'When criminals circumvent the law it should be strengthened
to stop them, not repealed to reward them.'
WARNING: This site contains images of animals killed and mutilated by Hunts which you may find
For detailed stories go to Hunting News, 2019-20 season
….. 2nd March
- Blackmore FH Huntsman's sons get suspended jail for night club violence
….. 1st March - Fox hunted
& killed by Blackmore FH next to housing estate
….. 1st March - CA attempt to hobble anti campaigners' use of covert filming
….. 27th February
- Labour seeks to ensure landowners who allow hunting not rewarded
24th February - Blackmore FH kill fox after bolting it from badger sett
….. 22nd February - Ricky Gervais demands charging of Waveney Harriers after deer savaged
….. 21st February - Anti-hunt naturalist has dead badger strung up on his gate
20th February - Landowner sees injured fox being hunted through his wildlife sanctuary
….. 19th February - Fox killed by Warwickshire FH in
front of sabs
….. 19th February - North Cotswold FH chase fox
into wood pile in village
18th February - LACS launches campaign to ban 'trail hunting' on public land
….. 18th February - Waveney
Harriers hounds hunt and disembowel deer
Atherstone FH ceases 'hunting activities' after relentless 6 year
campaign against them by W. Midlands Sabs. They say -
"We have faced harassment, extreme provocation and regular violence from those associated
with the Atherstone Hunt. We’ve received death threats, had our tyres slashed, cars burnt out and have been hospitalized.
We have also faced a hostile campaign of police harassment from Leicestershire Police who have actively sabotaged investigations
against the Atherstone Hunt whilst constantly seeking to prosecute members of our group at all costs.
persevered and never backed down. Despite the regular violence we have faced our campaign has always remained non-violent.
Over the last six years we have sabbed almost every single meet of the Atherstone Hunt. They have collected over 20 criminal
convictions and cautions for their violence and antisocial behaviour and at their worst they were making the national press
every other month for their hunting and violence. As well as stopping them killing foxes twice a week every week we have been
able to expose the real face of fox hunting.
We witnessed them kill numerous foxes in front of
us but that only made us more determined. We exposed all businesses that supported them. We held demonstrations at their biggest
events of the year and at all of their fundraising events. For six years the Atherstone Hunt have been completely sabotaged and as a
result they have now folded. This means that for now the 908 km² area of West Leicestershire and North Warwickshire are
completely hunt free and hundreds of foxes lives will now have been saved."
their victory to their late colleague, Leanne Bridgewater. They add -
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
POWA GREATLY WELCOMES LABOUR
PLAN TO STRENGTHEN HUNTING ACT
The wildlife of England
and Wales, still so cruelly persecuted for 'sport', could hardly have had a better Valentine's Day present [14-2-18].
Nor could the burgeoning anti-hunt movement, but especially POWA. We have been campaigning for significant strengthening
since before the ink was dry on the Act and had to wait a decade before the largest anti-hunt organisation, LACS, finally
came round to our way of thinking, swiftly followed by IFAW. We will do everything in our power to ensure that Labour
are in a position to effect strengthening [and their other laudable animal welfare policies] and that this time there are
no get-out-of-jail-free clauses in the amended Act. Meanwhile, thank you Labour. We trust a number of Conservatives and other
party members and representatives will also support strengthening.
The urgent need to strengthen the Act was underlined a month later, on 14th March, when the JM/Huntsman
of the Portman FH was cleared of illegal hunting, despite admitting that he knew his hounds were chasing a fox. He claimed
by then he could no longer control the hounds. This confirmed that the Hunting Act does not even oblige Huntsmen to attempt
to call hounds off quarry they know hounds are pursuing.
THEY SAID IT [about the Hunting Act]
"It is difficult to interpret and apply and difficult for the CPS to prosecute." Judge
Daniel Curtis, of the Hunting Act. He had to acquit members of the Holderness FH of illegal hunting because of insufficient
evidence of intent, August 2013. A resident's CCTV had shown their hounds chasing a bloodied fox through his garden.
:“A lot of people on this road are elderly. They were frightened to come out. The dogs were
frantic. I’m an animal-lover and I was shaken. It was heartbreaking.” Mrs. Edwina
Church of Macclesfield after the Cheshire Forest FH hounds invaded their and their neighbour's garden and killed a fox
on 25-2-17. She added that her 82 year old mother was 'traumatised'. The CPS subsequently refuse to prosecute the
Hunt, the police failed to take any other action.
are fox hunting, but no-one is supposed to know." Fitzwilliam FH female supporter on 8-3-17 to
member of the public, near Kimbleton, Cambs, reported in HSA Press Release
hunting an artificial scent provides an ideal conduit by which an individual could hunt covertly. We are perfectly satisfied
that no real attempt was made to prevent the Hunt from hunting a wild animal. The reason for this was indeed that the
notion of trail hunting was a cover."
Judge Pert, dismissing the appeals of
the Fernie FH Huntsman and Terrierman against conviction for illegal hunting, Leicester Crown Court, 14-10-11. He called
the Hunt side's attempts to pretend they had been trail hunting 'cynical subterfuge'.
before a hunt one of his helpers films himself laying a pretend scent-trail—by dragging a rag theoretically, but not
actually, soaked in fox scent, from a quad bike—to provide evidence for a possible defence in court. Then the Hunt goes
out and hunts as it always has, but illegally. The police—one of whose officers was riding with the hounds that wintry
day—understand this, but do not much care. Animal rights activists know it, and it makes them mad, but it is so hard
to collect evidence of lawbreaking, in the form of video footage showing a Huntsman urging hounds on to a fox, that prosecutions
are rare." 'Bagehot' writing in the Economist, 7-3-15. The
Huntsman of an unnamed Hunt in the south-west of England had confided in him, admitting constant illegal hunting.
“... we don't have enough evidence to pursue it as the legislation
states that we must prove the intention of the Hunt to chase and kill foxes. The killing of foxes does not necessarily show
this, as they can argue that the dogs caught the scent of the foxes and ended in the killing of them, rather than pursuing
them, and therefore had no intention of hunting or killing them.” Leicestershire
police on 19-2-17, conveying the decision of the local CPS not to charge Belvoir FH Huntsman John Halliday, after 3 foxes
were killed in a day on 3-12-16. Sabs witnessed the first, in a farmyard, following a chase and claim Holliday assaulted a
female sab and broke her camera. The CPS refused to charge Halliday of these offences, though there were witnesses..The other
two foxes were killed when the Hunt invaded the grounds of a nursing home, upsetting residents.
"It was totally and utterly barbaric and shocking." Mick
Heath, the 'not anti-hunt' resident of Bradfield, North Essex, after hounds of the Essex & Suffolk FH chased a
fox into his garden, savaged it and the Whipper-in then beat it to death with a blunt object, leaving blood stains on the
patio - all in front of the whole family and a guest, on 10-12-11. Police took no action against the Hunt. This may or
may not have had something to do with the fact that the senior JM of the Hunt was the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.
“The present situation is currently unsatisfactory. The volume of footage available (taken by hunt
monitors) leaves the objective viewer in no doubt on the balance of probabilities that it is ‘business as usual’
for many hunts because enforcement is so difficult... Such
widespread and public disregard for the law is likely to bring Parliament and the criminal justice system into disrepute.” Stephen
Wooler, ex Chief Inspector of the CPS in his report to RSPCA September 2014. Wooler advised
the RSPCA to campaign for better enforcement of the Act and also for its strengthening. The RSPCA has yet to issue
any clear statement in favour of strengthening.
"The idea of trail hunting is either shambolic or a sham. You lay fox urine to make the hounds able to fox hunt and if you come across a fox on your way you can then hunt it." CPS prosecutor at trial of a JM, the Huntsman and the Kennel Huntsman of the College Valley & N.
Northumberland FH, October 2014
POWA's main role is to campaign for a complete, effective and enforceable
ban on the hunting of wild animals with dogs in England and Wales. In May 2015, the Conservatives won the general election.
Despite 80%+ of the public wanting the Hunting Act retained, they promised to repeal it. POWA will strive every sinew to prevent
In 2017 the new PM, Theresa May called a snap general election. Once again the Conservative manifesto promised a
'free vote' on repealing the Hunting Act, with the Prime Minister stating that she was in favour of fox hunting. The
Tories lost their majority and had to strike a deal with the right-wing DUP to stay in government. Post-election analysis
showed that - for the first time - the hunting issue had been a significant factor in determining how people voted and the
Conservatives had lost support over it. Subsequently, Theresa May announced that they were dropping the repeal idea, for this
Parliament at least. It had, in any case, in the 2010, 2015 and 2017 Parliaments, been the case that a repeal motion
would have been defeated in the Commons - and by ever increasing majorities, with an ever larger proportion of new Tory MPs
After ten overwhelming Commons' votes, over seven years, in favour of a complete ban on hunting, the
will of the people and their sovereign Parliament finally overcame decades of resistance and mendacious propaganda from
the rich and powerful bloodsports lobby and a largely compliant media - democracy indeed!
Regrettably, POWA believes that the Hunting Act 2004 has manifest deficiencies which, in practice, make it of very
limited utility in preventing organised Hunts carrying on chasing and killing wild mammals for 'sport'. Hunts
are able to do this by exploiting the numerous loopholes and/or by pretending to be ‘trail hunting’ and ascribing
any incident involving wild mammals as 'accidents'. Monitoring reports countrywide appear to confirm that many, perhaps
most Hunts, engage in such behaviour.
Nevertheless, the Act, so long
and hard fought for, is a lot better than nothing - and of huge symbolic importance. POWA therefore also campaigns against
any attempt to further weaken or repeal the Act and to ensure, as far as possible, that it is complied with in the hunting
field and upheld through the courts.
But - like its long-illegal fellow
bloodsports, cock and dog fighting, bull and badger baiting - the hunting of foxes, deer, hares and mink with packs
of dogs must be consigned to the history books in practice, not just in theory.
Rescued by her 'Guardian angel' ! The
moment a young vixen being attacked by the Old Berks FH hounds is saved by a brave young female hunt monitor and POWA member,
14th November 2012
To see rescue video click here
Fulsome congratulations to the incredibly dedicated team of hunt
monitors [many of whom are also POWA Associates] whose evidence, on December 17th 2012, led to the convictions of the Heythrop Hunt, a
former JM and its ex-Huntsman on 4 charges each of illegal hunting. They had taken similar evidence of illegal hunting by
the Heythrop and other local Hunts to the police 30 times before in recent years, and either been fobbed off each time or
found the CPS making excuses for not getting the cases to court. So, many thanks to the RSPCA, under their CEO Gavin
Grant, for their courage in taking on the prosecution of this rich and powerful Hunt and for the RSPCA's unflinching
stance in response to the vitriol since heaped upon it by the pro-hunt lobby.
The monitors have also had to bear repeated
assaults, threats, harassment, vile abuse, obstruction and property damage from Heythrop riders and followers, 14 of
whom have been convicted or cautioned for such offences in the six years leading up to the illegal hunting convictions. Monitoring
is not just a very trying, emotionally draining, time-consuming and dangerous business - it is expensive. POWA assists
the monitors when it can, but has limited resources itself. You can help enable the monitors carry on their
work of exposing and bringing these flagrant animal abusers to justice by giving to POWA, using the 'Donate' button
MORE HUNT MONITORS WILL MEAN MORE HUNTERS IN COURT
Heythrop FH - David Cameron's own - were found guilty of illegal hunting, in what was the first ever prosecution of a Hunt
as a Body Corporate, on 17/12/12. A former JM and their ex-Huntsman also pled guilty, to four counts each, This followed convictions of the Senior JM and a terrierman of the Meynell and S. Staffs FH at Derby
Magistrates Court on 9/8/12. Several weeks earlier, two senior members of the Crawley & Horsham Hunt and their ex-Huntsman
were convicted for hunting foxes. In January 2011, the Huntsman
and terrierman of the Fernie Hunt were found guilty of illegal hunting, and their Appeal scornfully
dismissed by the Judge in October.
These hunts, and several others since, were successfully prosecuted and convicted because of the hunt monitors,
who have captured film of their illegal activities, footage which has provided the evidence needed to bring these people to
justice. It is very encouraging that, at last, the sterling efforts of the monitors are beginning to show results in the Courts.
But most Hunts are never visited by monitors. More monitors would mean more convictions.
strongly supports the work of the monitors, and we suggest that there are some people who may now feel they want to join a
monitoring group and keep up the momentum against the Hunts. If you want to become a monitor, or talk to a monitor for advice, please
email POWA - via the contact button to the left of this article - and we will refer your query to someone in your area.
AS THE RAIN LASHES
DOWN, POWA MEMBERS ARE SHOWERED WITH AWARDS
FEBRUARY 2014 - POWA congratulates
the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire Monitoring Group who have been given the Special Investigation Award by the RSPCA
for gathering the huge amount of video evidence that resulted in the prosecution and conviction of the Heythrop Hunt, often
while being obstructed, abused and assaulted by hunt followers. Most of the monitors, who operate independently, are
also POWA members. POWA also congratulates its member John Bryant, a former CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports
and twice an RSPCA Council Member, who has been awarded the Queen Victoria Gold Medal for services to the Society. The awards
were presented at a ceremony in Whitehall on 1st March.
Bill gained Royal Assent on 18-11-04
Hunting Act came into effect on 18-2-05
full text of the Hunting Act is HERE
FOURTEEN YEARS ON, Hunts still routinely bend and break the
spirit and letter of the Hunting Act, still chase and kill wild animals for fun, still bring terror and havoc to our
countryside - and almost always escape justice. The 'cynical suberfuge' the Judge scorned in dismissing
the appeal against conviction by the Fernie hunters in 2011 is the norm not the exception.
It is a priority
for POWA to support independent monitors, who bravely seek to expose Hunt wrong doing and the weaknesses of the current
legislation - at considerable expense and risk to themselves. POWA utterly opposes any attempt to repeal the
existing Hunting Act, but regards amendments to strengthen it as essential if the obscenity of live
quarry hunting with dogs for 'sport' is to be properly punished and prevented.
AT LAST! LACS AGREES NEED FOR HUNTING ACT STRENGTHENING
POWA, which has strongly argued the case for strengthening for many years, is delighted that the League
has finally acknowledged that the Act must be significantly amended to ease enforcement and enhance deterrence.
a November 18th 2014 report on the tenth anniversary of the passing of the Hunting Act 2004, LACS stated that they
would now seek three major amendments:- a total ban on terrier work and digging-out, a 'recklessness' clause
and provision for a prison sentence of up to six months.
POWA hopes that the RSPCA and IFAW will follow suit and that
the leading anti-hunt organisations will be able put our heads together to agree the details of the necessary amendments and
to persuade, at least, the Labour Party that they should be enacted. An outline of POWA's proposals for how the Hunting
Act should be amended can be seen here, and a narrative account of how Hunts currently are able to carry on live quarry
hunting with very little fear of sanction is here.
NOW IFAW AGREES NEED FOR STRENGTHENING -
RSPCA, WHAT'S KEEPING YOU?
March 2014, IFAW monitors filmed the Cattistock FH chasing a fox. The CPS refused to prosecute, so IFAW referred the matter
to the RSPCA. They issued a summons against the Huntsman. In March 2015 [yes, a full year after the alleged crime] RSPCA lawyers
suddenly decided that there was 'no realistic prospect of a conviction'. The Huntsman claimed they were
'trail hunting' and he'd no idea they were chasing a fox. The lawyers decided they could not meet the onerous
requirement to prove 'intent' on his part. However, the video published by IFAW suggests that hunters must have known that hounds were pursuing a fox, which
at least one of them had clearly seen on a road not long before - and hunters were quite close to the hounds. One has to wonder,
if that evidence was not strong enough to convict, what would be? IFAW, who had already described 'trail hunting'
as 'an alibi for illegal hunting' were so exasperated by the outcome that they announced they now believe that strengthening of the HA is essential.
AT LAST. RSPCA [AND SAVE ME] ENDORSE HUNTING ACT STRENGTHENING
Both organisations were signatories
to a letter in the Guardian on May 3rd 2017 regarding the Hunting Act, which called for its retention,
enforcement AND strengthening.
POWA utterly opposes any further Government
attempts to repeal or weaken the Hunting Act. The last effort came, via a planned
Statutory Instrument. following David Cameron's re-election in 2015, this time
with a small overall majority, It was, however, withdrawn when the SNP made clear that their MPs would vote against
Cameron's move was just a cynical attempt to almost
completely emasculate the Act. They only attempted this because they realised any attempt to fully repeal it would be
defeated. It is hard enough already to convict transgressive hunters, but the added exemptions they intended to
create would have made it all but impossible.
POWA wrote to MPs to explain this
to them but MPs will always take most heed of their own constituents. Your MP's email address can be found via www.writetothem.com/ .
The new Prime Minister, Theresa May, said she favoured repeal but, unlike Cameron,
was not personally involved with the hunting set. However, the person she, bafflingly, appointed as DEFRA Secretary of State,
Andrea Leadsom, was known to be close to her local Hunt, the Grafton FH. She had referred to foxes as 'vermin' and
was known to be anxious to overturn the Hunting Act. However, when, du. ring her attempt in 2017 to increase the Tory majority,
said she favoured fox hunting there was a strong public reaction against her stance. After the election, which resulted in
her losing her majority and having to strike a deal with the DUP, analysis of voting revealed that her coming out for hunting
had cost the Conservatives a significant number of votes. She then announced that her government would not seek repeal in
Cameron's attempts to amend it revealed that there was now a substantial number of Conservative MPs - thought
to be over 50 - who would not go along with any attempt to repeal or weaken the Hunting
Act, and we think it unlikely that even a Tory government with a modest majority will try again in any future Parliament,
fearing they would lose. We must, however, remain vigilant. And, of course, the Hunting Act is being very widely circumvented
and desperately needs strengthening.
SIR PATRICK STEWART BECOMES AN HONORARY ASSOCIATE OF POWA
The renowned actor, who narrated the revised version of the anti-hunting documentary 'A Minority Pastime', provided this statement:-
"I am delighted to accept the invitation to become an Honorary Associate of Protect Our Wild Animals.
I am strongly opposed to the cruel and barbaric 'sport' of hunting wild animals with dogs and was delighted when this
was banned in England and Wales in 2004.
However, it appears that both the spirit and letter of the law
continue to be flouted by some organised Hunts. I fully endorse POWA's efforts to expose such activities and
in campaigning for the Hunting Act to be strengthened in order to make the law both more of a deterrent and easier to enforce."
POWA was greatly saddened to learn of the death
of Clifford Pellow, aged 73, in 2016. Clifford was inducted into the world of fox hunting in Devon as a young boy and it became
his passion and profession. But, after two decades in the 'sport', and having acted as Huntsman for several packs
around England and Wales, he became increasingly disillusioned with and disgusted by the many barbaric practices he was expected
to tolerate. A major row with his 'Master' at the Tredegar Farmers FH was the flashpoint of his discontent and, after the Master
of Fox Hounds Association failed to take his complaints seriously he turned to his ancient enemy, the League Against Cruel
Sports. LACS arranged for journalist Andrew Tyler, of Animal Aid, to help write up his account of his life in hunting and
what he now realised were the many cruelties which he had seen and been involved with. This was published in 1991 as 'A Brush with Conscience' and was a devastating indictment of the blood sport. It took immense
courage for Mr. Pellow to turn against and inform on his former colleagues and employers. The hunting community
is quite small, and even then, pretty secretive, of necessity, because they have so much to hide - even more, these
days, of course, because much of what they do is now illegal. Spilling hunting's shameful secrets was, in their eyes, the
greatest sin Clifford could commit. He was, of course, immediately ostracised, but was also subjected to much abuse and even
death threats, as well as a libel suit by his former Master, Howard Jones. But the jury believed Clifford and the Master was
left to pick up a bill for costs of about £100,000. Clifford did at least have the comfort of clearing his conscience - and a new
set of friends on the anti side. He may have been surprised at how readily he was accepted into the fold. He continued to
help and advise the anti-hunt cause. Alas, after hospitalisation for pneumonia and subsequent discharge, he died alone in
his flat in September 2016. He was a man of principle and big on respect. Because he repented and tried to expunge the evil
he had done, he will always be afforded the greatest respect - and he will never be forgotten. RIP, Clifford, the angels have
blown you home.
We greatly regret the sad and untimely death in July 2014 of Peter Bunce, one of
POWA's founders. Below is a selection of tributes paid to him by fellow POWA Associates.
Little - "Peter was my very good friend. I first met him in the early '90s when he became
involved in the campaign to ban hunting.... Peter was kind, humorous and principled. He
was a good listener, he cared about the underdog, and he would always help anyone who was in trouble. He was passionately
opposed to cruelty to animals, and he was prepared to put time and effort into changing the things that needed to be changed. He was a believer in decency, honesty and fair play, and he was always an adherent to those
high standards in which he believed..... None of us can remember Peter without a smile, a smile of affection, of remembered jokes and remembered conversations,
of pleasure in shared successes. But above all a smile of loving remembrance of Peter the endearing, clever, funny man,
the generous friend in need, the modest and remarkable man that he was."
Christine Harris -
"He was such a talented and caring person, who was always there to help. His work in the field has helped push our
cause forward immeasurably."
Forsyth - " His line in A
Minority Pastime that still rings so true to me and I am sure to many others was; "I just want this cruelty to
stop and stop in my lifetime."
Denise Ward -
"He was so valued and will be so missed. I first met him when I went to his house to film him for 'A Minority Pastime'.
His scene is one people always remember. His measured and ironical remarks after he is dragged around and battered on the
head till the blood poured down make the point so beautifully.... Peter defined courage and rightness in a a uniquely clever,
modest and reasonable way... and made the world a better place by being in it."
Rodney Hale - "The planet is surely a better place owing to the contribution Peter made towards
the welfare of wild animals and they have lost a true friend."
Alan Kirby - "Peter
was a close POWA associate of mine for 13 years. We lived far apart and I met him only a few times, but we were in
regular email and phone contact. He was calm, kind, ever obliging, with a wry sense of humour and unshakeable determination.
The very best sort of Englishman. POWA and the persecuted animals he strove to defend will miss him dreadfully."
One of Peter's lasting legacies will be the brilliant quote he came
up with about the Hunting Act - "When criminals circumvent the law it should be strengthened to stop them, not repealed
to reward them."
Below, see how hunters change the beautiful, sensitive, living creatures portrayed above - for 'sport'.
senior Tories would like to reward their hunter friends by repealing the Hunting Act. Please support POWA's
campaign to save the Act, with a view to having it, one day, properly strengthened to give full protection to our persecuted