In the UK, stag hunts on horseback are bending the law to allow them to continue to hunt deer and kill them. It is the same sort of situation that occurs when the Japanese kill whales for ostensibly scientific reasons. The world knows that they kill whales to eat them and that it has nothing to do with scientific research.
I would argue the same applies in this instance only they kill the deer for entertainment primarily. Three traditional stag hunts on horseback chase deer in Somerset and Devon supported by up to 400 people in vehicles.
The Hunting Act 2004 bands hunting wild mammals with dogs. However, it allows hunters to use up to 2 dogs to hunt deer “for the purpose of or in connection with the observation or study of the wild mammal”.
The stag hunts use several pairs of dogs transported in 4×4 vehicles in relay and in one instance they chased a deer across Exmoor for five hours over 11 miles until exhaustion when the animal was shot.
The phrase in the law “research and observation” is too loosely drafted and it is a loophole which is being abused by these hunts. The words need to be removed from the law.
Despite a ban on stag hunting, the season in Devon and Somerset last nine months from August to April and the Devon & Somerset Staghounds have killed deer every day in August except on two occasions. Therefore, they are carrying on as if the ban on deer hunting no longer exists. Their behavior is a consistent and it is a flagrant abuse of a poorly written piece of legislation.
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance denied that the hunts were doing anything wrong and said that their activities are within the law. They say that on every occasion the Devon & Somerset Staghounds have acted legally, whichever exemption it is operating under.
A worrying aspect of this illegal hunting is the fact that the Crown Prosecution Service has chosen not to pursue allegations of illegal hunting. They claim that they lack resources. I would have to suggest that it is not about a lack of resources but about a lack of commitment and resolve. Is also about a lack of desire to take animal rights seriously.
The toffs of formal hunting in the UK love to chase and kill wildlife. They see nothing wrong with causing a wild animal great distress and pain in the pursuit of their entertainment. They are psychopathic in character.