Hunts, Stunts and Spin

"Never lose sight of the fact that one really well-beaten cub killed fair and square is worth half a dozen fresh ones killed the moment they are found without hounds having to set themselves to the task. It is essential that hounds should have their blood up and learn to be savage with their fox before he is killed."

Late Duke of Beaufort

“This is the future of Hunting! No Cruelty, no Lies, no Kill ”

This Boxing Day, hunts will gather to parade in villages across England and Wales for the traditional Boxing Day meet. But this year there will be a new atmosphere - a wind of change.

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DEFRA study says  'Not significant'.  Are foxes a significant predator of livestock? The importance of fox predation on lambs is fiercely debated because it is very difficult to determine whether a lamb was killed by a fox or whether the fox was merely acting as a scavenger on an already dead animal. Paragraph 5.14 of the Burns Report estimates that less than 2% of otherwise viable lambs are killed by foxes in England and Wales. On the basis of current evidence, the Government does not consider foxes to be a significant factor in lamb mortality nationally (see The Burns Report, paragraph 5.12). However, it does recognise 

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Early in the morning a Hunt of mounted riders quietly surround a thicket they know to contain a family of foxes. The female fox or vixen hears the movement but will not leave her cover as she has cubs to protect. The huntsmen surround the thicket, they slap their saddles, hollar and shout to prevent the fox and her cubs leaving the thicket. They want to have their fun. 

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This is a truthful account of the reality of fox hunting and its standard practice, the contents may haunt you - they haunt me.

Clifford Pellow, a professional fox hunter for 23 years, believed unwaveringly in the integrity of his 'craft'. He'd learned its mysteries in night stories from his grandfather - all about wily Reynard and the special breed of man in red tunic who led the chase with horse and hounds that, on a good day, ended with Reynard being vanquished. Grandfather was a Devonian quarryman who crushed stones for a living followed the hunt on a push-bike.

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THERE IS NO EXCUSE for the continuation of fox hunting. The only argument for it that you can believe is sincere, from its supporters, is that they enjoy it. But they will put up all kinds of smoke screens – essentially bogus defences. This fox lovers' guide provides definitive answers to the hunters lame claims.

This is a fox lovers’ handbook designed to answer the lame claims of hunters who believe it’s acceptable to torture foxes to death. 

Fourteen of the hunt supporters’ best shots detailed here, along with the answers which expose them as false.

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Are Foxes Dangerous?

Our intelligence can often be measured by our reactions. Knee-jerk reactions are not good reactions.

It is extremely rare for a wild animal to bite, and this is usually only when cornered or trapped. Most wildlife has learnt to keep hidden. Humans are the biggest threat to wildlife and not the other way round. Foxes are rarely aggressive and would always choose to flee from human contact.

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From King Canute to David Cameron - Hunting has taken place worldwide for hundreds of years. It's purpose was to provide food and protect livestock. The practice of using dogs with a keen sense of smell to track prey has been traced back to ancient Egypt and many Greek and Roman influenced countries. 

It is believed that the custom for a fox to be tracked, chased and often killed by trained hunting hounds l known as ‘scent hounds' and followed by the Master

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Save Me is totally opposed to dogs killing wild mammals for human pleasure. We do encourage the humane sports of drag hunting and lure coursing to retain all its traditions without the need for cruelty

Extract from Lord Burns report  "The registered packs are estimated to kill some 21,000-25,000 foxes a year. About 40% of the foxes killed by the registered packs are killed in the autumn/cub hunting season. In Wales and other upland areas, a high proportion of foxes are dug out, using terriers and shot.

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Drag hunting and hunting with bloodhounds is a sport in which a pack of hounds follow either an artificially laid scent or the scent of a human over a predetermined route. Most drag hounds and bloodhound packs are registered with the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association (MDBA).

Drag hunting, or drag hunting, originally developed in the UK in the early 1800s as a means of testing the speed and agility of hounds by laying a scent trail over a specified distance. This, in turn, encouraged the practice of following the hounds on horseback. There are currently thirteen drag hounds packs in the UK registered with the MDBA made up mainly of English foxhounds.

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Trail hunting did not exist before the Hunting Act 2004. When the Act came into force, the Masters of the Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association (MDBA) were particularly concerned that illegal live quarry hunting, under the guise of following an artificially laid scent, would have a detrimental effect on the sport of drag hunting. To prevent their sport being brought into disrepute, the MDBA insisted that the term 'drag hunting' should remain their exclusive property. As a consequence, the term 'trail hunting' was invented.

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Hare are hunted with packs of hounds, beagles and bassets (also referred to as ‘beagling’, where the hounds are followed on foot) and by harriers (followed on horseback). These hounds were bred, not for the speed but for the stamina that guaranteed the lengthy chase the hunters sought.

The hare is not a native species to the UK and was introduced by the Romans. During the late 1800s, there were about four million brown hare in Britain. But recent surveys show the brown hare has declined by more than 80% during the past 100 years and the decline is ongoing. In some parts of Britain, such as the south-west, the brown hare is almost a rarity and may even be locally extinct. 

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Between April and October, another form of hunting with hounds is carried out illegally: mink hunting. Carried out on foot along river banks, mink hunts are the remnants of otter hunts, which stopped after otters became a protected species.

There are 17 hunts and over 20 unregistered packs. They have between 12 & 16 hounds hunting - a mix of otterhounds, foxhounds and others. Besides hunting mink, that will kill anything they come across, and there's concern that they'll kill otters if they come across them. 

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We  strongly opposes the government's proposals to amend the Hunting Act 2004 using a draft Order.  The government proposes to use a statutory instrument to change the exemptions under the Act, in order to use an unlimited number of dogs in exempt cases.  At present, the exemptions only apply where a maximum of two dogs are used.  The government claims that it is amending the exemptions to bring them into line with the position in Scotland, under the Protection of Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.

"The use of a draft Order, rather than a Bill to amend, is a good example of 'cherry picking' some of the bits of the Scottish legislation that favour hunters, without also taking on the related obligations. Most notably, the Scottish legislation has the possibility of higher penalties to go with its more liberal approach to the number of dogs used.  The power to amend the existing exemptions by Order does not permit amendment of penalties and thus underlines the inappropriateness of the approach of using a draft Order.  

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In July 2015, the Government announced that it intended to amend the legislation to remove the limit on the number of dogs, and instead replace it with a requirement that the number of dogs used is appropriate to the terrain and any other relevant circumstance. The Government’s stated aim is to bring the legislation in line with that in Scotland.n

The current legislation in England and Wales  (A personal account by Bri  Our statement on the triumph of the Hunting Act this week by Bri )

1.1 The level of proof required for a court of law was established in a High Court ruling in 2009 which held that the burden was not on a defendant to prove the exemptions set out in Schedule 1 to the Hunting Act 2004 applied and that the term “hunt” did not include the activity of searching for a wild animal for the purpose of stalking or flushing it. 

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THERE IS NO EXCUSE for the continuation of fox hunting. The only argument for it that you can believe is sincere, from its supporters, is that they enjoy it. But they will put up all kinds of smoke screens – essentially bogus defences. This fox lovers' guide provides definitive answers to the hunters lame claims.

This is a fox lovers’ handbook designed to answer the lame claims of hunters who believe it’s acceptable to torture foxes to death. 

Fourteen of the hunt supporters’ best shots detailed here, along with the answers which expose them as false.

Read more