Search Results for: hunting office webinars

Hunting Office webinars | Open letter from Action Against Foxhunting

“We urge you not to forget the real issue is that these webinars confirmed that you, as landowners, have been played, misled and lied to. THIS is the key point to come out of the webinar – that hunts break the law week in, week out – and you have been complicit in this.” This is an excerpt from an excellent open letter sent by the campaign group Action Against Foxhunting (AAF) “to all landowners and managers who allow “trail hunting” to take place” on their land”. It is yet more fallout from the self-inflicted wounds caused by last month’s leaked Hunting Office webinars (with their talk of ‘smokescreens’ and the ‘soft underbelly’ of terriers being taken out on so-called ‘trail hunts’) which includes a police investigation, a panning in the national media, and councils and major charities banning fox hunting on their land. AAF suggest that this open letter should be shared far and wide. We have no hesitation in recommending that.

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Hunting Office webinars | Why has ‘trail hunting’ been suspended?

The secretly-recorded and leaked Hunting Office webinars, uploaded to the internet by the Hunt Saboteurs Association two weeks ago, continue to cause huge problems for proponents of so-called ‘trail hunting’ as the number of major landowners banning hunts continue to grow. What follows is pure speculation, but we’re idly wondering why they’ve suspended licences so quickly? All five organisations have been quoted saying that they have suspended licences while the police investigations of the webinars are ongoing. That’s an odd reason to give really. Hunts sabs and monitors will (rightly) say that police investigations can take years and the interview rooms down at the local nicks will have been barely warmed up yet, so what’s going on…?

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Hunting Office webinars | National Trust suspends ‘trail hunting’ licences

The once seemingly impervious walls that fox hunting had built around itself with the invention of so-called ‘trail hunting’ are crumbling fast. Following on from the decision to suspend ‘trail hunting’ by Forestry England because of the secretly-recorded and leaked Hunting Office webinars, the National Trust has just announced that they too have paused ‘trail hunting’ on their land and will not be issuing any licences for the remainder of the season (which ends in March). This is another huge blow for illegal fox hunting. A highly respected charity has taken another look at ‘trail hunting’ and decided that – at the moment at least – it wants nothing at all to do with it.

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Hunting Office webinars | Forestry England suspend ‘trail hunting’ licences

The fall-out from the leaked/secretly recorded Hunting Office ‘trail hunting’ webinars is beginning to look rather like an avalanche: the snowball that started the whole thing may have taken some time to roll down the slope, but boy is it picking up pace now. News outlets took some time to carefully go over the material and come to their conclusions, but stories began to appear, first off in The Canary (‘Leaked webinar catches retired police chief advocating a ‘smokescreen’ to help fox hunters’) on the 18th, followed by The Times and others, and most damningly early morning yesterday on the ITV news website. Now both The Telegraph and ITV News are tonight reporting another blow to the hunts: Forestry England have suspended licences for ‘trail hunting’.

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Hunting Office webinars | Police investigating

As we (and everyone else interested in the demise of fox hunting – and yes, we know it’s illegal already but hundreds of hunts go out thousands of times a ‘season’ using the smokescreen of so-called ‘trail hunting’) reported last week, the so-called Hunting Office, which ‘runs’ fox hunting out of its HQ in Cirencester, was burnt badly when webinars discussing how to avoid being caught hunting were leaked by the Hunt Saboteurs Association. There has now been an interesting development, according to a series of tweets started by a well-known activist with the Twitter handle @herbieharry. A well-aimed tweet asking why no police action seems to have been taken was responded to by Paul Netherton OBE, Deputy Chief Constable for Devon & Cornwall Police and picked up by Hunt Watch UK.

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AXA | Insuring fox hunting

Fox hunts (and there are still hundreds operating across the UK despite the passing of the Hunting Act which banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs almost twenty years ago) operate as businesses. Many (scandalously in our opinion) received grants to help them through lockdown – according to a report in The Independent in September last year, councils in England and Wales had by then already given hunts more than £160,000 of taxpayers’ money in grants intended to help businesses struggling during the pandemic – and those ‘businesses’ need to be insured. A recent series of posts by the campaign group Hunting Leaks has shown that insurance is being provided by AXA, a French-based multinational insurance group which reported gross revenues of €96.723 billion for 2020. Here in the UK Axa trades as Axa UK, with subsidiaries including Axa Insurance, Axa Wealth and Axa Health, and Swiftcover. We have no doubt at all that AXA and Swiftcover want to do the right thing. Many of us are offering to help them do exactly that. All they need to do is ask…

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Hunting Office | No foxhunting before 29th March

The so-called Hunting Office (which ‘runs’ fox hunting out of its HQ in Cirencester, and which was burnt badly when webinars discussing how to use ‘smokescreens’ to avoid being caught hunting were leaked by the Hunt Saboteurs Association) has been quiet of late – presumably a combination of not wanting to mess up again now that one of its webinar guests is due in court for “intentionally encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act 2004”, and the welcome fact that hunting has been temporarily shut down during the current lockdown (something it inexplicably avoided last time around). However a 22nd February update on their website advises “registered hunts” that “hunting activities will not resume before 29th March.  We will keep all hunts updated regarding the evolving restrictions which will be in place after that date.”

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‘Trail-hunting’ – following the trail all the way to court…

The fall out from the leaked Hunting Office webinars (an online meeting discussing how to avoid being caught foxhunting leaked by the Hunt Saboteurs Association) continues with some remarkable news that broke today: Mark Hankinson, the Director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA – the Governing Body of sticking two fingers up to the law whoops, we mean of course “for registered packs of Foxhounds”) will be charged in court in March 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. Foxhunting is a stubborn little virus, but this is, without doubt, a massive blow to a group of people who have routinely and deliberately broken the law every week since the Hunting Act came into force. It’s too early to say hunting won’t recover, of course, but kudos to the police for taking the investigation seriously and – of course – kudos again to the Hunt Sabs for getting these highly-incriminating video files online in the first place.

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