Tag: hunting office webinars

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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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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The Hunting Act and Badgers

As we and others have been reporting, in a scoop worthy of a national news organisation a fortnight ago the Hunt Saboteurs Association published a series of secretly-recorded ‘trail hunting’ webinars given by the so-called Hunting Office, which reveal the efforts hunting is now having to go to ‘prove’ they are following a scent trail when they go out foxhunting . The fall out from these webinars is just starting to be felt (yesterday, for example, Forestry England announced it was suspending all ‘trail hunt’ licences issued to hunts wanting to use their land) and in a timely twist on the ongoing ‘trail hunting is a smokescreen for killing foxes‘ narrative, the Badger Trust has issued a statement to highlight the links between foxhunting and the persecution of badgers. And while the government might not remember this as they slaughter hundreds of thousands of them to protect the dairy industry, Badgers are actually protected mammals.

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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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Hunts on the run

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) have obtained a series of webinars which reveal the efforts hunting is now having to go to ‘prove’ they are ‘trail hunting’ (or hunting legally as they call it). Leading figures in hunting (including former police officers) are clearly taking the impact of sabbing very seriously indeed, and are recorded giving a LOT of advice about overt trail laying, filming everything, storing video long-term, and being very careful not to get into fights with what they typically call ‘antis’. Hunting is being forced to comply with the law (or at least are being forced to being seen to be complying with the law) because of pressure from sabs and monitors and appear to know that the days of just killing wildlife and blagging their way out of trouble is over. As we have said many times, the sabs and monitors who have achieved this are heroes to a person.

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