PROTECT OUR WILD ANIMALS
'When criminals circumvent the law it should be strengthened to stop them, not repealed
to reward them.'
WARNING: This site contains images of animals killed and mutilated by Hunts which
you may find distressing
POWA GREATLY WELCOMES LABOUR PLAN TO STRENGTHEN HUNTING ACT
The wildlife of England and Wales, still so cruelly persecuted
for 'sport', could hardly have had a better Valentine's Day present [14-2-18]. Nor
could the burgeoning anti-hunt movement, but especially POWA. We have been campaigning for significant strengthening
since before the ink was dry on the Act and had to wait a decade before the largest anti-hunt
organisation, LACS, finally came round to our way of thinking, swiftly followed by
IFAW. We will do everything in our power to ensure that Labour are in a position to
effect strengthening [and their other laudable animal welfare policies] and that this time there are
no get-out-of-jail-free clauses in the amended Act. Meanwhile, thank you Labour. We trust a number of Conservatives
and other party members and representatives will also support strengthening.
The urgent need to strengthen the Act was underlined just a month later, on 14th March, when the
JM/Huntsman of the Portman FH was acquitted of illegal hunting, despite admitting that he knew his hounds were chasing a fox.
He claimed by that point he could no longer control the hounds. This was confirmation that the Hunting Act does not even oblige
Huntsmen to attempt to call hounds off quarry they know hounds are pursuing.
June - Ex LACS Department Head sues League
for unfair dismissal
….. 16th June - Sabs
assaulted & radio stolen at Culmstock MH
….. 14th June - Belvoir FH two get suspended sentences
for severe attacks on LACS monitors
….. 14th June
- Fitzwilliam FH Huntsman appeals against illegal hunting
….. 13th June - NT 'monitoring' of Hunts grossly
inadequate says Hounds Off
….. 13th June - Nat.
Trust is advertising for a 'Trail Hunt Manager'
….. 16th June - Sab group claims regional police op aims to facilitate
THEY SAID IT [about the Hunting Act]
"It is difficult to interpret
and apply and difficult for the CPS to prosecute."
Curtis, of the Hunting Act. He had to acquit members of the Holderness
FH of illegal hunting because of insufficient
evidence of intent, August 2013. A resident's CCTV had shown their hounds chasing a bloodied
fox through his garden.
:“A lot of people on this road are elderly. They were frightened to come out. The dogs were
frantic. I’m an animal-lover and I was shaken. It was heartbreaking.” Mrs. Edwina Church of Macclesfield
after the Cheshire Forest FH hounds invaded their and their neighbour's garden and killed a fox on 25-2-17. She added
that her 82 year old mother was 'traumatised'. The CPS subsequently refuse to prosecute the Hunt, the police failed
to take any other action.
are fox hunting, but no-one is supposed to know." Fitzwilliam FH female supporter on 8-3-17 to
member of the public, near Kimbleton, Cambs, reported in HSA Press Release
hunting an artificial scent provides an ideal conduit by which an individual could hunt covertly. We are perfectly satisfied
that no real attempt was made to prevent the Hunt from hunting a wild animal. The reason for this was indeed that the
notion of trail hunting was a cover."
Judge Pert, dismissing the appeals of
the Fernie FH Huntsman and Terrierman against conviction for illegal hunting, Leicester Crown Court, 14-10-16. He called
the Hunt side's attempts to pretend they had been trail hunting 'cynical subterfuge'.
before a hunt one of his helpers films himself laying a pretend scent-trail—by dragging a rag theoretically, but not
actually, soaked in fox scent, from a quad bike—to provide evidence for a possible defence in court. Then the Hunt goes
out and hunts as it always has, but illegally. The police—one of whose officers was riding with the hounds that wintry
day—understand this, but do not much care. Animal rights activists know it, and it makes them mad, but it is so hard
to collect evidence of lawbreaking, in the form of video footage showing a Huntsman urging hounds on to a fox, that prosecutions
are rare." 'Bagehot' writing in the Economist, 7-3-15. The Huntsman of an unnamed
Hunt in the south-west of England had confided in him, admitting constant illegal hunting.
“... we don't have enough evidence to pursue it as the legislation states that we
must prove the intention of the Hunt to chase and kill foxes. The killing of foxes does not necessarily show this, as they
can argue that the dogs caught the scent of the foxes and ended in the killing of them, rather than pursuing them, and therefore
had no intention of hunting or killing them.” Leicestershire police on 19-2-17, conveying the decision
of the local CPS not to charge Belvoir FH Huntsman John Halliday, after 3 foxes were killed in a day on 3-12-16. Sabs witnessed
the first, in a farmyard, following a chase and claim Holliday assaulted a female sab and broke her camera. The CPS refused
to charge Halliday of these offences, though there were witnesses..The other two foxes were killed when the Hunt invaded the
grounds of a nursing home, upsetting residents.
"It was totally and utterly barbaric and shocking."
Mick Heath, the 'not
anti-hunt' resident of Bradfield, North Essex,
after hounds of the Essex & Suffolk FH
chased a fox into his garden, savaged it and the Whipper-in then beat it to death
with a blunt object, leaving blood stains on the patio -
all in front of the whole family and a guest, on 10-12-11. Police
took no action against the Hunt. This may or may not have had something to do
with the fact that the senior JM of the Hunt was the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.
present situation is currently unsatisfactory. The volume of footage available (taken by hunt monitors) leaves
the objective viewer in no
doubt on the balance of probabilities that it is ‘business as
usual’ for many hunts because enforcement is so difficult... Such widespread and public disregard for the
law is likely to bring Parliament and the criminal justice system
into disrepute.” Stephen
Wooler, ex Chief Inspector of the CPS in his report
to RSPCA September 2014. Wooler advised the RSPCA to campaign for better enforcement
of the Act and to campaign for its strengthening. The RSPCA has yet [October 2017] to issue any clear statement in favour
idea of trail hunting is either shambolic or a sham. You lay fox urine
to make the hounds able to fox hunt and if you come across
a fox on your way you
can then hunt it." CPS prosecutor at trial
of a JM, the Huntsman and the Kennel Huntsman
of the College Valley & N.Northumberland FH, October 2014
POWA's main role is to campaign
for a complete, effective and enforceable ban on the hunting of wild animals with dogs in England and Wales. In May 2015,
the Conservatives won the general election. Despite 80% of the public wanting the Hunting Act retained, they have promised
to repeal it. POWA will strive every sinew to prevent this happening.
After ten overwhelming Commons'
votes, over seven years, in favour of a complete ban on hunting, the will of the people and their sovereign Parliament finally
overcame decades of resistance and mendacious propaganda from the rich and powerful bloodsports lobby and a largely compliant
media - democracy indeed!
Regrettably, POWA believes that the Hunting
Act 2004 has manifest deficiencies which, in practice, make it of very limited utility in preventing organised Hunts
carrying on chasing and killing wild mammals for 'sport'. Hunts are able to do this by exploiting the numerous
loopholes and/or by pretending to be ‘trail hunting’ and ascribing any incident involving wild mammals as 'accidents'.
Monitoring reports countrywide appear to confirm that many, perhaps most hunts, engage in such behaviour.
Nevertheless, the Act, so long and hard fought for, is a lot better than nothing - and of huge symbolic importance.
POWA therefore also campaigns against any attempt to further weaken or repeal the Act and to ensure, as far as possible, that
it is complied with in the hunting field and upheld through the courts.
But - like its long-illegal fellow bloodsports, cock and dog fighting, bull and badger baiting - the hunting of
foxes, deer, hares and mink with packs of dogs must be consigned to the history books in practice, not just in theory.
Bill gained Royal Assent on 18-11-2004
The Hunting Act 2004 came into
effect on 18-2-2005
Full text of the Hunting Act 2004 is HERE
ON, Hunts still routinely bend and break the spirit and letter of the Hunting Act, still chase and kill
wild animals for fun, still bring terror and havoc to our countryside - and almost always escape justice. The 'cynical
subertfuge' the Judge scorned in dismissing the appeal by the Fernie hunters in 2011 is the norm not the
It is a priority for POWA to support independent monitors, who bravely seek to expose Hunt wrong
doing and the weaknesses of the current legislation - at considerable expense and risk to themselves.
POWA utterly opposes any attempt to repeal the existing Hunting Act, but regards amendments to strengthen it as
essential if the obscenity of live quarry hunting with dogs for 'sport' is to be properly punished
|Courtesy of Wildlife Witness
AT LAST! LACS AGREES NEED FOR HUNTING ACT STRENGTHENING
POWA, which has strongly argued the case for strengthening for many years, is delighted that
the League has finally acknowledged that the Act must be significantly amended to ease enforcement and enhance deterrence.
In a November 18th report on the tenth anniversary of the passing of the Hunting Act 2004, LACS stated that they would
now seek three major amendments:- a total ban on terrier work and digging-out, a 'recklessness' clause and provision
for a prison sentence of up to six months.
POWA hopes that the RSPCA and IFAW will follow suit and that the leading anti-hunt
organisations will be able put our heads together to agree the details of the necessary amendments and to persuade,
at least, the Labour Party that they should be enacted. An outline of POWA's proposals for how the Hunting Act should
be amended can be seen here, and a narrative account of how Hunts currently are able to carry
on live quarry hunting with very little fear of sanction is here.
IFAW AGREES NEED FOR STRENGTHENING - RSPCA, WHAT'S KEEPING YOU?
In March 2014, IFAW monitors filmed the Cattistock FH chasing a fox. The CPS refused to prosecute,
so IFAW referred the matter to the RSPCA. They issued a summons against the Huntsman. In March 2015 [yes, a full year after
the alleged crime] RSPCA lawyers suddenly decided that there was 'no realistic prospect of a conviction'. The
Huntsman claimed they were 'trail hunting' and he'd no idea they were chasing a fox. The lawyers decided
they could not meet the onerous requirement to prove 'intent' on his part. However, the video published by IFAW suggests that hunters must have known that hounds were pursuing a fox, which at least one of them had clearly
seen on a road not long before - and hunters were quite close to the hounds. One has to wonder, if that evidence was not strong
enough to convict, what would be? IFAW, who had already described 'trail hunting' as 'an alibi for illegal
hunting' were so exasperated by the outcome that they announced they now believe that strengthening of the HA is essential.
AT LAST. RSPCA [AND SAVE ME] ENDORSE HUNTING ACT STRENGTHENING
Both were signatories to a letter in the Guardian on May 3rd 2017 regarding the Hunting Act, which called for its retention, enforcement and strengthening.
opposes any further Government attempts to repeal or weaken the Hunting Act.
The last effort came, via a planned Statutory Instrument. following David Cameron's re-election
in 2015, this time with a small overall majority, It was, however, withdrawn when the SNP made clear that their MPs
would vote against it.
Cameron's move was just a cynical attempt to almost completely emasculate
the Act. They only attempted this because they realised any attempt to fully repeal it would be defeated. It is
hard enough already to convict transgressive hunters, but the added exemptions
they intended to create would have made it all but impossible.
POWA wrote to MPs to explain
this to them but MPs will always take most heed of their own constituents. Your MP's email address
can be found via www.writetothem.com/ .
The new Prime Minister, Theresa May, has said she favours repeal but, unlike Cameron,
is not personally involved with the hunting set. However, the person she, bafflingly, appointed as DEFRA Secretary of State,
Andrea Leadsom, is known to be close to her local Hunt, the Grafton FH. She has referred to foxes as 'vermin' and
is known to be anxious to overturn the Hunting Act. Fortunately, Cameron's attempts to amend it revealed that there is
now a substantial number of Conservative MPs - thought to be around 50 - who would
not go along with any attempt to repeal or weaken it, and we think it unlikely that the Government will try again in
this Parliament, fearing they would lose. We must, however, remain vigilant. And, of course, the Hunting Act is being
very widely circumvented and desperately needs strengthening.
|POWA will resist any attempt to repeal the Hunting Act
POWA is greatly saddened to learn of the death of Clifford Pellow, aged 73. Clifford
was inducted into the world of fox hunting in Devon as a young boy and it became his passion and profession. But, after two
decades in the 'sport', and having acted as Huntsman for several packs around England and Wales, he became increasingly
disillusioned with and disgusted by the many barbaric practices he was expected to tolerate. A major row with his 'Master' at the Tredegar Farmers FH was the flashpoint of his discontent and, after the Master
of Fox Hounds Association failed to take his complaints seriously he turned to his ancient enemy, the League Against Cruel
Sports. LACS arranged for journalist Andrew Tyler, of Animal Aid, to help write up his account of his life in hunting and
what he now realised were the many cruelties which he had seen and been involved with. This was published in 1991 as 'A Brush with Conscience' and was a devastating indictment of the blood sport.
It took immense courage
for Mr. Pellow to turn against and inform on his former colleagues and employers. The hunting community is
quite small, and even then, pretty secretive, of necessity, because they have so much to hide - even more, these days, of
course, because much of what they do is now illegal. Spilling hunting's shameful secrets was, in their eyes, the
greatest sin Clifford could commit. He was, of course, immediately ostracised, but was also subjected to much abuse and even
death threats, as well as a libel suit by his former Master, Howard Jones. But the jury believed Clifford and the Master was
left to pick up a bill for costs of about £100,000.
at least have the comfort of clearing his conscience - and a new set of friends on the anti side. He may have been surprised
at how readily he was accepted into the fold. He continued to help and advise the anti-hunt cause. Alas, after hospitalisation
for pneumonia and subsequent discharge, he died alone in his flat in September 2016. He was a man of principle and big on
respect. Because he repented and tried to expunge the evil he had done, he will always be afforded the greatest respect -
and he will never be forgotten. RIP, Clifford, the angels have blown you home.
about the need to strengthen the Hunting Act was warmly received and apparently understood by many delegates
at the Labour Party Conference in September. Amongst those to visit our stand
and express support were several members of Ed Milliband's Shadow Cabinet,
plus Shadow junior ministers, MPs, PPCs and other delegates. Visitors were able
to view the powerful new Campaign to Strengthen the Hunting Act [CSHA] video, at the content of which many
delegates, including some from the police, expressed shock and outrage. Our campaign is spreading
far and wide and gaining momentum. For Conference pics see the CSHA website.
The CSHA video is now on the website [and YouTube] and can be viewed here.
Below, see how hunters change the beautiful,
sensitive, living creatures portrayed above - for 'sport'.
Now Cameron is seeking to reward his hunter friends by repealing the Hunting Act. Please support POWA's campaign
to save the Act, with a view to having it, one day, strengthened to give full protection to our persecuted wild
'HUNTING ANARCHY' is a film made by independent monitors
a few years ago. It illustrates how hunts in the South Midlands are who they observed continued to chase foxes much as before
the ban - and were able to get away with it. Click START below to view the film.
Rescued by her 'Guardian angel' ! The moment a young vixen being attacked by the Old
Berks FH hounds is saved by a brave young female hunt monitor and POWA Associate, 14th November 2012
To see rescue video click here
MORE HUNT MONITORS WILL MEAN MORE HUNTERS IN COURT
The Heythrop FH - the P.M.'s own - are the latest to be
found guilty of illegal hunting, in what was the first ever prosecution of a Hunt as a Body Corporate, on 17/12/12. A former JM and
their ex-Huntsman also plead guilty, to four counts each, This followed convictions of the Senior JM and a terrierman of the Meynell and S.Staffs FH at Derby
Magistrates Court on 9/8/12. Several weeks earlier, two senior members of the Crawley & Horsham Hunt and their ex-Huntsman
were convicted for hunting foxes. In January 2011, the Huntsman and terrierman of the Fernie Hunt
were found guilty of illegal hunting, and their Appeal scornfully dismissed by the Judge in October.
These hunts have been successfully prosecuted and convicted because
of the hunt monitors, who have captured film of their illegal activities, footage which has provided the evidence needed to
bring these people to justice. It is very encouraging that, at last, the sterling efforts of the monitors are beginning to
show results in the Courts. But most hunts are never visited by monitors. More monitors would mean more convictions.
POWA strongly supports the work of the monitors, and we suggest that there are some
people who may now feel they want to join a monitoring group and keep up the momentum against the hunts. If you want to become
a monitor, or talk to a monitor for advice, please email POWA - via the contact button to the left of this article
- and we will refer your query to someone in your area.
AS THE RAIN LASHES DOWN, POWA ASSOCIATES
ARE SHOWERED WITH AWARDS
2014 - POWA congratulates the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire Monitoring Group who have been given the Special Investigation
Award by the RSPCA for gathering the huge amount of video evidence that resulted in the prosecution and conviction of the
Heythrop Hunt, often while being obstructed, abused and assaulted by hunt followers. Most of the monitors, who operate
independently, are also POWA Associates. POWA also congratulates its Associate John Bryant, a former CEO of LACS and
twice an RSPCA Council Member, who has been awarded the Queen Victoria Gold Medal for services to the Society. The awards
will be presented at a ceremony in Whitehall on 1st March.
PATRICK STEWART BECOMES AN HONORARY ASSOCIATE OF POWA
The renowned actor, who narrated the revised version of the anti-hunting film 'A Minority Pastime', provided this statement:-
"I am delighted to accept the invitation to become an Honorary Associate of Protect Our Wild Animals.
I am strongly opposed to the cruel and barbaric 'sport' of hunting wild animals with dogs and was delighted when this
was banned in England and Wales in 2004.
However, it appears that both the spirit and letter of the law
continue to be flouted by some organised Hunts. I fully endorse POWA's efforts to expose such activities and
in campaigning for the Hunting Act to be strengthened in order to make the law both more of a deterrent and easier to enforce."
Fulsome congratulations to the incredibly dedicated team of hunt monitors [many of
whom are also POWA Associates] whose evidence, on December 17th 2012, led to the convictions of the Heythrop Hunt, a former
JM and its ex-Huntsman on 4 charges each of illegal hunting. They had taken similar evidence of illegal hunting by the Heythrop
and other local Hunts to the police 30 times before in recent years, and either been fobbed off each time or found the CPS
making excuses for not getting the cases to court. So, many thanks to the RSPCA, under their CEO Gavin Grant, for
their courage in taking on the prosecution of this rich and powerful Hunt and for the Society's unflinching
stance in response to the vitriol since heaped upon it by the pro-hunt lobby.
The monitors have also had to bear repeated
assaults, threats, harassment, vile abuse, obstruction and property damage from Heythrop riders and followers, 14 of
whom have been convicted or cautioned for such offences in the last six years. Monitoring is not just a very trying, emotionally
draining, time-consuming and dangerous business - it is expensive. POWA assists the monitors when it can, but has limited
resources itself. You can help enable the monitors carry on their work of exposing and bringing these flagrant animal
abusers to justice by giving to POWA, using the 'Donate' button [left].
PETER BUNCE R.I.P.We
greatly regret the sad and untimely death in July 2014 of Peter Bunce, one of POWA's founders.
Below is a selection
of tributes paid to him by fellow POWA Associates.
Penny Little - "Peter
was my very good friend. I first met him in the early '90s when he became involved in the campaign to ban
was kind, humorous and principled. He was a good listener, he cared about the underdog, and he would always help anyone
who was in trouble. He was passionately opposed to cruelty to animals, and he was prepared to put time and effort into
changing the things that needed to be changed. He
was a believer in decency, honesty and fair play, and he was always an adherent to those high standards in which he believed..... None of us can remember Peter without a smile, a
smile of affection, of remembered jokes and remembered conversations, of pleasure in shared successes. But above all
a smile of loving remembrance of Peter the endearing, clever, funny man, the generous friend in need, the modest and remarkable
man that he was."
Christine Harris - "He was such a talented and caring person, who was always
there to help. His work in the field has helped push our cause forward immeasurably."
Graham Forsyth - " His line in A Minority Pastime that
still rings so true to me and I am sure to many others was; "I just want this cruelty to stop and stop in my lifetime."
Denise Ward - "He was so valued and will be so
missed. I first met him when I went to his house to film him for 'A Minority Pastime'. His scene is one people always
remember. His measured and ironical remarks after he is dragged around and battered on the head till the blood poured down
make the point so beautifully.... Peter defined courage and rightness in a a uniquely clever, modest and reasonable way...
and made the world a better place by being in it."
- "The planet is surely a better place owing to the contribution Peter made towards the welfare of wild animals
and they have lost a true friend."
Alan Kirby - "Peter was a close POWA Associate
of mine for 13 years. We lived far apart and I met him only a few times, but we were in regular email and phone
contact. He was calm, kind, ever obliging, with a wry sense of humour and unshakeable determination. The very best sort
of Englishman. POWA and the persecuted animals he strove to defend will miss him dreadfully."
"WHEN CRIMINALS CIRCUMVENT THE LAW IT
SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED TO STOP
NOT REPEALED TO REWARD THEM"
*Click HERE to read POWA's case to
strengthen the Hunting Act,
including our proposed changes
Read POWA's statement on the High Court Ruling in 2009 on the Hunting
This confirmed that 'intent' to hunt a wild mammal must be proved
and that 'searching' is not 'hunting'. The CPS dropped nearly all their pending cases as the
evidential burden was now too great.
These cases included charges against the Huntsman of the Heythrop FH - the home
hunt of David Cameron, who has ridden with them in the past. It is widely supported by the famed 'Chipping Norton
set', including Rebekah Brooks and husband Charlie, who are known to be friends of the P.M.
POWA ♥ Hounds Off
Despite the Hunting Act, hunters
and their dogs are still running amok and intimidating law-abiding folk, trespassing on private property. New
site Hounds Off is encouraging a countrywide network of hunt-free zones, creating an ever-growing land area where wildlife
has sanctuary. Use Hounds Off to help you ban your homestead to hunters, wherever it is. Support Hounds Off on Facebook
Hounds Off has issued
a Progress Report
being coursed at the notorious Waterloo Cup|
|The Hunting Act has succeeded in stopping organised coursing events||
LATEST POWA PRESS LETTER
20th February 2018
POWA wrote to the Independent detailing
the mass criminality of organised Hunts and the failure of the authorities to do anything much about it..
LATEST POWA PRESS RELEASE
26th March 2017
POWA Press released to national and N.Yorkshire media regarding the
killing of hounds when the Hunt led the pack across a busy road and, given their terrible record, calling for the MFHA to
expel the Middleton.
in Devon desperately fleeing from the hunt|
|Deer hunting continues using the 'Research' exemption in the Act|
hounds are rewarded - by a public road|
|Fox hunting is disguised as 'trail' hunting - chases & kills are always claimed to
cuts off hare's tail to reward his hounds|
|Hare hunting continues in the guise of rat or rabbit hunting|
|Hare sent flying high into air by pursuing muzzled greyhounds|