This is a tale of everyday countryside activities (at least, everyday when so-called ‘trail hunting’ is involved) but there is something here we all need to consider: one of these people – how can we put this politely, is being economical with the actualité.
So, according to a report on the BBC, Teri White, an alpaca breeder in Northumberland, is claiming that hounds from the Tynedale Hunt had got on to her land near Hexham on three occasions, chasing “newly-weaned alpacas into a corner, terrifying them“. A hunt spokesperson, on the other hand, claim that “a few hounds did “drift” on to the land but did not chase or harm any animals“. Which are two very different things indeed…
Of course, we weren’t there, so we’re not stating on the record that someone is lying, but you do have to wonder why Ms White would make up a story that includes, for example, the telling (and commonly heard) detail that “we are literally staying here all day if we know they are hunting just to try and protect them, to keep them off the land.” Why would she bother to talk about any of this at all if it had never happened, and why would she interpret the incident so very differently from the hunt?
On the other hand, though, we have a hunt that is part of a ‘community’ that is widely acknowledged to have made up so-called ‘trail hunting’ to continue hunting after the passing of the Hunting Act 2004 (the Tynedale itself says on its website that they “believe that the ban is wrong and that hunting must be sustained as a viable and important part of life in the countryside“), which regularly ‘lose control’ of their hounds (the High Peak Hunt’s killing of a pet cat is a recent prime example), think nothing of causing ‘hunt havoc’ on main roads or, like the Fitzwilliam Hunt recently, invading funerals, that have been increasingly banned from land by councils, charities and individual landowners, and that was recently caught out in leaked webinars talking about ‘smokescreens’ and how terriermen were the ‘soft underbelly’ (which is the most vulnerable part of an animal of course) of ‘trail hunting’.
Perhaps Ms White is one of those animal ‘extremists’ that fox hunters love to deride, someone with a ‘Disneyfied view of nature’ with no understanding of foxes? Hardly. As she told ‘Country Smallholdling‘ in March last year she originally bought two alpacas to protect her chickens because they had been attacked by a fox. “Someone,” Ms White is quoted saying, “told us that with an alpaca you will never have fox trouble again. And they were right“. Sounds like someone with a very clear-headed view of the realities of living in the countryside, and who looked for – and found – a humane way to keep foxes away (though not, allegedly, from keeping the hunt away as well).
On the other hand (again) the Tynedale (whose hounds killed a pet dog in 1997 and whose former hunt master Frank Houghton-Brown was fondly reminiscing about killing foxes in the 1990s in the hunting magazine Horse and Hound just last month) have been filmed numerous times illegally hunting. A hunt which (let’s remind ourselves again) “believe that the ban is wrong and that hunting must be sustained as a viable and important part of life in the countryside” according to the homepage on their (otherwise almost empty) website.
Hmm, it’s just so difficult to say who is the more believable, eh…
An alpaca breeder has claimed hounds from a nearby hunt have left her animals “traumatised”.
Teri White, from Bingfield Alpacas, said that hounds from the Tynedale Hunt had got on to her land, near Hexham, Northumberland, on three occasions.
She said they chased newly-weaned alpacas into a corner, terrifying them.
The hunt said a few hounds did “drift” on to the land but did not chase or harm any animals, and it apologised unreservedly for any distress caused.
Ms White described the most recent occasion, just before Christmas, as “horrendous”.
She said: “Newly-weaned animals were chased into a corner and we had to sit with them until midnight to calm them down.
“We have pregnant females who could still easily abort as a result of the stress of being chased.
“It’s just not right, we are literally staying here all day if we know they are hunting just to try and protect them, to keep them off the land.”
The Tynedale Hunt said the police had investigated the matter and no further action was being taken.
It added that while conducting its lawful activities in the area it would take appropriate measures to ensure the hounds did not get on to Ms White’s land.BBC News, Tynedale Hunt hounds left alpacas ‘traumatised’, 05 Jan 2020