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For purpose of this record - and to include whole year - 'Hunting Season' runs from start July-end June

N.B.   Entries are in REVERSE chronological order. Stories are below each month's headlines

WARNING - May contain distressing images of animals killed/mutilated by Hunts  



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JUNE 2009
….. 29th June - 'Middle Way' group report claims hunting humane and natural
….. 23rd June - Cattistock FH supporter fined for traffic offences while blocking monitors
….. 19th June - Craven & Pendle Forest Hunt get permission for new kennels
..... 18th June - S. Durham FH JM in court charged with assaulting 2 women monitors
….. 17th June - Councillor seeks to end St. Ives' traditional link with Western FH 
….. 11th June - Ullswater FH Huntsman faces trial on 2 charges of illegal hunting
…..  1st June - Woman anti charged after refusing to leave field Hunt was in  
…..  1st June - Survey finds 70% oppose any Hunting Act repeal bill

'Middle Way' group report claims hunting humane and natural

29-6-09  Western Morning News   Fox hunting ban 'harms animal welfare'    HUNTERS say a new report has "vindicated" their arguments against a ban after it concluded the activity is the most effective way of controlling foxes, and that all arguments of cruelty are "invalid". The publication states hunting with hounds is "demonstrably the natural and most humane method of control", and there was "never any scientific evidence" to support a ban.

The all-party parliamentary Middle Way Group worked with the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management to produce the document, which concluded the hunting ban of 2004 is "unscientific, unenforceable, socially divisive, and harms, rather than improves, animal welfare"…

East Devon MP Hugo Swire said the report backed claims the ban was never connected to animal welfare…  David Higman, chairman of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers in South Devon, said the report "vindicated" the argument hunters had put forward all along… Jim Pascoe, chairman of the Four Burrows Hunt at Redruth, West Cornwall, said it was "perfectly obvious" hunting must be legalised again… 


Cattistock FH supporter fined for traffic offences while blocking monitors

23-6-09   Private email from monitor     Benjamin Elliot, a Cattistock FH supporter, pleaded guilty to the traffic offences this morning. It was a bit of an anti-climax, but we are pleased with the outcome. Our film was shown to the magistrates. He was fined £400 for the two offences; Drive mechanically propelled vehicle without reasonable consideration, Wilfully obstructing free passage along the highway,£250 costs and a £15 surcharge, so a total of £1,065 to pay and he had a good ticking off. They did not pursue the unknown passenger (by this morning the prosecution had his name) who took over the wheel and nearly caused monitors to have an accident - he was only fourteen.

25-6-09  Western Gazette  -



Craven & Pendle Forest Hunt get permission for new kennels

19-6-09  Craven Herald   Hounds can move to new home   The Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt hounds have been given official approval to move to new premises near Bell Busk. Craven District Council’s planning committee agreed in principle to the conversion of a building at Wheelwright Farm, Coniston Cold, in May, but had asked for the application to be brought back to the June meeting for confirmation of conditions. The application had received the backing of the planning committee despite being recommended for refusal by planning officers.

A number of local residents had voiced concerns about potential noise and fouling, as well as danger to road users. But the committee felt there were insufficient planning grounds for refusal and accepted that the use of the public highway for the exercising of the harrier hounds was outside planning control.

After the first planning meeting, three further letters had been received highlighting fears of livestock disturbance and potential health risk to livestock and people through the hounds’ waste. The committee reiterated its approval of the scheme and agreed a summary of conditions.

These include using natural, reclaimed stone in construction of the building and providing a sample to ensure the work retains the character of the traditional building.

No areas outside the building may be used for industrial operations or to store materials, plant, equipment, products or waste.

The occupation of the converted stable block must be limited to those workers and their dependants who are directly responsible for the care and handling of the hounds. A further condition was added relating to disposal of dog waste.


S. Durham FH JM in court charged with assaulting 2 women monitors

18-6-09    LACS Press Release    Hunt master in court over assault claim     A Hunt Master from Durham will appear in court today after being charged with assaulting two female hunt monitors.

League monitors Lynne Edwards and Hazel Greaves were monitoring the South Durham Hunt on 28 February 2009 when the attack by Gary Watchman is alleged to have taken place.

Mr Watchman will appear at Sedgefield Magistrates Court, in Newton Aycliffe following claims he hit both women with his whip while trying to stop them filming his Hunt's activities.

This latest case follows the recent jailing of Christopher Marles of the East Devon Hunt who was sentenced to six months behind bars for a similar assault.

League Chief Executive Douglas Batchelor said: “Violence should not be tolerated in any sector of society and this is just another example of hunters believing themselves to be above the law. Unfortunately monitors, who give up their time to assist the police, are being subjected to bullying and intimidating behaviour by hunters and we are grateful this behaviour is being taken seriously by the police. No-one would tolerate attacks on Neighbourhood Watch members, and nor should we when it comes to hunt monitors.”

Article no longer online 

Councillor seeks end to St. Ives' traditional link with Western FH

17-6-09  Cornishman    Councillor out to stop hunting links    A GREEN Party member and St Ives town councillor wants to sever all official links between the council and a local hunt group. Paula Richards, who runs the Bean Inn vegetarian restaurant, hopes to persuade fellow members to snub the Western Hunt during annual Feast celebrations…. Town Clerk Louise Dowe said the mayor had offered a glass of punch to riders on Feast Monday every February 'since time immemorial'…

1-7-09  Cornishman   Farmer and councillor at odds over Feast hunt   A PRO-hunting farmer has vowed to scrap a traditional Easter boating event on his land in St Ives if town councillors vote to sever official links with the Western Hunt. Simon Rogers says he will ban youngsters from sailing model yachts at Consols Pool after learning that a Green Party councillor wants to snub the hunt during Feast celebrations. Cllr Paula Richards, who runs the Bean Inn vegetarian restaurant, says she finds the sight of horses and hounds 'offensive' and will try for a second time to persuade councillors to end the ancient tradition at a meeting on July 30th….


Ullswater FH Huntsman faces trial on 2 charges of illegal hunting

11-6-09    Carlisle News & Star    Cumbrian man [Huntsman of Ullswater FH] denies illegal hunting charges    A Cumbrian man is set to face a trial after being accused of two acts of illegal hunting. John Harrison, 48, of Grassthwaite Howe, in Glenridding near Penrith, appeared at Eden Magistrates’ Court charged with two counts of hunting a wild mammal with a dog.

He pleaded not guilty to both offences, and will now go on trial before a district judge in Penrith over three days from September 16 to September 18.

The Hunting Act was brought in by the Government in 2004, and prohibits the hunting of mammals with dogs, unless the hunting is exempted.

Harrison was granted bail. Both his solicitor and a representative from the Crown Prosecution Service will appear before magistrates in Carlisle on August 17 for a review of the case ahead of the trial.


Woman anti charged after refusing to leave field Hunt was in

1-6-09   Newbury Weekly News   Woman charged over alleged hunt monitoring    Trial date set for October in case of Worcestershire woman accused of hunt monitoring activities in Hermitage… Lyn Sawyer was arrested during a private drag hunt by the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt. She is charged with failing to leave a field near Burnt Ash Lane, Hermitage, as soon as practicable after being directed to do so on March 21 this year… Ms Sawyer was bailed until the trial, which begins on October 14 and is expected to last three days and involve around 20 witnesses...


Survey finds 70% opposed to any Hunting Act repeal bill

1-6-09   Torquay Herald Express   No hunting ban U-turn, say voters    Most voters do not want the Tories to give MPs the chance to reverse the ban on hunting with hounds if they take power, a poll has shown. The survey, commissioned from YouGov by the League Against Cruel Sports, found 70% were opposed to Parliamentary time being devoted to a Bill…


MAY 2009

….. 31st May -  Hunts want police to treat info on meets as exempt from FoI requests

….. 23rd May - Otis Ferry and friend both convicted of attack on female monitors 

….. 23rd May - CA urges Hunts to 'monitor monitors' after death of supporter

….. 16th May - ACPO spokesman say enforcing hunt ban a low priority

…..  1st May - Wick & District Beagles Huntsman cautioned for illegal hunting 


Hunts want police to treat info on meets as exempt from FoI requests

31-5-09  Horse & Hound   Hunts urged to keep talking to police    The Countryside Alliance (CA) wants police to assure Hunts that meet information will not be passed to animal rights activists through requests under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

In an interview two weeks ago with The Times, Richard Brunstrom, rural affairs spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and chief constable of north Wales, said Hunts no longer needed to provide advance details of meets, as they have done since the introduction of the Hunting Act in 2005. The same article stated that "senior police officers" were concerned that their neutrality had been compromised by being "forced to release details of meets through FOI requests to activists who had gone on to disrupt hunts"… Tim Bonner added: "We will be advising Hunts to continue to liaise with their local police and to provide information about hunting activity where there is an assurance that it will be exempt from an FOI request." …


Otis Ferry and friend both convicted of attack on female monitors

Ferry of P.O. Act S5 offence, Deutsch of Affray - both fined £350 

23-5-09    Gloucester Citizen and Echo    Countryside campaigner Otis Ferry walked free from court today, claiming he only got involved in a skirmish with hunt monitors because of the recent theft of his puppy by animal rights campaigners.

Ferry [right], 26, the son of Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry, was given a one-year conditional discharge for causing "fear, stress and upset" to a woman who tried to film him riding with a Hunt. Ferry was released with a £350 fine and £100 costs by a judge at Gloucester Crown Court, as he hadOtisFerry.jpg already served four months on remand.

His defence barrister, George Cox QC, revealed that two weeks before the incident near Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, Ferry's Jack Russell, named Tiny, had been taken by anti-hunting protesters. Mr Cox blamed the "distressing" theft of Tiny for the fact that Ferry had become involved in a "tug of war" for his victim's car keys, leaving her bruised.

The incident, in November 2007, began after Ferry had ridden to the aid of fellow hunt supporter John Deutsch whose Subaru was being held up as he was trying to get help for a sick horse.

Ferry, joint master of the South Shropshire Hunt, pleaded not guilty to robbing the monitors, Helen Ghalmi [below left, talking to police after the attack] and Susan Grima, of a Samsung camcorder, a Navman sat nav, and a set of keys. He also denied charges of affray and assault, relating to the same incident on November 21, 2007, when he was a guest of the Heythrop Hunt, which covers Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. But the pleas were accepted by the crown after Ferry, of Eaton Mascott, Shropshire, admitted a public order offence.

Prosecutor Kerry Barker told the court that the two women recognised Ferry riding on that afternoon and tried to film him. At that stage a horse box driven by Deutsch passed their Peugeot and blocked them in. The driver then got out and shouted abuse at them before grabbing the top of the car window, causing it to smash, Mr Barker said. The pair were "very frightened" by what was taking place, the court heard. Seeing Deutsch, 55, involved in a scene, a man identified as Ferry rode over. He tried to grab the camera and sat nav system, finally becoming involved in a "tug of war" for the car keys, which he won. After the struggle, Ms Ghalmi suffered "slight bruising" to her upper right arm, Mr Barker said.

HeythropFHHelenG21-11-07.jpgThe court heard that the Heythrop Hunt was unique in that it wears green jackets, while visitor Mr Ferry was wearing red.

Deutsch – who was also fined £350 with £100 costs after admitting affray – said he was angry at being blocked in because he was driving an injured horse away for treatment.

Mr Cox, speaking in mitigation, said: "Mr Ferry is somewhat in the public eye and a well-known supporter of hunting. He is therefore often the subject to attention from those who disagree with hunting on principle. Two weeks before the incident his dog had been stolen and reported to the police as stolen. It was subsequently recovered, clearly having been taken by people wished to make a political point. At the time he was joining the Heythrop Hunt, his dog had just been stolen, he believed, as it turned out correctly, by people who wished to visit their disapproval on him. His house is regularly watched. He is sometimes followed and has been the object of campaigns – from time to time sustained – of intrusive attention from those who disagree with the practice and tradition of hunting. So when he saw in the road that day Mr Deutsch apparently in some difficulty his spontaneous reaction – which he concedes amounted to misplaced loyalty to a fellow hunt supporter – was to become involved. He bitterly regrets any involvement in that incident."

Addressing Judge Martin Picton, he continued: "The theft of his dog had just occurred two weeks earlier. If one is fond of animals – I don't know if your Honour has dogs, I do – the stealing of a dog is distressing, unpleasant and upsetting. It was in those circumstances that this offence was committed."

He added that Ferry had already spent four months as a remand prisoner on a charge of intimidating a witness in the case, which was later dropped.

Sentencing Ferry, Judge Picton told Ferry he had caused "fear, stress and upset" on that day, but accepted he had wrongly served more time in jail that the offence "could ever justify". Judge Picton added: "Those who object to hunting are entitled to go about that process of objection lawfully just as much as someone engaged in hunting is entitled to practice it in a lawful way. People have to peacefully co-exist no matter what their differing view and opinions."

After the case, which was held at Cirencester Magistrates' Court, sitting as Gloucester Crown Court, Ferry declined to comment. But he was heard to tell his girlfriend. Francesca Nimmo. who was there to support him: "Phew." His mother, Lucy Birley, 48, a former model, was also in the public gallery at the hearing.

In the case of Ferry, the £350 was ordered to be paid as compensation to Ms Ghalmi. In Deutsch's case the same sum must be paid to Ms Grima. Ferry's witness-nobbling charges to be quoshed.


CA urges Hunts to 'monitor monitors' after death of supporter

23-5-09   Horse & Hound    Thames Valley Hunts to 'monitor the monitors'    Hunts in the Thames Valley area are being urged to "monitor the monitors", following a second meeting between the Countryside Alliance (CA) and Thames Valley Police (TVP)… The CA and Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) requested meetings with TVP following the alleged murder of Warwickshire hunt supporter Trevor Morse in March, an incident to which Midlands-based animal rights group Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA) has been linked…. "The police are very aware that Trevor's death and the involvement of POWA with hard core animal rights activists has changed the [hunt monitoring] situation significantly."…

Full article no longer online 


ACPO spokesman say enforcing hunt ban a low priority

16-5-09  Daily Mirror    Illegal fox hunting 'not a priority' for police   Police chiefs have provoked fury by saying their officers will not target illegal foxhunting The Association of Chief Police Officers said there were more pressing priorities because gathering evidence of illegal hunting is difficult and it is hard to enforce the Government's ban.

Richard Brunstrom, the spokesman on rural affairs and Chief Constable of North Wales Police, said: "Hunting is definitely not a policing priority. It is not illegal to wear a red coat and ride a horse in a public place." Mr Brunstrom said police had to choose which areas of law enforcement to devote scarce resources to. He added: "If you look at hunting, the penalties do not include a prison sentence for offenders. This puts the Hunting Act to the lower rather than the higher end of offences."

But a spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said the police had a duty to enforce the law. He added: "We fought for 80 years for the hunting ban. We are going to press for more prosecution cases."

Mr Brunstrom has caused controversy in the past with his outspoken views. He has called for the decriminalisation of all drugs and incurred the wrath of motorists with his enthusiasm for speed cameras...

15-5-09   Daily Mail    Hunting ban collapses as police abandon monitoring operations    Police are to stop monitoring hunts in a policy change that effectively marks the collapse of the hunting ban, it emerged last night.

New guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers says that forces have more pressing priorities than spending valuable time clamping down on hunts and suggests that monitoring should be cut down. It brands the 2004 Hunting Act 'cumbersome' and 'unenforceable' because gathering evidence of illegal hunting has proven difficult. The Association of Chief Police Officers says that forces have more pressing priorities than clamping down on hunts.

The guidance advises police to rely on anti-hunt campaigners to gather information. But in a blow to these activists, the document comes with a warning that they can be unreliable and should be treated with 'caution' because hunting is an 'emotionally charged' subject. Organised hunts will no longer be required to inform police in advance of the time and place of meets and their planned route, The Times reported.

richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales and the ACPO spokesman on rural affairs, told the newspaper: 'Hunting is definitely not a policing priority. It is not illegal to wear a red coat and ride a horse in a public place.' Mr Brunstrom said that police had to prioritise areas of law enforcement. He added: 'If you look at hunting, the penalties do not include a prison sentence for offenders. This puts the Hunting Act to the lower rather than the higher end of offences. Parliament had the chance to include imprisonment as a sentence but did not do so.' The guidance, which has been approved by senior officers but is not binding, urges officers to avoid 'acrimonious, time consuming, frustrating and ultimately fruitless activity'. There is 'no discernible appetite in Parliament at present to revise the legislation', it says.

David Cameron, the Tory leader, has made it clear that he is in favour of repealing the Hunting Act if he wins the next election, offering MPs a free vote in government time. A backbencher would have to produce a Bill.

Mr Brunstrom said: 'Hunting is definitely not a policing priority and don’t let me give you the impression it is. But that does not mean we are not going to deal with it. We recognise it is the law of the land and the duty of the police to enforce it - but to do so proportionately and according to priorities. 'He raised concerns about militants joining forces with anti-hunt organisations and added: 'If there are offences they are likely to be taking place in a remote rural environment. We are not very well equipped to follow hunts and get evidence and nor do we think we can justify it. Pursuing hunts is an expensive and sophisticated operation.'

Louise Robertson, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said last night that the ban will still have to be enforced by law. She said: 'The guidelines recognise that the Hunting Act is the will of the parliament and is legislation supported by the vast majority of the public and we will continue to work with the police to ensure this is enforced effectively.'

POWAperson comments  -  This will make no practical difference. Police have never 'monitored' hunts in the first place. Sabs and hunt monitors say if they turn up at all they just say they're there to 'keep the peace' and show no interest in enforcing the Hunting Act, sometimes even when it is being breached before their eyes. Nor can Hunts have ever had to inform police of their 'routes' since they don't have any except following where their quarry goes and they obviously can't predict that in advance. 


Eggesford FH pin fox tail to Conservative Party billboard

14-5-09   North Devon Journal    Fox tail is a sign of support for political party   A FOX TAIL has been attached to a roadside Conservative Party billboard. The bushy attachment was spotted this week on a road between Wembworthy and Eggesford, near Chulmleigh. A woman at Eggesford Hunt Kennels said the tail was attached to the sign as a way of showing opposition to the hunting ban….

League Against Cruel Sports campaigner Alan Briggs, from Bideford, said: "I think it's disgraceful, in very bad taste. I've not heard of anything like this happening before."…

Article no longer online 


Wick & District Beagles Huntsman cautioned for illegal hunting

1-5-09  LACS Press Release    Nigel Bell from the Wick and District Beagles was interviewed by police yesterday where he admitted breaching the Hunting Act in February this year.

Although a caution may seem like he has been let off, it is actually a very helpful step forward in our fight against illegal hunters. What this demonstrates is that the Hunting Act is clear and enforceable and, furthermore, hunters know this to be the case. It is also apparent that the police are aware of what the law entails.

This latest victory has been the result of the dedication and commitment of League monitors, and under caution it will be very difficult for Mr Bell to get off lightly on any further breaches of the Act.

In light of the fact that there currently exists more than 100 beagle packs, the incident involving Mr Bell will compel huntsmen next season to adhere to the law.

POWAperson comments - Can't help thinking the final paragraph is just wishful thinking. Do LACS really believe the prospect of getting a caution is going to deter other hunters? 

7-5-09  Daily Telegraph    Huntsman cautioned for chasing hare in first case of its kind under Hunting Act     A huntsman has been given a police caution for illegally hunting a hare – the first case of its kind dealt with under the controversial Hunting Act. Nigel Bell was filmed chasing a hare by anti-hunt monitors in February this year and has been given a police caution. Nigel Bell, 53, from the Wick and District Beagles, admitted the breach after he was filmed chasing the animal by anti-hunt monitors in February this year.

It is the first time anti-hunt campaigners have successfully brought a case against a hare hunt under the Act which was introduced in 2004, the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) claimed.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed Bell was cautioned on April 29 at Thornbury police station in connection with the incident on land between Horton and Badminton, in South Gloucestershire.

A spokeswoman for LACS said: "Although a caution may seem like he has been let off, it is actually a very helpful step forward in our fight against illegal hunters. What this demonstrates is that the Hunting Act is clear and enforceable and, furthermore, hunters know this to be the case. It is also apparent that the police are aware of what the law entails. This latest victory has been the result of the dedication and commitment of League monitors, and under caution it will be very difficult for Mr Bell to get off lightly on any further breaches of the Act. In light of the fact there currently exists more than 100 beagle packs, the incident involving Mr Bell will compel huntsmen next season to adhere to the law."

The Wick and District Beagles is a relatively small hunting pack that follows beagle hounds on foot and, pre-ban, traditionally hunted hares rather than foxes or deer. Based in South Gloucestershire, outside Bristol, it is well-known for bringing beagles to various country shows around the region.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "We have investigated a couple of allegations of hunting wild animals with dogs, initially reported in January this year in Horton. "In connection with that incident, a 53-year-old man was given an adult caution on April 29 at Thornbury police station."


APRIL 2009

….. 30th April - Barlow FH senior Joint Master is killed in a fire

….. 29th April  - Grafton FH stable boy killed self after Huntsman barred him from hunt

….. 24th April - Holiday family shocked to see deer hunt on the Tarka Trail 

….. 17th April - LACS drops its prosecution of four from Isle of Wight FH 

…..  7th April - Another IoW FH dig [fox shot] protected by police

…..  4th April - IoW FH filmed digging fox out of sett with police approval 


Barlow FH senior Joint Master is killed in a fire

30-4-09  Horse & Hound    Memorial fund for Barlow master Anne Wilson    The Barlow Hunt has set up a fund in memory of senior joint-master Anne Wilson who died following a fire on 17 April.… Her funeral takes place at 2.30pm on Wednesday, 6 May, at St Swithin's Church, Holmesfield.

A spokesman for the Hunt said they would be taking a collection in her memory, with part of the proceeds going to the Injured Jockeys Fund and the rest to create a memorial to Miss Anne at the hunt kennels in Horsley Gate…

Article no longer online 


Grafton FH stable boy killed self after Huntsman barred him from hunt

29-4-09   Northampton Chronicle    Stable lad killed himself: Inquest A YOUNG huntsman shot himself at the Grafton Hunt kennels in Northamptonshire after writing a suicide note to his parents, an inquest heard today.

Jack Burgess, aged just 16, was described by his mother Margaret Connolly as "a wonderful son" who had a love of the countryside and a promising future with the hunt before his death in October last year.

The former Kingsbrook College student killed himself with a .32 pistol - normally used to destroy animals at the Paulerspury kennels - after being told by huntsman Mick Wills that he would not be allowed to go hunting that morning. In a statement, Ms Connolly said Jack was "happy, always smiling and a grinner". She added: "He had a happy life and lived it the way he wanted to. He had no enemies and we all still miss him very much."

In a suicide note found near his body, Jack said "Mum and Dad I love you", before asking for his dog Jet to be given to one of his best friends.

The inquest, held at Northampton General Hospital heard how Jack started working for the Hunt on his 16th birthday in July last year, and was aiming to complete an NVQ in animal husbandry. He had been involved with the kennels since he was just eight, when Mr Wills arranged for him to look after a pony and learn to ride.

On the morning of his death, he had been left crying after Mr Wills told him he would not be going hunting as punishment for failing to clean his horse properly the previous weekend. Mr Wills said he was tough on Jack because he showed so much promise as a huntsman, and he "wanted the best for him". He said: "I wanted to teach him to do things properly and to a high standard, and I wanted him to learn that it was important. Jack was very gifted and remarkable, he had a natural body language with the hounds. He had a rare talent."

Ms Connolly said the family "in no way blamed" Mr Wills for their son's death. She added: "Mick always had Jack's interests at heart. He was trying to do the best for him because he wanted to bring on Jack's talent."

Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of suicide.


Holiday family shocked to see deer hunt on the Tarka Trail

24-4-09  North Devon Gazette   Hunt 'ruined ride along Tarka Trail'    Every year we spend the February half-term in North Devon…  However, on Wednesday, February 18th we hired four bikes from Torrington and set off on what started out as a very pleasant bike ride along the Tarka Trail… Suddenly, without warning in the field to our left, we could hear the bone chilling sound of the huntsmen's bugle accompanied by the frantic enthusiastic yapping of hounds.

What was that? asked my daughter. Without being overly descriptive I was forced to answer my daughter's questions and concerns… Having caught up with my husband and son, my husband had spoken to the quad bike driver who stated they were hunting a deer that my husband saw on the far side of the field… Those people who take pleasure in chasing a defenceless deer for miles until it falls to its knees should appreciate that not everyone is of like mind and should have a greater respect and consideration for others….   Alexis Lockhart, Flackwell Heath, Bucks


LACS drops its prosecution of four from Isle of Wight FH

17-4-09   Daily Telegraph    Hunting ban is 'unworkable mess' say supporters    Hunt supporters have claimed the ban has become an "unworkable mess" after the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) dropped a private prosecution of four men accused of illegal hunting.

The case against four members of the Isle of Wight Hunt, Stuart Trousdale, Jamie Butcher, Malcolm Purcell and Liam Thom, is the third under the Hunting Act to be dropped in recent weeks.

The men were arrested in early morning raids nearly two years ago. The Crown Prosecution Service later decided not to prosecute them, but the League started a private prosecution. On Thursday at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court the case was formally discontinued.

The prosecution is the third under the Act to be dropped following a High Court ruling in February that the prosecution had to prove a hunt was not carrying out exempt hunting. The other abandoned cases involved members of the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire, and the Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds.

Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said of the latest case to collapse: “This is the clearest possible evidence that the Hunting Act is on borrowed time. Technically it remains on the statute book, but even the organisation that promoted this Act, and which is its greatest defender, has had to admit that it has failed. The only question that remains now is when the Hunting Act will be repealed.”

The League said: “After careful consideration the League's legal experts have advised that although the evidence had originally been of sufficient quality and quantity, this was no longer the case following the recent High Court judgment. The ruling introduced a new criteria in presenting evidence which did not exist when this particular case was brought.”

John Cooper, the League chairman, who is a barrister, said the decision would not mean an end to prosecutions under the Act.


Another IoW FH illegal dig of fox [shot] protected by police

7-4-09  Letter from Isle of Wight Monitors [extract]   The policing of the dig out on the 21st [Feb] was not interrupted by a public order problem [as a police sergeant had claimed]. Two police officers watched the dig from start to finish and walked off at the end of it at 15:16 (all on film) as the fox was shot and given to the terrier to ‘rag’. It was not until 16:30 that we saw the police again when they took it upon themselves to carry out a gamekeeper’s instructions, evict us from a footpath and arrest Julian!


IoW FH filmed digging fox out of sett with police approval

7-4-09  YouTube - MegaTextingQueen    Dig out (7th March) when the terrier men dug into another badger sett after another fox again located and marked by a full pack of hounds. This was all carried out in front of two police officers who sanctioned the whole event. One of them was a Wildlife Crime officer!

Pics below   -  1/  Terriermen digging fox out of badger sett while police refuse to act     2/   How sett entrance left after fox dug out and shot 

  IoWFHDiggingfox4-2-09.jpg IoWFHSettafter4-2-09.jpg


MARCH 2009

….. 21st March - Illegal hunting charges against D&S SH three dropped by CPS

….. 16th March - Brocklesbury FH JM Earl banned for driving at 125 mph on A1

….. 14th March - E. Devon FH Whipper-in jailed for attacking woman monitor with horse

….. 11th March - Four illegal hunting charges against Heythrop FH Huntsman dropped

….. 9th March - Cattistock FH hunt, even crossing coastal road, in fog

…..  4th March - CPS will not appeal controversial High Court Hunting Act judgment 


Illegal hunting charges against D&S SH three dropped by CPS

21-3-09  Sunday Telegraph     Hunt supporters say decision to drop charges against three hunt masters proves ban has failed    Hunt supporters have hailed a decision to drop charges of illegal hunting against three members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds as evidence that the ban has failed and leads to "confusion, cost and conflict". The case against joint-master Maurice Scott, huntsman Donald Summersgill, and whipper-in Peter Heard was dropped on Friday.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that, in the light of a High Court ruling in February, it was for the prosecution to prove a hunt was not carrying out exempt hunting. The case was the second under the Hunting Act to be dropped by the CPS this month.

The three men were charged with illegal hunting in 2006, and pleaded not guilty on the basis that their hunting was "exempt" and therefore legal.

Mr Scott said: "This is a huge relief, not just for myself, and others facing the charges but for hunting as a whole."

Simon Hart, the Countryside Alliance chief executive, said: "There have only been three successful prosecutions of hunts, involving five people, since the Act came into force in February 2005. The decision to drop this case suggests that prosecutions under the Hunting Act will now be even rarer. It could not now be more obvious that this Act has failed and all it now promotes is confusion, cost and conflict."

The CPS dropped four charges of illegal hunting against a Huntsman, Julian Barnfield, of the Heythrop Hunt, in Oxfordshire, earlier this month. That decision followed a High Court ruling that the use of dogs to search for a wild mammal in order to stalk it or flush it out was not in breach of the Act.


Brocklesbury FH JM Earl banned for driving at 125 mph on A1

16-3-09  Scunthorpe Telegraph [no longer online]    Earl banned after speeding up to 125mph - THE Earl of Yarborough has been banned from driving after hitting speeds of 125mph in his BMW on the A1… He was educated at Eton College, and is known locally as the leader of the annual Boxing Day Brocklesby Hunt….


E. Devon FH Whipper-in jailed for attacking woman monitor with horse

Suspended sentence for beating up another monitor activated

14-3-09  This is Cornwall   Huntsman jailed for attacks on observers   A HUNTSMAN has been jailed for six months after he repeatedly barged a woman hunt monitor off her feet while he was on horseback. Christopher Marles acted like an "arrogant, cowardly, drunken lout" when he attacked 61-year-old Helen Weeks, Exeter Crown Court was told yesterday.

The court activated a suspended sentence, which had been in operation at the time of the offence, for an earlier assault when Marles beat up hunt monitor Kevin Hill, leaving him needing stitches.

But after the hearing, Ms Weeks and her supporters said they were disappointed with the leniency of the sentence, which they said gave out the "wrong message" about violence towards hunt monitors.

Marles, 47, knocked Ms Weeks to the ground three times as she filmed the activities of the East Devon Hunt at Broadclyst, East Devon, last March. The attack was caught on camera, and the footage shows Marles apparently smiling as he purposefully steers his horse towards his victim, knocking her into a ditch three times. The video was shown in court.

Yesterday, his defence counsel, Ayse Vahib, told the court that the farmer, of Farringdon, near Exeter, was "very ashamed" to be before the court and was "remorseful" of the attack. Marles pleaded guilty at an early stage and admitted he acted "recklessly" in allowing his horse to go too close. He claimed he had not meant to hurt Ms Weeks. But magistrates at an earlier hearing decided the assault was intentional.

Despite the ruling, Ms Vahib yesterday insisted that Marles had only meant to stop Ms Weeks from filming. She told the court Marles had drunk three "generous measures" of whisky before the attack.

The assault bore striking similarities to an incident in 2005, when Marles punched and kicked 59-year-old Kevin Hill as he monitored hunt activities. As a result, the defendant was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

Recorder Ros Collins yesterday activated the sentence, but reduced it from nine to three months, giving Marles credit for his early plea and noting the suspension period was three-quarters through when he attacked Ms Weeks. Marles was given a further three months for assaulting Ms Weeks, to run consecutively. Marles was told: "You acted like an arrogant, cowardly, drunken lout and I hope you're thoroughly ashamed of yourself."

After the hearing, Ms Weeks, who founded the group Protect our Wild Animals, said she was "very disappointed" at the verdict. "It was far too lenient, given that he's a violent man and the offence against him was a second offence," she said. "I think he's a bully and a thug and he should have got longer. This will send out a message to other thugs connected with fox hunting that they assault, attack and intimidate hunt monitors, and if they don't get off, they will get off very lightly."

Carol Hill, wife of Kevin Hill, the victim of the first attack, said her husband was still suffering as a result of the beating. She added: "The sentence isn't long enough. He should have got the full nine months. Now he could be out in three months."

12-2-09  Western Morning News    Huntsman faces jail for assault    A WHIPPER-IN faces jail after he repeatedly used his horse as a "weapon" to repeatedly barge a hunt monitor off her feet while he was serving a suspended sentence.

Christopher Marles carried out the attack on Helen Weeks, 61, when she was filming the activities of the East Devon hunt last March. He knocked her to the ground three times, despite her desperate cries to leave her alone. The incident was caught on her video camera.At an earlier hearing, Marles, 47, had pleaded guilty to the assault charge, on the basis he had acted recklessly in riding his horse too close to the victim. But yesterday, magistrates in Exeter rejected his claim he had not intended to carry out the attack.

It also emerged Marles, of Farringdon, near Exeter, is the subject of a nine month sentence, suspended for two years, for an assault on hunt monitor Kevin Hill which left the animal welfare officer with two black eyes and in need of six stitches.

That incident happened in October 2005, while Mr Hill was filming the activities of the Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds. Exeter Crown Court ordered Marles to pay his victim £2,500 in compensation.

Yesterday, magistrates decided to refer the case to Judge Jeremy Griggs at Exeter Crown Court, who will decide whether the breach of the sentence warrants a jail term.The chairman of the bench, Elizabeth Hibbick, found Marles had intentionally assaulted Ms Weeks with his horse. The magistrates bench has recommended custody should be the "entry point" of any sentence.

During the hearing, Marles publicly apologised to his victim. But the magistrates ruled the apology was no indication the attack was not intentional. The defendant said he will never hunt again following the incident.

But after the court case, Michael Moore, joint master of the East Devon hunt, revealed Marles had his red coat revoked as a result of the attack. He said: "We don't condone violence, and we don't want any member of the Hunt involved in violence. We felt it was inappropriate for him to continue wearing a red coat to represent the Hunt."

Speaking outside the court in Honiton yesterday, Ms Weeks, the founder member of Protect Our Wild Animals, primarily set up to protect foxes, said she believed Marles should go to prison. She said: "His horse was completely under his control. It was doing its utmost to avoid me. He intentionally knocked me into the ditch those three times."

Ms Weeks was monitoring the hunt with Graham Forsyth, of the League Against Cruel Sports, who also captured footage of the attack. Yesterday, she outlined the ongoing tensions between hunts and monitors, and claimed she had been subjected to intimidation, including a dead fox being left on her car outside her home in Somerset.

But she said she would not be deterred from monitoring hunts, and from campaigning to have anti hunting legislation strengthened to include a recklessness clause. She said: "Not only would that protect the hunted animal, but it would also protect the hunt monitors from attack. They don't want us out there."

Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said the conviction sent out a "clear message" violence and intimidation against hunt monitors was a crime. He said more than 50 hunt-related incidents have been reported to the police in the last hunting season in Devon and Cornwall alone. "Hunts and hunters are not above the law and no-one should be left free to assault and intimidate other members of the public," he said.

Countryside Alliance spokesman Tim Bonner said there was "no justification whatsoever" for Marles's conduct. He said: "It's got no place in hunting, and neither has Christopher Marles." But he said the case showed the laws in place were working properly to protect monitors. "The behaviour is unacceptable and the courts have found him guilty," he said. "I don't think there's anything here to suggest that the law needs to be strengthened."

Articles no longer available online


Four illegal hunting charges against Heythrop FH Huntsman dropped

11-3-09  Daily Mail   David Cameron's friend escapes hunting trial as High Court rules 'searching' for mammals is legal    Julian Barnfield, a friend of David Cameron and professional huntsman with the Heythrop Hunt, has escaped fox hunting charges after the case against him was dropped. A friend of Conservative leader David Cameron has escaped fox hunting charges after the case against him was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Julian Barnfield, professional huntsman with the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire, had been charged with four offences of hunting a fox between November 2008 and February 2009 and was due to appear before magistrates this Friday.

But the CPS has now announced it is no longer proceeding with the case in the light of a High Court ruling last month that 'searching' for a mammal was not hunting and that hunting could only be an 'intentional' activity.

Mr Barnfield and members of his Hunt were told on Tuesday of the decision. Mr Barnfield said he felt 'extremely relieved' that the charges had been dropped. He had insisted he had only been trail hunting - an activity designed to replicate a traditional hunt without chasing a fox.

He said: 'It was quite a daunting prospect, to think that I was going to be on trial. But there was no evidence to prove that I was hunting illegally. Having the charges dropped is a great weight off my shoulders. I am truly elated and extremely relieved.'

Richard Sumner, joint master of the Heythrop, said: 'We are all absolutely delighted. I know that Julian himself is very pleased and relieved. We felt we had a very good case and would have won if it had gone to trial but thankfully the Crown Prosecution Service have seen sense. We felt the evidence against Julian was pretty shaky. Now he can get on with his job and stop worrying about this case, which has been dragging on for a long time. I think it was a political thing that this was ever brought in the first place. I believe the prosecution of Otis Ferry for robbing a hunt monitor and the charges against Julian are all a result of the lobbying of the League and those people. But these people and the prosecution are grasping at straws. The CPS have to prove that we have been hunting illegally but we haven't and our consciences are clear.'

Mr Barnfield is a friend of Tory leader David Cameron, who has ridden with the Heythrop Hunt on at least six occasions.

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, claimed: 'The collapse of the case against Julian Barnfield is another nail in the coffin of the Hunting Act. The High Court judgment last month was always going to make prosecutions less likely and there can be no clearer illustration of that than the decision not to continue with this case. The Act has failed completely, but a law which promotes so much conflict and causes so much confusion cannot be allowed to remain in force. There are no reasonable arguments left for retaining the Hunting Act so getting rid of it need not be complicated or time consuming. Bad laws should be repealed, and this is a very bad law.'

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Magistrates' Court confirmed they had been notified of the discontinuance of the case. It had been listed at Cheltenham Magistrates court this morning for a pre-trial review.

At an earlier hearing Mr Barnfield, 44, of Heythrop Kennels, Chipping Norton, Oxon, had pleaded not guilty to three charges through his solicitor Tim Hayden.

The first charge related to events on November 17, 2007, at Cold Aston, Cheltenham. The second referred to offences allegedly committed on January 23, 2008, at Adlestrop, in Moreton-in-Marsh and the third on February 7 2008 at Barrington. A fourth similar charge for an offence allegedly committed in the Witney area was also to be heard at his trial having been transferred from Witney Magistrates' Court.

The Heythrop is the local hunt to David Cameron's Witney constituency and he has ridden with them at least six times since he moved to take the seat several years ago. The CPS are expected to make a statement later today explaining the reasons for the decision.


Cattistock FH hunt, even crossing coastal road, in fog

9-3-09   Private email from monitor    On Saturday afternoon, we filmed hounds from the Cattistock Hunt chasing a fox over the busy coastal road B3157 just outside of Abbotsbury and close to the famous Swannery. The road was shrouded in mist rolling in from the sea. It was a miracle there wasn't a pile up.

My colleague and another hunt monitor were driving along the B3157, having decided to return home as the fog was so thick in places that they could no longer monitor safely, when through the mist they saw hounds racing across the field at the side of the road and towards the road and run straight across the road and onto the hill above the sea. The livestock fence did not stop them - they simply jumped over it. They were completely out of control on a notorious black spot for accidents, with the hunt staff nowhere to be seen.

The monitors were forced to brake and the traffic behind us stopped. Fortunately there was a gap in the on coming traffic, so no hounds were killed or injured. (as far as we know).

We are sending our film to the police, but nothing will happen. This is not a one off, this Hunt always hunts either side of this busy coastal road - they have the luck of the devil, and a law which lacks "intent", so in effect they are above the law.

Incidents such as this are a regular occurrence across the country with wild mammals being chased down and ripped apart by hunts in the exact same way as they were before the 'ban'. The MPs and government have to grasp the reality of the situation. The Hunting Act has to be strengthened with a reckless behaviour clause of "cause or permit", if it is to work as Parliament intended.

It is no good blaming the police for not enforcing an Act that is unenforceable. Anyone who says that this Act is enforceable is working against the interests of the hunted animal. Labour should do the right thing and strengthen the Act. It will lose votes, it can ill afford, if it does not. it is not just hunt monitors who are angry, but the public who thought hunting had been banned. This is the dangerous law-breaking that Tory Leader, David Cameron, plans to reward by repealing the Hunting Act, should he become PM.


CPS will not appeal controversial High Court Hunting Act judgment

4-3-09  BBC News   Prosecutors drop huntsman appeal   The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said it will not contest a High Court ruling in favour of a Huntsman filmed apparently chasing a fox with dogs. Tony Wright [below left], 53, of the Exmoor Foxhounds, was the first person to be prosecuted under the Hunting Act 2004, which bans hunting with hounds. He successfully appealed against his conviction, saying the dogs were flushing out foxes for a marksman. The CPS has warned it could still bring other prosecutions under the Act.

TonyWrightExmoorFHHuntsman.jpgMr Wright was originally fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 costs to the League Against Cruel Sports which brought the prosecution in 2005. He appealed on the grounds that the dogs were being used to flush out the fox with the intention that it would be shot. The High Court upheld Mr Wright's appeal last month, ruling that the word "hunt" did not include searching for the purposes of stalking or flushing. The court said there was an onus on the prosecution to prove the defendant was not covered by such an exemption, although there was also a burden on the defendant to produce evidence of what he or she was doing. Mr Wright had argued he had acted to ensure compliance with the law and had been trying to protect livestock.

Other trials, including one involving men from the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, have been put on hold while the ruling was awaited.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said: "The fact that the CPS has decided not to take this to the House of Lords does not mean that there will be no more prosecutions under the Hunting Act. On the contrary, where there are allegations that the law has been broken, the CPS will continue to work with the police to build cases and decide whether there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute, as we normally do."

He continued: "We have considered the High Court judgement carefully and sought counsel's advice and have decided that the rulings should be accepted and no further appeal be made. Having made this decision, we will now be reviewing those cases going through the system which have been waiting on the High Court judgement to see what impact, if any, it may have."

Countryside Alliance chief executive, Simon Hart, said: "The decision not to appeal is an admission that the law is in a mess. The only sensible option is to get rid of this badly drafted, unfair and illiberal piece of legislation."



….. 26th February - Woman upset as Eseex Farmers FH hounds invade, scaring pets

….. 24th February - Monitors film IoW FH dig out & kill while police do nothing

….. 20th February - Woman Cotley Harriers follower cautioned for assaulting two monitors

….. 19th February - Woman shocked as Holderness FH hounds chase fox thru garden

….. 14th February - N. Cotswold FH hound killed after pack run on to main railway line

…..  9th February - Western FH hounds rip apart pet cat in front of horrified owner

…..  4th February - High Court judgement in Exmoor FH case further weakens Hunting Act

…..  2nd February - Horse badly injured after Avon Vale FH hounds invade farm 

…..  1st February - Cameron appoints fanatic hunter as shadow Defra Secretary 


Woman upset as Essex Farmers FH hounds invade, scaring pets

26-2-09   Thisistotalessex    Woman traumatised as hunt hounds run amok    AN ANIMAL-LOVER was left traumatised after hunt hounds allegedly charged into her garden. Lyn Taylor, 60, has been deeply affected by the episode, which she says erupted while she was alone at home in tranquil Woodham Walter.

"I am so traumatised by it," she said. "Before the law changed, the hunt would send a card round beforehand saying they were going to be in the area. But since then we don't get one any more. All of a sudden I heard the hounds yelping. There were at least half a dozen in my garden going berserk."

Mrs Taylor said the dogs broke some branches from a prize rhododendron, and frightened off a stray cat which she looks after. The cat didn't return for two days. She said her pet dog and five other pedigree cats were also left unnerved by the experience. I shouted at the huntsmen to go away but they did nothing. In the end I was screaming and shouting so much they called the hounds off. Two of them even laughed as they left. I felt humiliated and I am so angry there were hounds in my garden when they shouldn't even be around here. What right have they got to come round here and interfere with our property and disturb our peace?"

The incident on Wednesday February 25 was reported to Maldon Police who are investigating.

Mervyn Clarke, a master of the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt said no complaint had been received about the incident. “We are sorry if someone has been inconvenienced, we would never knowingly upset anybody," he said. "If she writes to us, we will investigate. I find it bizarre that somebody can make these sort of comments," he added. "Animals run through back gardens, it happens."


Monitors film IoW FH dig out & kill while police do nothing

24-2-19  Private email from monitors    Early on Saturday we were watching a dig out [by the Isle of Wight FH] on private land and as always we called on the police to check it out. They refused our calls but said they would pick up messages!! As the police watched, the terrier men dug out for a considerable period of time. When they had got down to the fox, (a hole big enough for one of them to stand in) a rifle was used to shoot it. The fox body was then brought out, waved at us and given to the terrier to maul. We were a long way off, within binocular range and though they knew we could see them, they would not have realised we were filming. The whole dig out, start to finish with the police present, is all on film.

Later, we knew the Hunt [Isle of Wight FH] were heading for this particular area and so we decided to walk on footpath/bridleway to the woods. Of course the hunt did not want us there and so we were followed and constantly harassed firstly by 3 thugs and then 2 more joined them. The gamekeeper/ landowner Mr Kingswell was the continued aggressor and constantly interfered with our progress along the path. He threatened us with the police and swore at us wanting us to leave the area as he knew the hunt wanted to use his land. We did not want to but continued walking and listening out for the hounds etc. We called the police too but had to leave a message as our police officers are no longer talking to us because of an investigation of which we know nothing about.

When the police arrived it was obvious they were determined that we leave the area. We could not understand how they arrived at that conclusion as we were doing nothing and the hunt supporters were the aggressors. Also by this time we and the hunters were nowhere near each other and when Julian said that he wanted to walk away on the footpath and not back to where the hunters were, it was then that Julian was arrested and Tina and Joan were man-handled along the footpath. This is a brief account as we need time to document all that happened.

There was no breach of peace and we feel (rightly so) frustrated and annoyed we were treated so badly.

Of course the Hunt and Terrier men loved it! Seems so unjust after working so hard to make the police aware of their lack of enforcement we are arrested on a trumped up charge and the thugs get away with their bullying.

We are desperate for help as it will be impossible to monitor with our police behaving like vigilantes. Hunting is illegal the police are not upholding the law but choosing monitors as soft targets. We feel the situation is out of control. 


Woman Cotley Harriers follower cautioned for assaulting two monitors

Female monitor in 60s was grabbed by throat and thrown into hedge

20-2-19   Email from female monitor  VIDEO  The Cotley supporter (day after Boxing Day) who grabbed me by the throat, tried to grab my camera, threw me into a hedge and then hit both Graham and myself, while her two male companions looked on, received a caution yesterday. We think she got of too lightly and we are sending our DVD clips to the local TV stations in the hope they will show it.



Western FH hounds rip apart pet cat in front of horrified owner

19-2-09   Cornishman   [no longer online]



Woman shocked as Holderness FH hounds chase fox thru garden

Huntsmen present but made no attempt to call hounds off

Other witnesses, but police say 'no evidence' of crime 

19-2-09   Hull Daily Mail  [no longer online]   Maxine Budding was shocked to see hounds from the Holderness Hunt pursue a fox through her garden - Maxine claims hounds chased a fox through her garden at The Coach House in Station Road, Ottringham    A horrified student today spoke out after an East Yorkshire hunt marauded over her family's garden. Maxine Budding expressed her outrage after the Holderness Hunt's hounds pursued a fox through the garden in Ottringham, near Withernsea.

The 18-year-old claims the hounds chased the fox into a field at the rear of the property, The Coach House in Station Road. Hunt officials denied any fox was killed and police said there was no evidence of any offence being committed.

Miss Budding said: "We saw the fox run into our garden followed by a pack of baying hounds, who chased it into a field at the back. The huntsmen were next to the garden, but I did not see them make any attempt to stop the hounds."

The incident took place after the Hunt met at nearby Halsham on February 10th. She said: "I was horrified and then really annoyed by what I saw."

Police were alerted and a hunt official apologised to them and the owners of the property on the edge of the village.

POWA wrote to the Chief Constable as follows -  

25-2-09   To Mr Tim Hollis, Chief Constable, Humberside Police Headquarters, Priory Police Station Holderness Hunt - Hull Daily Mail    In the Hull Daily Mail (19th Feb:) it was reported that the Holderness Hunt’s ‘baying’ hounds were witnessed chasing a fox through a garden and into a field. Witnesses also stated that the huntsmen were next to the garden but that they were not seen making any attempt to stop the hounds. The newspaper report stated that the joint Master of the Hunt admitted that the hounds had run across the garden, but was not aware they were pursuing a fox.

A Humberside Police spokesperson is quoted as saying that the police had investigated two complaints about the Hunt that day, but added, “However, at this time no dead fox has been located and as such there is no evidence of any offences.”

Assuming the news report is accurate (I accept that this is a big assumption!) we are baffled by your spokesperson’s comment. As you aware the hunting of a wild animal with dogs is an offence, whether or not the result is a ‘kill’.  

A witness says that the ‘baying’ hounds were chasing a fox and that the hunters were close by but were not attempting to stop them. So there clearly was ‘evidence’ of an offence, even if it turned out later for example, that the witness was unreliable, or that the hounds were not ‘baying’ , but merely wandering about, or that other witnesses stated that a fox was ‘accidentally’ hunted, but that the Huntsman had successfully called them off, etc etc.

Our concern is that if your spokesperson’s statement is accurate, it wrongly gives the impression that hunting foxes with dogs is fine, provided the fox is not actually killed. We would be grateful for you comments on this incident.

19-2-09    Apology after hounds run through garden   Hunt officials today apologised after foxhounds ran through a private garden in an East Yorkshire village.The angry property owners at Ottringham also complained that the Holderness Hunt was chasing a fox. Police were alerted and a hunt official apologised to them and the owners of the property on the edge of the village, near Withernsea.

Today, farmer Chris Richardson, hunt joint master, said: "We temporarily lost sight of the hounds near the village while following an artificial trail. Because it was so wet, the huntsman was staying clear of a field of standing crops to avoid any damage and that's when the hounds ran across the garden. We were not aware that hounds were pursuing a fox and got them back together as quickly as possible without any damage being done." Mr Richardson said it was an unfortunate incident and the hunt had apologised to all concerned.

He said: "The hounds did not career though Ottringham and it was something that happened on the edge of the village. We are not in the habit of letting hounds run through private gardens and it is the first complaint we have had this season. If there had been any damage we would have put it right straight away."

The incident happened after the hunt had met at Halsham, near Ottringham, on Tuesday, February 10th. A Humberside Police spokesman said they had investigated two complaints about the Hunt at Ottringham but there was no evidence of any offence being committed.

The first call from a member of public shortly after midday was over concerns about horses, hounds and vehicles potentially obstructing the road. He said: "At about 1pm, a second person reported that the hunt had run into his garden in Station Road and a fox had been attacked by hounds. Police officers attended the area and located members of the Hunt and spoke to a number of them. They were made aware of the allegation of damage, trespass and upset caused to local residents however at this time no dead fox has been located and as such there is no evidence of any offences."


N. Cotswold FH hound killed after pack run on to main railway line

14-2-09  British Transport Police     Pack of hounds on the Hereford-Paddington mainline railway, between Blockley and Chipping Norton, near Mares Brook crossing. The train driver reported that he saw a pack of hounds on the line. He blew his horn and stopped but killed one hound. A man on quad bike, also on the railway, ‘remonstrated’ with the driver, said he was with the North Cotswold Hunt and that the hounds had a fox. He said they were going to cross back over the line as they were meeting up with another Hunt.


High Court judgement in Exmoor FH case further weakens Hunting Act

Judge accepts Huntsman's assertion that he was flushing to guns 

Declares 'searching' is not 'hunting' within meaning of Act

Emphasises that prosecution must prove 'intent'  

4-2-09   Daily Telegraph    Hunt ban 'weakened' after High Court upholds appeal    The ban on hunting with dogs has been further weakened after the High Court endorsed a successful appeal from the first huntsman to be convicted of breaching the Act, the sport's supporters claimed. The Countryside Alliance welcomed the ruling in favour of Tony Wright and said it would make it harder to successfully prosecute huntsmen under the legislation introduced five years ago.

Two High Court judges found that the use of dogs to "search for" a wild mammal in order to stalk it or flush it out was not in breach of the Act. Mr Wright, 54, of the Exmoor Foxhounds, was therefore successful in his defence that he had not broken the law despite being filmed twice in 2005 apparently chasing a fox with dogs.

In 2006, North Devon magistrates found Mr Wright guilty of hunting foxes with dogs. He was fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 costs to the League Against Cruel Sports which brought the prosecution. He appealed to Exeter Crown Court where Judge Graham Cottle overturned the conviction. The judge found the dogs were being used to flush out the fox with the intention it would be shot by a marksman, making the activity exempt from the ban.

The Crown Prosecution Service took over the case from the League Against Cruel Sports and asked the High Court to clarify the law. In its judgment on Wednesday, the High Court found that hunting does not include searching. Lawyers said afterwards that this meant there could only be a prosecution where there is an actual pursuit of a wild mammal.

The ruling also put the onus on the prosecution in such cases to prove a defendant was not covered by exemption, although there was a burden on the accused to produce evidence of what he was doing.

In their judgment, Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, who was sitting with Mr Justice Maddison, said: "If the general aim was to ban the perceived cruelty of hunting wild mammals with dogs for sport, the ban is by no means absolute." The judges said that whilst they supposed the intention of Parliament was to enact a scheme which was "both reasonable workable and fair" it had been left with an Act which provided "for a most unusually formulated bundle of diverse exemptions."

The Countryside Alliance said afterwards it expected the Crown Prosecution Service would now have to review other cases that are pending. A spokesman said: "We have won on everything essentially. "This should mean the prospect of Hunting Act offences being prosecuted will be far lower in many cases. We would expect there to have to be overwhelming evidence (of illegal hunting) for a prosecution even to be launched."

However, Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said the Countryside Alliance was "trying to put the judgment wider than it goes". He said: "We have been absolutely assured by our lawyers that the Hunting Act as it was intended is still in place. "Anyone caught in breach of the Act by chasing and or killing a fox, deer, hare or mink will be charged and prosecuted for illegal hunting."

Mr Wright said: "This prosecution has now dragged on for over three years and during that time I have been living under the threat of a criminal conviction. If this judgment, though, makes it less likely that other people will face the sort of vindictive prosecution that I have been through then it has all been worth it."

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "The Hunting Act is an increasingly pointless piece of legislation that offered little and has achieved less. Politicians of all parties are coming to realise that it has failed and it is now a question of when, not if, the Hunting Act is repealed."

The Crown Prosecution Service said: "We will be studying the judgment very carefully to see if it should be appealed. We will also be monitoring any current cases carefully."

4-2-09  Daily Mail    Countryside Alliance jubilant as High Court ruling makes hunting ban 'even weaker'    Fox hunting supporters claimed a major legal victory tonight over the law banning their sport. A High Court judgment clarifying the definition of hunting effectively reduces the scope of the Hunting Act and makes prosecutions more difficult, they said.

The hunt ban has produced just 90 prosecutions since its introduction in 2005, while hunt numbers have increased. One reason mooted for the low number of prosecutions has been lack of clarity over the definition of hunting. The High Court had been asked to define what activities were covered by the hunting ban, following several appeals against convictions.

Kerry Barker, of the Crown Prosecution Service, told the judges that 'hunt' must mean 'hunting for or searching for'. He said: 'If searching for a wild mammal with dogs is not illegal, then it is difficult to see how Parliament's intention of preventing cruelty and bringing an end to the sport of hunting can be met.'

But Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Maddison ruled that hunting did not include mere 'searching for' an animal. And they said it was up to the prosecution to prove defendants were not covered by exemptions to the ban - rather than defendants having to show they were exempt.

The ruling is a victory for Tony Wright, of Exmoor Foxhounds, the first man prosecuted for hunting foxes. He had his conviction overturned after arguing that farmers had asked the hunt to kill foxes to reduce losses during the lambing season.

Under the Act, there are exemptions in circumstances where animals are causing 'serious damage' and when only one or two dogs are used.

Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, called the High Court outcome 'very positive' and said: 'We have won on everything essentially. This should mean the prospect of Hunting Act offences being prosecuted will be far lower. We would expect there to have to be overwhelming evidence for a prosecution even to be launched.'

But opponents of blood sports said the law had simply been clarified and more court cases were likely to follow as a result. Douglas Batchelor, of the League Against Cruel Sports, accused the Countryside Alliance of 'trying to put the judgment wider than it goes'. He said: 'It is really a victory for clarity in the law and the backlog of hunting cases will be able to pass through the courts. We have been absolutely assured by our lawyers that the Hunting Act as it was intended is still in place.'

Hunts can take place legally by either laying a scent for hounds to follow or using a pack to flush a fox or another mammal out for a bird of prey to kill. The use of dogs to kill the animal is forbidden, except in certain circumstances.

But critics say that in some cases they knowingly allow dogs to chase a fox after it has been 'flushed', while others lay artificial trails close to known fox habitats, then claim the animals are being 'accidentally' hunted by the pack.

More than 3,000 registered hunts in England and Wales have carried out 70,000 hunting days since the ban, while the number of people who subscribe to them is said to have increased by 10 per cent over the same period, to 44,000.

The Tories have promised a free Commons vote on repealing the law if they win the next election.


Horse badly injured after Avon Vale FH hounds invade farm

The pack went on to cause mayhem at a cat rescue centre

2-2-09  Wiltshire Times    Anger after hunt dogs run amok    THE League Against Cruel Sports has criticised the Avon Vale Hunt after hounds ran onto a farm near Trowbridge and frightened a horse causing it to injure itself.

The 56-year-old owner of the two-and-a half-year-old horse called Billy said she was 'shocked and outraged' after it tried to escape from hounds by scaling a fence, badly injuring itself in the process.The pack then continued to cause chaos when they entered a nearby cat rescue centre.

The owner of the horse, said: "The Hunt clearly had no control over their hounds and it was extremely distressing for both myself and my horse, who suffered severe lacerations to his legs and required expensive veterinary attention, not to mention the emotional trauma he suffered."

Matt Fox, the League's hunting campaigner, said: "Unfortunately this is the latest in a long line of hunt havoc incidents. It is unacceptable that some hunts believe they are above the law."

The police were contacted by the owner of the horse about the incident which happened at about 1.30pm on Saturday..



Cameron appoints fanatic hunter as shadow Defra Secretary

1-2-09  Horse & Hound  [no longer online]   Huntsman and farmer join new shadow cabinet    DAVID CAMERON's appointment of a "true countryman" to the new shadow cabinet is the strongest sign yet of the Conservative Party's commitment to rural issues. Nick Herbert, the new shadow environment secretary, was a former political director of the British Field Sports Society (BFSS) and founding member of the Countryside Movement — now the Countryside Alliance (CA)… Mr Herbert was master and huntsman of the Newmarket Beagles for 14 seasons. Before that he was master and huntsman of the Trinity Foot Beagles and whipped-in to the Essex Foxhounds… 



…..  ? January - BBC reporter joins Heythrop FH monitors - sees chase & evidence of kill

….. 27th January - Woman eventer becomes Worcestershire FH Huntsman

….. 24th January - Ex Four Burrow FH JM & CA official drowns on holiday in India 

….. 16th January - Hunt in Shropshire kills fox right outside animal rescue centre

….. 15th January - Scots Borders dog walker finds self in middle of fox hunt

….. 15th January - Woman complains of repeated invasions by Sinnington FH

…..  2nd January - Anti-hunt groups split on pressing for Hunting Act strengthening

…..  ? January - Easton Harriers hounds savage pet cat to death in garden 


Woman eventer becomes Worcestershire FH Huntsman

27-1-09   Worcester News   It may be a hard and difficult job, but someone has to do it   Considering she has tackled the formidable fences at both Badminton and Burghley international horse trials four times each, event rider Natasha Wheeler is obviously up for a challenge. But now she is facing possibly her most difficult yet, because the 30-something from Hartlebury, near Stourport-on- Severn, has taken over hunting the Worcestershire Hounds for the rest of the season. This follows a serious injury to the Worcestershire’s professional huntsman Ian Starsmore… In 1993 she joined the joint mastership of the Albrighton Woodland Hunt and served for six seasons... The pack, which is kennelled at Hurcott, near Kidderminster, is now hunted by its master Peter Swann, but when he was injured in a fall last season, Natasha stepped up to carry the horn for two months until he recovered...



Pro-hunt quietly optimistic re. HA repeal after election 

24-1-09   Horse & Hound   Preparing for repeal of the Hunting Act    With the latest opinion polls putting the Conservative Party's lead over Labour at 13 points, supporters of hunting could be forgiven for thinking the repeal of the Hunting Act is a done deal. But last week, after a meeting of hunting's repeal committee on 14 January, the message was although the hunting community must continue to prepare for repeal, they must do so quietly….

The committee chairman, shadow justice secretary Edward Garnier QC, told H&H: "We can't expect the public to be particularly interested in the Hunting Act right now,… Vote-OK, the lobbying group … has produced a DVD, which is being sent to UK hunts this week, to raise awareness of Vote-OK and the case for repeal… Mr Garnier added that Tory leader David Cameron's promise to offer a free vote on hunting still stands. "There isn't a Conservative Party manifesto to overturn the hunting ban, but there is a promise to allow government time for a free vote," he said.


Ex Four Burrow FH JM & CA official drowns on holiday in India

24-1-09  West Briton    Tributes after huntsman dies in 'freak' holiday accident     A leading huntsman has drowned in India while on a two-year adventure with his wife. David Latham, a 71-year-old retired farmer who lived at Treworthal, on the Roseland peninsula, got into trouble as the couple swam in the Arabian Sea last Thursday.... Yesterday, tributes poured in for the former joint master of the Four Burrow Hunt and the former South West chairman of the Countryside Alliance...


Hunt in Shropshire kills fox right outside animal rescue centre

'It died in my blood-soaked hands' - rescue centre volunteer 

16-1-09 Huntwatch Hunt hounds kill fox outside animal rescue charity The League Against Cruel Sports is condemning a Shropshire hunt which lost control of its hounds resulting in a fox being chased and ripped to shreds in front of distressed onlookers. The attack happened outside an animal sanctuary near Shrewsbury.

Mike Clayden, who is a volunteer at the Grinshill animal rescue charity was horrified by what was happening, he said: 'It died in my blood soaked hands. It was particularly upsetting to see a wild animal killed in such a barbaric way. I believe in many cases the hunting ban is being totally ignored by Hunts.'

The League's hunting campaigner Matt Fox said: 'Incidents like this are unfortunately all too common with Hunts regularly losing control of their hounds resulting in horrific consequences.'


Scots Borders dog walker finds self in middle of fox hunt

15-1-09  Southern Reporter  [no longer online]  Dog owner's hunt ordeal   Walking my labrador and new puppy on a quiet country road, I saw a fox run across the single track, bolting into a densely-wooded area. I soon discovered why – a hunting horn sounded and I could hear hounds howling… I was terrified that the hounds would go for my puppy or elderly dog, and I prayed they’d lose the scent of the fox, whose terror I could totally identify with in that moment…   Joyce M. Brown, Minto Place, Hawick


Woman complains of repeated invasions by Sinnington FH 

15-1-09 Ryedale Gazette & Herald   Not only cruel but illegal   YOUR article on New Year’s Day hunting has set me thinking. My business has a serious pest control problem, and I wonder if either of the Hunts mentioned could help me with it? I run the flying side of things at Wombleton Aerodrome, and we have been plagued by this particular nuisance for several years… They have taken no notice whatsoever of my demands that they leave my property, and so I wonder if the Derwent or the Saltersgate could rid me of them. I would not want these pests killed, since I think that may be not only cruel but illegal, and they are only pursuing a base instinct, after all. The pests, by the way, are known locally as the Sinnington Hunt.    Eden Blyth, Wrelton


Anti filmed Carmarthenshire FH hunting fox on Boxing Day

14-1-09   Carmarthen Journal    Haven't we moved on? In the Carmarthen Journal (January 7) a lot of coverage was given to hunting, with three full pages devoted to recent hunts and a considerable number of quotes from someone who wasn't even there. Simon Hart, the Conservative parliamentary candidate and chief executive of the Countryside Alliance…

Unlike most of the people who gathered to watch this "glorious tradition", I continued to follow the Carmarthenshire Hunt, which had many guest riders from other Hunts to make up the numbers. When the hunt reached open fields north of Trevaughan, I filmed a terrified fox running for its life, just two fields away from the dogs…   David Petersen, St Clears


Anti-hunt groups split on pressing for Hunting Act strengthening

2-1-09   Western Daily Press   Hunt ban groups row over bid to change law The anti-hunting movement appeared split this week over whether they should back moves to toughen up the hunt ban. A leaked memo from the boss of the League Against Cruel Sports appeared to criticise those within the campaign who are calling for loopholes in the law to be tightened. The League, along with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, have refused to support a growing grass-roots campaign to toughen up the law on hunting….

Among the campaigners openly calling for a law change is hunt monitor Penny Little, from Cotswold-based Protect Our Wild Animals, and veteran Tory anti-hunt MP Anne Widdecombe. But in the leaked memo, Douglas Batchelor, the chief executive of the League, said calls for a tightening up of the law undermine their case…


Easton Harriers savage pet cat to death in garden

Incident witnessed by owner's neighbour

?-1-09   Ipswich Evening Star   Hunt hounds savage pet cat    A DEVASTATED cat owner is in shock today after a pack of hunting hounds savaged her Persian cat. Judy and Brian Dawson's nine-year-old cat Edwina, known as Dween, was mauled by the dogs which burst into their garden while on a hunt in Witnesham yesterday.

Today, Rob Haag, joint master of the Easton Harriers hunt whose dogs were involved apologised for the attack which he said was an extremely rare thing to happen. And police have confirmed that no further action would be taken against the hunt whose dogs killed Dween because the Dawson family had chosen not to file a complaint.

Mrs Dawson, of Main Road in the village, was at work when the attack happened and found out when her neighbours called to tell her about the incident. She said: “I'm so very upset. I have lost many cats over the years but I think this is the worst way to lose a pet. “I haven't seen the Hunt round here before so it hasn't been a problem before. I don't think it should happen again. The Hunt should have been more in control of the dogs.”

The horrific attack was witnessed by the Dawsons' neighbour, David Thorn, who heard a screaming noise at about 12.30pm yesterday. He said: “I was so worried, the noise was horrid and the dogs sounded out of control. When I got next door the dogs were treating it as if it was a rag doll. My first thought was that it could have been a child they killed. Mercifully it didn't go on for too long but the dogs were completely out of control.”

The hounds ran off out of the Dawsons' back garden which backs onto a field, leaving Dween dead with her fur scattered on the ground. Mr Haag, said the Easton Harriers Hunt was taking part in a trail hunt with horses and hounds in the area. He added: “I cannot remember it happening before with this group of hounds. We are very sorry and have apologised to the lady. We were in a field near Witnesham when a hare or rabbit in the middle of the field jumped up and ran towards the back of the houses. Some of the hounds unfortunately followed it to the back of the houses. The person chasing them didn't get there in time because they run very fast.”



….. 30th December - Farmer dies in fall while hunting with Beaufort FH

….. 26th December - Plan for tribunal to oversee hunting after repeal

….. 25th December - Beaufort FH support show disregard for own children's safety 

….. 23rd December - 'Fat Lady' & racehorse trainer to be tried for being at hare coursing event

….. 14th December - John McDonnell MP tables EDM to strengthen Hunting Act

….. 13th December - Warks FH hound injured by car as pack chase fox across A44

….. 10th December - Heythrop FH supporter convicted of assaulting woman monitor

…..  9th December - Norfolk landowner denies allowing hare coursing event

…..  2nd December - S. Durham FH hounds snapped running on roads 


Farmer dies in fall while hunting with Beaufort FH

30-12-08  Daily Telegraph   Farmer dies on Princes' hunt    A dairy farmer has died after being thrown from his horse while taking part in his 65th hunting season. David Hall, 73, suffered what has been described as a "freak accident" when he fell from his horse and broke his neck at Westonbirt - just a mile from the Prince of Wales' Highgrove Estate near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

Immediately after the tragedy the hunt was called off and the hounds were returned to the kennels as a mark of respect for Mr Hall, who was enjoying his 65th season with the Duke of Beaufort Hunt based at nearby Badminton.

The Prince and sons William and Harry regularly join the Beaufort Hunt, which passes near the Highgrove estate, but were not taking part that day.

He was a tenant farmer on the Duke's Badminton estate. Hunt secretary Nigel Maidment said: "As I understand it David took his horse into a fence and it stopped - what we call a really 'dirty stop', when the horse goes into a fence as though it is going to jump and doesn't - and he was catapulted out of the saddle and broke his neck. "He died instantly. The air ambulance came and all credit to them because they did a marvellous job and worked tirelessly to revive him but it was no good. It was a freak accident. I have been hunting for 30 years and I have only ever seen it once before. He was so in tune with horses it was the last person you would expect it to happen to. It is a huge loss to the community."

Mr Hall, of Parks Farm, Badminton, leaves wife Helen, 64, and two sons Philip, 37, and Richard, 40. His wife Helen, 64, said: "He was so happy and had had a wonderful morning hunting before he died, that is what we are remembering. We have been devastated, but know that if he had to choose a way to go then on the hunting field, following hounds on a good horse would have been it. David was a wonderful husband and as a diary farmer he had worked hard all his life."


Plan for tribunal to oversee hunting after repeal

26-12-08  Times  [no longer online]   Tories get ready for a repeal of foxhunting ban    A tribunal to deal with any wrongdoing by huntsmen and women would be set up if the law that prohibits hunting with hounds were repealed under a Conservative government. It would have the power to fine, suspend and even ban people from taking part if they were found to have broken the rules or brought hunting into disrepute… The plan, which is still being finalised, has been drawn up by a “repeal committee” of hunting chiefs and parliamentarians, chaired by the Conservative MP Edward Garnier, QC….


Beaufort FH support show disregard for own children's safety

Other followers rode motorbikes without crash helmets

25-12-08   Private email from monitor    Beaufort Hunt followers total disregard for child safety  Attached is a pic taken yesterday (24th December) in the village of West Littleton, South Gloucestershire at the meet of the Beaufort Hunt.

The hunt followers on this quad bike include a woman at the back carrying a child who could not have been much more than 18 months old, another small child is sat at the front. 

This party were seen driving round the public roads and across fields during the rest of the day , the woman clinging the tiny child under her arm.


Unfortunately, due to being surrounded by the hunt 'stewards' for most of the time I was not able to get better pics, but it is clear even a minor collision would send them flying all over the road, with the possibility of injury or worse. I have sent this to Gloucestershire Police.

Also during the day other followers were observed riding motorbikes on the public highway with no crash helmet. These people regard themselves as totally above all laws. The Hunt also had the usual convoy of terrier men with dogs in wooden boxes.

As with hunts across the country, the Beaufort operate as if a law banning hunting with hounds did not exist. Their so called 'trail hunt' involves putting hounds into deep cover, taking them across public highways and always having the terrier men on hand.

Despite all this activity, not a single police vehicle was seen all day, as per usual.


'Fat Lady' & racehorse trainer to face trial for being at hare coursing event

23-12-08   Scarborough Evening News    Clarissa given hare-coursing trial date    A trial date has been fixed for celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright and racehorse trainer Sir Mark Prescott, who face charges relating to alleged involvement in a hare coursing event…. The private prosecution was brought by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The case will be heard on August 24….

Five other people are also being prosecuted for similar offences by the Crown Prosecution Service. They are Miles Henry Easterby, 79, of Great Habton in Malton, Andrew Lund-Watkinson, 58, of Newton-on-Rawcliffe near Pickering, John Shaw, 55, of Welburn in Kirkbymoorside, Jacqueline Ann Teal, 43, of Scarborough Road in Norton and Elizabeth Margaret Gibson, 45, of Appleton-le-Street in Malton. Their case will be heard on July 27…


John McDonnell MP tables EDM to strengthen Hunting Act

14-12-08  This is Somerset   MP calls for tough changes to hunting ban    Fewer than one in 20 MPs have signed a Commons motion demanding tough changes to the ban on hunting. On the eve of a crucial court test case involving West huntsman Tony Wright, which will determine what happens to other prosecutions, an MP is canvassing support to changing the law. John McDonnell, one of the architects of the 2005 Hunting Act, has tabled a Commons Early Day Motion…. But, so far, just 28 other MPs have added their names…


28-11-08   Western Daily Press  We got the hunt ban wrong    Pressure is mounting on the Government to amend the ban on hunting after one of the Act's architects appeared to admit it simply was not working. Hunt campaigners have seized upon the comments of John McDonnell, a high profile anti-hunt Labour MP, who said of the 2005 Hunting Act: "It took a long time. There was a lot of discussion. We thought we got it right, but we clearly haven't in this instance."… Mr McDonnell made the comments during an interview on Radio 4. He was instrumental in getting the Hunting Bill through Parliament….


Warks FH hound injured by car as pack chase fox across A44

13-12-08  Email from hunt monitor     I was monitoring elsewhere, but last Saturday, December 6th, the all-ladies team caught the Warwickshire blatantly foxhunting on the A44. I just had time to put a DVD together which was shown, with fox bolting across the road, hounds very shortly after, one in collision with a car. Whipper-in close by. Complaint under way.


Heythrop FH supporter convicted of assaulting woman monitor

10-12-08  Private email from monitor   On October 2nd at Banbury Magistrates court, Heythrop hunt supporter Dennis Lough Scott was found guilty of battery and given a 2 year conditional discarge and ordered to pay £200 costs. The incident happened on February 25th when a hunt monitor [Penny Little] was trying to film Heythrop.


Norfolk landowner denies allowing hare coursing event

9-12-08  Eastern Daily Press   Norfolk landowner denies coursing charge    A prominent landowner was accused of allowing illegal blood sports on her Norfolk estate at the opening of a landmark trial yesterday. Mary Birkbeck, 77, denies permitting her land at Little Massingham to be used for hare coursing - an outlawed country pursuit in which greyhounds compete to chase and “turn” their quarry.

She appeared alongside two other defendants at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court - Les Anderson, 80, of Lodge Road, Feltwell, and Robert Fryer, 41, from Tring in Hertfordshire…. the charges against Fryer - accused of participating as the “slipper” who unleashes the dogs - were dismissed after district judge Philip Browning ruled the evidence against him to be inadmissible.

The case is the first of its kind to be brought by the RSPCA after coursing meetings, once a mainstay of the rural calendar, were banned with the introduction of the Hunting Act in 2005… But Stephen Welford, defending, said Birkbeck and Anderson believed the event to be a legal “field trial”… “The defendants say it was field trials and they faxed rules to the police in an attempt to seek police sanction for their actions… Sgt Christopher Flanagan, of Hunstanton police, told the court he had given Anderson permission to hold the event after confirming with a wildlife-crime officer that the faxed regulations complied with the new laws…


S. Durham FH hounds snapped running on roads

2-12-08    Email from hunt monitor   Here are some pics of the South Durham hunt in Carlton, near Sedgefield on 29.11.08. As you can see the mythical 'trails' have been laid across roads...

Hunt hounds scattering out onto public roads (putting the public great at risk) is something that happens regularly across the country but there is no sanction from the authorities.





….. 27th November - Falconers criticise Hunts using birds to evade hunting ban

….. 21st November - Speeding motorist nearly crashes into IoW FH as they spill on to road

….. 18th November - Horse lorry containing terrier stolen at Cheshire Forest FH meet

….. 15th November - Top Gear's Richard Hammond to start hunting with Ledbury FH

……  3rd November - New head of RBS hunts with Warwickshire FH - wife is a JM 


Falconers criticise Hunts using birds to evade hunting ban

27-11-08  North Devon Journal [no longer online]   Hunt continues under Claude's eagle eye    A falconer has criticised a West country hunt for using an eagle owl to get around the ban on fox hunting. George Hedges, of Devon's Eagles, warned that the South Devon Hunt's practice of hunting with a bird of prey and a pack of hounds could put the bird's life at risk…. But Ian Pearse, Hunt Master at the South Devon Hunt, based near Ashburton, said there had been no incidents of birds being injured by hounds*, despite almost four years of using them to hunt throughout the country…

But Nick Kester, spokesman for the Hawk Board, said the organisation was "vehemently opposed" to the use of birds of prey for fox hunting: "We disapprove entirely. Birds of prey and hunting with hounds are not compatible."

POWAperson comments  - That'll be because they never actually fly the birds, just cart them around all day in cramped containers, bouncing around on quad bikes. Their only purpose is to have to hand so they can claim to be using the ridiculous Falconry Exemption.  


Speeding motorist nearly crashes into IoW FH as they spill on to

21-11-08  Isle of Wight County Press 



Horse lorry containing terrier stolen at Cheshire Forest FH meet

18-11-08  Horse & Hound    Terrier stolen along with eight-horse lorry at hunt meet    A heart-broken woman is appealing for information after her 18-month-old Border terrier was stolen along with a eight-horse lorry from close to the meet of the Cheshire Forest hunt last Saturday (15 November). Emma Buckles, head groom of a yard in Formby, left her dog Jasmin, or "Jazz", in the Ford Cargo lorry while she and seven others joined the newcomers' meet at Peover Hall near Knutsford. When they returned at 2pm the box had gone…


Top Gear's Richard Hammond to start hunting with Ledbury FH

15-11-08  Daily Telegraph    Hunting gives Richard Hammond new thrill    Undeterred by the serious brain injury that he suffered in a high-speed crash two years ago, Richard Hammond has taken up another dangerous pastime. Mandrake learns that the Top Gear presenter, known as the Hamster, enjoyed riding to hounds so much for an episode of the popular BBC series that he plans to become a member of his local Hunt.


"I shall be joining the field as soon as I can and learning from scratch and away from the annoying but, for me, mortgage-paying glare of the cameras about the finer points of riding with the hunt," says Hammond, 38. He joined the Ledbury Hunt, in Gloucestershire, earlier this year to chase his fellow presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who was dressed as a fox. He says he found the experience so exhilarating that he will ride to hounds regularly. I need to find a horse, yes, to source some kit that fits, and try to remember not to call them dogs," says the Hamster, who thanks the members of the Ledbury "for their willingness to welcome an irritating stranger on a borrowed horse who clearly is no more a horseman than he is a brain surgeon". One of the Ledbury's joint masters is David Redvers, who joined Otis Ferry when they stormed the House of Commons.


New head of RBS hunts with Warwickshire FH - wife is a JM

3-11-08   Daily Record   Exclusive: New head of Royal Bank of Scotland goes foxhunting and hosts posh ball    THE MAN brought in as head of the ailing Royal Bank of Scotland hosted a fox-hunt ball on his £7million estate at the weekend. Stephen Hester spent Saturday at the posh Warwickshire Hunt, then entertained the toffs with a lavish ball at his mansion, set in 350 acres of land. But with the jobs of 16,000 RBS workers under threat, taxpayers will be shocked to see the pampered lifestyle of the man charged with rescuing one of Scotland's oldest banking institutions.

Yesterday, one RBS account holder said: "I'm disgusted that this man can be so brazen about enjoying such an extravagant lifestyle while the staff and customers at his new job are struggling to scrape by. He should at least show some discretion about throwing a lavish ball when the rest of the country is worried about paying the bills."

Hester takes over the role of chief executive at RBS this month following the £20billion taxpayer bailout. Many hoped he would get rid of the excessive bonuses enjoyed by the top people at the bank. But while bank staff are panicking over their jobs and customers are struggling to cope with the financial crisis, Hester, 47, has just enjoyed the ultimate toffs' weekend.

His Canadian wife Barbara is Master of the Foxhounds at the Warwickshire Hunt. And he was once quoted as saying: "It is very important to keep our marriage together that I do the same as she does."

Fox-hunting is banned in England, but the law is full of so many loopholes that protesters have argued the traditional hunts still go on. Huntsmen say that they now use a "drag" and set a trail with a fox brush dipped in urine.

On Saturday, Hester joined the Warwickshire Hunt as they set off from the posh Manor House in the village of Tysoe, 10 miles from his home in Banbury, Oxfordshire. He was one of around 30 horseback huntsmen to take part in the chase through the countryside. Dressed in full formal riding attire, Hester galloped into the meet on his powerful chestnut steed around 11am. Surrounded by Hooray Henrys and Sloane Rangers in Barbour coats and Hunter wellies, he chatted and joked with his wealthy chums.

The tiny chocolate-box village soon filled up with riders making their way into the picturesque grounds of the sumptuous manor. As they gathered on the lawn, one huntsman called order for a speech about how they would continue their traditions while remaining within the confines of the law. Cries of "Yah!" and "Hear, hear, old chap" resounded as the speaker insisted they would not be beaten. About 200 more toffs gathered to see them on their way, most of whom were expected to attend the ball in a marquee in Hester's grounds later that night. Staff carried trays laden with glasses of mulled wine and luxury cake to the hunters to set them up for the day's activities.

As one of five masters, his wife Barbara is prominent in the sport in an area which is England's hunting heartland. Hester is also a keen gardener and the grounds of his estate, which are occasionally open to the public, are said to be among the most impressive in the country.

Dad-of-two Hester, who is a well known supporter of the Conservative Party, attended Lady Margaret Hall university in Oxford, where he was president of the Tory Reform Group...

The Government now own 60 per cent of RBS after the huge rescue package from the public purse announced last month. But the move has not signalled an end to the fatcat culture. At the weekend, Hester's RBS colleagues were condemned for secrecy over a junket to the Brazilian Grand Prix to watch Lewis Hamilton win the Formula 1 title. The bank's executives are entitled to five-star treatment at the showcase event in Sao Paulo through their sponsorship of the Williams team...

Last night, Labour finance spokesman David Whitton said: "At a time when the whole banking world is facing major problems, perhaps Mr Hester should concentrate on hunting for jobs and investment for Scotland instead.



….. 28th October - CA chief complains of heavy monitoring of certain Hunts 

….. 24th October - Drug-addict hunter's death from opiates ruled accidental 

….. 18th October - Police seek for Hunts to inform them of time & date of meets 

….. 14th October - ACPO stages conference on policing of the Hunting Act 


CA chief complains of heavy monitoring of certain Hunts

28-10-08  Wiltshire Gazette   Hunts in the West a constant target   Hunt leaders are continuing their fight against the banning of the blood sport after a report revealed groups in the West suffer the most attention from anti-hunt monitors. In a call for unity from Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart, the pro-hunt leader admitted supporters in the north and the east of England were questioning the need for a repeal of the controversial hunt ban – because few of them ever saw an SimonHartMP.jpganti-hunt monitor.

But, in a candid assessment of the situation, Mr Hart said Hunts across the West were "suffering" from being constantly monitored and their colleagues in the north should remember that.

Anti-hunt groups once again launched a new recruitment drive for hunt monitors amid claims hunts are continuing to routinely break the ban four years on from its inception.

Writing in The Field magazine, Mr Hart [left] said the experience of hunters in the West was unlike those from any other part of Britain under the hunt ban. He said: "Few packs in the North ever see an anti-hunting activist and monitoring of hunting activity is carried out, as it should be, by local police forces. Allegations of illegal hunting are rare and prosecutions unheard of, which has led some to question whether pursuing the repeal of the Hunting Act is a sensible strategy."

Mr Hart cited the experiences of two West huntsmen, Julian Barnfield [right] from the Cotswold-based Heythrop Hunt, who is currently facing two separate court cases over illegal hunting, and Charlie Watts, from the Cattistock, in Dorset, who is monitored by anti-hunt activists every week. He said:JulianBarnfield.jpeg "They have the dubious honour of hunting the two most scrutinised packs in Britain. They know exactly why repeal is an urgent necessity, not just a nice idea. Each sees more anti-hunting activists in a month than every pack in the North sees in a season. Both have been questioned by the police over allegations made by anti-hunt activists."

Talking about his recent prosecutions, which are awaiting the outcome of the High Court interpretation of the Hunting Act in the wake of the Tony Wright case on Exmoor, Mr Barnfield described the anti-hunt monitoring of his pack as 'vindictive scrutiny'. He said: "I don't care what you are doing – driving a car, running a restaurant – that level of vindictive scrutiny is bound to lead to some sort of allegation, and it could happen to anyone. We get targeted because we are a high-profile hunt with activists living in our country. Charlie has antis in his patch and on Exmoor they have full-time League Against Cruel Sports employees. Anyone could end up in the same boat, and if it's you I promise you don't question whether or not we need to get rid of this stupid law."

The League Against Cruel Sports is once again appealing for help to monitor even more Hunts. A spokesman said: "Of course, we are hoping that hunters will obey the law, but if they do not, it is important that the police investigate them and that they end up being prosecuted in the courts. In particular, it is important to understand the difference between a proper 'drag hunt', and the illegal hunting of wild mammals. The League receives many allegations of illegal hunting when Hunts claim to undertake legal activities but in reality are disguising what we suspect are illegal activities."


Drug-addict hunter's death from opiates ruled accidental

24-10-08   Western Gazette [no longer online]  Popular Somerset huntsman was killed by opiates    A huntsman found dead in his car near Langport six months ago died accidentally, an inquest has ruled. James Palmer, aged 38, had battled with drug addiction for many years, but East Somerset Coroner Tony Williams said he believed he had not intended to take his own life. Mr Palmer lived near Drayton and rode with the Seavington and Taunton Vale Hunts…

More than 300 people attended his funeral at Drayton the following week. "He seemed to touch so many people's lives, but he could not cope with his own," his mother said. Mr Williams recorded a verdict of accident.


Police seek for Hunts to inform them of time & date of meets

18-10-08   Times  [no longer online]  Police on the trail of hunts to stop hounds killing foxes ‘by accident’    Police forces in England and Wales are demanding to be informed of the time and place of hunts to prevent the illegal killing of foxes as the pursuit enjoys a renaissance four years after it was banned. The new season begins on November 1st and next week the Crawley and Horsham hunt will go to the High Court on behalf of an alliance of 88 landowners to try to ban animal welfare activists from 100,000 acres of countryside in West Sussex…

Police chiefs are reviewing their guidance for policing hunts this season. Many officers liaising with hunts are demanding that they should be more open. All the Hunts in Hampshire have signed an agreement to inform the county police their activities…

Ban or no ban, Edward Winnington, 20, is training for a career in hunting. He is taking a one-year apprenticeship in hunt kennels management, working with the Vale of Aylesbury hunt in Buckinghamshire….. He is one of ten young people working with Hunts and training for a City and Guilds NVQ in animal care…


ACPO stages conference on policing of the Hunting Act

14-10-08  daelnet - Yorkshire Dales Country News    North Yorkshire hosts conference on policing of hunting    National policing and legal issues surrounding the Hunting Act were the focus of attention at a special conference hosted by North Yorkshire Police recently.

Staged at the Royal York Hotel in York, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ event included guest speakers from the Crown Prosecution Service, International Fund for Animal Welfare, League Against Cruel Sports, Countryside Alliance and Masters of Foxhounds Association.

The delegates in attendance were policy makers and practitioners from forces and CPS from around the country that have responsibility for policing or prosecuting offences under the 2004 Hunting Act, which came into effect on 18 February 2005.

The conference was opened by Assistant Chief Constable David Collins from North Yorkshire Police, who currently holds the ACPO portfolio for Rural Affairs. The audience also received a speech via video from Vernon Coaker MP, the Minister of State for Policing, Security and Crime.

ACC Collins said: “Hunting in England and Wales is a very emotive subject and those who are either pro or opposed to hunting are passionate about their subject. The guest speakers from all sides of the issue put their views across to the audience, and in turn were on hand to address the questions that were raised. I am hopeful that every person who attended came to understand and appreciated each others’ views on this subject, as we all had something to learn from each other.”

Robbie Marsland, Director of International Fund for Animal Welfare UK, said: "I would like to thank ACPO for organising this much-needed conference. It has provided a unique opportunity for animal welfare groups to share our experience and expertise with officers from across the country. IFAW looks forward to working constructively with police forces to ensure the Hunting Act is enforced."

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "The Countryside Alliance is working with ACPO and local police forces to ensure that the crucial relationship between rural people and their police is not threatened by the Hunting Act. The common sense approach of Hunts and the police in the last three and a half years is a credit to both parties and has averted the worst predictions. We look forward to a time when both huntsmen and police officers will not have to judge what is legal hunting."

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Crimes against wildlife are just as much a crime as any other and while we recognise that the police and the CPS take these matters seriously, we also recognise that a certain level of knowledge and expertise is required in order to ensure successful prosecutions. The League has this expertise and we have shown over the years since the Hunting Act came into force that we are prepared to use this to assist the police in bringing to justice those extremists who illegally hunt and kill animals with a total lack of regard for the law. Three years on though and enough is enough - it’s time to get tough with illegal hunters.



….. 27th September - New MORI poll show Conservative voters want Hunting Act kept

….. 23rd September - Hedge fund headed by Hunt JM gives £40k to CA CEO's election campaign


New MORI poll show Conservative voters want Hunting Act kept

27-9-08   Western Daily Press   [no longer online]  Hunters scream bias as poll reveals most support ban    Even people who consider themselves Conservative voters do not want to see the ban on hunting repealed, a controversial poll to be released tomorrow will say. The Western Daily Press can reveal a new MORI poll shows a majority of Tory supporters want to retain the Hunting Act, despite the party itself pledging a repeal as soon as it gains office.

But the poll itself has sparked fury among hunt supporters amid claims the question asked a sample of more than 2,000 voters by the respected polling organisation MORI was biased against hunting. It is understood the Countryside Alliance is to complain about the way MORI conducted the poll, eight months after having a similar complaint against the polling organisation upheld…


Hedge fund headed by Hunt JM gives £40k to CA CEO's election campaign

23-9-08  Wales Online    US hedge fund gives Tories £40k to fight Welsh marginal held by Labour    A HEDGE fund with its headquarters in New York has donated £40,000 to a local Conservative Association in rural Wales. The donation is entirely legal as it has been made from the fund’s London office, which has its own registration at Companies House.

But Plaid Cymru’s national chair John Dixon said he was extremely concerned that a company with no local connections was prepared to put so much money into the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Conservative Association. Mr Dixon will be contesting the seat for Plaid at the next general election. It is currently held by Labour’s Nick Ainger, who won in 2005 with a majority of just 1,910 over the Conservatives. The Tory candidate in the seat next time will be Simon Hart, chief executive of the pro-hunting campaign group the Countryside Alliance.

Mr Dixon posted a message on his blog saying: “I don’t know why a New York based company would JohanChristoffersonJMJedforestFH.jpgbe so interested in what happens in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire that they would want to bung £40,000 into the local Tory coffers; but I do know a little about the company. Christofferson, Robb and Co are what is known as a hedge fund. Hedge funds often borrow many times the value of their underlying assets to buy things that they don’t want and can’t afford, and they sell things that they don’t own. These funds are, in effect, gambling; and they are doing so with huge sums of money which aren’t theirs and don’t really exist. They add an enormous degree of instability to the market place, and their whole ability to make money depends on market volatility. Their profits, made by making risky and usually short-term investments, come at the expense of those investors who have to be more careful and long term with their money – investors such as our pension schemes and insurance companies. So, while the overwhelming majority of us have a vested interest in financial stability and security, these funds – acting on behalf of already wealthy investors – have a vested interest in instability and volatility. They deliberately create volatility in order to benefit from it. They are a significant part of what has led to the recent instability in the markets – something from which we all suffer.”

One of the directors of Christofferson, Robb and Co, Johan Christofferson [above right], a former Master of the Isle of Wight hunt, said: “Several of the firm’s partners are friend’s of Simon’s from the Countryside Alliance. When we heard he was planning to run, we were happy to help him as we believe he would be a wonderful constituency MP.”

Mr Ainger said: “I know that within the local Conservative party there was a great deal of concern about the way Simon Hart organised his appointment as the Conservative candidate. I think there will be even more concern now that a hedge fund backed by a hunter is funding the campaign. While it may be legal under current legislation, I believe the Electoral Commission should look again at the issue as it would appear that it is possible for people to buy elections. There were cross-party discussions that took place to review this, but for understandable reasons the Conservative Party did not want to agree to any change in the current law that places no cash restrictions on spending in constituencies before an election is actually called. At the last election I know that huge sums were spent in the Wrekin constituency to unseat the sitting Labour MP because of his support for the hunting ban. £40,000 is a very substantial sum. I think many decent people, including local Conservatives, will not be happy about this.”

A Welsh Conservative Party spokesman said: “These donations have been declared to and accepted by the Electoral Commission and are entirely within existing rules regarding political donations. All political parties receive donations from businesses. It is incredibly naive of Plaid Cymru to suggest the opposite should be the case. It is also entirely false for Plaid Cymru to claim this money has come from New York. They know that, we know that, and the Electoral Commission knows that.”

POWAperson adds   -   Christofferson is himself American. He was a JM of the Isle of Wight FH for several years. During that time his Huntsman and Terrierman [who has a conviction for badger digging] staged a repulsive stunt in Brighton while the Labour Party Conference was there. They dumped the carcases of a horse and a calf in the city centre, both impaled with stakes bearing pro-hunting slogans. They were prosecuted for this but given just slaps on the wrist. The MFHA, who almost never take disciplinary action against member Hunts, upbraided Christofferson for not controlling his servants and suspended the Hunt for a month. Not long after, Christofferson left to become JM of the Jedforest FH, taking the convicted Huntsman with him to act both as Huntsman and a fellow JM. Christofferson had by this time made donations totalling over £200k to the Conservative Party.    



….. 24th August - Hunting Act left out of new edition of policing manual

….. 20th August - Boy 'heartbroken' after his pet cat was killed by hunt dog 

…..  5th August - Heythrop FH Huntsman facing three illegal hunting charges 


Hunting Act left out of new edition of policing manual

24-8-08   Horse & Hound    Hunting Act removed from latest edition of police manual    The Hunting Act has been removed from the 2008 edition of Blackstone's Police Manual, the required reading for officers taking exams for promotion to sergeant and inspector. A spokesman for publisher Oxford University Press said: "We have completely reviewed the manual this year to make it as focused as possible on the promotion exams. "The National Policing Improvement Agency asked those within the force to identify areas they thought could be cut from the book. The Hunting Act was one…


Boy 'heartbroken' after his pet cat was killed by hunt dog

20-8-08  Shields Gazette     Boy's pet cat savaged by hunting dog    A BOY has been left heartbroken after his pet cat was killed and eaten by a rampaging hunting dog.
Jack Burnett, seven, had been given rescue cat Penny after his rabbit died two months ago. Over five weeks he grew close to her, getting up early to feed her every morning, and playing with her during the day. But Jack was left devastated when a dog from a pack roaming the fields around Newton Garth Farm in Boldon ran across his family's land and chased his cat and savaged it. And when the family confronted the dog owner, he told them: "It's just nature. I'll buy you a new cat."

Jack's grandmother, Sarah Burnett, said today: "This was absolutely horrific, I was shaking with anger. Penny was such a friendly cat who was comfortable around people and animals, which is why she probably made no attempt to get away. The pack of dogs was with a man in our back garden. Not only was he trespassing, he was clearly hunting foxes with these dogs. I'm not bothered about the slap on the wrist he could get from the police or the courts, I want the dog's owner to apologise to my grandchildren personally for the upset he's caused."

The drama began earlier this month when Mrs Burnett's son saw two foxes run across the land behind their farm, pursued by a dog. The foxes managed to flee but the sound of a cat screaming was heard from an empty building next door. By the time Jack's aunt Patricia, 28, got there, Penny - who the family got from the Willows Cat Shelter, in Boldon - was dead. The family chased the dog away, and pursued the dog's owner across surrounding fields. But when they were eventually able to confront the man he just said to them: "It's just nature isn't it? I'll buy you a new cat."

Mrs Burnett, who has owned the farm for 17 years, added: "It just added insult to injury, it was a callous way to talk about a child's pet."

Maria Harrison, who runs the Willows Cat Shelter, was in tears when the Gazette told her about Penny. She said: "This was despicable, absolutely appalling. The dogs shouldn't have been on the farm in the first place, never mind hunting. "You see suspicious people out with dogs and guns and all sorts, and you know they're probably hunting. It's terrible that a cat has been killed as a result of this. Penny was lovely. The person we originally homed her with brought her back in because they couldn't really cope with her always killing things and bringing them back in. So when Mrs Burnett came to us for a cat for the farm I thought she'd be a perfect match. It's so sad to hear about this happening."

POWAperson adds   -   It's not clear whether this was an organised Hunt or lurcher brigade, but the latter don't usually use a 'pack' of dogs, just one or two. 


Heythrop FH Huntsman facing three illegal hunting charges 

5-8-08  Guardian   Huntsman denies charges in first state prosecution    The first Huntsman to be prosecuted by the state for hunting a fox denied the charges against him yesterday. Julian Barnfield, 44, who works for the Heythrop Hunt, which operates in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, faces three counts of hunting a wild mammal with dogs. He was charged under the Hunting Act 2004.

Previous high-profile hunting cases have involved activists rather than the state taking huntsmen to court. A state prosecution of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds is currently the subject of a judicial review. Barnfield's case was adjourned until November 3rd at Cheltenham magistrates court.


JULY 2008

….. 19th July - Landmark Exmoor FH illegal hunting case to be resolved in High Court

….. 18th July - Residents oppose plan for N. Shropshire FH kennel plans

….. 17th July - Tetcott FH members confirm sacking of Huntsman whose wife dying 

….. 11th July - Sabs call for boycott of pubs who host Hunt meets 

…..  3rd July - PM's step-father to be Vice Chair of Hunting Act Repeal Committee 


Landmark Exmoor FH illegal hunting case to be resolved in High Court

19-7-08  Western Daily Press [no longer online]   High court sets new hearing for hunting ban case    The ban on hunting with dogs took another twist last night after a High Court judge said the case of the first man to be prosecuted for hunting foxes should be returned to court. But the saga of the case of Tony Wright, the Exmoor Foxhounds huntsman, is no nearer being finished – and until then almost all the other major prosecutions of West hunts cannot proceed.In

a highly technical hearing at the High Court in London, the Crown Prosecution Service appealed against a decision by a judge in Exeter last year… The CPS won a partial victory yesterday – if the High Court had thrown out their case it would have effectively spelled the end for that and other prosecutions, and thrown into doubt any effective use of the hunt ban in the future.

Anti-hunt campaigners emerged declaring they were “very pleased” with the outcome, but Countryside Alliance campaigners also emerged pleased, saying moves to effectively order a re-trial of Tony Wright were also dismissed. The High Court decided the judge in the original appeal did not fully explain his reasons for quashing the conviction and so ordered a new hearing in the autumn which will look into two specific points of law surrounding the Wright case. One will decide whether searching for foxes constitutes illegal hunting. The other, more crucial one, will decide where the burden of proof lies when a hunt claims it is arguing it was hunting using one of the ban's exemptions…

That is also a key question in the prosecution of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds… On Monday, the next chapter in the hunt ban will take place at Witney, when a huntsman from the Gloucestershire-based Heythrop Hunt faces his first charge of hunting illegally.



Residents oppose plan for N. Shropshire FH kennel plans

18-7-08  Shropshire Star    Warning by residents of danger from kennel plan    Hounds from a planned hunting kennel in Shropshire will cause delays to traffic and endanger family pets, nearby residents have warned. Hounds from a planned hunting kennel in Shropshire will cause delays to traffic and endanger family pets, nearby residents have warned.

Villagers living near the proposed site of the North Shropshire Hunt kennels in Greenfields, Ossage Lane, Whixall, are also concerned about noise and the smell from the complex. About 70 people turned out at a public meeting called by Wem Rural Parish Council and Whixall Parish Council to discuss the plans after a formal application was submitted to North Shropshire District Council, the local planning authority. The hunt is currently based at Lee Brockhurst, but is looking to move to Whixall because there is a risk the kennels will pollute the river at the current site.

Hounds from a planned hunting kennel in Shropshire will cause delays to traffic and endanger family pets, nearby residents have warned.Villagers living near the proposed site of the North Shropshire Hunt kennels in Greenfields, Ossage Lane, Whixall, are also concerned about noise and the smell from the complex.

About 70 people turned out at a public meeting called by Wem Rural Parish Council and Whixall Parish Council to discuss the plans after a formal application was submitted to North Shropshire District Council, the local planning authority.

The Hunt is currently based at Lee Brockhurst, but is looking to move to Whixall because there is a risk the kennels will pollute the river at the current site.

Charles Thelwell, from Whixall, said he was concerned about children walking to school when hounds were being exercised on the roads and about people having the hounds running through their gardens. He said: "We shouldn't have children walking or riding along the roads where hounds have fouled."

Alex Hutchinson, from Whixall, said: "There are cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and there is a big concern the hounds would not be controlled to the extent the animals would be safe."

Duncan Ferguson, a director of the Hunt, told the meeting the hounds were not excessively noisy and would be exercised on the fields before the roads, to minimise pollution on the road. He said, when they were out, they would be kept under strict control.

Residents have until July 24 to comment on the plans, which are available to view at


Tetcott FH members confirm sacking of Huntsman whose wife dying

Left him homeless and jobless two days before she died from cancer 

17-7-08   North Devon Journal  [no longer online]   Tetcott Hunt backs decision to sack former Hunt Master - SUPPORTERS of the Tetcott Hunt have backed the committee's decision not to renew the contract of the Hunt's former master, Andrew Bozdan, Mr Bozdan was sacked just two days before his wife Rosemary died, leaving him homeless and jobless… A spokesman for the Hunt said: “The meeting showed massive support for the committee with 127 people voting in favour and only 10 against.”…

Following last week's meeting, a spokesman for the Hunt said: “Since March 1 the committee has taken on full responsibility for the Hunt's fallen stock service and livestock farmers using this service can be assured that stock taken to the kennels is now properly handled…. Mr Bozdan said a negotiated settlement is being looked at and was unable to comment further.


Sabs call for boycott of pubs who host Hunt meets

11-7-08  Chester Chronicle   Saboteurs call for boycott of pro-hunt pubs  Publicans in rural Cheshire are on the frontline in the battle between pro and anti-hunt supporters. The North West Hunt Saboteurs Association has posted a blacklist of country watering holes on its website to put pressure on licensees to break all links with hunt members…. Carolyn Ross-Lowe, landlady of The Cholmondeley Arms, whose pub is blacklisted, says the Cheshire Hunt is welcome…


PM's step-father to be Vice Chair of Hunting Act Repeal Committee

3-7-08  Horse & Hound [no longer online]   New political body to fight for repeal of the Hunting Act   A new political body has been set up within the hunting community to push for repeal of the Hunting Act and to prepare for hunting's role afterwards. The new repeal committee takes over the political lobbying aspect of the Council of Hunting Associations (CHA) that was set up in 2001 to fight the Hunting Act 2004 and brought together the 11 hunting associations in the UK. A 21-strong committee of professional hunt staff, politicians and Countryside Alliance staff, chaired by MP Edward Garnier QC, met in London last Wednesday...

11-7-08  Times   Repeal of the Hunting Act clearly remains a hot issue in the Cameron family    Lord Astor, a regular with the Old Berkshire Hunt, who is married to the mother of Samantha Cameron, has agreed to become vice-chairman of the Repeal Committee, which is to lead the campaign to scrap the ban on the sport…


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