Jumblebee | Raising funds for foxhunts

We’re back from annual leave and want to get back into the swing of things by highlighting a League Against Cruel Sports investigation of auction and fundraising site Jumblebee.

We should say from the outset that there is no question here of Jumblebee engaging in any illegal activity, but the League’s interest has been piqued by discovering that eighteen fox hunts have held online auctions on Jumblebee’s website, raising more than £120,000. A separate auction for the International Hounds Show last year raised £83,000 for hunts around the world and the Masters of Foxhounds Association.

That’s a massive sum for a ‘community’ that routinely breaks the law and has been caught out again and again doing so – for a recent example how about off the back of the leaked Hunting Office webinars Mark Hankinson, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, being charged with intentionally encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act 2004, contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007 (see -‘Trail-hunting’ – following the trail all the way to court)? Hunts are an unloveable group that has been desperate to replace funds lost because of lockdown and the ban on meets, and ‘no longer being required’ as [irony alert] monitors at Glastonbury Music Festival – hence their turning to sites like Jumblebee.

The League has been in touch with Jumblebee requesting they no longer support fox hunts but has not received a response. There is also no update on Jumblebee’s website, though it’s interesting to note they appear to have shut down their Twitter account. Links to their site on Google Images (see the screenshot example which we took today) are also returning empty (or ‘Null’) pages. (A quick Goggle search does bring up a page showing just how embedded in fox hunting Jumblebee appears to have been though – https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/auction/loadLeaderBoardLive/auction_id/4256/oneitemperpage/true?time=)

Shutting down your social media seems – how can we put this delicately – curiously hasty for a fundraising site that has benefitted many worthy causes alongside a handful of less worthy ones, and was presumably set up with the very best of intentions (on their About page they say that “Our aim is to help charities, clubs and communities to raise funds for good causes” – hard to see how illegally killing wild animals fits within such a laudable aim, but perhaps Jumblebee knows something that the rest of us don’t…).

Without further, or indeed, without any clarification from Jumblebee about their support for fox hunting, if we were a charity we would certainly be looking elsewhere if we needed to raise funds. Unless you’re a hunt too why would you want to be linked with them in any way at all?

When it comes to the crunch, if Jumblebee wishes to raise money to help support fox hunting that is of course entirely up to them. As we said above, it’s not illegal to raise money for fox hunts. It is though morally dubious. Like other organisations that provide a similar service Jumblebee does of course take a percentage from the monies raised. While that’s entirely fair given the work they do, benefitting from fox hunting does leave something of an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

If it’s fair for Jumblebee to do what they do, then they can have no complaints when campaigners do what they do: we also think it’s absolutely fair, therefore, that the League provides information which allows those of us that are totally opposed to illegal hunting to have the option to use other fundraising platforms that don’t benefit from supporting it.

While suggesting that Jumblebee and other businesses “disassociate themselves from fox hunts and animal cruelty“, the League also helpfully lists several organisations – including Auction Direct, GalaBid, and Give Fundraising – who have gone on the record to state that they would not host an auction for a fox hunt.

How will Jumblebee respond? So far it seems by doing nothing and waiting for it all to blow over. Perhaps they’ve never met infiuriated pro-wildlife campaigners before…?

 

Calls for fundraising company to stop hosting online auctions for fox hunts

A campaign has been launched to stop fox hunts from raising the money they need to continue with their barbaric activities after a League Against Cruel Sports investigation.

The League has called on the Jumblebee fundraising company to drop hunts from its books after the Devon-based Eggesford Hunt raised over £13,000 from an online auction hosted on its website – despite evidence emerging of the hunt chasing and killing foxes.

The League, one of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities, has uncovered reports revealing the Eggesford Hunt were witnessed killing four foxes last season with one particularly upsetting kill caught on camera. Terrier men attached to the hunt were also caught blocking badger setts to prevent foxes from escaping, and digging up setts to get to foxes that had hidden underground for which they received a police caution. There were also reports of livestock worrying with a sheep collapsing and dying after hunt hounds entered the field she was in, in January 2020.

The Eggesford Hunt auction raised £13,660 and ended earlier this month. A series of auctions held by Jumblebee across England and overseas have now helped fox hunts pocket more than £200,000. Jumblebee profits by taking five per cent of the total proceeds from these auctions.

This is set against the backdrop of a recent expose in which senior members of the hunt lobby are caught on camera seemingly admitting that trail hunting is a smokescreen for the chasing and killing of foxes – something the League has been saying for more than a decade.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns, at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Polling shows the vast majority of the British public are opposed to fox hunting and would be shocked to learn that hunts such as the Eggesford are being allowed to use Jumblebee to raise large amounts of money to fund their barbaric blood sport.

“It’s time for Jumblebee to stop allowing fox hunts to raise money on its online auction site. The recent revelations from the hunts themselves about trail hunting seemingly being a smokescreen for the chasing and killing of animals should be a clear sign of where the thousands of pounds raised for hunts is really going.”

Despite fox hunting being banned in 2005 and national lockdowns, the League Against Cruel Sports received more than 300 reports of suspected illegal hunting during 2020/21 – 11 of these reports were of hunts that have held auctions on the Jumblebee website including the Eggesford Hunt. Fox hunting is currently suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The League also commissioned polling from Survation in February 2020 which showed that 67 per cent of the public would think more positively or much more positively of a company that promised not to allow, promote or support ‘blood sports’ such as hunting, shooting, or animal fighting.

Five other auction sites – including Auction Direct, GalaBid, and Give Fundraising – have now gone on the record to state that they would not host an auction for a fox hunt.

Nick Weston, added:

“It’s time for businesses to disassociate themselves from fox hunts and animal cruelty – a decision that would be popular with their customers.”

League Against Cruel Sports, Calls for fundraising company to stop hosting online auctions for fox hunts in Devon, 25 March 21