Tag: fox hunting

Guest Post | Dominic Dyer: Fox hunting – political poison for the Tory Party

“Fox hunting is now political poison for the government. Covid 19 and the restrictions on public gatherings has caused huge financial damage to hunts in England, and many might not survive the pandemic. Those that do will find themselves increasingly shunned by public and politicians alike as they face increasing restrictions on their hunting activities. Like drink driving, hunting with hounds is no longer socially acceptable to the vast majority of people in Britain. The last 17 years has seen many twists and turns in the debate on fox hunting, but we might soon be able to say we have “Made Hunting History” once and for all.” Guest post by Dominic Dyer, Policy Advisor & British Wildlife Advocate at the Born Free Foundation & Board Member at Wildlife & Countryside Link.

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Guest Post | Hunting on Protected Sites – Another Natural England Cover Up?

“In October 2020 I saw a pack of hunting dogs rampaging over open moorland above Bradfield, South Yorkshire. Almost all Pennine moors are designated as conservation areas, administered by Natural England, the key Government adviser for nature and the environment. Bradfield Moors is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area for ground nesting birds and a Special Area of Conservation for rare blanket bog habitat. The landowner has banned the public from taking dogs onto this moor because of the threat to wildlife, so what was going on? I will be appealing to Natural England and the Information Commissioner to find out why enforcement action was not taken and ask Olivia Blake MP to get on the case as well. In my opinion, this is yet another example of Natural England overlooking illegal activity by rich landowners.” Guest post by Bob Berzins

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Why is it so hard to prosecute wildlife crime?

“All wildlife crime investigations are extremely complex and without sufficient, strong evidence, it can be very difficult to bring about a successful prosecution. We know this is frustrating to members of the public and it is frustrating to our officers but we can only act within the legislation available.” (North Yorks Police ). While there is no doubt at all that some police officers on some forces actively support illegal fox hunting (either because they hurt themselves or their colleagues do) the Hunting Act (ie the legislation) needs strengthening to remove the exemptions which make evading the law so easy and pursuing hunters in court so difficult.

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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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Quorn Hunt | Arrogant, utterly deluded, or both?

You know that lockdown thing that the vast majority of us have been so, so careful not to break – you know, because we don’t want to pass on a potentially deadly disease, because infection rates only come down if we accept that we’re all ‘in this together’, because it’s unquestionably the right thing to do, because very few of us think that the law doesn’t apply to us? Yes, that lockdown. Guess what…hunt masters at the ‘prestigious (though we would typically use ‘renowned’) Quorn Hunt appear to believe that absolutely none of that applies to them…How else to explain the utterly imbecilic behaviour of two of the Quorn’s hunt masters who got all dressed up to break lockdown and actually recorded themselves cheering on their hounds scrabbling around a foxhole or badger sett.

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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. This is a massive sum for a ‘community’ that does routinely break the law (and have been caught out again and again doing so) and which has been desperate to replace funds lost because of lockdown and the ban on meets.

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Massive thumbs-down to NI’s fox hunters

Another gratifyingly very bad day for fox hunting (to add to dire financials caused by lockdown, leaked webinars, media coverage of pets being killed and of hounds being killed on the road, landowners suspending licences for so-called ‘trail hunting’ etc) as figures released by the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday showed overwhelming support for a ban on hunting with dogs following a country-wide consultation. An Alliance Party member’s bill to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland (where it is still legal) gathered a huge 18,425 responses – perhaps the largest response ever to a private member’s bill there: 78% of those respondents were in favour of a proposed law protecting wild animals from being killed by dogs. Which begs the question: for how much longer can the grubby hobby of chasing foxes around the countryside exist before it is properly outlawed altogether? Going by the panicked response to every ‘threat’ to fox hunting, and despite what they tell the media, deep down even the most aredent lobbyists must know that the answer is ‘not for very much longer’…

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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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