Search Results for: hunting office webinars

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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Petition | Ask Duke of Westminster to ban ‘trail hunting’

Cheshire Monitors, the group that works to expose cruelty to wildlife in and around Cheshire and the North West, including fox and hare hunting, badger baiting and their related crimes, have launched a petition asking the Duke of Westminster to honour his late father’s wishes and ban so-called ‘trail hunting’ on his Cheshire estate. Cheshire Monitors write on their Facebook page that, “…in 2004, before the enactment of the Hunting Act, which banned the hunting of wild mammals with a pack of hounds, the then Duke of Westminster, who owned the 11,000 acre Eaton Estate in West Cheshire, vowed to stop hunts using his land if they broke the law: “I respect the law and if the law of the land comes in in February I will stick to it.” However, the current Duke of Westminster (Hugh Grosvenor) has continued to allow the Wynnstay, Cheshire Hounds and Cheshire Beagle hunts access to land at Eaton Estate.

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Foxhunting | Shut the door on your way out…

It appears that foxhunting is nowhere near as resilient as its been trying to appear. As many campaigners have suspected (and we ourselves have pointed out recently), hunts have been hit hard by lockdown. Without the fees collected for hunts and point to point meetings, but with the hounds and infrastructure to maintain, many hunts are facing financial ruin according to the excellent new website Hunting Leaks (whose expose has now been covered by ITV News). While we would never use the term ‘sport’ to describe the actions of rural hooligans on horseback breaking the law, the phrases ‘in trouble’ and ‘running out of money’ will be music to many of us. The acknowledgement that hunts are also ‘running out of country (to hunt in)’ is also extremely good news and shows how important the pressure to suspend ‘trail hunting’ licences on organisations like the National Trust and Forestry England has been. It must continue.

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Petition | Govt response to call to ban ‘trail hunting’

As expected, the government has responded to a petition asking for a ban on so-called ‘trail hunting’ by saying that there is no need to change the law because the law already bans fox hunting and allows so-called ‘trail hunting’ (which the government appears not to recognise as a smokescreen for illegal hunting). Does that we mean we should give up though? Absolutely not. Hunts are under enormous pressure right now from leaked webinars, councils banning hunts from their land, ‘trail hunting’ licences suspended by major landowners like the National Trust and Forestry Commission, and a financial crisis (because of lockdown stopping hunts collecting riding revenues) that hunts have never faced before. Hunts are reeling under a barrage of continuous scrutiny, online information, and their own stupid missteps. We may not actually need legislation changing in Parliament – by keeping the pressure on, we’re all helping illegal fox hunting to die a deserved ‘death by a thousand cuts’ anyway…

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Wiltshire | Hunting Office seeking to influence Police and Crime Commissioner elections?

According to a new website called ‘Hunting Leaks’ (which was set up to help instigate multiple GDPR claims against the Countryside Alliance, a fascinating story in itself and well worth reading), the Hunting Office (the infamous ‘leaking like a sieve’ hunting coordinators that developed a series of seminars designed to help fox hunts make themselves appear legitimate – fifteen years after the Hunting Act came into force) are apparently raising funds to influence outcomes in the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. We know this because Hunting Leaks has provided a link to the minutes of a Hunting Office meeting where this was discussed last year. So what to make of the Hunting Office raising funds to help get people like, for example, Jonathon Seed into office? Mr Seed was until relatively recently the only candidate standing for the role of PCC in Wiltshire, a largely rural county with a large number of active fox hunts. Including the Avon Vale Hunt (which often hunt around Lacock in Wiltshire) – of which Mr Seed is a former huntmaster…

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Cheshire West | ‘Trail Hunting’ to go under the microscope

Cheshire West and Chester Council has announced plans to set up a cross-party group to examine ‘trail hunting’ in detail. The move has been heavily criticised by a number of Conservatives on the group (apparently because they appear to think the Council can only concentrate on one thing at a time), but – reaching for the pro-hunt lobbyist playbook – has been welcomed by the pro-hunt lobby group ‘Countryside Alliance’: they are quoted in the report below saying that, “the local rural and trail hunting communities would hope to be able to provide input for this group to maintain balance and ensure it is not driven by prejudice”. The CA are evidently trying to appear ‘reasonable’ (a bit difficult after 15 years of slamming the Hunting Act and denigrating the many pro-wildlife members of those same rural communities). They may think that’s the clever option, but as they may learn, once statements have been put on the record they can come back and bite you. If “the local rural and trail hunting communities” were to detail exactly what they do (or more importantly list exactly what they know that they can and can’t do under the Hunting Act), it would be extremely hard to defend themselves if they were then subsequently caught out hunting again. The CA may just be giving local hunts enough rope to hang themselves with…

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National Lockdown | Hunting Season on hold

It’s official – at least, even the self-important so-called ‘Hunting Office’ (of leaked webinar infamy, and which says it is “the executive arm of the Governing bodies for Hunting with hounds” – which of course the Hunting Act 2004 says is illegal), has acknowledged that fox hunting is on hold while the laws governing the latest national lockdown are in place. Could this mean the end of fox hunting entirely? Hunts are under huge pressure (both financially and from constant monitoring), and the public is more and more aware of the widespread and organised criminality that is rife within fox hunting, but many fox hunters are used to breaking the law and feel impervious. While they certainly could usefully spend the time changing from fox hunting to drag hunting (which is entirely legal and does not involve killing animals) they will be back, but every ‘season’ sees hunts fold and this is probably the best chance in years to finally get this barabaric, cruel, and illegal activity shut down for good. We have an idea to help that happen…

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