed for saying that they practice trail hunting -as indeed this hunt proclaimed as well.
“Well, that is not trail hunting. That is fox hunting pure and simple, and it is illegal. And I sincerely hope that all of those who are identifiable in this video are brought to justice.”
Brian May said:
“This footage speaks for itself of course, it’s so shocking and so disgusting that it can’t leave any decent person in any doubt about what trail hunting really means.”
The video shows members of a hunt digging up a fox and ripping it from a den by its neck and then throwing it to the hounds to be torn to bits. While the huntsman throws the captured fox to the hounds another fox unexpectedly bolts from the den. The man filming excitedly shouts: “There’s a brace! There’s a brace!”
This is followed by shrieks of laughter from the hunters who were on foot and horseback. The pack of hounds splits up with one group apparently chasing after the bolting fox.
So once again, foxhunters have been caught red-handed illegally trying to bypass the Hunting Act 2004 creating a smokescreen of legality through trail hunting when in fact they are engaged in barbaric behaviours.
The Times newspaper reports that Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, the commander for Plymouth, is the police chief who admitted that illegal foxhunting was prolific. He had seen the video and he tweeted:
“Deliberately killing a fox with a pack of hounds is illegal, wrong and prolific in the UK. National experts will offer support to investigating forces to raise the game of UK policing. Much more to do.”
Longman is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on foxhunting crime. He wants the police to work with volunteers who monitor fox hunts and expose illegality. He wants to volunteers to provide the police with their evidence which should be unedited video material and time-stamped. This will help lead to successful prosecutions.
Longman believes that the number of unsuccessful and successful prosecutions indicates that there is a significant criminal hunting scene in the UK.
Police need to learn more about foxhunting and the indicators of illegal hunting. I believe that was the Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs who provided the video material to ITV and showed it to Matt Longman.
“You’ve played a significant part in starting an investigation here. I’d like to publicly thank you for reporting it, and for the volunteer role you have played on this occasion to catch criminals.”
The Hunt saboteurs said that they had identified all the perpetrators and the location. They have passed the information to the police.
The hunt concerned is the Avon Vale. The filming took place on December 20, 2022. After the video material was made public, the hunt was suspended from membership of the British Hound Sport Association (BHSA).
The association is: “Minded permanently to expel the hunt, its masters, huntsman and kennel huntsman from membership of the BHSA.”
This may result in the Avon Vale hunt ceasing activities. The hunt members have 14 days to “make any further representations”.
Wiltshire police have launched an appeal to identify those involved in the alleged hunt. Note: they have got the information as far as I know from the hunt saboteurs.
In a statement, chief inspector James Brian of the Wiltshire police said:
“We take any allegations of wildlife over fences extremely seriously and we would urge anyone with information that could identify those in this video to contact ourselves or Crimestoppers at the earliest opportunity. We take a robust approach to wildlife crime and are investigating the circumstances depicted in this footage.”
Below are some more articles on fox hunting: