Home
LATEST UK HUNTING NEWS
UK Hunting News Archive
Hunting Act Amendment Bill
Post 'ban' prosecutions of organised hunters
MPs' positions on repeal
POWA Press letters
POWA Press Releases
Video Footage
Hunt Havoc
Heythrop Hunt
How hunters 'love' their hounds
'A Brush with Conscience'
Campaigns
About POWA & Monitors
Contact Us
Links

LATEST UK HUNTING NEWS

For stories before APRIL 2017, go to UK HUNTING NEWS ARCHIVE
 

Tory pledge to repeal HA is missing from Queen's speech [presumed dead]


21-6-17  
LACS PR   No mention of hunting in Queen’s speech    Reacting to the Queen’s speech today, Eduardo Gonçalves, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports said: -

“We are pleased to see that there is no mention of hunting in the Queen’s Speech. We hope that, following the outcry during the election campaign, Theresa May has now abandoned the manifesto pledge for a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act. The reality is that the ban has overwhelming support from the British public. We have no doubt that a vocal minority will continue in their attempts to weaken or repeal the ban – either openly or via the back door. We therefore remain vigilant and there should be no doubt that we will continue to be the voice speaking up for animals, vigorously opposing any effort to weaken their protection. The Government should be clear that what the British people want from them is to get on with the job of improving animal protection, not undermining it.”POWAperson adds -  Whilst all of the above is true, the fact is that the Hunting Act remains of very limited utility against organised Hunts and all antis need to press hard for it to not just be retained and enforced but substantially strengthened.

POWAperson adds - It's great that the threat of repeal of the Hunting Act has gone, though almost certainly it would not have got through the new House. However, this does not get us anywhere nearer the strengthening that is essential to restrain organised Hunts from continuing to hunt and kill live quarry.

Otter Trust expresses concern over mink hunts endangering otters

21-6-17   Morethanjustbadgers.net    POWA has just learned of the following statement from the UK Wild Otter Trust regarding mink hunting...
18-6-17  UK Wild Otter Trust  
MINK HUNTING   As a leading charity dealing with the European otter, we are concerned that mink hunting can & does cause issues for otters. The Hunting Act of 2004 bans the hunting of mammals with dogs whether they are native or not including mink. The control of any predator if required should be done in the most humane way – hunting with dogs is not. Unfortunately, this type of hunting still continues and therefore poses an ongoing risk to the otter.UKWOT would question the methods used during illegal mink hunting as the dogs would not be able to distinguish between an otter or a mink. There are several points that require intervention by the law because it will cause disturbance to otters at the holt, place of rest or shelter and of course will disrupt its territory. There is also a very huge risk that the “mink hounds” will “accidentally” take an otter but of course that would be covered up. Do we believe that these packs actually hunt mink? No, we don’t but having proof is paramount to any such investigation and subsequent prosecution. The UK Wild Otter Trust would not hesitate to take legal proceedings should this ever be proven against any such hunting packs and we will never endorse this barbaric act.

Atherstone FH hound parade may be dropped from Ashby show 

20-6-17   Facebook - West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs   Ashby Show update   It seems like the Ashby Show are having an emergency meeting on Wednesday. The hound parade has been cancelled. The Atherstone Hunt have been investigated numerous times for illegal hunting with one case still ongoing. There have been at least 5 foxes killed by the Atherstone Hunt that we know of in the last few years so it is obviously a good development that the Ashby Show will not be promoting cruelty.

However the Atherstone Hunt Supporters Club still have stall at the show. Atherstone Hunt supporters have numerous convictions for using violence. There are cases ongoing. To continue to allow them to have this stall will be condoning the use of violence. Please politely contact the Ashby Show and ask why a violent organisation with convictions for using violence are allowed to have a trade stand at the show - https://www.facebook.com/ashbyshow/ 


19-6-17  Facebook - This is Hunting UK
    Whilst this photo was taken of the Fitzwilliam at last year's Burghley Horse Trials, it clearly demonstrates the popularity of the Hound Parade. Please let us not forget our opponents are actively out there trying to persuade Show Committees to ban the Hounds from attending. We must rigidly stand up for the traditional Hound Parade wherever they may take place across the UK. One example is Ashby Show in Leicestershire where well known Saboteurs have already vented their feelings to the Committee about the annual parade of the Atherstone, North Warwickshire, Beagles and the Dove Valley Minkhounds. This type of action cannot be allowed to continue.... Please all we ask is keep liking and sharing these messages further and further afield so our supporters are well aware as to what is going on.
 

Leading vet says evidence that hunting hounds are spreading bTb

15-6-17  LACS Press Release   Has bTB been spread by hunting hounds? New evidence   Evidence that bTB – the devastating disease which has caused thousands of cattle deaths and led to the controversial badger cull – could be spread by hunting hounds is mounting following the release of new government figures.

An outbreak of bTB occurred at the Kimblewick Hunt kennels in Buckinghamshire in December 2016. Concerns that the hounds could have spread the disease into farms across the six counties covered by the hunt were quashed by Defra – however new official figures show that there have been 55 new bTB cattle herd breakdowns there in just the first four months of the year. There are currently 90 recorded outbreaks in the area – meaning the number has more than doubled since the Kimblewick infection.The startling figures have caused veterinary scientists and animal welfare charities to raise the issue with Defra – however FOI requests have been stonewalled, leading to concerns that information is being withheld.Other aspects of concern include the fact that Animal Welfare Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble is a member of the Kimblewick Hunt, as are the two local vets who dealt with the Kimblewick outbreak.Vet Dr Iain McGill, Director of the Prion Interest Group and former MAFF and ZSL scientist, and animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, are calling for all hunting to be suspended until an independent inquiry has taken place to discover if hunting hounds are spreading bTB.Dr McGill said: “As a vet and a scientist, I’m extremely concerned that the government is ignoring significant evidence that this disease is being carried by hunting hounds. Because of TB, cattle are being slaughtered, badgers are being culled and now hunt hounds are being euthanized – we have a responsibility to examine every possible explanation for the spread of the disease, and that isn’t happening.
Causality may be difficult to prove, but can Defra prove that they have done the research to rule out the possibility that the entire bTB epidemic in cattle is being spread and amplified by hunting hounds? Conversely, I have evidence that research on diseases of hunting hounds has been suppressed and not pursued by the Government for 27 years”
Cover up?  Eduardo Goncalves, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “If the government doesn’t set up an independent inquiry into the potential spread of bTB by hunting hounds as a matter of urgency, they are playing fast and loose with the lives of animals and the livelihoods of farmers. Mapping of hunting areas and bTB outbreak zones reveal concerning trends. There are hunts present in every area in which bTB has spread in cattle.
The sudden leap in new outbreaks in the Kimblewick hunt area – 55 in the four months since the hounds were diagnosed compared with under half that pre-dating their infection – cannot be written off as a coincidence without evidence.
“The League has tried to get to the bottom of this but to no avail. Defra have refused to release information about the Kimblewick outbreak, or other outbreaks in hound packs elsewhere in England. Defra also refused to reveal details of communication with the Kimblewick Hunt, citing privacy laws, even though bovine TB is a notifiable disease, not a private matter.
Conversations with the local vet in charge of the outbreak suggests that it was hunting authorities who prevented publication of the data, fearing a “PR disaster” for hunting with hounds. I think the UK’s farmers would prefer a PR disaster for hunts rather than further devastation of their herds.” 
Dr McGill added: “One of the Chief Veterinary Officer’s main arguments for badger culling in 2013 was that pet dogs could catch TB in areas where TB contamination of the environment was high, and then transmit TB to their owners. By contrast, now Defra considers the risks and dangers presented to other animals and humans by TB infected hounds as ‘low’. So there is a change of opinion from Defra, and an absence of evidence to support such a conclusion.”Risk to humans -  Because of the latest outbreaks in the Kimblewick area, bTB – which can lead to TB, particularly in immunocompromised humans – is encroaching on London. The reason given by Defra for euthanasia of the Kimblewick hounds was that they were a risk to their handlers. The Master of Fox Hounds Association said the Kimblewick hunt immediately suspended their hunting activities “to protect farmers and landowners”. This suggests that there was indeed some risk from having the hounds on land with livestock, or in close contact with people.Although immunosuppressed humans are at risk from M bovis, human deaths from bTB are currently low in number. However, it is the contrast between the stance in 2013, which played up human health risks, to Defra’s ‘low risk’ assertions now, which are of major concern. Both positions simply cannot be correct as they directly contradict each other.13-6-17   Times  Bovine tuberculosis ‘spread by packs of fox hounds’   After a nearby pack of hounds became infected, 90 outbreaks were recorded in Hampshire and Hertfordshire. Campaigners have called for an investigation into whether fox hounds spread tuberculosis after outbreaks doubled on farms near an infected pack of dogs.Farmers blame badgers for spreading bovine TB, which led to almost 40,000 cattle being slaughtered prematurely last year, and have called for more badger culls to control the disease.Government figures have shown that the number of TB outbreaks in or near one of Britain’s biggest hunts, which covers countryside from Hampshire to Hertfordshire, doubled in four months after the disease was first detected in its dogs last year.Thirty-five outbreaks of bovine TB were recorded in and around the Kimblewick Hunt when the hounds were first confined to their kennels in December. By April that figure had risen to 90.Iain McGill [Director of Vets Against the Badger Cull, who previously exposed the government cover-up during the foot and mouth epidemic] said  'There is a TB epidemic spreading out of control. I’m extremely concerned that the government is ignoring significant evidence that this disease is being carried by hunting hounds.'...   See also this article in The Canary There was another article in The Smallholder reporting Dr McGill's suspicions, but today [16-6-17] it seems to have been removed, even though on one page it is listed as the most visited article on the news site But the link there to it just produces a 'Sorry' message.  13-6-17   Times  Bovine tuberculosis ‘spread by packs of fox hounds’   After a nearby pack of hounds became infected, 90 outbreaks were recorded in Hampshire and Hertfordshire. Campaigners have called for an investigation into whether fox hounds spread tuberculosis after outbreaks doubled on farms near an infected pack of dogs.Farmers blame badgers for spreading bovine TB, which led to almost 40,000 cattle being slaughtered prematurely last year, and have called for more badger culls to control the disease.Government figures have shown that the number of TB outbreaks in or near one of Britain’s biggest hunts, which covers countryside from Hampshire to Hertfordshire, doubled in four months after the disease was first detected in its dogs last year.Thirty-five outbreaks of bovine TB were recorded in and around the Kimblewick Hunt when the hounds were first confined to their kennels in December. By April that figure had risen to 90.Iain McGill [Director of Vets Against the Badger Cull, who previously exposed the government cover-up during the foot and mouth epidemic] said  'There is a TB epidemic spreading out of control. I’m extremely concerned that the government is ignoring significant evidence that this disease is being carried by hunting hounds.'... 

Make Hunting History & anti-cull London demo set for August 26th

15-6-17  Facebook – Keep the Ban   Keeptheban shared their event   Are you free on August 26th? Although there's still a while to go, please register your interest by clicking on the link below. The key aim of the protest march will be to call on the new Conservative minority government to bring an immediate end to the cruel, costly and ineffective badger cull policy and to strengthen rather than seek to repeal the Hunting ActThis event is expected to be the largest ever British wildlife protection protest held in the UK, bringing together thousands of caring compassionate people united in their determination to stop the government from playing politics with the future of our wildlife.The march will leave Cavendish Square at 1.30 pm and proceed down Regents Street, Pall Mall, around Trafalgar Square down Whitehall ending at Richmond Terrace opposite Downing Street.Speakers at Cavendish Square and Richmond Terrace will include leading wildlife protection campaigners, naturalists and broadcasters, politicians and vets. 

LACS claims hunting issue played major role in general election

14-6-17   LACS website   The Verdict's In - Fox Hunting Played Major Election Role    Elections can be curious affairs. For political junkies, the polling, the projections, and the posturing are their bread and butter - but away from that there is something much deeper. Elections have a way of distilling how a nation feels and what it values.This was supposed to be the Brexit election, but in the end, that wasn’t a major issue. To everyone’s surprise, it was usurped by a different issue: hunting.In Conservative manifestos past, the party has committed a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act.
Previously, when only a handful of Conservative MPs supported the ban, this was barely commented on. But we know that prior to this election, more than 50 Conservative MPs supported the ban. More than that, we know that the vast majority of the British public support the ban. So it came as something of a surprise when Theresa May affirmed her own support for hunting, and a repeal of the Hunting Act. What happened next was little short of remarkable.
Like never before, fox hunting became an election issue.
That’s not my just view. Buzzfeed analysed what was being shared online during the campaign. Throughout the campaign, hunting was the fourth most-shared topic, ahead of Brexit. It wasn’t just online that it was making a stir, either. BritainThinks ran focus groups with swing voters in marginal constituencies. After social care, the most commonly mentioned manifesto commitment was the Hunting Act. YouGov said that the words brought up most during the campaign were “social care” and “fox hunting”.c
andidates - both Labour and Conservative - spoke time and time again about how fox hunting repeatedly came up on the doorsteps.
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said Theresa May’s comments on hunting were a “turning point” in the campaign. Another Conservative MP, Michael Fabricant, said that raising the issue was “very foolish”. The victorious Labour candidate in Canterbury - held by the Conservatives for decades - said it was fox hunting that swung it.
Jim Waterson, Political Editor at Buzzfeed, tweeted that “Anecdotally and based on our most-shared data, I really think fox hunting (& ivory ban) cost the Tories some marginal seats”. 
At the same time all this was going on, League Against Cruel Sports supporters were contacting their local candidates as part of the Votes for Vinny campaign. Tens of thousands of emails were sent, and in the days before polling day, thousands of people logged in to the League website to see how their candidates responded to the pledges.
Clearly, hunting is not a party political issue. No party has a monopoly on compassion. Along with those many anti-hunting Conservative MPs, over 70% of Conservative voters support the ban on hunting. Party colour was not the vote loser here - the misjudgement was pandering to a vocal minority who want to see a return to a more ignorant time.Vinny himself was in cities across Britain, spreading the word about animal cruelty. Candidates from all parties contacted their constituents - and us at the League - to say that they opposed repeal. In the final two weeks of the campaign, an additional 30 Conservative candidates, almost all of whom were elected, said that they would vote against repeal.So, where do we stand now? Well, it is very difficult to see a repeal vote on the Hunting Act being passed. Former Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps says it “stands absolutely no chance” of repeal.

Despite the Conservatives losing seats, the number of Conservative MPs supporting the Hunting Act has increased, and is possibly as high as one third of their MPs. The election has made clear how unpopular - not to mention politically toxic - the idea of repeal is.

Yet there is more work to do. The Brexit process may open the door to weakened environmental and animal welfare legislation. That must be stopped. In the last Parliament, good progress was made towards tougher sentencing for animal cruelty. That must be seen through. It is not just politicians that should now be left in no doubt as to how unpopular hunting is. In a couple of months, ‘cub hunting’ - the illegal slaughter of fox cubs - will begin again, and hunting continues under the false alibi of “trail hunting”. Public bodies like the National Trust, the Forestry Commission, and the Ministry of Defence continue to allow this on their land. The British public do not tolerate animal cruelty, and neither should those organisations.With a hung Parliament, the election may have had an indecisive outcome, but in another way, it was utterly decisive. The idea that the Hunting Act should be repealed has been roundly rejected and the hope now is that we can move on from any notion of repeal or weakening. The British public believes in compassion and they believe that animals should be protected from persecution. Politicians surely now accept that. It must be time, therefore, that we seek to strengthen and extend those protections. 

Ex Tory Chair says HA repeal dead in the water

12-6-17  Daily Mirror   Former Tory Party chairman says Theresa May's dream of bringing back fox hunting is dead in the water    Theresa May's manifesto promised a free vote in Parliament on repealing the Hunting Act, but this could now be impossible after the Tories lost seats  The former chairman of the Conservative Party says Theresa May's manifesto promise to hold a vote on bringing back fox hunting is now dead in the water.

Grant Shapps said it was "absolute insanity" to try to change the fox hunting laws the light of the Tories' general election humiliation. She said on the campaign trail: "As it happens, personally, I have always been in favour of fox hunting and we maintain our commitment - we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party - to allow a free vote."  And the Mirror exposed on its front page how hunt masters were "mobilising" to get Mrs May back into power to legalise their sick bloodsport once again.

But Mr Shapps now says the chances of this happening are zero given the Tories' non-existent parliamentary majority. He told the BBC's Daily Politics: "It's absolute insanity to start talking about passing and changing fox hunting laws, what an Earth was that about? "I thought a mistake had been made, perhaps an off-the-cuff comment. Then I read the manifesto and discovered not only were were planning to allow a free vote, but it was going to be a government bill and on government time. This now stands absolutely no chance. It's a silly idea."

The weakened Prime Minister is desperately clinging to power after losing her overall majority in the House of Commons.

12-6-17   Sun   MAY FOXED CAMPAIGN - Theresa May’s support for fox hunting lost Conservatives huge election majority, say campaign chiefs  Tory candidates claimed the PM offering a manifesto commitment to overturn the popular ban was hugely unpopular while doorstepping. The PM offered a manifesto commitment to overturn the popular ban with a vote in government time. Hundreds of angry candidates reported back to CCHQ that the move proved almost as toxic as Mrs May’s social care policy debacle on the doorstep. One campaign boss told The Sun: “The fox hunting thing really resonated.

Rather than sticking to the Tories’ line of promising a vote on it, Theresa May came out in support for fox hunting. “It helped seed doubt about Tory motives, that we’re just in it for rich. It was a really disastrous stereotype that we just couldn’t shift after that.” Another senior MP said: “Fox hunting came up a lot on the doorstep. It was really unpopular.”

Campaigning in Leeds on May 9, the Tory leader was asked about her views on the activity, outlawed by Labour in 2004. Many Tory candidates claimed the policy came up while doorstepping and voters weren’t impressed. And Mrs May’s election manifesto promise read: “We will grant a free vote, on a government bill in government time, to give parliament the opportunity to decide the future of the Hunting Act”.


Son of Blackmore FH Huntsman convicted of ABH on woman sab

12-6-17   Facebook - Dorset Against Blood Sports   SON OF MARK DOGGRELL PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULTING A HUNT SAB  In March 2015, Ben Doggrell kicked a sab's feet from underneath her causing her to land heavily on tarmac. As a result, she broke her elbow as well as having cuts and bruises to her legs. Initially the CPS refused to prosecute although the video evidence was clear. This mirrors the case where Ben's father, Mark Doggrell "accidentally" rode his horse into a sab causing serious injury. After using the Victim's Right to Review, Mark's case eventually went to court and he was found not guilty, much to the disgust of many people. However, his son has not been so lucky and after two years of waiting, the senior prosecutor agreed there was a case to answer and on Friday June 9th, Ben Doggrell pleaded guilty to a charge of ABH and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and payment of costs/compensation. A big thank you to Outpaced who helped tremendously.

Grove & Rufford FH convicts seen canvassing for Tory candidate

5-6-17   Wildlife Guardian   Conservative politician campaign supported by convicted hunters   After the cash for questions and the expenses scandals, trust in politicians and democracy has never been so low. Rather than clean up their act, some prospective MPs are secretly receiving help from the hunting lobby during the general election. Ben Bradley’s (the Conservative Party candidate for Mansfield) campaign is being supported by members of a Hunt recently convicted of a criminal act.
In March of this year, three members of the Grove and Rufford Hunt were found guilty of illegal fox hunting after a three day trial. Huntsman Paul Larby was fined £800, Peter White was fined £550 and whipper-in Jane Wright was fined £180. All three were ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge, at Mansfield Magistrates Court. In his summing up, District Judge Spruce said the three defendants had failed to cooperate with the police, giving no comment interviews when they were interviewed.
On Saturday, 3rd June 2017, 27 year old Ben Bradley was seen handing out packs of campaign leaflets to Paul Larby, Peter White and five or six other members of the Grove & Rufford Hunt outside Tesco’s in Mansfield. A lady who was shopping at Tesco spotted Bradley and took a couple of photos. When she posted them on Facebook one of her friends recognised Larby from the press coverage of the trial and contacted us.It’s likely that the Grove & Rufford Hunt are acting on behalf of the pro-hunting Vote-OK group run by Otis Ferry, son of Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry. Otis Ferry’s own criminal record includes drink driving, failing to provide a breath sample after he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and the cowardly assault on two women.
Knowing how unpopular hunting is with the public, Vote-OK volunteers are not to mention hunting when campaigning for candidates. It is also worth noting that Vote-OK don’t seem to be coordinating the “legions” of activists as claimed in the Telegraph and by pro-hunt MPs. The Grove and Rufford Hunt could only muster about half a dozen people for campaigning on a sunny Saturday afternoon!Although Mr Bradley is very active on social media, he’s been rather reluctant to share photos of himself with his bloodsport friends. If elected, Ben Bradley won’t listen to the constituents he is meant to represent when it comes to any vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act. Instead he will reward the criminal minority.


POWAperson adds - Alas, these law-breakers may have assisted in the election of the Tory candidate. Worse, the sitting Labour MP was Sir Alan Meale. He had been in the Commons for decades and was a sstrong opponent of hunting. It was he who piloted through the Wild Mammals Protection Act in 1996, as a Private Members Bill. It was the first legislation giving any protection from cruelty to wild mammals.

Revealed - Kent WT Chair allows pheasant shooting on his land
Thousands call for Mike Bax to be removed from his post

2-6-17   Daily Mirror   Thousands call for wildlife chief to be sacked for letting bird killers shoot on his land for 10 years   Property entrepreneur Michael Bax allowed pheasants to be shot on his land for 10 years and caused a storm in March when it was learned he was once master of a hare hunt  A wildlife protection boss has allowed pheasants to be shot on his land for 10 years.  Now 2,600 people have signed a petition calling for business-man Michael Bax to be sacked.

The property entrepreneur caused a storm in March when it was learned he was once master of a hare hunt. Now it has emerged he “makes land available” near his home for pheasants to be shot. Paying members of Kent Wildlife Trust say Mr Bax’s role as chair­­man is at odds with his in­­­­­­­volvement in hunting.Member Tom Fitton said: “We pay our fees to provide sanctuaries for wildlife from hunters yet they are being given top positions in the Trust.”  Bax now 'makes land available' near his home for the birds to be shot. 
Elisa Allen, director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , fumed: “It’s nothing if not ironic for the chair of a trust dedicated to protecting wildlife to have been the master of a Hunt in which terrified hares spend hours running for their lives before being torn apart. And today Mike Bax allows bloodthirsty hunters on to his land to gun down pheasants, many of which die in agony.”
POWAperson adds - This story hit the headlines several weeks ago when Mike Bax was exposed to be not just listed as a current joint master of the Blean Beagles, but that he had been their Huntsman for many years last century Despite him being clearly identified as a blood sports exponent, and numerous protests, including a highly critical and explicit letter from POWA, Kent Wildlife Trust seem determined to stick by him.  

CPS won't prosecute Cheshire Forest FH over 2 hunting incidents

1-6-17  
Facebook - Cheshire Monitors  VIDEO   This film is a shortened version of the evidence gathered by Cheshire Monitors of what we believe is the Cheshire Forest Hunt breaking the law ON 2-1-17. Cheshire Police did their utmost to get this Hunt into court, sending both this film and the Macclesfield kill evidence [28th Jan] to the Crown Prosecution Service. Sadly the CPS have decided to drop both cases.
This incident was filmed on 2nd January 2017, just after this Hunt was caught with a policewoman seeming to act as private security for them and before the same Hunt killed a fox (very publicly) in Macclesfield.Here is a reminder of the incident with the police woman. Here is a reminder of the fox kill in Macclesfield.
What you can do... We've been asked by several people how to complain to the CPS. You can do so on this address , quoting case number 07/EZ/01745/17. *Please note* this for the case shown in the video only, and not the Macclesfield case. 

Thousands attend anti-hunt march in London

29-5-17   Evening Standard   Make Hunting History protest: Thousands descend on Downing Street in anti-hunting march   Thousands of people have descended on Downing Street in a huge protest against the Conservative Party’s stance on the fox hunting ban. Prime Minister Theresa May has said that if the Conservatives win the General Election on June 8, she will offer Parliament a free vote to repeal the ban on fox hunting.

On Bank Holiday Monday the Make Hunting History march, which is expected to be the largest public protest of the entire General Election campaign, saw thousands make their feelings on the subject known. The protest left Cavendish Square at about 1.30pm, proceeding down Regents Street, Haymarket and around Trafalgar Square before entering Whitehall.The event was organised by an alliance of anti-hunt campaign groups and individuals, and speakers included actor and animal rights activist Peter Egan, wildlife campaigner and writer Dominic Dyer and and TV presenter Bill Oddie. He compared the possibility of changing the law on fox hunting to changing speed limits just because "people like driving fast". Speaking ahead of the rally, Oddie said: "I cannot believe that I'm standing here today saying to the Prime Minister this is ridiculous.It's a bit like some years ago they had a speed limit and they decided 'Speed limit? 30. On the motorways we'll go up to 60'. And then 15 years later somebody said 'Can we change it?' And they said 'Why?' - 'Well people like driving fast''... We'll change the law for no sensible reason except purely there are people who want to go fox hunting."Egan said at the protest: “I’ve been voting now since 1966, for 51 years I’ve been voting for various governments. None of them have ever got everything right, in fact some of them have got nothing right, most of them get perhaps one thing right. In 2004, Tony Blair’s government got it right when he brought in the hunting ban In 2002, Theresa May in opposition got it right when she described her party as the nasty party. In 2017 she’s about to get it right because they are becoming the nasty party if they vote to repeal the hunting ban.”Speaking on the campaign trail in Yorkshire earlier this month, Prime Minister Theresa May said she would push for Parliament to vote on the reversing the ban having “always been in favour” of the controversial country sport. She said: “This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against. As it happens personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting and we maintain out commitment - we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party - to allow a free vote. And that's what it will allow, would allow, Parliament the opportunity to take a decision on this."Professor Andrew Knight, who is standing for the Animal Welfare Party against Mrs May in the constituency of Maidenhead, said it is "profoundly disturbing" that the Prime Minister thinks fox hunting is acceptable. "We need to have leaders of our country that have basic compassion for animals and other vulnerable members of our society," he said. "Theresa May clearly, I think, is unfit to lead this country, if she clearly and demonstrably lacks these basic qualities."
Court says Essex Farmers FH must pay £131k after illegally evicting a farmer


25-5-17   Daily Express
   Essex fox hunt punished with £100,000 court fees after booting farmer off land    A HUNT has been slapped with crushing court fees after booting a farmer off land his family had worked for generations.  A fox hunt was slapped with £100,000 in court fees after booting a farmer off his land. 
Terence Grimes, and his father before him, had farmed near Burnham-on-Crouch, in Essex, as tenants. But the trustees at the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt wanted more cash and granted the lease to someone else in September 2012.  The Hunt sent crucial papers to the wrong address, where Mr Grimes hadn't lived for seven years. But the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt granted the lease to someone else in 2012.

Mr Grimes left the land “under silent protest”, but later took legal action and has now won his appeal case at the Court of Appeal in London. It follows that the notice to quit was not validly served on him and his tenancy was not validly terminated. Now top judges have ruled his tenancy had not been validly terminated and he had been “wrongfully dispossessed”.
The trustees of the Hunt, which now operates as a “country riding club”, must now pay £31,500 in damages. And, on top of the that, they must pay £100,000 towards Mr Grimes’s lawyers' bills by 2 June. The Hunt sent crucial papers to the wrong address, where Mr Grimes hadn't lived for seven years.
Lord Justice Henderson ruled he had never been validly served with notice to quit the land. That was because the notice was sent to a property where Mr Grimes had not lived since 2005. He had given notice in writing of his move to Maple Way, Burnham, but the crucial document had been served on the wrong address. The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Beatson and Lady Justice Macur, allowed an appeal against an earlier ruling in the trustees' favour. Lord Justice Henderson concluded: “It follows that the notice to quit was not validly served on him and his tenancy was not validly terminated.”

S.Herefordshire five are re-bailed yet again by the CPS
A year on, still no charges in cub-killing scandal

22-5-17   Hereford Times  Five arrested in South Herefordshire Hunt investigation have been re-bailed   FIVE people who were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty at the South Herefordshire Hunt's kennels in Wormelow have been re-bailed. The police are investigating an alleged offence in May last year.

The first two people, a 37-year-old man and 27-year-old woman, both from Hereford, were first arrested last May. A 37-year-old man from Abergavenny was then arrested in June, and a 53-year-old woman from Abergavenny and 45-year-old man from Powys were arrested in August. All five were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and have been rebailed until June. 

Anti arrested at PM camaign rally after 'shouts ''Kill May"'
Man denies wrongdoing and is released without charge

22-5-17   ITV News   Fox hunting protester arrested after shouting 'kill May' as PM arrived at campaign event in Wales   An anti-fox hunting protester has been arrested after shouting "save our wildlife, kill May" as the prime minister arrived at a election campaign event in north Wales. The 25-year-old, who said his name was Connor, played a hunting bugle before shouting out as Theresa May was driven to a community centre in Wrexham. He continued to demonstrate before police grabbed him and carried him away to nearby police vans. The man was later released without charge.The protester had yelled "this is the fascist state that we are living in under Theresa May's regime" as he protested his innocence during his arrest. The man said he was protesting about the repeal of the fox hunting act, fracking, austerity, "the lot" and added: "I've not done nothing wrong." Another demonstrator told police the man had "done nothing wrong" and described their response as a "farce" as they pulled him and then carried him into a van.North Wales Police Superintendent Nick Evans said a crowd of around 50 people had gathered, including onlookers and protesters. "In the main they were well-behaved; however, one particular person, despite a number of warnings, was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace," he said. "The man was arrested due to his behaviour and conveyed to a local police station. He has since been released without charge."
Mrs May did not appear to be affected by the nearby protest as she was greeted outside Gresford Memorial Hall. The prime minister has pledged to call a Commons vote on scrapping the ban on fox hunting if she is re-elected. The Conservative leader said she has "always been in favour" of the blood sport, which was outlawed in 2004. 
POWAperson adds - We are assured that what the protester shouted was actually 'Cull' not 'Kill' May, presumably meaning vote her out of office.
Ledbury FH terrierman charged with affray aftter attacking sab

18-5-17  Facebook - Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs   We've just been informed by West Mercia Police that Ross Loader, Malvern tree surgeon and Ledbury Hunt terrierman has been charged with 'Affray' today.
December 28th last year was an intense day with our sabs at the North Cotswold Hunt assaulted by hunt staff while Bristol Hunt Saboteurs were being assaulted by Loader and the other Ledbury Hunt terriermen and supporters.The Hunt had been hunting in Castlemorton and Bristol Sabs were with the hounds when they were attacked by the terriermen. Knowing that there was a sett nearby our sabs returned to the scene, while Bristol kept tabs on the hounds. Sure enough the terriermen were attempting to dig out a fox from the sett. Angry at being disturbed they threatened our sabs and, following a short stand-off, filled in the hole they had started to dig and left.

'Biggest ever' anti fox hunting demo scheduled for 29th May

18-5-17   Facebook - Dominic Dyer   Thousands confirmed & rising fast. If you care be there, join biggest ever anti fox hunt protest in London on Bank Holiday Monday 29 May.

    Antihuntcampaignday29-5-17.jpg

 

May confirms will hold free vote on repealing Hunting Act

16-5-17  Independent   Theresa May says she supports fox hunting because other ways of killing foxes are 'cruel' - The PM wants to hold a vote on bringing back the animal killings   Theresa May [below right] has defended her support for fox hunting, arguing that foxes must be killed and that hunting them with dogs on horseback is the most humane way of doing so. The Prime Minister said she had “always supported fox hunting” and that she would give Parliament a vote on bringing back the animal killings. “Some of the other forms of dealing with foxes can be cruel, so my view is it should be a free vote for Parliament so members of parliament individually should be able to exercise their view on this matter,” she said.

Fox hunting with hounds was outlawed by Tony Blair's Labour government in 2004 but successive Conservative manifestos have pledged to bring the animal killings back. A plot by pro-hunt Tories to bring back the spot was revealed in a leaked email this month. Lord Mancroft, the chair of the Council of Hunting Associations, describedTheresaMay.jpg the 8 June vote as “the chance we have been waiting for” to overturn the ban.

A large Tory majority in the House of Commons would likely give pro-hunt Conservatives insulation from any rebellion by anti-hunt Conservatives to stop the repeal of the ban. David Cameron had planned to hold a vote on repealing the ban but never did so after the threat of rebellion reared its head. Ms May said she did not consider the issue “important” and that MPs would be able to decide what happened to the animals if she became PM.

This is a subject on which you are either for it or against it. I have always supported fox hunting, but clearly I'm not saying I'm going to bring it back,” she told a Facebook Live session hosted by ITV News. What I'm saying is we will have a free vote in Parliament so MPs will be able to make up their own mind on this issue. This isn't the most important issue facing people at this election. I think the most important issue is about who's going to provide the leadership for the future to take us through Brexit and beyond."

A poll conducted in the run-up to Boxing Day 2016 found that opposition to fox hunting has hit an all-time high. A full 84 per cent of the public now believe fox hunting should not be made legal again, according to a survey by Ipsos MORI.

18-5-17   Daily Mail   Outrage as Theresa May confirms a Commons vote on scrapping the ban on fox hunting WILL be held - Manifesto pledge will outrage animal rights activists ahead of the snap election   Theresa May provoked outrage today as she confirmed she would call a Commons vote on scrapping the ban on fox hunting. The League Against Cruel Sports said there was 'no justification' for scrapping the law against hunting with dogs. The lobby group said the controversial laws should instead be properly enforced, insisting the public as a whole did not back hunting. Mrs May promised a free vote on Government laws for the measure - but did not put a timescale on when the vote would be held.

The Prime Minister has said she would vote to lift the ban on fox hunting despite never having taken part in a hunt - insisting it was less cruel than other ways of controlling foxes. But it is hard to forecast how the new Commons might split on the issue. The 2015 Parliament was thought never likely to endorse repealing the ban.

Eduardo Gonçalves, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: 'We're disappointed to see the commitment to a free vote on the Hunting Act included in the manifesto given the strong support the ban on hunting has among Conservative MPs and Conservative voters. 'Hopefully any attempt to repeal, weaken or replace the Hunting Act will be prevented by those members of all parties who oppose the killing of animals for fun. I think most people can see through attempts to claim that hunting is somehow good for the animals that are killed, and these figures show the reality. The intention of the Hunting Act was to stop animals suffering because of hunting – and if the law had been properly enforced we believe it would have helped up to 2.8 million animals.'

He added: 'Contrary to what the Prime Minister mistakenly said, anyone who feels the need to kill foxes should never use hunting with dogs, as it is in fact one of the cruellest methods available. This is due to the long chases of the target animal involved. There is enough evidence to suggest that hunted animals suffer whilst being chased by dogs regardless of how they are then eventually killed.' The Prime Minister has said she would vote to lift the ban on fox hunting despite never having taken part in a hunt.

Speaking earlier in the election campaign Mrs May said she would personally vote to repeal the ban. She said: 'This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against. 'As it happens personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting and we maintain out commitment - we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party - to allow a free vote. And that's what it will allow, Parliament the opportunity to take a decision on this.'

The manifesto pledge said: 'We will grant a free vote, on a government bill in government time, to give parliament the opportunity to decide the future of the Hunting Act.' David Cameron was thwarted in his attempt to call a vote on repealing fox hunting after the 2015 election. While he also promised a free vote he sought to win and the SNP announcing they would vote against it left the measure ripe for defeat and the motion was withdrawn.

 

S.Herefordshire FH asks 'false allegations' be removed from Facebook

16-5-17   Hereford Times  South Herefordshire Hunt asks for false allegations on Facebook to be removed   SOUTH Herefordshire Hunt has asked for a Facebook post to be taken down which makes false allegations about the Hunt's hounds. The Hunt Investigation Team claimed in a post on Facebook that all of the Hunt's hounds had been put down, besides four of the animals. But chairman of the Hunt, Patrick Darling, said this is groundless and false and the hounds referred to are in kennels elsewhere. He invited members of the editorial team at Hereford Times to visit the kennels and see the hounds.

Mr Darling has got in touch with the Hunt Investigation Team and asked for them to take the post down. The kennels at the Hunt's base in Wormelow are currently being leased to a third party, not related to hunting, as the hunt placed itself under a voluntary suspension while a criminal investigation continues.The investigation started last year and five people were arrested following an alleged offence of animal cruelty at the Wormelow kennels. They are currently on bail until a date this month. 

S.Herefordshire FH said to have killed all but four of their hounds

15-5-17  Facebook - Hunt Investigation Team   Shocking news has reached us   'The South Herefordshire Hunt have shot all their hounds'. We received this message from a highly trusted source from within the Hunt. This source has provided accurate intelligence throughout. They went on to clarify that 4 had been spared, to make sure the bloodline survives presumably. We estimate that 30+ dogs will have been shot (they are normally shot in the head).

This is devastating news, no attempts were made to rehome these dogs and it is just the latest example of the brutal and callous disregard that Hunts generally and the South Herefordshire in particularly have towards the lives of animals. These are just 4 of the hounds - we don't know of their individual fate. We also know that the kennels are empty of hounds and hunt personnel in preparation for the sale and redevelopment of the site. Please share this story.

    Pic below - Four of the hounds - not known if any of them have survived

    S.HerefordshireFH4ofthepackallbut4killed15-5-17.jpg 

15-5-17  Facebook - Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs    The South Herefordshire Hunt have killed all but 4 of their pack according to sources. One couple sent to the Ledbury, we do not know about the others. This is following a year of not hunting because of the ongoing police investigation concerning cruelty at the kennels. Killing unwanted foxhounds is something most hunts do. Hounds are culled if they don't fit in, are too old, or there are too many of them for the hunt's requirements. Hounds are also victims and they were probably terrified as they were taken out one by one to be shot.

Pic below - The S.Herefordshire pack before they stopped hunting 

    S.HerefordshireFHThepackallbut4killed15-5-17.jpg 

15-5-17  Facebook - Welsh Border Hunt Sabs     So - the crows have been gathering around the now redundant SHFH kennels- but not for road kill. A mass murder is alleged to have taken place very recently of all but 2 couple of their hounds-(one of which, we are told, the Ledbury hunt now have and not sure of the whereabouts of the other). The plot indeed thickens! It would appear the SHFH have now decided to form a "Hunt Club" with the intention of inviting other packs to come and hunt their country- obviously pocketing what ever revenue that would bring in. And lets not forget their new forged allegiance with their very "special Friends The Ledbury!" Clearly there is unrest amongst the creatures of the countryside as the birds, big and small continue to chatter, alerting all to the evil in our midst.....

 

9 year old girl killed in accident while hunting with the Cotswold FH
Inquest hears criticism of level of supervision of child riders

12-5-17  
Swindon Advertiser   Greater supervision needed for youngsters riding as part of a hunt, inquest hears   The level of supervision of children at a hunt meeting where a nine year old girl died after being kicked by a horse was 'far short of what could reasonably be expected,' an inquest was told. Health and Safety expert Philip Park, who investigated the tragic death of Bonnie Armitage, said he believes children under eleven taking part in hunts should be supervised by adults on a one to one basis.

The inquest has heard that tragic Bonnie, of Faringdon, Oxon, was one of five children all under the supervision of one adult rider, Melissa Kennedy, at the meeting of the Cotswold Hunt in Miserden, nr Stroud, Glos, on April 2nd last year. Bonnie was a pupil at St Hugh's preparatory school in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, where her father is deputy head. Bonnie was riding her Shetland pony, Lindsay, when she was kicked in the chest by a large horse called Harvey which was being ridden ahead of her by farmer and circus owner Toti Gifford, the inquest jury at Gloucester has been told.The Gloucester inquest jury returned a conclusion of accidental death.

Mr Park, a manager at Stroud district council, told the inquest "It is my view that the level of supervision fell short of what could be reasonably expected. My conclusion was that had Bonnie been actively supervised by a responsible adult who was in close contact with her there was a possibility she would have been instructed not to get too close to the horse in front. That could have had the effect of preventing the injury. If she had not got too close to the horse in front of her it could not have kicked her."

He told the inquest he believed it would be helpful in future if Hunts set a stipulated level of competence for child participants. It would also be helpful to have guidance on the ratios of children to supervising adults, he said. "I did not see any evidence that the Cotswold Hunt makes any enquiry about the competence of child riders. They rely in parents to make the decision themselves on the level of supervision that children should have at a hunt. "It is important for the Hunt to make a decision about the level of supervision otherwise there will be no consistency in the way it is implemented."

Asked to expand more on his views of what should happen at hunts where young children are taking part he said "Close supervision would mean one to one - one adult supervising one child. I would expect that adult to stay with the child as much as possible during the hunt. "I accept there is a chaotic and fast moving atmosphere but an adult could exercise more control over one child than one adult in charge of two or three children. I would suggest one to one supervision is reasonably practicable."

James Chamberlain, who was senior Master of the Hunt at the time but has now retired, told the jury agreed that the Hunt had not made any rules about children taking part. "If poor Bonnie had been supervised one to one I fail to see how it would have made any difference," he said. He believed that the real issue was the competence of both the young rider and the horse, he said. When he took his own children hunting in the past he had always made sure they stayed behind him, he added. But it had to be remembered, he said, that 'horses are dangerous at both ends' and riders should all be aware from an early age of the need to keep space around them at all times.

Mr Gifford told the inquest he was cantering across a field on his horse Harvey - 'a lovely, calm, gentle giant' - when the tragedy happened as Bonnie rode up alongside him. "My horse went irregular," he said. "He just didn't feel right. Then I heard a yell. I looked back. My horse is really big and there was this really little horse, the Shetland, underneath my feet almost. It went really fast, past me, and then carried on. Then I looked back and I saw Bonnie. At the time the incident happened I was going forward, looking ahead. You never think there is anything behind you because you are going forward. I just heard this yell. When I looked back she (Bonnie) was still landing. I pulled up. It's a bit of a blur really. I can't really remember....I just jumped off my horse. I didn't hang on to him but he followed me back. I went over. Then others all arrived. I can't really remember what happened, it was such a mad.....I grabbed all the horses and led them away. Then she was lying there. Big blue eyes... The emergency services and ambulance came and then we realised a helicopter was also coming."

He said his horse had been hunting for several years and is a 'fantastic animal.' I think it (what happened) was an instinctive thing, he was a bit shocked or frightened or spooked. I think, I don't know." He added "At the moment it happened it felt like the horse had gone lame. I thought maybe I had gone into a hole or the horse had stumbled. I didn't think he bucked. I just thought he had put his foot down a hole or lost a shoe or something had happened or he had stumbled on something."...

Det Inspector Wayne Ussher of Gloucestershire police said he had investigated the tragedy and concluded that the accident 'could not have been prevented.' "She was following the main body of riders in company with other children and under the care of a responsible adult. Her company approached the rear of a much larger horse which took an irregular stride and struck her. She died as a result of injury sustained from a kick to the chest by the horse but in the circumstances presented to me it could not have been prevented."

The inquest at Gloucester has heard Bonnie was one of about fifty riders at the last meeting of the season of the Cotswold Hunt at Miserden House. A jury of ten people has been sworn in to hear the case. The inquest heard a statement from Bonnie's dad, teacher Nick Armitage, formally identifying his daughter and describing her as a 'bright girl, fit and healthy, a good runner, she enjoyed everything... She was a very competent rider. She could walk, trot, canter and gallop, She had been hunting many times at different hunts. She would sometimes be out for many hours. She had hunted off a lead rein for two years. " He said the pony was eight years old and was 'experienced, dependable, safe and doesn't spook.'...

The jury heard that after the incident paramedics and an emergency doctor battled for 45 minutes to resuscitate Bonnie in the field before she was airlifted to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. But she was certified dead 15 minutes after arrival in the hospital. After a retirement of one hour the jury of ten people brought in a verdict of accidental death without any further comment. The coroner, Katy Skerrett, said she would consider over the next ten days whether to make recommendations about a minimum level of competence being required for child riders at hunts, whether safety equipment should be a requirement and whether children should be supervised...


POWAperson comments - We send our condolences to Bonnie's family and friends for their tragic loss. However, we believe it is simply wrong for Hunts to induct children, often much younger than nine, into the brutality of hunting with hounds and think it tantamount to child abuse. It is, of course, also inherently dangerous.
 

Labour Shadow Chancellor says HA must be enforced & strengthened

12-5-17  Ellen Hope Cobb   EXCLUSIVE film with John McDonnell, Rachael Maskell, and Anna Turley on keeping and enforcing the hunting act. For fox sake vote Labour on 8th June and remember to sign the petition.  

Leak reveals hunters asked to make huge push for Tory landslide
CA vice-chair mobilises Hunts to ensure Hunting Act can be repealed
Says they have assurance repeal vote will be in Tory manifesto

8-5-17   Daily Mirror    'This could be the chance we've been waiting for': Fox hunt bosses' leaked Tory campaign email in full - The email urges hunt masters to “mobilise supporters” and campaign for pro-hunting Tories in marginal seats   Tonight, the Mirror revealed fox hunt masters' secret plan to round up support for Theresa May, because they believe a Tory landslide would lead to the fox hunting ban being scrapped. The email, sent to Hunts across the country by Tory peer Lord Mancroft [right], urges Hunt Masters to “mobilise supporters” and campaign for pro-hunting Tories in marginal seats. He said a Tory majority of 50 or more MPs should be enough to secure a repeal of the 2004 Hunting Act in a Parliamentary vote later this year.LordBenjaminMancroft_2.jpg “This is the chance we have been waiting for,” Lord Mancroft wrote.

Here's the email in full - 'While anything can change in a six-week election campaign, and we know that the polls cannot be relied on, there is a real chance that on 8th June, Theresa May could achieve a majority significantly in excess of the seventeen seats she currently has. A majority of fifty or more would give us a real opportunity for repeal of the Hunting Act (HA), or perhaps an alternative legislative measure – but only if that leaves hunting in a better position than it is now. It must be clearly understood that repeal is our primary objective, but also that politics is “the art of the possible”, and we will take whichever option is the most advantageous to hunting when the time comes. It will only become clear what our best option is after 8th June.

First, we need a cast iron manifesto commitment from the Conservative Party, as we had in the last four election manifestos. Like everyone else, we will have to wait until the manifesto is published on 8th May to be certain, but Simon Hart MP and I have received assurances that such a commitment will be carried forward to the 2017 manifesto. I have made it clear that we will only provide support on that basis, and that if the manifesto does not contain an acceptable commitment, we will withdraw our support.

It is important that everyone understands why the idea that “the Government did not honour the manifesto commitments after the 2010 and 2015 elections” is incorrect. On both occasions David Cameron made it clear that he would authorise and fully endorse a vote in a manner, and at a time, of our choosing.

During the Coalition Government a vote could only take place if the Liberal Democrats agreed, which they did not. After 2015 the Scottish Nationalists reversed their earlier commitment to abstain from any votes that did not impact Scotland, and opposed the proposed Statutory Instrument, and consequently the Government Chief Whip did not think we could win a vote in the House of Commons.

All the advice we received was that we should not risk such a vote unless we had a reasonable expectation of winning. We therefore concluded it was not in hunting’s best interests to put the matter to a vote. I am sure that was the correct decision. We have repeatedly made clear that we need a Government that has both a manifesto commitment to repeal the HA, and a big enough majority to get repeal through the Commons and then the Lords.

It now looks, unexpectedly, as if there is a very real chance we could get such a Government. While nothing in politics is certain, this is by far the best opportunity we have had since the ban, and is probably the best we are likely to get in the foreseeable future. On that basis, we must do everything we possibly can to maximise the chance of getting repeal of the HA. I am confident that every Master will give the leadership and direction that our community needs at this seminal moment. Vote OK, under the direction of George Bowyer, has already started to plan what we are all going to do during the campaign. A number of constituencies do not yet have candidates, so there is a role for us in making sure that only candidates supportive of hunting are selected. Vote OK will advise how best to achieve this.

We will only help candidates who give us an unequivocal commitment to support repeal when the time comes. Nor do we need to help candidates in “safe seats” with large majorities. Instead we will concentrate on those seats where we can make the most difference. Unless specifically advised to the contrary, every Hunt should assume that it will be needed to assist with political work and start making arrangements to mobilise supporters now. Please make sure that your Hunt has an active and effective Vote-OK Coordinator in place and that they are making regular contact with your Regional Vote-OK Director (RVOD). Please do not wait to hear where your Hunt should go, but contact them as soon as possible. If you do not know who your RVOD is, contact George Bowyer by email at [address redacted].

In the face of everything that has happened over the last two decades, the hunting community has never given up fighting for our sport, for our hounds, and to enable our children and their children to enjoy both, as we have. This is the chance we have been waiting for. We have six weeks to show, yet again, what we are made of, and our undying commitment to our way of life. We have six weeks to win back all that has been taken from us. Masters, if ever there was a time to give a lead, this is it. Please don’t waste a single day of those six weeks.

Thank you. Benjamin Mancroft   Chairman, Council of Hunting Associations

POWAperson adds -  Old Etonian Lord Mancroft became JM of the Vale of the White Horse FH in 1987, the same year in which he inherited his father's baronetcy, and held the Mastership for 11 years. In 1992, he became vice-chair of the British Field Sports Society and then a Director, when it changed its name to the more user-friendly Countryside Alliance. He was made vice-chair of the CA in 2005. His somewhat lurid past includes a time as a heroin addict, during which time he acquired a conviction for theft. In February 2008, Mancroft claimed that NHS nurses who had treated him at the Royal United Hospital in Bath were "grubby, drunken and promiscuous". The hospital's Chief Executive, James Scott, called the accusations "damaging and distressing", and requested that the peer retract them. Mancroft has so far refused to do this, or to apologise. Nice guy.

It's no surprise that a commitment for a repeal vote will be in the Conservative manifesto. The leadership has always seemed determined to ignore the mass of public opinion, including an estimated 72% of their own voters, and push through Hunting Act repeal to please their bloodsports loving friends if they got the opportunity. They probably thought that had come with the surprise election result in 2015 and must have been aghast to find that many of the new intake of Tory MPs refused to support repeal. They may find the same applies to the potential newbies this time round. Whether or not, they will face massive parliamentary and public opposition and risk reviving the 'Nasty Party' image, just to get rid of a law that does not seem to much inhibit organised Hunts anyway. Doubtless Vote OK will once more send out hunt supporters into marginal with instructions to wear plain clothes and not bring up hunting on the doorsteps.  


Isle of Wight FH appeals for funds to fix 'dire' finances

5-5-17   Isle of Wight Country Press 

    IsleofWightFHAppealsforfundstofixdirefinances5-17.jpg 

 

Three Derwent FH hunt servants charged with illegal hunting

4-5-17   Wildlife Guardian   Three Derwent Hunt members charged with illegal hunting   Three members of a North Yorkshire hunt have been charged with illegal hunting under Section 1 of the Hunting Act. Hunt master Sean McClarron, kennel-huntsman Jason Marles and whipper-in Damian Readman will appear at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court on 22nd May 2017. The charges relate to an allegation that a fox was hunted on 1st November 2016 at Wilton, Thornton-le-Dale.Sean McClarron runs McClarron Insurance Brokers in Malton, whilst Jason Marles is the new huntsman of the Eggesford Hunt in Devon. Readman was formerly a whipper-in for the Staintondale Hunt.The Derwent Hunt’s chairman is Viscountess Diane Downe of Wykeham Abbey. Its directors include John Swiers, of Broxa Farm, near Scarborough, and Robert Sword the manager of the Dawnay Estates at Wykeham.

RSPCA and Save Me come out for strengthening of the Hunting Act

3-5-17  Guardian Letters    Why the environment must be at the heart of the UK general election   Fears about climate change, air pollution, waste and possible changes to the Hunting Act concern readers from Brian May and Ranulph Fiennes to James Marsden of Much Marcle As party leaders prepare to sign off on their election manifestos, we would like to draw their attention to a policy that has the overwhelming support of the British public.

While 52% of British people voted to leave the EU, 84% want the ban on hunting foxes to stay, according to the latest Ipsos Mori data. In addition, 88% support the ban on deer-hunting, and 91% back the ban on hunting hares. Support for the ban among people in the countryside is at similar levels. Ipsos Mori projections indicate that there is a clear majority in favour of the ban in every constituency in England and Wales, including that of all party leaders, and that voters view more favourably those candidates who support the ban by a margin of more than seven to one over those who want it repealed.

We call on all party leaders not only to rule out any repeal, weakening or substitution of the Hunting Act but also to support its strengthening and enforcement.

The Hunting Act is one of the most popular pieces of legislation on the statute book today. We’re asking party leaders to send a clear, unambiguous message at this election that they fully intend to preserve Britain’s great natural heritage, and ensure that cruelty to animals in the name of “sport” remains firmly in the past.

Eduardo Goncalves Chief executive, League Against Cruel Sports, Jeremy Cooper Chief executive, RSPCA, Anne Brummer CEO, Save Me Trust, Philip Mansbridge Director, IFAW-UK, Bill Oddie President, League Against Cruel Sports, Dr Brian May Founder, Save Me Trust, Chris Packham, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Peter Egan...

POWAperson adds - Whilst POWA has been calling for strengthening of the Hunting Act since before the ink was dry, LACS and IFAW only committed to it 2-3 years ago. To our knowledge, however, this is the first time the RSPCA and SaveMe have publicly come out in favour, which is gratifying.

 

Revealed that Kimblewick FH btb outbreak advised on by vets close to the Hunt
Limited past national hound testing showed a 10% bTb infection rate 

2-5-17   Morethanjustbadgers.net    Kimblewick Cover Up?    I think most people will be aware by now that the Kimblewick Hunt had to destroy a large number of their hounds due to being infected with bTB. The original story broken by our friends over at Hounds Off can be read here. There is, justifiably a significant amount of concern from all sides regarding this news. Defra have always maintained that the risk of contracting bTB for pets and dogs in particular is very low but when you consider that hunting hounds are far from pets and live in conditions few would let their own companion animals live in you’ll start to get closer to the point.

Hounds are kept in a pack, they eat, sleep and live in close proximity. Most importantly they are fed on “fallen Stock”. These are animals which have died on surrounding farms for various and probably untested reasons, that the hunt will collect as a service to the farmers, which are in turn given to the hounds as food. In this instance it doesn’t take a genius to work out where the infection has come from. Another important point is the hunting country of the Kimblewick. Although based at their kennels just outside Aylesbury they cover parts of the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Hertfordshire. An area which in total is roughly the size of Cornwall. Now consider that some of these counties are considered as part of the edge zones in the fight against bTB and the potential for the hounds to be spreading the disease over a vast area including those considered free from TB.

Obviously the risk of spreading the disease by hounds, regardless of the what Defra claim, is going to be high. The M.Bovis bacterium can survive for a significant time in the excrement left behind by the hounds, and they do leave a lot of it all over the place during a day's hunting and is obviously never cleaned up by the hunt staff. So what is being done? Well obviously the kennels were put under quarantine and the poor, affected hounds were shot. However that didn’t stop them from hunting. Visiting packs were used and hunted on the Kimblewick’s ground. Further revelations came to light when once again Hounds Off were sent a note which they in turn passed on to me. See below -

     KimblewickFHAnonnotetoHoundsOfbTbvetadvisorsclosetoHunt5-17.jpg 

There are only two listed vets in Berkhamstead I can find. St Johns and Clarke & Marshall. One would have to assume that is it one of these vets that are involved (feel free to contact them and find out which one). With all due respect to the practices shown you would have expected an organisation which specialised in bTB to be more appropriate. The equine vet in question, Bob Baskerville was originally a partner in the Baskerville Horgan & Partners practice which is now part of Hampden Vets. Although he is not currently listed as one of their equine staff, a quick Google search picks out several links between Baskerville and the Kimblewick so it’s safe to assume he is indeed a member of the Hunt.

Lord Garnider of Kimble is as described in the note, he was also chief spin doctor for the Countryside Alliance and is still an executive director. Clearly the hunting fraternity were so deeply concerned about the implications of a hunt having bTB infected hounds they brought out their big guns in collaboration with the CA in order to suppress the information for as long as they could (thank heavens for loose-lipped hunt followers) and then be seen to be dealing with it properly once it became public knowledge. Of course the real problem with this is a complete lack of impartiality. Any and all information which could have a negative effect on hunting in relation to bTB will be withheld once again. Hunting simply cannot afford to have this sort of negative publicity and potentially lose much of the ground they hunt over as concerned land owners withdraw their permission to hunt on their land. Many land owners have already banned the Kimblewick from using their land and rightly so.

Perhaps it’s now time for all Hunts to have their hounds tested, especially those in the high risk areas and all hunting suspended until each and every pack is given a clean bill of health. Considering it is now the hunting closed season you would expect this to be the perfect time. The only previous data relating to TB in hounds came from a FOI request by Keep the Ban and published by TB Free England and he summed up the response thus: “In the last 7 years, only 50 hunt hounds have been tested for Bovine TB, 5 of those were positive of infection (10%). 45 samples from hounds were taken over the same period, of which 7 were potentially infected (16%).

The sample sizes are too small to determine the statistical significance, but it does call Defra’s line that “M.bovis infection in dogs is extremely rare” into question… If they haven’t looked, how do they know it’s rare? And when they did look and found more than 10% to be infected, doesn’t this suggest it might be more of a problem than they thought?”

It’s fairly clear to me that this rabbit hole goes a lot deeper than those at Defra will admit, but while they’re so thoroughly within the sphere of influence of the CA then we will probably never know the full extent of the problem and hunts will continue to spread the disease over our countryside and badgers will continue to get the blame and die in their thousands.


Farmer involved with Fife FH kills restrained pet dog in front of owner
Was in sheep field, but shooter had already tied dog up before he shot it

The man who allegedly killed the dog is the son of the Secretary of Fife FH and the estate he was working on is owned by one of the JMs

29-4-17    Facebook - Tracy Ward‎   On Thursday 27th of April, my sons dog, Stark, in my eyes was brutally murdered at the hands of a farmer by the name of Dave Bell, near Collinsburgh, Balarres Estate.

Stark managed to escape from his family home, and in the short time he was out, he managed to get into a field of sheep. I fully understand that if a farmer feels like his livestock is under threat of an animal, whether it being a wild animal or family pet he has completed authority to shoot the the animal.

The law also states that if the farmer FIRSTLY attempts to catch the dog, and restrain him with no further threat that it should be left alone and dealt with through law. This was not the case, the farmer FIRSTLY caught Stark, TIED him to a tractor, THEN fired a warning shot, THEN shot him dead.

The law also states that the dog can be shot if the farmer has attempted to contacted the dogs owner with no joy. My son was in the field trying to get to Stark at the time of the shooting. He just didn't make it from where he was standing in time to save his pet. The farmer had clearly seen him, and two family friends with in eye sight.

My son takes full responsibility for the dog being in the field, he knows this is a serious matter. But none of us can understand why a fully restrained dog should be shot dead in front of his owner. Stark was such a gentle wee guy. He will be sorely missed. R.I.P our handsome boy ������. Meet Stark, and the farmer who took his life.

    FifeFHSonofHuntSecwhokilledrestrainedpetdoginfieldinfrontofowner27-4-17.jpg


Jedforest FH 2 defence claims 'invisible' gunman made fox hunt legal

28-4-17  ITV Border News   Father and son deny deliberately hunting fox with hounds    A father and son from the Jedforest Hunt have denied breaching Scotland's fox hunting legislation, after a video filmed by investigators showed a fox being dug out of a hole and then chased by a pack of hounds. 66-year-old John Clive Richardson and his son, 24-year-old Johnny Riley [right, Credit ITV Border], have gone on trial accused of allowing the hounds to chase the fox ,which took place near Jedburgh in February 2016. Jedburgh Sheriff Court was shown a videoJedforestFHHuntsmanCliveRichardsonandsonJohnnyRiley28-4-17.jpg which had been filmed by an employee of the League Against Cruel Sports, which showed members of the Jedforest Hunt - including the two accused. 

James Hood told Jedburgh Sheriff Court that while it was illegal to deliberately hunt a wild mammal with a dog there were some exceptions to that. Commenting on the video of the Jedforest Hunt, he said: "A fox can be flushed by dogs from cover to guns. My opinion from the footage of the two incidents is that the fox is pursued by a number of hounds across open ground with one or two horsemen and other persons present. The pursuit is beyond what is allowed in the exception." The footage shows the fox disappearing into a blind spot with the dogs still chasing, so what happened to the fox was not captured on film.

The court was told that lawyers acting for two huntsmen, intend to lead evidence saying that the dogs were flushing the fox towards a gunman who was in the blind spot, where the fox was then shot. But Mr Hood - a retired police officer - said he could not hear any gunshots on the videos or any sign of gunmen. He also visited the scene three weeks after the alleged offence and discovered the carcass of a fox in the dead ground area. All that was remaining was a vertebrae and three legs intact and round the paws there was some red fur. Mr Hood said a post-mortem was carried out on the carcass and there was no evidence that the fox had been shot.

But he agreed under cross-examination from defence lawyer, David McKie, that he could not say for certain that it was the same fox which the video had shown being pursued by the dogs. The trial of the pair has been adjourned until next month. The case is due to resume on May 8th.

 

Eggesford FH official convicted of stealing supporter & riding club funds
Gets 20 month suspended sentence and CSO for embezzling £84,000

28-4-17    Western Morning News    Huntmaster took £84,000 from Devon countryside clubs    A Devon huntmaster has admitted stealing £84,000 while acting as treasurer for two country sports clubs. Graeme Holmes [left], 59, took the cash while in charge of the purse strings of the Eggesford Hunt Supporters' Club and the Sid and Otter Riding Club. He defrauded both clubs of funds for almost a decade and used the money to keep up his EggesfordFHofficialGraemeHolmesconvictedofstealingsupporterclubfunds28-4-17.jpgimage as a pillar of the local rural community. The successful IT salesman was a joint leader of the hunt, kept a stable of horses and bought a large house near Lapford.

But Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC told him his reputation now lay in tatters. He added: “What you did as I see it was very dishonest and it isn't clear to me why it was necessary to do it at all frankly. But it was a gross breach of trust. You treated money and funds of these organisations of which you were the treasurer as if they were your own and you've been caught."

Holmes pleaded guilty to abusing his position as treasurer of the Eggesford Hunt Supporters' Club between January 15, 2007 and April 15, 2016. He also admitted the same offence against the Sid and Otter Valley Riding Club between August 26, 2008 and April 8, 2016. He has since paid all the money back.

Prosecutor William Hunter said Holmes had volunteered to take up the role of hunt treasurer in 2004. He job was to hand the cash to the bank and bank cheques, among other duties. But when suspicions were raised the club checked the account and found almost £48,000 missing, leaving them with just £580.

Holmes had been a member of the riding club since 2006 and took the treasurer role in 2008. He had control of the debit card which he used to draw money for himself and had cheques made out to him. The club expected to find £30,000 in its account but when it checked the figure was much less. Holmes admitted taking £36,000 for himself.

Richard Crabb, mitigating, said: “He is a man of previous good character who used about £84,000 of hunt funds for his own purposes. Every penny has now been paid back." He said Holmes was a man who earned a lot of money as an IT sales team leader in the Home Counties. He moved to Lapford with his wife and bought a large house 'that needed a lot of work'. He became part and parcel of the local equestrian scene and lived beyond his means."

He hunted on a regular basis and was regarded as a 'pillar of the community'. When the post of treasurer came up the club 'considered his trappings of wealth and thought he was a very successful man' and was delighted to have him. But he estimated that he lived beyond his means by £8,000 a year.

Mr Crabb said there had been a backlash in the local community against Holmes after what he had done. Holmes had cashed-in his pension to pay the money back but was not left with a large tax bill.

Judge Mercer said he was lucky the Conservative government had changed the law to allow pension pots to be cashed in early. “The amount of money is substantial," said the judge. “Your saving grace is that you have been able to pay back the money you took and it's fully repaid."

Holmes was sentenced to 20 months in jail, suspended for 18 months. He must do 150 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £550.

Court shown film of fox dig, flushing and chase at Jedforest FH trial
LACS monitor says 'appalling' acts illegal and against MFHA rules

27-4-17   Border Telegraph   Video footage shown in fox-hunting trial   Video evidence showing a fox being dug out of a hole and then chased by a pack of hounds has been described as "appalling" at Jedburgh Sheriff Court [right]. Witnesses claimed that the footage proved "traditional" fox hunting is still going on despite legislation being introduced 15 years ago.

An investigator from the League Against Cruel Sports gave the court his verdict on two videos filmingJedburghSherriffCourt.jpg the activities of the Jedforest Hunt at Townfoothill Farm near Jedburgh, on February 18 last year. Peter Cross filmed the incident on a video camera from a distance of 650 metres along with fellow investigator Terence Hill after they both set an observation point for a covert operation. The footage captured a fox being chased into an earth by the hounds and then a man spending more than 20 minutes digging a hole to locate the fox.

The law says the fox should then be dispatched or killed by a hand pistol or shotgun. But the footage shows the fox being released from the hole and immediately pursued by the hounds. The fox goes out of sight behind a land ridge - a blind spot for the cameramen - and its fate cannot be confirmed.

Mr Cross told the court: "What we have witnessed there is in direct contradiction of the Masters of Foxhounds Association rules. It is not only an illegal act but I think their governing body would like to have words about their behaviour too. If it is known a fox is in the earth they can be dug down and dispatched with a pistol if the farmer requires pest control." Referring to the hounds chasing the fox he said: "It is just not necessary to do that to a fox. Personally I find it appalling."

Father and son John Clive Richardson, 66, and 24-year-old Johnny Riley from the Jedforest Hunt are on trial accused of deliberately hunting a fox with hounds - which has been illegal in Scotland since the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002. The trial of Richardson and Riley of Abbotrule, Bonchester Bridge, continues.

Pic below shows Jedforest FH allegedly hunting a fox on 18-2-16

     JedforestFHhuntingfox18-2-16.jpg 


Fitzwilliam FH illegal hunting case is adjourned yet again
Trial now due to start 20 months after alleged offences

25-4-17  Morethanjustbadgers.net   Court Politics   Just a short update this week as I had hoped to be making the final preparations for my time in court as a witness for the prosecution of the 2 members of the Fitzwilliam Hunt. When you consider the offence took place on the 01/01/16 you begin to understand that the legal process is not something which proceeds quickly and there is good reason for that. However the when dates and locations for the hearing get changed multiple times it can get somewhat frustrating.

The case was supposed to be heard this week (26/27th) at Chelmsford Magistrates but I was contacted by a court official only last week and informed that the case would now be heard in August at Colchester Magistrates. While this delay is annoying the reasons behind it could be deemed to be in the prosecution's favour. Due to the high profile of the case it couldn't be heard in the county where the offence took place (Cambridgeshire) so other courts and magistrates had to be considered. I was informed the reason for the late delay was due to "court politics". According to a legal expert who has been advising me court politics usually refers to a "magistrate that was due to hear the case that had obviously expressed some views about hunting which compromised their ability to hear the case objectively".

This being the case, I guess I should be pleased with the delay although that statement could be taken in the both for and against (hunting) points of view. Further details from the court official once again highlighted that this particular case was more akin to that of a murder trial (to be honest I consider it a murder trial of the fox on that fateful day) in that it is being heavily scrutinised and is also the first time the use of the Bird of Prey Exemption has been challenged in the courts.

The investigating officer also contacted me the day after asking if we were all ready to go and I had to inform him of the further delays as he was unaware. From his point of view it made no difference as he wouldn't have to attend the court on the day. Even though he was the investigating officer he didn't conduct any of the interviews so wouldn't be cross examined by the defence, as this was done by more senior colleagues from the serious crime section, another sign that things were being taken very seriously indeed.

While preparing for my day in court I did go over my statement and also reviewed the video footage. It doesn't get any easier to watch and of course in my mind there can be only one outcome but, this is the Hunting Act and nothing is straight forward where that is concerned.

Pic below - The accused. Huntsman George Adams and bird handler John Mease.

    FitzwilliamFHGeorgeAdamsandJohnMease.jpg

POWAperson comments - I really hope the writer is correct in his assessment of the reasons for these extraordinary delays [though 20 months must be a record], and if a hunt sympathising judge has been recused, that must be good. But I have my doubts. Time and again we see illegal hunting cases being stretched out, often by defence manoeuvring, and how often that ends with acquittals or the CPS dropping charges - and that's just in the rare cases where the CPS do summon up the bottle to take on the hunt side's 'expensive lawyers'. 

 

Man charged over fox found captive near Belvoir FH kennels
Charge comes 17 months after incident - Hunt deny involved

24-4-17    Facebook - Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs   A man has been charged with animal welfare offences regarding the fox which was found in an outbuilding in preparation for the Belvoir Hunt which was meeting close by. Nigel Smith (59), of Stainby, Lincs, is due in court next month. Of course, the Hunt are denying everything claiming no knowledge or involvement. This is pretty standard behaviour. Get the serfs to do the dirty work then let them carry the can when and it they get found out.

POWAperson adds - The original story can be found here and here. Pic below - the fox found in the shed by LACS' investigators.

    BelvoirFHFoxfoundcaptiveonBuckminsterEstat12-15.jpg 

  

Anti gets to see her apology letter from hunter abuser after 4 months
His tirade of sexist abuse got him a conditional caution including apology
Police previously refused to allow victim to see his apology letter

24-4-17  Daily Mail   Anti-hunt activist who was called a 'f*****g slag' and a 'whore' at a protest battles for FOUR MONTHS to see a copy of her abuser's apology letter - Hunt spectator subjected Cathy Scott to barrage of foul-mouthed sexist abuse - He called her 'a f****** fat s***' and told her to 'f*** off back to Coventry'   After a video of the incident went viral, the unnamed man received a police caution over the incident on the condition he provided a written apology. Ms Scott said she had to battle police for four months to get a copy of the letter.

Cathy Scott was labelled a 'f****** slag' and a 'whore' by a 59-year-old man in Sutton Cheney, Leics,AtherstoneFHsupportertofemalemonitorYoufuckingfatbitchafterramminghercar29-11-16.jpg last November. After a video of the incident went viral on social media sites, the unnamed man received a police caution over the incident, on the condition he provided a written apology. The video emerged just days after a local councillor on horseback told a hunt protester that he would 'quite like to s***' her.

But after Ms Scott asked Leicestershire Police why she hadn't received the letter, she claims she was told she would have to view it at a police station but wouldn't be able to touch or keep it due to its 'sensitive nature'. When Ms Scott, 41, complained about the 'bizarre' decision, she says she was then offered a version of the letter with the perpetrator's name redacted. It was only after Ms Scott lodged a formal complaint that she eventually got given a copy of the letter - some four months after the incident, and two months after it was written.

AtherstoneFHSupportercautionedafterramssabcarthensubjectsfemaletotorrentofabuse29-11-16.jpgMs Scott, from Coventry, Warwickshire, said: 'Leicestershire Police were essentially protecting the perpetrator and treating me, the victim, like a criminal. If I have to jump through hoops like that to get a simple letter of apology, what chance do other victims of more serious crimes have? They told me I could come and read the letter at arm's length - what sort of rule is that? It was agreed that as part of his conditional caution he would write me a letter of apology and take a victim awareness course. Did they think I would never ask about the letter? This man called me some of the most horrible, misogynistic names under the sun. He waved his fist at me and another woman and we really did feel threatened."

"I had to chase the letter up time and time again and they gave me this most peculiar excuse that because it had details of a 'sensitive nature' they couldn't let me keep it. Obviously I questioned this but they were adamant that I couldn't have it and would have to meet a police officer to look at it. It was absolutely ludicrous and if I hadn't have fought it, I'd probably still be waiting for the apology."

The shocking footage was shared on Facebook by members of the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs, who were on the country road to protest against the Atherstone Hunt. Ms Scott and another member of the West Midlands Hunt Saboteur group were involved in a confrontation with two men. after a collision between their cars during a hunt on November 29th last year. One man got out of his vehicle and said to Ms Scott: 'You want some of this, f*****? Eh?' before adding: 'F*** off back to Coventry where you belong you f****** w****.'

Ms Scott said: 'We were there to monitor activity on the hunt. We stopped our vehicle on the lane because weAtherstoneFHAntisapologyletterforabusebysupporter29-11-16.jpg could see them coming down the track. They drove their vehicle into us and that's when I was met with this tirade of abuse. It was really nasty stuff. He was effing and blinding and calling me all the names under the sun, all on camera. It was completely unacceptable language. I told him it was some of the worst abuse I had ever heard. It was unprovoked and unnecessary. I was feeling massively intimidated and that's why I reported it to the police. To be fair, they dealt with the initial incident swiftly. But I didn't expect to be waiting on an apology all this time later. He wrote the letter in January for goodness sake and I only got it in March.'

It is believed the unnamed man must now attend a victim awareness course which he must pay for himself and he must write a letter of apology to the victim. The letter read: 'I am writing this letter of apology to you as instructed, I apologise to you for the coarse language and derogatory comments used against you on Tuesday the 29th of November 2016. On the gated road [in] Sutton Cheney. The comments were made in the heat of the moment, and for that I apologise.'

A Leicestershire Police spokesperson said: 'An initial decision was made by an officer not to provide a copy of the apology letter due to some of the content within. A complaint was made from the victim regarding this which coincided with a review from a more senior officer on the original decision. After a review, this officer agreed to provide a copy of the apology letter to the victim. A complaint from the victim is still under investigation by our Professional Standards department therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage.'

Tory councillor Charles Carter, 33, quit his position at Breckland Council after a video of him being sexist and misogynistic to a hunt protester went viral. Carter told Linda Hoggard, who filmed his derogatory comments, that she was 'very pretty' and asked if he could take her to bed.

Original story and video can be found here. 

Sabs stop Cheriton Mink Hounds from hunting

22-4-17  Facebook - Devon County Hunt Saboteurs   Today we stopped the Cheriton/former Devon & Cornwall Minkhounds from killing wildlife on the river Torridge. Together with Somerset Sabs and South Devon Animal Rights we turned up to their meet at the Stevenstone Hunt kennels in Torrington and packed them up before they even got the hounds out of the trailer. A fairly relaxed stand-off ensued while the hunt members (all 6 of them) considered their options. One of them entertained us with the usual drivel about wildlife 'management', immigration, townies and ISIS. When we reminded him that hunting a wild mammal (including otters and mink) with hounds was illegal, out came the familiar excuse, "oh but we're just here to exercise them". When asked why he minded us observing the hounds being 'exercised', he said "well they might bump into an otter... and then we'd be doing what you're suggesting we're going to do". ... After an hour of standing around in a field, the hunt made the sensible decision to head home to avoid any 'accidental' hunting. Two hours and many country lanes later they were safely tucked up back at the kennels. Job done.

 

Motorists appalled by horrific death on road of deer after Exmoor Hunt
Quantock Stag Hounds believed to be responsible for outrage
Exmoor resident Sir Rannulph Fiennes says he feels 'ashamed'
LACS brands the deer killing as 'utterly horrific' 

21-4-17  Devon Live   Drivers horrified to witness 'public execution' of terrified deer A scared deer leaped from a bridge on to a road and was 'executed' by a huntsman yesterday in front of several 'disgusted' members of the public, according to someone who witnessed the incident.

An eyewitness, who does not wish to be named, said the shocking ordeal left her 'horrified and deeply saddened'QuantockSHSceneofdeerkillhorror21-4-17.jpg after the 'exhausted' animal was cornered by hounds on a bridge above a public road near Dulverton [right]. She watched as the scene played out and said she was left in 'pure disgust', and questioned how such a 'barbaric ordeal' was legal.

Speaking to DevonLive, she said: "I am not the usual type to complain about anything to this degree but yesterday I witnessed something which deeply saddened and disgusted me along with many other members of public present at the time. "The staghounds were out on a hunt close to the Mason's Kings, not far from Black Cat, Dulverton way and they had clearly been chasing a poor stag for some time when it came to the old railway bridge. he hounds had it cornered and the poor animal was so exhausted it could hardly stand, it's tongue hanging out and it's body wobbling all over the place."

She said she, along with others, were held up on the road when quad bikes and other vehicles blocked the animal's escape routes and a gunman scrambled up the side of the bridge towards the animal. She said: "The animal, clearly distressed, took one look at its only route to potential escape and threw itself off the top of the 30ft bridge and crashed on to the road below in front of all of the members of public. The animal lay in the road - seriously injured but still alive - to which the gunman then shot and ended the prolonged suffering."

She and many others watching were horrified by the 'barbaric ordeal'. She said: "Members of the public were frantic, shouting at the huntsmen in pure disgust. All of this is actually completely legal - how is this allowed? I think the law has a great deal to answer for. I am not against controlling populations of wildlife such as deer and foxes. I live on a nearby farm and have studied wildlife related subjects at a university level so have a good understanding of the countryside. I do not, however, think there is a place for such practices in this day and that alternative more humane and effective ways exist to manage wild populations and it is about time that these animals were protected and respected."

DevonLive has contacted several local staghound groups to ask who organised the hunt, but none of them have yet responded.

POWAperson adds - We have been privately informed that the Hunt responsible was the Quantock Stag Hounds. This Hunt already carries 2 convictions for illegal hunting. Sir Rannulph Fiennes, an Exmoor resident who turned against hunting after his local hunt killed a fox that used to visit him, has made the following Facebook post -

21-4-17   Facebook - Sir Ranulph Fiennes   As a resident of Exmoor I am ashamed!

Pic below, credit DevonLive -  

     QuantockSHHunteddeerleapsfrombridgeontoroadinfrontofmotorists21-4-17.jpg 


25-4-17   Devon Live   League Against Cruel Sports brands deer killing on busy road as 'utterly horrific'    A charity which vows to protect animals from cruelty in sports has branded the public killing of a deer on a main road as "shocking and utterly horrific". The League Against Cruel Sports contacted DevonLive after reading our story about a scared deer leaped which from a bridge on to a road and was 'executed' by a huntsman. The incident took place last Thursday (April 20) in front of several 'disgusted' members of the public, according to a driver who saw the events unfurl. The eyewitness, who did not wish to be named, said the shocking ordeal left her 'horrified and deeply saddened' after the 'exhausted' animal was cornered by hounds on a bridge above the A396 road near Dulverton.

Now the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), a charity which campaigns to ban hunting in the UK, has condemned the incident and says deaths like these need to stop. Eduardo Goncalves, chief executive of LACS, said: "This was utterly horrific for the stag and shocking for the members of the public who witnessedQuantockSHBloodontheroadwherethedeerwaskillednearDulverton21-4-17.jpg it. Unfortunately the killing of stags like this isn't as uncommon as people might hope. "Stag hunting is banned, but some hunts in and around Devon and Somerset continue to chase these animals, and continue to make excuses as to why deaths occur. Frankly it needs to stop. Don't think this was a one off. The League Against Cruel Sports has a wildlife sanctuary near Dulverton and we have to keep guard on a regular basis to stop hunts from chasing deer onto our land. I can't put a figure on the number of deer and stags who have run full tilt onto our land to reach safety. Reports from this incident say the stag appeared exhausted – that suggests it had been chased over a long period. Any suggestion that it was merely discovered by the hunt, or was accidentally chased for a short period before reaching the bridge, doesn't seem to match the facts. Sometimes hunts claim they are 'helping' an injured stag by chasing it to put it down. That doesn't sound like animal welfare to me."

Speaking on Friday, an eyewitness told DevonLive how the incident left her in "pure disgust", and questioning how such a "barbaric ordeal" could be legal. She said: "I am not the usual type to complain about anything to this degree but this deeply saddened and disgusted me. The staghounds had clearly been chasing the poor stag for some time when it came to the old railway bridge. The hounds had it cornered and the poor animal was so exhausted it could hardly stand, it's tongue hanging out and it's body wobbling all over the place." She said she, along with others, were held up on the road when quad bikes and other vehicles blocked the animal's escape routes and a gunman scrambled up the side of the bridge towards the animal...

DevonLive has contacted Avon and Somerset Police to see if they are aware of the matter. No hunt has yet claimed responsibility for the incident. DevonLive has tried to contact several hunts in the area, but none have got back to us.

Pic above right - Blood stains left on A396 

 

POWA presses for strengthening commitment in Labour manifesto

20-4-17    Protect Our Wild Animals has written to the Labour Party leadership and MPs requesting that a commitment to strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 be included in the Party's manifesto for the election on June 8th. Even if Labour do not win power this time, such a commitment will make it easier to get it made official party policy and included in any future manifesto. Penny Little, POWA member and highly experienced hunt monitor, has also launched a petition requesting a strengthening commitment. Please sign this urgently and share as widely as you can.  
To: Jeremy Corbyn

Include in the manifesto a commitment to strengthen the Hunting Act

Include in the manifesto a commitment to strengthen the Hunting Act

Why is this important?

The Hunting Act of 2005 is far too weak to restrain the hunters. Illegal hunting is absolutely rife. The animal welfare consequences of this are horrendous. People who demanded a ban on hunting did not want a law that was weak, unenforced and laughed at by the hunters. The police refuse to even try to crack down on this anarchy. The only solution is a stronger - much stronger - law, with harsher penalties. A ban is supported by 84+% of the population. Labour can gather many, many votes from making this commitment in their manifesto. Please sign this petition and share it far and wide - the animals desperately need your help.

 

Town Council secret meeting with Atherstone FH exposed by sabs

20-4-17   Facebook - West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs    Atherstone Town Council in secret meeting with Hunt    Despite the public interest in The Atherstone Hunt, who have had their violent, abusive, and criminal behaviour reported on by the media over 80 times, Atherstone Town Council have seen fit to accept the hunt's request for a private meeting over the violent events in the Market Square on the 02/01/2017. This meeting took place on 15/03/2017. We have no way of knowing what the Council and the hunt discussed as there are no notes or minutes that can be scrutinised. We will keep a closer eye on the activity of the Council from now on. Further unaccountable 'shadow' meetings with criminal bloodsport fanatics are unacceptable and disrespectful to all those who want justice & respect for wild animals.

The Council claim they have yet to make a decision over the Atherstone Hunts future use of the Market Square and are due to have a secret meeting with senior officers from Warwickshire Police. The same police force who are partially responsible for the violence by choosing not to police the event and who have subsequently lied and tried to cover up their involvement.

How can Atherstone Town Council make an impartial decision over this issue when the Councillors who have vested interests in the hunt are allowed to vote on the issue? All vested interests in the Atherstone Hunt should be declared and anyone with interests in the hunt should abstain from decision making. Complaints should be directed to http://www.atherstone-tc.gov.uk/contact-us.

    AtherstoneFHHoldsecreetingwithTownCouncil15-3-17.jpg

 

Badsworth FH filmed trespassing along a canal towpath, not for first time
Reported to landowners the Canal and River Trust

14-4-17   Wildlife Guardian   Fox hunt ignored warning signs to trespass on canal towpaths   A fox Hunt’s actions have been branded as extremely irresponsible for endangering public safety after repeatedly ignoring warning signs and galloping down narrow canal towpaths with a pack of foxhounds. The Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt have been reported to the Canal & River Trust for riding along towpaths on the New Junction Canal at Sykehouse and Fishlake, nr Doncaster, on several occasions during the past six months.

The Canal & River Trust, who manage the canal, prohibit horses using towpaths due to the serious risk to the public as well as the horses. During the latest incident, a local resident, who did not wish to be named, claimed that the Hunt, along with 30 foxhounds, spent up to an hour on the towpaths at Sykehouse and Fishlake, despiteBadsworthFHHuntsmanandJMtrespassingontowpath4-17.jpg warning signs clearly prohibiting horses on the towpath.

Mobile phone footage seen by the Wildlife Guardian shows Huntsman Richard Mould and Joint Master Nigel Dickson galloping down the towpath as the hounds are in cry. The Hunt then head to the opposite towpath, where the hounds are encouraged to hunt through wildlife habitat owned by the Canal & River Trust. The Hunt’s terriermen and terriers were later seen joining the Hunt on the towpath. The trespass occurred in full view of a Canal & River Trust manned station, and despite previous incidents being reported to the Trust, no action was taken to stop the Hunt.

A spokesman for the Wildlife Guardian stated, “The Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt behaviour is utterly reckless and they are endangering the safety of legitimate users of the towpaths, such as dog walkers and cyclists. They also demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety of the horses. This is not an isolated incident, it’s occurring five or six times a year. It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured. The Canal & River Trust cannot keep turning a blind eye to the trespass and the extremely irresponsible actions of the Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt.”

In 2014, a photo of the Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt trespassing on the same towpath, led by then huntsman Nigel Dickson, was published on the Countryside Alliance Facebook page. Last year the Hunt made the national news when hunt saboteurs were driven at by terriermen in balaclavas on a quad bike.


Minehead Harriers hunt on NT land where recent bTb breakdown

11-4-17  Facebook - Chris Tasker    Do hunts give a toss about biosecurity ? Er, No ! On 1st December 2016, Cloutsham Farm, nr Minehead was listed for a bTB breakdown. So on 29th January 2017, the Minehead Harriers had a meet at the farm and spent 4 hours on the farm fields pretending to trail hunt, complete with equipped terriermen, a dozen riders, riders on point and overloaded quad bikes. To compound the issue, they had invited another hunt to join them, the Tiverton Foxhounds, so spreading whatever they picked up another 25 miles when they went home. The farm is National Trust property, and the Hunt had a trail licence from NT.

   MineheadHarriers29-1-17.jpg  MineheadHarriersandTivertonFHhuntingonNTland29-1-17.jpg

    

Police powers to demand face mask removal enhanced

7-4-17    Countryside Alliance   New power to remove face coverings from violent protesters comes into effect today   Today (3rd April) police have been given new powers to remove face coverings from violent protestors. Last month, Minister of State for Policing, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, wrote to all Police Constables making them aware of a new power to make it easier for police officers to request that face coverings be removed from violent protestors. The Minister’s letter follows a Countryside Alliance led campaign.

Last December the House of Lords passed a Government amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill which will make it easier for the police to tackle violent masked protestors. The amendment was in response to concerns raised regarding the inability of police to request the removal of face coverings from violent protestors without prior written authorisation from a senior police officer. Last months letter by the Minister’s informed Police Constables that the new provision will commence on today (3rd April).

The amendment means that a senior police officer will be able to give immediate oral authorisation for a constable to remove face-coverings, where it is impracticable for that authorisation to be given in writing. The law had required prior written authorisation that the police have grounds for reasonable belief that activities may take place in an area that are likely to involve the commission of offences. The conditions and protections remain exactly the same, but the fast track process will now allow the police to tackle a serious issue both in rural communities and elsewhere.

Research by the Countryside Alliance using the Freedom of Information Act published last year revealed that the powers had only been used on one occasion in the past three years to require animal rights activists at a hunt to remove face coverings, despite the use of masks to intimidate and hide identity being a standard tactic of hunt saboteurs. The powers had been used on many occasions in relation to pre-arranged demonstrations and football matches.

Alliance Chief Executive, Tim Bonner said:- “There are only two reasons for wearing masks and face-coverings in the context of a protest: to intimidate and harass, and to hide identity with the intention of committing criminal offences and avoiding prosecution. This is a tactic that has worked, not only by creating alarm and distress in rural communities visited by groups of extremists who have adopted the uniform of the paramilitary complete with standard black face coverings, but also in allowing offences to be committed crimes without any legal consequences. From Wiltshire to Derbyshire; from Gloucestershire to Yorkshire there have been a series of violent assaults by hunt saboteurs in the last few years, none of which have seen anyone brought to justice. It doesn’t matter if violence and intimidation are happening in urban areas or the countryside, it is wrong and it’s only right that police officers are in the position to be able to tackle effectively potentially criminal behaviour wherever it arises. We are therefore delighted that the Government has recognised the need to amend the law, recognising that the police need greater flexibility faced with modern types of protests. The amendment does not extend police powers, but makes it more practical to use existing powers and we now expect the police to make full use of them. For too long a small minority have hidden behind masks and disguises to intimidate people and to escape being held account for unlawful behaviour. This change in the law will discourage unlawful activity, whilst allowing lawful and peaceful protest.”

POWAperson comments -  The CA and their hunting friends could well find the old saw 'Be careful what you wish for...' coming back to bite them. Hunt thugs and even some redcoats commonly mask up in order to conceal their identities from anti cameras, so they can carry out their illegal hunting and assaults on antis with even greater impunity than they currently enjoy. If the police apply these new powers fairly [admittedly, this is far from a given] they will lose that anonymity and the chances of their being arrested and charged will be that much greater. 

 

VWH FH run away as monitors find hounds marking to ground

6-4-17  Facebook - Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch    5th April. Not enough for you VWH?   On Wednesday 5th April, a walker came on them [the Vale of the White Horse Hunt] yet again hunting in Cirencester Park. This time a secretive meet with a small field of followers, horseboxes and hound lorry all clustered together near the polo ground. It was late in the day but we managed to rally a couple of people and, trying to make a good guess, came in from the Overly Road where we came right on the Hunt with the hounds searching.

Just as we arrived and got seen by the redcoats, they went on cry and as we were already slightly behind them all we could do is follow. Just as we heard the disappearing sound of the hunting horn we rounded a bend to find part of the pack marking to ground and the rest of the Hunt completely vanished. The hounds were frantically digging at a hole, making it clear that the fox they had been pursuing had escaped underground. We got them off and they hung around as the Hunt had apparently abandoned them - maybe worried after the witnessed kill last Saturday? But they eventually drifted off and we guarded the area until we were sure they were not coming back for this fox, and visited again later to check. The Hunt had really run and we could not find them again, but we felt that at least we had managed to save this fox - for now.

 

Vale of the White Horse FH slaughter fox in front of monitors
Charged recklessly on to A roads before and after the kill
Monitors filmed them and have reported Hunt to police

Quote from monitor - "I know that what I saw today will stay with me the rest of my life. One moment that beautiful creature was in front of me running for his life, and the next I was looking at his blood soaking into the ground." 

6-4-17  Facebook - Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch   Vale of the White Horse FH, Saturday 1st April   The Hunt met at a farm behind Coates and after bursting out onto the main Tetbury A433 road, chased and killed a fox in front of four of our team in the fields behind Cirencester Agricultural University The fox never had a chance as there were Hunt officials and groups of riders blocking every escape. Just like Wednesday, they seemed to be hunting recklessly with no heed for cameras or the law. A redcoat tried to block our view, but one of our monitors was coming from the other direction and was able to film. The Huntsman got off his horse and ran off with the body, leaving gobbets of flesh, hair and blood on the ground. We are talking to the Police and will be putting up footage in due course.

This event did not stop the VWH hunting foxes that day. They went on cry again between Tarlton and the A433 Tetbury road, but 3Cs sab working with us that day rated the hounds off the fox. We managed to get monitors in to the areas they were drawing around Tarlton Wood and towards the Tunnel Inn, and once again a CIHW monitor got the hounds heads up as they started on a scent. they finally disrupted the very busy A419 Stroud Road to take the Hunt across into the main park, where they went up the length of the park and back, seeming to be at last inhibited by a public event within the park, packing up at around five.

    VWHFHRedcoatrunningawaywithfoxcorpse1-4-17.jpg 

A member of CIWH [also of POWA] told us - Monitors saw no 'trail' laid before hunting began next to the main Tetbury road. The hounds burst out onto the main road, disrupting the traffic before going towards the back of the University farm.

When the hounds went into cry the huntsmen made no effort to stop them until it was too late A fox was seen by a monitor fleeing for its life, just before the pack caught it. The Hunt officials seemed to panic. The Huntsman galloped over, viciously whipped the hounds off and rushed away on foot with the body, running from the camera [see pic above]. Monitors filmed the remains - chunks of flesh, hair, skin and blood.

‘The worst of it is,’ she said 'orphaned fox cubs may have been left underground, where they will experience a slow and terrible death by starvation. Wildlife rescue centres are currently taking in fox cubs, some born as early as February. The Hunt will claim there were trails laid, but they were seen searching near main roads and through fields of oil seed rape, where they would be likely to find foxes resting up in cover. Like many other Hunts, they will claim the kill was an 'accident', but we filmed them chasing more foxes later in the day. We are supplying footage to the police and call for the law to be enforced against Hunts that we believe repeatedly chase and kill foxes 'accidentally on purpose’.


VWH FH relentlessly hunted fox late in day and may have killed

6-4-17   Facebook - Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch   VWH Hunt, Wednesday 29th March   We were tipped off that the Vale of the White Horse FH were in Cirencester Park and two of us, plus a Three Counties sab managed to attend. It was a 'children's meet' but as we have witnessed before, once the children have left in the middle of the day, the Hunt gets down to it.

From mid afternoon they hunted up and down the main section of the park on the Sapperton side, where weVWHFHHoundshunting29-3-17.jpg found them. 3Cs sab got the hounds off one tired fox, but they were relentlessly after another - just glimpsed by CIHW at the Overly Road as it ran across with the hounds in cry after it, just too far away to try and stop them. The redcoats came blasting out onto the road after the hounds and refused to call them off even though they were told a fox had been seen.

The fox ran in a large circle, across the road and back into the main park and round again. The redcoat did retreat once when he came on a CIHW monitor with a camera. They had clearly lost the scent at one point, and were witnessed by CIHW bringing the hounds back to the spot and putting them to search through the thick undergrowth until they picked up on the scent again.

We have seen this before, but this time there was a difference. The redcoats and the small hardcore of riders left in the last hours of this hunt were avidly and blatantly hunting, totally ignoring our presence and absolutely relentless in pursuit of the fox, which they chased the length of the park and back again, for around one and a half hours, finally going quiet at 6.30. We strongly believe it was the same fox because the monitors trying to track the Hunt in the extensive woodland of Cirencester Park could hear the hounds go off cry, losing the scent followed by a shortish pause when they would be back on again. We have heard many times that at the end of the season Hunts become even more determined and bloodthirsty. We saw it. We do not know how it ended as a hunt suddenly going quiet can mean a kill or that the fox has gone to ground, to be dug out by terriermen and killed.

  

Film of monitor's car windscreen being smashed at S.Dorset FH meet
Video also has stills of young riders struggling to escape bog

2-4-17  Facebook - Dorset Hunt Sabs  VIDEO   Hit Report Thursday 30th March 2017, South Dorset Hunt Meeting at Rollington Farm, Corfe Castle    This [2nd] report focuses on two specific incidents of the day.

During the early part of the day, while the field were travelling through the forestry not far from the Oil Gathering Station, three young riders not knowing the all-consuming bogs in the area rode off track. Their horses sunk intoS.DorsetFH2youngridersstrugglingtoescapebog30-3-17.jpg the bog and threw the young riders. The horses, now under some stress, thrashed around to get a footing in the brown foul-smelling bog [right]. The monitor who was close by stopped videoing and carefully ‘danced’ over to the area trying to avoid the deepest of the bog sumps and gullies.

He was concerned the horses would endanger the young riders by falling on them and pushing them into the bog. After asking the young riders if they were okay he beckoned over adult riders. Two of the ponies came out of the bog without to much stress. The third was seriously struggling and moving the wrong way. Eventually the pony was persuaded to turn and came out the bog in the direction from which he came. Riders and ponies looked to be okay on exit from the bog, although probably stressed.

When the very same monitor returned to his car at the end of hunting he found his windscreen smashed. It appeared to have been smashed with a hard object [Dash-cam still below]. Police, who were on site all day, were called and attended. Frankly they were furious at what had happened and will follow up the crime. After the monitor was on the scene of the bog incident and standing by to help earlier in the day he was extremely disappointed that a hunt follower should resort to such vandalism.

Note: The vehicle had a ‘dash cam’. The video from the dash cam is now being studied for evidence of who committed the crime. We have set up a GFM to pay for the damage to the monitors car, we have worked closely with him this season. We are in awe of his experience and he is one of the kindest and caring gentlemen you will ever meet. https://www.gofundme.com/dorset-sabs-vandalised-vehicle

     S.DorsetFHMomentmonitorswindscreensmashed30-3-17.jpg 


'Notorious' hunt supporter to be charged at last over 'vicious assault'

1-4-17   Facebook – Outpaced   We hate to tease with half a story but sometimes we have no choice. Outpaced, after a two year case have had a significant result in which one of the hunts most notorious and odious individuals is about to be prosecuted. It's even more satisfying that he thinks he has long got away with his vicious assault. We took it to the highest of review level with the CPS and at last to a specialist prosecutor. Given a couple of outrageous acquittals recently our compliments to the CPS in recognising that public interest is best served in bringing this case. We are only not giving more detail as we don't want to spoil his surprise. At such a time, I f the victim gives permission, we will publish the full story.

 

For stories before APRIL 2017, go to page  UK HUNTING NEWS ARCHIVE

Enter content here


 
Contact details  -  enquiries@powa.org.uk
Protect Our Wild Animals Limited is a Private Limited Company, registered in England & Wales, number 6687073, registered address 13 Albert Place, Loughborough LE11 2DN
Disclaimer: Neither POWA nor the Webmaster necessarily endorse all the views expressed on this site or the views expressed in links/downloads on this site. Responsibility cannot be accepted by POWA or the webmaster for statements made by contributors for publication on this site or on those sites/downloads to which links are given.