Tag: hunting office webinars

Glastonbury Festival bans hunt stewards

“We can confirm that this group will not be stewarding at Glastonbury in the future, and that we have fully vetted our list of stewarding groups to ensure that there are no other hunting organisations represented on it.” Excellent news as fox hunting takes yet another hit. Glastonbury Festival has scrambled to respond to an avalanche of adverse comments on social media by no longer employing members of the notorious Mendip Farmers Hunt as stewards, who in the past had been working alongside (presumably unknowing) teams from Oxfam and Greenpeace. The link with Glastonbury – which has always sold itself as ‘green’ despite founder Michael Eavis’s well-documented support for the badger cull – was detailed after a member of the hunt lost a memory stick which included details of all current hunt members and its financial statements. The fees previously paid to the hunt stewards by the festival had effectively been subsidising the hunt itself. As meeting minutes also found on the memory stick show, the Hunt is in a financially poor state and already lamenting the loss of income the pandemic was causing them, a situation that all hunts must be facing as more and more ‘dates’ are cancelled and riding out fees lost.

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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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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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Renfrewshire Council chiefs urged to reaffirm opposition to fox hunting

The fall out from the leaked Hunting Office webinars has crossed the border into Scotland, with a report in today’s Daily Record quoting Renfrewshire Council’s elected member Audrey Doig asking the local authority to “reaffirm its position that no fox hunting activities will be allowed to occur on any land or property owned or managed by Renfrewshire Council”. Fox hunting is of course illegal in Scotland. It was banned under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, but as the campaigning charity One Kind points out, “Before the ban in 2002 there were ten operational mounted fox hunts in Scotland. There are still ten today. According to the hunts themselves, they kill about 800 foxes every year.” One of those hunts is the notorious Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds. The Glasgow Hunt Sabs regularly report the illegal activities of this hunt on their Facebook page. This includes a savage attack in October this year on a lone hunt monitor by hunt followers (covered in the Daily Record under the headline “Disabled man viciously battered by vile blood sport thugs after he protests at Scots fox hunt”).

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H&M owner bans hunting on his estates

While we’re certainly not apologists for environmentally-disastrous ‘fast fashion’, today’s news that the ripples from the Hunting Office webinars with their tall tales of ‘smokescreens’ and ‘soft underbellies’ are continuing to swamp hunting is wonderful. Particularly because even more land is being made out of bounds to foxhunts and so-called ‘trail hunting’. According to a report on the ITV News website titled “Billionaire owner of H&M bans hunting on his huge English estate”, Stefan Persson, has banned the Vine and Craven Hunt from Ramsbury Estates which covers a combined 19,000 acres of North East Wiltshire, West Berkshire and North Hampshire. It might sound obvious, but without access to large areas of land hunts have nowhere to break the law (the Hunting Act 2004).

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Cheshire Council ‘paves way’ to ban on trail hunting

As we noted yesterday, the reverberations from the secretly-recorded Hunting Office webinars released by the Hunt Saboteurs Association in November continue to be felt. In a landmark decision Peterborough Council supported a motion to ban so-called ‘trail hunting’ on its land, stating that “This Council resolves to do everything within its legal powers to prevent trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets on its land”. And now Councillors at Cheshire West and Chester Council have backed a similar motion that paves the way for a ban, voting to devise a new policy reflecting the “damage” caused by so-called ‘trail hunting’

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Peterborough Council bans foxhunting

Reverberations from the secretly-recorded Hunting Office webinars released by the Hunt Saboteurs Association in November continue to be felt. While the police investigate their contents (presumably to check for conspiracy to break the law or misconduct in a public office), major landowning organisations and charities from the National Trust and Forestry England to United Utilities and the Lake District National Park have suspended the issuance of licences for so-called ‘trail hunting’ on their land. Now in a decision that will hopefully be picked up in the same way that northern councils have increasingly banned moorland burning by gamekeepers, last night Peterborough City Council voted on a motion submitted by Labour and Cooperative member for North ward Cllr Ansar Ali to ban hunting on their land.

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Language Matters | Smokescreen/Trail Hunting

The so-called Hunting Office was burnt badly when webinars discussing how to avoid being caught illegally fox hunting were leaked by the Hunt Saboteurs Association. An interesting element of the reaction to the webinars has been the way many of us have seized upon the word ‘smokescreen’ that was used in the webinars. The word has a literal origin as in laying down a cloud of smoke to conceal military operations, but it is more usually used now to mean “something designed to obscure, confuse, or mislead”. Several of the speakers in the webinars used the term while suggesting ways to create an element of doubt about whether, for example, a scent trail has been laid or whether a hunt had ‘accidentally’ killed a fox or not. ‘Smokescreen’ will now forever be linked with these webinars, while we’ll happily take whatever stick foxhunting hands us to poke them with, it’s worth taking a pause here because hunts have actually already been using a smokescreen for fifteen years – and that’s the very phrase ‘trail hunting’ itself.

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