fox hunting in uk









Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

Today's date April 9, 2012

updated 10-3-14

page 193











The current generation of the royals are just as passionate about bloodsports as their ancestors.

Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry are keen shotsmen and stalkers and members of the royal family are said to have been deeply “disappointed” when the hunting ban was introduced.

Great Britain Won’t Accept That People Are Against Fox Hunting With Dogs


While thousands gathered for the traditional Boxing Day hunt, animal advocacy groups released the results of a poll showing that the majority of the public in Great Britain opposes hunting foxes with dogs.

Hunting fox, deer, mink and hare with packs of dogs was made illegal under the Hunting Act in 2004, but the rural tradition has persisted thanks to some strange loopholes in the law and people who choose to blatantly ignore it entirely. There has been some success in catching lawbreakers; 48 people were found guilty of violating the law in 2012 alone.

Both the Coalition Government’s promise in 2010 to reconsider the ban and allow a free vote on the issue and Prime Minister David Cameron sympathizing with a pro-hunting crowd in October have raised hopes among the pro-hunting lobby that the law will be repealed.

Now animal advocacy groups are challenging the Prime Minister to let it go to a vote because they believe the public will stand behind the ban. An Ipsos Mori poll, which was commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that 80 percent of the public believes fox hunting with dogs should stay illegal.

“If they had the vote now there’d be two losers – the government and the hunters – they would lose the vote… if they want a vote we say bring it on,” Joe Duckworth, the League’s chief executive, told the Independent.

It’s not surprising that the public supports the ban; animal advocates have long argued that this is a cruel tradition that belongs in the past. Regardless of how it’s promoted as a means of “pest control” or romanticized, it’s about nothing more than chasing and brutally killing an animal for entertainment.

While the pro-hunting crowd continues to argue that this issue has been one that pits city and rural residents against each other, the poll showed people living in rural areas and urban areas were equally opposed, according to the League.

Despite clear opposition, the pro-hunting lobby and organizations including the Countryside Alliance continue to push to undo the ban.

Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the alliance, called the law “illiberal, unjust and divisive,” telling the West Briton that proposals to amend the Act were backed in science and that doing nothing to repeal it was unacceptable.

Even if their numbers did need to be controlled, sending a pack of dogs to tear them apart is not an acceptable solution. The science that’s touted by the pro-hunting lobby in favor of expanding exemptions included in the Act and allowing hunting with more dogs as a form of pest control has also been debunked. The number of foxes has not increased since the ban was enacted and foxes, like other wild animals, are known to control their own populations.

“Voting for repeal would be political suicide. We need to move forward as a nation, not backwards on matters of animal welfare, which is why we recently launched our national ‘No Joke’ online and cinema campaign to remind people of the sheer horror and animal cruelty hiding behind the ‘traditional spectacle,’” said Duckworth.

Read more:


Foxhunting season expected to attract hundreds of first-timers

Facebook used to recruit novices, with rural alliance estimating number of hunters up a quarter since ban on hunting with dogs.


the expansion of the hunting scene has included all social classes, according to huntsmen on the eve of the new season, which starts on Saturday. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Hundreds of foxhunting novices are expected to saddle up today for the first "Tally ho" of the new hunting season – but in a departure from the traditional "blooding" on the first day's hunting, many of them have been drawn into the pack by the lure of social media.

Facebook has become the huntsman's friend when it comes to recruitment, with many hunts reporting a doubling of interest from first-time hunters compared with last year, after using new media to publicise their activities.

Scores of British hunts have been taking to Facebook to advertise newcomer days this week, culminating at the traditional start of the season today. Most of more than 20 groups contacted by the Guardian reported dozens of new recruits, with children as young as four and six riding to hounds for the first time.

"Facebook has made a huge difference," said Mark Ferguson, of the Woodland Pytchley Hunt, in Northamptonshire. "It is so much easier, we can get to more and more people."

A spokeswoman for the Surrey Union Hunt said more than 100 people had turned up for the organisation's first meet, of whom about three-quarters were newcomers: "It's been unbelievably successful. We had notices locally, but mostly it was through social media." Rachael Morley, of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt, said more than 20 newcomers had turned out at their pre-meet, and Sue Simmons of the Holcombe Harriers in Lancashire reported more than 60 people, up from around 20.

The Countryside Alliance confirmed the resurgence in the number of hunters, estimating that at least 45,000 people are likely to take to the lanes and fields of England this year to pursue "drags" or "trails" – usually made by dipping rags in fox urine, sometimes imported from the US, and dragging them along on long poles. That number is up by about a quarter since before the hunting ban on hunting with dogs.

Fox huntingAn urban fox. Of the 332 individuals prosecuted under the Hunting Act between 2005 and 2011, 239 were found guilty. Photograph: Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Young recruits have been particularly in evidence, huntsmen report, though some new hunters have been as old as 80. At the Woodland Pytchley Hunt, an experienced nanny will be on hand to accompany small children today, and at the Surrey Union a prize of £20 was offered for the "best turned out under 16 year old". Many hunts are offering novices an easier route around their drag or trail-hunting course, in order to avoid hard jumps, and most relax their rules on "hunting pink" to allow newcomers to ride in any gear that is "comfortable, warm, clean and tidy". The resurgence of interest in hunting comes as some Tories have called for a softening of the ban on hunting with hounds, buoyed by supportive words from David Cameron. A full repeal is still possible, but an alternative is that the ban could be weakened by allowing more than two hounds – the current maximum – to flush out foxes, either to kill them or for them to be shot.

Between 2005 and 2011, a total of 332 individuals were prosecuted under the Hunting Act. Of these, 239 were found guilty.

Hunters want a full repeal, allowing them to freely hunt foxes and otherwildlife with dogs again. Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said: "We are now going into the ninth hunting season under the Hunting Act – an act that is not working for hunts, antis, the courts or the wildlife it claims to safeguard. The government has made some positive noises about a common sense amendment to the act [that], while a small amendment, would send a significant message to the countryside."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "The coalition government pledged to put forward a motion to allow a free vote on the Hunting Act. This will take place at an appropriate time and if parliament were to vote in favour of repeal, the government would introduce a repeal bill in the house of parliament in due course."

Anti-hunting campaigners warned that some hunts were likely to use illegal means to try to get round the law. Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "Hunters found to be flouting the law need to watch out. Our team of investigators and the Hunting Act are here to stay."

The expansion of the hunting scene has included all social classes, according to huntsmen. One said: "It has become more socially acceptable – people who before might not have wanted to say to their peers in the pub that they hunted are now able to [because the pursuit no longer involves killing an animal]."

Most of the people helping to organise the hunts through social media are volunteers, and their own enthusiasm is evident. One woman was still in hospital, at a spinal injury unit, having fallen from her horse a few weeks ago but said: "I have to thank the hunt masters, who saved my life. But I'm delighted to see so many new people come along. I hope I will be able to hunt again before the end of the season."

Some remnants of old attitudes seem to remain, however. One huntsman who boasted of the openness and social inclusion of his hunt said the ban was "all the result of some trouble with the great unwashed".

Several types of hound are bred to hunt the fox in this country and around the world, though at the moment, sad to relate, they cannot serve their purpose here. Fashion has had a hand, to a degree, in the lines people have followed and this has not always been good for the hound itself. Fortunately, certain breeders have stuck to the type that suits them, their country and their hunt. This must be encouraged, not derided, especially when such hounds are needed as an outcross, for example with the Old English foxhound. In England only a handful of purebred Old English foxhound packs remain, and a similar number in Ireland. Likewise, in the United States and Canada the demise of the American foxhound and the English foxhound to make way for the crossbred and the Penn-Marydel-type, caused by the spread of the coyote, may create problems in the future, as the use of the two original types is reduced.

Some people today consider the Peterborough influence to be rather too great, and they may have a point, especially with so many packs using the same stallion hounds. Recently, one stallion was used 99 times. While this may reduce the gene pool, it is not detrimental to the packs that use such blood, as it should improve their stock. It is worth noting that some of these influential “Peterborough” packs have also been the leaders in finding and using fresh outcrosses.

One of the problems with outcrossing is that to give it a fair chance at least two litters should be attempted. The danger of neither litter working could leave a depleted and un-balanced pack in the third season, when they are most influential. An additional conundrum for breeders is the optimum time to go back to a successful outcross before it becomes too diluted, without changing one’s own pack’s type or losing quality.

Some of the best outcrosses have been due to “nicking in” as well as the brilliance of both the sire and the dam. Sometimes the first outcross can be brilliant and then those hounds’ offspring are not quite so outstanding. Apart from deciding when to go back for the next refresher of the outcross, some breeders have found a double outcross beneficial. An example of a double outcross is when a sire with a Welsh outcross may be put on to an outcross with American blood or hill hound mixed with American; both of these, incidentally, have proved to be successful.


An outcross introduced by a female line can take longer to conform to the kennel type, and thus unbalance the pack. The idea of a balanced pack is to have the hounds all arrive at the moment critique together rather than be spread out like a washing-line.

Around a hundred years ago English foxhounds were bred to a fashion known as the “Peterborough type” and I hope that we will not fall into such a trap again. This type be-came extremely heavy, with masses of bone and in some cases knuckling over at the knee as depicted in the picture of South Staffs Denmark 22. This fashion also developed the colour known as “Belvoir tan”.

For many years I kept a painting of one of these thugs to remind me not to breed such heavy hounds. My great-uncle, CT Scott, had his favourite hounds painted. One, North Cotswold Pilgrim 05, was the Peterborough champion bitch in 1908 but looked more like a doghound than a quality bitch of the type we see at the North Cotswold and elsewhere today.

Fortunately, a number of packs disregarded fashion and maintained their good hunting hounds. Some of the MFHs and huntsmen at that time wanted hounds that could hunt and catch their foxes in good style, and the popular heavyweight brigade found this difficult. Not only did they struggle to turn with their fox but they lacked a certain amount of nose and voice, too.


At the same time, on the edge of Wales, Sir Edward Curre had been breeding hounds that went back to the best of the English type and best of the old Welsh hound, and had blended himself a wonderful pack of white hounds famous for their cry. An American called Ikey Bell became the leader of a revolution to get away from the heavyweight hound and carried forward what Sir Edward Curre had started. However, these revolutionaries, including Sir Peter Farquhar, Sir Ian Amory and my father Bill Scott, were extremely un-popular with some of the old guard before the Second World War, and were accused of ruining the English foxhound.

The constant aim of the breeder should be to have a hound that will hunt the quarry farthest, fastest and longest, and therefore the balance of pace points and stamina points needs to be taken into account and a happy medium maintained.

Sometimes a great working stallion with a fantastic voice and nose might be slightly too heavy for the speed merchants but those who use such a dog will be rewarded. These two attributes, along with power, are often passed down through the blue mottle genes of Carmarthenshire Nimrod 24. Portman Grossman 52 and his grandson Old Berkshire Grammer 61 are examples.

Different hunting qualities are required in different hunt countries. Heavier types of hound would not succeed in the fells, while the fell hound might not cope quite so well in a heavy plough country. A large hound would find it hard to get through, over and across the stiffly banked and hedged Westcountry; the native Westcountry harrier can do it far quicker. Voice is vital in heavily wooded countries, while nose is essential on brash and highly cultivated land.

On taking over a pack it is best to try and maintain those lines that have hunted its country successfully. The introduction of new lines may not be regarded favourably. If the new blood has a broken coat or different colour it is easy, even for those without any knowledge of hounds, to notice a change and happily criticise the effort if a day’s sport is not up to their wishes. When I was out with a pack that had recently introduced an American outcross, one rather loud-mouthed and opinionated individual proclaimed how much he disliked the American blood. I asked him in an equally loud voice which American type he did not like; the Walker or Trigg strain or those from Virginia or Georgia with the July strain.
I then asked him, as the pack hunted with great drive and cry over a ride in front of us, which of the leading hounds he did not like, considering they were all American.

While some of the Welsh packs were eligible for entry in the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book (FKSB), a number of other desirable outcrosses were not. It was under the MFHA chairmanship of Sir Peter Farquhar that further outcrosses became possible. He opened the book to any hound whose sire and dam could be proved to have hunted the fox for six generations in 1955. Since then, a number of hounds with fell hound, French and American blood have been entered in the FKSB, as well as harriers. So it is worth looking at the usefulness and merits of these outcrosses.
The Welsh hound is probably the most ancient breed, having come over from France with the Normans, if not before. It is known for its long, woolly or broken coat, superior nose and wonderful voice. The Welsh type tends to produce larger doghounds than bitches. This trait has been passed on through outcrosses, therefore stamina may become a concern. Welsh hounds need a degree of independence to hunt the Welsh hills and so have acquired excellent brains. Longevity is an-other characteristic found in the Welsh hound and also in the fell hound.

Fell hounds descend from the northern hound rather than the heavier southern hound, and hunt the fells and land close to the Lake District. Here the steep ground demands that they be independent, as their huntsman is on foot and cannot be with them that much. Their “hare” feet allow them cope with the steep hills and mountainous screes that abound in that part of the world.


Hill hounds are part fell and part modern English, and are mostly hunted by a mounted huntsman. One of the best-known hill packs
is the College Valley/North Northumberland and recent outcrosses from this pack have not proved too independent when introduced to the modern English packs, and have brought with them voice, nose and drive as well as great keenness to hunt.


The Old English are almost purebred and have avoided the infusion of Welsh or any other outcross. While they have been careful not to breed too close over the years, their gene pool has become smaller and smaller as they have been limited in where they can go. While a little “tainted” blooded has crept in, they have maintained their wonderful type and colour. However, at the puppy show of one of the premier Old English packs last summer, one of the winners was certainly tri-coloured and must be a throw-back to a distant ancestor, in the days when colour was not regarded as so important.



Fox-hunting resumes after ban


More than 250 countryside enthusiasts turned out to support the first meeting in 10 months of the Prince of Wales's favourite hunt as the hunting season, which usually begins in September, finally opened today.


Around 150 foot followers joined more than 70 mounted riders at the Swangrove Estate near Badminton, South Gloucestershire, for the first gathering of the Beaufort Hunt since the ban on hunting was imposed at the start of the foot-and-mouth crisis earlier this year.


Up to 30 of Britain's 300 hunts have been granted licences, and hunts were also resuming today in counties including north Wales and Northamptonshire, according to the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Hunting Northumberland - counties among the worst hit by foot-and-mouth.


The Beaufort Hunt, which is regularly attended by members of the royal family including Prince William and his father, Charles, was enthusiastically supported by local farmers and business owners who rely on hunting to survive.


The joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, Ian Farquhar, said he was "delighted" that hunting was finally underway again.


"It is good to get going again," he said. "A whole industry has been at a standstill during this ban. It has been a glimpse of the hardship that would be faced if hunting was outlawed permanently.


"Hunting and farming go hand-in-hand and the support of the community for the resumption of hunting has been tremendous."

Alex Connors, who runs a business making hunting boots in the nearby town of Chippenham, said she was relieved that the ban on hunting had been lifted.


"My business was getting to a critical point with foot-and-mouth disease having already curtailed the end of the last hunting season and the beginning of this," she said.


"We were close to going out of business, but as soon as the news came through that hunting was going to start again the phone has not stopped ringing."


Nicky Driver from the Countryside Alliance said today's meeting of the Beaufort Hunt was not a celebration but a "cautious and sensible" resumption of the sport.


She said that everybody attending the meeting had signed a certificate of compliance designed to ensure that all participants could be traced in the unlikely event of another foot-and-mouth outbreak.


But she stressed that the rural community had been clamouring for hunting to resume.


"Foot-and-mouth disease has devastated our countryside," she said. "It has been a very difficult time and it can only be good news that hunting is starting again."


Ms Driver said the 10-month ban on hunting had demonstrated just how seriously the rural community would be affected by a permanent ban on the sport and she added it had strengthened the case of the pro-hunting lobby.


Although today's meeting of the Beaufort Hunt was its first since February, no members of the royal family were in attendance.


It is still outlawed in "infected" or "at-risk" areas, including Cumbria and North Yorkshire



Shocking Fox Hunt Picture Shows Three Men Slaughtering An Animal In Front Of Children (GRAPHIC IMAGE)

This disturbing image shows three young children looking on as a fox is dragged from a hole before being brutally killed. Released by anti-fox hunt campaigners, the picture shows the sickening attack on the helpless vixen by three men and their dog during a hunt by the Devon-based Modbury Harriers.

fox hunting

The disturbing killings happened on a recent hunt by the Modbury Harriers

After the incident was reported to the League Against Cruel Sports, the RSPCA was called in to investigate whether there were grounds for a prosecution under the 2004 Hunting Act.

In a sickening ritual, the fox was trapped in a badger sett along with another cowering animal before the men flushed both out with guns, killing the petrified creatures as the children watched on.

fox hunting devon

One of the lifeless foxes is chewed on by a terrier

A local farmer who witnessed the incident told the Western Morning News: "I sat there in disbelief - how could those guys think any of what had played out was fit for young children to witness?

"In fact, in the eyes of even my most pro-hunt neighbour, what those men showed those kids that afternoon crossed an unacceptable line. The saddest sight for me was those lifeless bodies more resembling orange rags being dragged up the hill at the end."

Before being trapped, the fox had been spotted by the farmer running across a nearby field. "I watched in horror as a whole pack of hounds poured into our neighbour’s field then piled into our meadow," he said.

fox hunt devon

The dead foxes are dragged away by one of the men

"They made that hideous blood-curdling squealing – known as ‘speaking’ – which means they are on the scent of a fox. I saw a beautiful vixen flash across the meadow and disappear into an old badger sett on my neighbour’s farm. At the top of the hill I saw a couple of guys carrying spades and a terrier on a lead. They were going to dig her out and kill her right then and there."

"The men came down and filled in the exit holes to stop the fox escaping and then called the children over to watch as they dug out and killed the young vixen – and a second fox found cowering inside the hole."

Despite the grisly scene, Tim Bonner, a spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance described the slaughter as legal, and even as "professional and humane", adding that nobody associated with the Modbury Harriers was embarrassed by the pictures.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "This horrific incident of animal cruelty shows not only a total disregard for the dogs and foxes but also for the welfare of the children. Terrier work is abhorrently cruel.

Prince Charles : I'll leave Britain over fox hunt ban

Prince Charles has sparked an explosive clash between the monarchy and the government after launching an outspoken attack on the Prime Minister over plans to ban fox hunting.


On the eve of today’s Countryside Alliance march in London, it was revealed that the heir to the throne wrote to Tony Blair expressing anger at the government for pursuing plans to outlaw the bloodsport in England.

It is understood the Prince, a passionate hunt supporter, told Blair that he "would not dare attack an ethnic minority in the way that supporters of fox hunting were being persecuted."

In an outburst overheard by a senior politician, the Prince is also alleged to have said: "If Labour bans hunting I’ll leave Britain and spend the rest of my life skiing".

The politician was left in no doubt that Charles was serious. "It certainly wasn’t said in jest - he gave the impression that he meant it," the politician said.

The Prince’s comparison of the treatment of fox hunters to minorities such as black and Asian communities has caused uproar in senior government circles.

Blair’s anger was spelled out last night when Downing Street made it clear that Charles has no right to lecture him on how to run the country.

The PM’s official spokesman said in a terse statement: "We would never comment on any correspondence or communication between the Prime Minister and a member of the Royal Family. The government continues to govern for the whole country, urban and rural alike."

In effect, the reply told the Prince to keep out of party politics and not abuse the long-held constitutional principle that the monarchy should not interfere in government legislation.

The dispute is a dramatic illustration of Charles’s deeply-held views on the issue. He and his partner, Camilla Parker Bowles, have defied criticism from field sport opponents by continuing to ride regularly with the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, which meets a few miles from his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire. Princes William and Harry have hunted too.

Ministers expressed outrage at the Prince’s letter. "Charles has got a bloody cheek writing to the PM in such inflammatory tones" said one. "To compare fox hunting to ethnic minorities defies belief. The man has lost all sense of proportion."

But allies of Charles defended his action. "Charles has spent his entire life standing up for rural communities. He feels that they have been treated very badly by successive governments. He is proud to defend fox hunting.

It is a class issue of attacking people who dress up in red jackets. Any other minority would have their rights respected."


A spokesperson for Prince Charles said: "The Prince may well have written to the Prime Minister about fox hunting."

Asked about the Prince’s remarks making a comparison between the treatment of fox hunters and other minorities she said "I have never heard him use those words. The Prince often corresponds with the Prime Minister privately."

Meanwhile, animal rights campaigners have drawn up detailed plans to monitor fox hunts in Scotland following new evidence that hounds are still being allowed to kill their prey.

Hunting foxes with hounds was supposed to have been outlawed by MSPs last February after one of the most contentious votes in the Scottish parliament’s history.

Although Scotland’s 10 hunts are still allowed to legally operate, foxes flushed out by dogs should now be shot by marksmen instead of being savaged to death by the pack.

But both the Buccleuch hunt and the Jedforest hunts in the Borders have admitted allowing their packs to kill foxes since hunting resumed last month.

Huntsmen have claimed they are allowed to do so under certain provisions of Lord Watson’s Protection of Wild Mammals Bill. The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) represents 174 packs of foxhounds that hunt in England and Wales and a further 10 in Scotland. ... how to join the HSBS, or how to support the HSBS through various Fund Raising initiatives.

Fox hunting is an activity involving the tracking, chase, and sometimes killing of a fox, traditionally a red fox, by trained foxhounds or other scent hounds, and a group of unarmed followers led by a master of foxhounds, who follow the hounds on foot or on horseback.[1]

Fox hunting originated in the form practised until recently in the United Kingdom in the 16th century, but is practised all over the world, including in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and the United States.[2][3] In Australia, the term also refers to the hunting of foxes with firearms similar to spotlighting or deer hunting. In much of the world hunting in general is understood to relate to any game animals or weapons (e.g., deer hunting with bow and arrow); in Britain, "hunting" without qualification implies fox hunting (or beagling, stag hunting and mink hunting) as described here.

The sport is controversial. In the UK it was banned in Scotland in 2002, and in England and Wales in November 2004 (law enforced from February 2005).[4] Shooting foxes as vermin remained legal. Proponents see it as an important part of rural culture and useful for reasons of conservation and pest control,[5][6][7] while opponents argue that it is cruel and unnecessary.[8]









It took animal–lovers 80 years and 700 hours of parliamentary debate to bring the Hunting Act into force in 2004, by democratic process, in accordance with the will of at least 75% of the population. This law currently makes it illegal to hunt to the death with packs of dogs, not only foxes, but stags, hares, and other wild creatures in Britain’s countryside.

With the Conservative/LibDem government now in power, it is likely that there will soon be an attempt to bring in a bill to REPEAL the Hunting Act. Repeal would mean that currently banned blood sports – fox-hunting, stag hunting, hare coursing, etc – would again become legal.

Since the current set of newly elected MP's includes many who are linked to the Hunts and the Countryside Alliance, it is quite possible that the bill will succeed, destroying the protective Act. This would be a tragedy for our native wild animals, and a huge step backwards into barbarity. Do you know how YOUR MP will vote ?

We believe that the British public needs to be clearly told the truth. The vast majority of decent people believe that it is wrong to cause needless suffering to animals. We cannot stand by and allow Britain to be bullied by a small minority – a minority that cannot let go of its desire to torture innocent animals.

Be aware of this situation, tell everyone you know, and make sure your MP knows that you expect him/her to vote to KEEP THE HUNTING ACT IN PLACE, and work to make it more effective.

As a quick initial step, visit the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) website right now, and use their excellent system to send an email to your MP. It only takes a few moments.


Apparently, the vote is coming up in October in the House of Lords:
There are facebook pages on this issue that might be useful
Is there a petition site against fox hunting that could be used?


Latest Parliament news on fox hunting"

Facebook pages on fox hunting,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=1be08e2bd9b573cd&biw=1280&bih=785





united States

In America, fox hunting is also called 'fox chasing,' as the purpose is not to actually kill the animal but to enjoy the thrill of the chase.[16] A hunt may go without a kill for several years, despite chasing two or more foxes in a single day's hunting.[34] As a rule, foxes are not pursued once they have 'gone to ground.' American fox hunters undertake stewardship of the land, and endeavor to maintain fox populations and habitats as much as possible.[34]

In 2007, the Masters of Foxhounds Association of North America listed 171 registered packs in the U.S. and Canada.[35] This number does not include the nonregistered (also known as 'farmer' or 'outlaw') packs.[34] In some arid parts of the Western United States, where foxes in general are more difficult to locate, hunts track coyotes[36] and, in some cases, bobcats.[37]



how are the foxes used?


Red fox

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the normal prey animal of a fox hunt in the U.S. and Europe. A small omnivorous predator,[39] the fox lives in underground burrows called earths,[40] and is predominantly active around twilight (making it a crepuscular animal).[41] Adult foxes tend to range around an area of between 5 and 15 square kilometers (2–6 square miles) in good terrain, although in poor terrain, their range can be as much as 20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi).[41] The red fox can run at up to 48 km/h (30 mph).[41] The fox is also variously known as a Tod (old English word for fox),[42] Reynard (the name of an anthropomorphic character in European literature from the twelfth century),[43] or Charlie (named for the Whig politician Charles James Fox).[44] American red foxes tend to be larger than European forms, but according to hunter's accounts, they have lesser cunning, vigour and endurance in the chase compared to the European foxes.[45]






HUNTING - Issues and Arguments

If you're going to take any part in the campaign against bloodsports it's useful to know the relative arguments as thoroughly as possible. Arguing with hunters is rarely productive, but as a sab you will want to explain to other people exactly why hunting should be stopped.


Foxhunting is primarily dealt with here, but I have mentioned other bloodsports briefly, as it is dangerous to assume the same arguments apply. A good booklet to read is "Wildlife Protection - The Case for the Abolition of Hunting and Snaring", available by mail order from the League Against Cruel Sports.


Killing animals is wrong



Why? To you and me this may seem obvious, but it isn't to others. In short (a) the animal is deprived of all the pleasures it would have enjoyed in the future: food, play, sunshine, sex etc, and (b) the animal undergoes mental and physical suffering when hunted. Hunters will sometimes try and deny this, but Zoologists agree that other animals feel pain. Don't forget about mental suffering either.


For a general argument against 'speciesm' see Chapter 1 of 'Animal Liberation' by Peter Singer (now in an updated 2nd edition).


The hunted animal can be chased for long distances by hunts, maybe for ten or more miles. Foxes are not suited for long distance running, and are built for speed not stamina. The opposite is true for hounds who are deliberately bred this way, so that the hunt can have a long chase. Hunters will claim that the fox dies from a 'quick nip in the back of the neck', but those who have seen kills (and sometimes recorded them on video), can tell you that the truth is somewhat different.


Some foxes 'go to ground'. In this situation, terriers are put into the hole, either to flush the fox out, to provide a longer chase, or to fight it until the terriermen dig down to it. A terrier is a formidable opponent for a fox. In one case in 1989, a cornered fox was so desperate to dig its way out of a hole in which it was being attacked by a terrier that it died with its lungs filled with earth. An underground fight like this can easily last for half an hour, and may even go on for two to three hours on occasions. All the time, the fox is fighting for its life. When the terriermen reach it, if it is one of the lucky ones it will be killed quickly by a bullet or by a spade.


Is hunting pest control?


This is the major myth that hunters use to excuse their activities.


The fox is not nearly the incredible menace to rural society it is sometimes made out to be. The MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food) regard the threat from a fox as 'negligible'. Scientific studies have shown that a fox may take dead or dying sheep, but a healthy sheep is easily a match for a fox. Sometimes foxes may get into sheds and take chickens, but if the shed was made reasonably secure this would not happen - and most chickens are kept in factory farms anyway. In the end, you are left with the farcical image of a fox with a crowbar.


Scientists such as Steven Harris and David Macdonald have disproved this. In studies carried out in Scotland, an absence of fox 'control' had no effect on the population, or on lamb mortality. From information gained during rabies control in Europe, it is known that to have anything other than a very short term effect on population, 70% of foxes need to killed. The reason for this is that fox populations are very stable, and adapt to the available food supply. As the death rate varies, more or less vixens will breed, maintaining the population at the level appropriate to the food supply.


Hunts tend to kill 2.5% of the local fox population a year. These are BFSS (British Field Sports Society) figures, so if anything are exaggerated. Plainly, hunts do not control foxes, even if there was the necessity.


Furthermore, this tiny drop is generally more than compensated for by the efforts hunts make to increase numbers: creating artificial earths, discouraging shooting and snaring, and importing foxes (e.g. Isle of Wight and Australia). Sheep carcasses have been know to have been left outside earths.

As far as hare hunting is concerned, hares are on the decline due to changes in modern farming methods. In East Anglia, the population level is possibly stable, but is no where near what it was. Hares are not pests anyway - and hare hunters will rarely, if ever, attempt to use this as argument.

Mink are not native to this country, but again, there is no evidence to suggest it is a pest. Remember that the people who go mink hunting are those who hunted the otter to the brink of extinction, and when otter hunting was banned turned to mink to satisfy their bloodlust. Mink hunts are also often condemned for vandalism to the river bank and the otter's habitat.


The situation with deer is more controversial, in the absence of any conclusive scientific studies. One thing is certain however, a well trained marksman can kill a deer instantly, whereas a deer hunted with hounds undergoes extreme suffering - a hound pack is unlikely to kill a deer unaided, usually there is a wait for the kill, while someone finds a gun. In Scotland, shooting is the only legal way to kill a deer, although untrained 'sportsman' pay some Highland estates for the pleasure of shooting deer in the annual cull. Another point of view, is that as man caused the mess that results in the so called 'overpopulation' of deer (and this is only 'overpopulation' by man's definition), man cannot be trusted to solve it, and so the killing of any deer should be banned. The species on the planet with the biggest overpopulation problem is not being culled after all.


The inefficiency of Hunting


Hunting with hounds is deliberately inefficient as a method of killing, because it is about a perverted definition of 'good sport', not pest control. Hunts would use cubhunting tactics all season if they wanted to maximise kills; they don't.


Hunts often bolt foxes that have gone to earth - digging would be much more likely to end in a kill. Hounds are bred to be slow - and so may often lose their quarry. If hunts were serious about maximising kills they would use dogs fast enough to bring the hunted animal down quickly.



"Hunting is less cruel than other methods of fox control"



Another old chestnut from the bloodsport fraternity. Hunted foxes suffer a lot, and most significantly, hunting is not control anyway.

Fox conservation


The opposite of the control argument; some hunters maintain that the fox would be extremely rare or extinct without hunting. While hunts may encourage foxes, the fox population would survive perfectly well without them - the fox is very adaptable. Humans are unlikely to have a terminal effect on the species, but they do inflict great suffering on individual animals: that is where we come in.


"We don't kill many"

"The kill is not the important part of the hunt"

"Hunting is the only way to get an exciting ride"


These whines are heard from the kind of rider who isn't really into the killing side, and may even feel vaguely guilty about it.

"The fox has a sporting chance"


The fox has no chance to decide not to participate in this 'sport'.


"Hunting is an integral part of country life"

"Hunting is traditional"


Foxhunting has been going on since the 18th century, when there were no more wild boar to hunt, and a lot less deer. Hare hunting has been going for longer. None of this however has any bearing on the rights and wrongs of hunting. Wars have been taking place for long enough - would the hunters say that wars are good things to have once in a while?


Foxhunting can be very disruptive to rural life, as hunts rampage through villages, gardens and farmyards. Hounds may 'riot' going after any animal that has the misfortune to get in their way - for example hares, deer, pets and sheep.


"Antis are townies who misunderstand the ways of the country"


Anti-hunts campaigners have to know a lot about hunting to campaign against it effectively. Hunt saboteurs need to know how a hunt works to sab effectively. And many live in the country.


The last time I heard this, it turned out that the only experience and knowledge of hunting of the person concerned was standing in the village on Boxing Day watching the hunters gather for their mince pies etc. I knew far more than he did, and so do you, having read thus far.


Treatment of hounds


Hunters are fond of accusing sabs of mistreating hounds. In fact hounds suffer greatly at the hands of hunters. They are harshly disciplined; they will be whipped if they are really disobedient.


Very few foxhounds die of old age. A very small number may become minkhounds or draghounds in old age, and a very few probably become family pets; however, most are killed as soon as they become a little to slow for the pack, generally at 5-7 years of age.


Any really disobedient hound will be killed at any stage of its 'career'. Some hunting authorities, notably the Duke of Beaufort (see 'Foxhunting', by the said Duke), recommend breeding a large number of puppies and then killing all but those who prove to be the best hunting material.


Hunting very often involves taking hounds into danger. During the chase they are likely to be involved in road or rail accidents, or injure themselves in quarry or barbed wire fences. Many such incidents are reported every year, and have been recorded on film.


Hunters say that if hunting were abolished, the hounds would have to be put down. There would be no actual need for this; the ex-hunters would be wealthy enough to maintain the hounds for the rest of their natural lifetimes. If they killed them, it would be out of callous indifference, and not no choice. Hopefully anti-hunting legislation will include a requirement for hunts to make arrangements for their hounds before disbanding.


A similar argument is put forward in relation to horses - but people will still continue riding, whether they can go hunting or not.


Violence to animals and violence to people


It is no coincidence that those who arrange the nasty and premature deaths of foxes inflict harm on sabs.Hunting and the law

Hunting has tradition and the support of very powerful people on its side. The influence of these people meant that hunting has been left untouched by


 legislation - the Protection of Animals Act only covers captive and domestic animals.


It is likely that the police would regard hunting as unlawful if it were a new activity. Surely, letting an excited pack of carnivorous animals career about the countryside, across roads and through villages, only partially under anyone's control, amounts to a breach of the peace?


"Hunting provides employment"


Hunting in Britain provides full-time employment for no more than 750 people, probably less (source -LACS - I think this figure refers to all hound sports). Spread over the whole country, this would hardly be a huge blow to the rural employment situation were hunting to be abolished, especially as (a) at least some hunts would become draghunts, and (b) all those riders who didn't want to draghunt would suddenly have a lot of disposable income with which to create new jobs elsewhere in the leisure sector of the economy.



Often the BFSS quote much larger figures than 750, but they include jobs which will still exist when hunting is abolished (people will still be riding horses, and require the associated services and equipment).



In any case, employment is never enough to justify immoral practices.


"Hunting is natural"


Would-be BFSS intellectual, Ian Coghill, claims that we are biologically equipped to be hunters, with all the necessary teeth, enzymes, and instincts - BUT not everything we are mentally and physically equipped to do is a morally acceptable pastime.



Hunters also speak of the inevitability of death and suffering in the biological world. This is never though to be an excuse for murder and rape (humans are a part of the biological world too), so why should it apply to hunting? Neither can hunting be seen as a natural activity for hounds. Hounds are painstakingly bred and trained to hunt.


Furthermore, no pack animal will chase an animal the size of a fox for the length of time a hound pack chases a fox. It simply would not provide anywhere near enough food for the pack.


The environment


Landowners derive no income from hunting with hounds which could be channelled into conservation, and so would be no less financially capable of doing it in the absence of hunting.


Sometimes they will say that landowners retain woodland for hunting. A survey by Cobham Resources Consultants, commissioned and published in 1983 by a pro-bloodsports group stated that creating fox coverts was the "least significant motive" for landowners retaining or planting woodland.


Also, the 'guardians of our countryside' have made a poor job of it. Look at the bare expanses of fields with their lack of hedgerows, around East Anglia, as one example. Another example is that about half of the ancient natural/semi-natural woodland Britain has disappeared since the 1940s.


It is often argued in the case of the grouse moors, that the fees paid by shooters maintain the grouse moorland. However it is worth pointing out that (a) tourism has a far greater economic significance in these areas, and (b) the grouse moors are not a true natural environment, and would largely disappear if nature was simply left alone for a change.


The influence of the hunters has failed to stop development in the countryside - e.g. roads, urban sprawl. Hunts are relatively weedy to take on powerful economic forces such as these. The obvious solution is genuine conservation measures, now.


Hunting with hounds has few significant detrimental environmental effects, however it is worth mentioning the disturbance of badger setts through earth stopping and digging out, and the obvious impact of a convoy of hunt vehicles polluting its way through the countryside. Most coverts are drawn to infrequently to have a significant effect on the wildlife there; however wildlife trusts may make sure of this by banning hunting on their land.


Hunters' hypocrisy


You will have noticed that a common thread of hypocrisy runs through many of the pronouncements of the hunting community. They mistreat their hounds, while posing as animal lovers and accusing sabs of hurting their animals. The are violent, but claim to be the victims of intimidation and assault; and so on ad nauseam.


"Meat eaters should not oppose hunting"


Hunters like to criticise the hypocrisy of anti-hunting people who eat meat, wear leather or whatever (though I have still to meet a non-vegetarian saboteur). There is an element of truth in this, however it is still no defence of hunting to point out the cruelty and suffering other animals go through.


"Anti-bloodsports campaigners are motivated by class hatred"


Bloodsports are not the prerogative of the wealthy. Hare coursing still exists, and is to a large extent, a working class sport. Even a foxhunt consists of a wide spectrum of people. You have to be rich to be able to afford to ride with the hunt, but not to be a terrierman, a foot follower or a supporter. These people are not just the puppets of the aristocrats: they are enthusiastic participants in the hunts.


People opposed to hunting come from all backgrounds.


"Cubhunting usefully disperses the foxes in autumn"


A rare and rather desperate defence of cubbing. Cubbing does indeed scare young foxes away from their birthplace, leaving the fox population more evenly distributed across the countryside. However, the foxes would move of their own accord, a couple of months later. Cubbing does nothing of lasting significance in this respect. The fox population is quite capable of spreading itself across the countryside on its own. Cubbing must, however, traumatise the adolescent foxes which are forced away from home before they are ready to leave.


Spreading of disease


Disease may be picked up by hounds, and spread wherever they go. Also, killing a fox means that another fox may move into that area to replace it. This means that there is more mobility in the population than there would otherwise be, and therefore a greater potential for the spreading of disease.


Hunting and individual choice


"So you don't believe in personal freedom" said the same guy who had accused me of being an 'ignorant townie'. This argument is fundamentally flawed - who would suggest we have the freedom to take the lives of other humans? Who would say we have the freedom to mutilate a pet dog? Similarly, all animals should be regarded as sensitive living beings who deserve respect and consideration.


This document was cobbled together by Tim Spencer, and bears an uncanny resemblance to a previous document that the author got when he started in this anti-bloodsports business. Please circulate - this is strictly anti-copyright!





JACK PYKE hunting horse baiting gallop tracking beating cubbing walking


The ban on hunting is routinely flouted and the way to prevent foxes being killed is to be present at the hunt, monitor and also sab if the hounds are chasing a fox. Securing convictions will ensure that those who do continue to kill foxes are fined (which is also negative publicity for the hunt, as it shows the public that they are still hunting despite it being against the law).

During the hunting season members of Brighton Animal Action are out most Saturdays monitoring the hunts to ensure the hunting ban is enforced.


The New Law


Under the new law the hunt can still meet and lay a trail for the hounds to follow. They are not allowed to kill a fox using hounds but can use the hounds to flush out a fox which can then legally be killed by a bird of prey or shot. However the birds of prey they have been seen with, such as an eagle owl, would not take a fox, only a small cub. It is now law that the hunt stewards must have paperwork from the land owners giving them permission to prevent monitors from trespassing onto their land. The stewards have to show the paperwork to the police before the hunt.




What we are finding is that the police are not informed of the new law, little or no briefing is given on the day and no paperwork is produced by the landowners stating that the hunt can use their land (which is now law). Conversely this means it is likely that the land owners have not requested that the stewards attend the hunt to prevent monitors trespassing. An absence of paperwork suggests that the hunt is also trespassing.


Unfortunately it is also apparent that the police are biased towards to the hunt and regularly turn a blind eye to the law being broken or fa

il to follow monitors into potentially dangerous situations. The police state that they are not present to police the hunt only to prevent a breach of the peace.


Monitoring (from the Hunt saboteurs association(HSA) website)

Monitoring a hunt involves following the hunt and capturing any law breaking on video. Quite often our mere presence is enough to make them behave but it is not always the case. We use technology such as video cameras, GPS (global positioning system) devices which accurately pinpoint locations. We also use maps to navigate the terrain and vehicles to position people quickly in the correct place.

If you ever spot anything dodgy, make a note of what happened, where and when, and note down any registration numbers or descriptions of people involved.

I want to come out monitoring/sabbing, what do I need to bring?



Copse: a small wood

Cubbing: The killing of fox cubs by new hounds in training for the main fox hunting season. Fox cubs are easier prey and allow the hounds to develop blood lust. This usually take place very early in the morning between the late August and mid October. This has always been illegal but due to a lack of public information goes un policed.

Digging out: Digging a fox out of its den after trapping it using a terrier, or blocking of the entrance and exits of a den before digging out the fox. This is now illegal and has always been illegal in cubbing season.

Drag hunt: a moving trail of scent for the hounds to follow, usually laid by someone on horse back or quad bike
(hounds) in cry: the hounds have found the scent of a fox and give chase. You can hear when this has happened as the dogs whimper and whine.
Hunting horn: used to encourage the dogs to give chase and to steer them in the right direction (has also been used when sabbing to confuse the hounds.
Hunt monitoring: filming the hunt so that illegal hunting can be documented and used as evidence in court to bring about a prosecution.
Hunt sabbing: sabotaging the hunt to prevent foxes being killed.

Pointing: when the hunt surround a copse which has a fox in it so that whichever way it runs it will be caught.
Steward: Hunt stewards are monitors in favour of the hunt and are there to prevent sabs from trespassing and try to ensure the hunt can continue (legally).
Terrier man: Man who trains terriers to flush foxes out of their dens.

Trail hunt: a pre laid trail for the hounds to follow


What you can do


Come and help us monitor the hunt. This is really important we go out most Saturdays and can arrange to pick you up. Get in touch if you want to come
Contact the Hunt Saboteurs Association
Check out


other facebook groups if you can help