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The environment secretary’s silence on hunting at the Conservative conference reflects a party waking up to the fact that the public cares about animal welfare
It was the dog, or fox, that didn’t bark. During her leadership campaign, Tory MP Andrea Leadsom vowed to hold a vote to bring back foxhunting and declared there was a “need to exterminate vermin, which foxes are”.
At her first party conference as environment secretary, Leadsom might have been expected to throw some red meat to the Tory faithful and renew David Cameron’s promise of a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act. Instead, she prattled on about catching rural Pokémon and selling bottled air.
He marched against the hunting ban but Sir Ranulph Fiennes has dramatically changed his mind about the blood sport after encountering a hounded fox that took six days to die.
The polar explorer will call on Theresa May to drop any attempts to repeal the Hunting Act after switching sides from the pro-hunting lobby to supporting the League Against Cruel Sports. He will give a speech at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event in Birmingham explaining why his views have changed so drastically on what he now considers to be a tradition of “brutal and insupportable self-indulgence”.
It comes as a poll last week revealed that 84 per cent of Britons do not want to see a return to fox hunting.
Monitors need you to help our wild animals to see another sunrise and to show the world what terrible atrocities go on in our countryside
Many expenses are incurred, including petrol costs, purchasing cameras, memory cards, two way radios and other equipment. Please help the Monitors by donating towards their expenses, it would help them greatly.
We can hardly believe that the cub hunting season will be under way very shortly and we will need to be out observing hunts again to collect the evidence of illegal hunting. We can then put it up on social media, show politicians the reality of the anarchy out there or use in the courts to convict these criminals. One day we will overcome and put an end to this appalling cruelty.
Some years ago we received the following report describing a fox cub hunt. The same thing happens over and over again to this day. “Today I was at a fox cub hunt, it started at 6am, there were 20 hunt riders, 20 followers and four terrier men. There were five of us (Monitors) as well as one terrified fox cub born this year and its Mother. The hunt chased the two of them around a wood for an hour, they passed me twice, running along a ditch trying to hide their scent, the vixen goading the cub along. After one hour of running in circles and terrified by the hounds in cry, (they could not escape the wood as rabbit fencing all around and the only exit had a line of hunt riders banging their saddles to frighten the foxes back into the wood). The vixen was seen crawling exhausted on her belly into the undergrowth where she lay. The cub was caught and disembowelled by the hounds, his short life of only a few months gone.”
Wildlife Opinion - George Monbiot
Their campaign against the RSPB is a shameful example of ‘astroturfing’. The public should beware
This is how, in a democracy, you win when you are outnumbered: you purchase the results. It’s how politics now works. The very rich throw money at the parties, lobby groups and thinktanks that project their demands. If they are clever, they keep their names out of it.
Here’s an example: a campaign fronted by the former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham, called You Forgot the Birds. It appears to have two purposes: to bring down the RSPB – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – and to get the natural history presenter Chris Packham sacked from the BBC.
HOUNDED TO DEATH
Shocking moment pack of dogs tear fox to pieces on hunt – but police REFUSE to take action
No action will be taken against a Warwickshire hunt despite video footage being released of a fox being killed by its hounds. Warwickshire Police said there was ‘not enough evidence’ to prosecute members of the Atherstone Hunt over accusations the fox had been illegally killed - despite the video, witness statements and the hunt itself admitting that it killed the fox.
The video footage was taken by West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs and shows members of the Atherstone Hunt on horseback as a pack of about 20 dogs chase down the animal in a field.
Grouse Shooting Debate Sees Chris Packham And Ian Botham Clash As ‘Glorious Twelfth’ Begins
BOTHAM BATTING ON A STICKY WICKET . . .
More than 80,000 people have signed an online petition to call for a ban on grouse shooting as the official season starts - a day known as the Glorious Twelfth.
BBC wildlife presenter and RSPB vice president Chris Packham, who signed the petition, and Sir Ian Botham, who supports the shoot and has criticised Mr Packham for his opposition to it, go head to head to debate the issue.
NOT SO GLORIOUS
Support the Campaign to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting - League Against Cruel Sports
The new Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has said she wants to repeal the hunting ban
Theresa May backs away from vote on legalising fox hunting
The Government is unlikely to try and lift the ban on fox hunting in the near future, Downing Street has said.
On Thursday Theresa May appointed Andrea Leadsom as the Environment Secretary, a job which has overall responsibility for rural affairs. Just this month Ms Leadsom reiterated her commitment to repealing the hunting ban, arguing that to do so could have “animal welfare” benefits.
Theresa May supports Fox Hunting and has said she would give Parliamentary time for a Bill to scrap the Hunting Act. View Theresa May and National Treasure Patrick Moore clashing on Hunting on BBC TV Daily Politics in 2009
YET ANOTHER EXPOSURE OF APPALLING HUNT CRUELTY
Hunt Saboteurs Association Release 30th June 2016
Fox rearing and illegal hunting at the Pytchley Hunt
Undercover footage handed to the Hunt Saboteurs Association by independent investigators, shows the Pytchley Hunt rearing and hunting foxes in direct contravention of the Hunting Act. The footage shows the hunt terrier men keeping captive foxes in an artificial earth, an underground tunnel system built by the hunt to maintain the fox population in an area they plan to hunt.
The terrier men introduce cubs to the earth and initially keep them caged to ensure they don't leave the area. Once they are attached to the area the cage is removed to allow the cubs free rein in the wood. As can be seen, not all the cubs survive captivity.
Secret footage1 has been released which appears to show live fox cubs being delivered to the kennels of the South Herefordshire Hunt before being thrown to the pack of fox hounds. The lifeless body of a cub is then seen to be dumped into a wheelie bin, before another is taken to meet the same fate.
Two men have been charged after video footage of a hunt in the Scottish Borders was passed on to police.
The League Against Cruel Sports alleged that the film of the Jed Forest Hunt shows hounds in pursuit of fleeing foxes. Police arrested two men, aged 23 and 65, after reviewing the footage.
The BBC has obtained secret video footage of a fox hunt in the Scottish Borders, which has led to two men being charged with wildlife offences. Campaigners claim the ban on hunting with dogs is routinely being flouted.
Hunt supporters insist they take great care to respect the law. The Jedforest Hunt was secretly filmed by the League Against Cruel Sports in February.
The men who have been charged are due to appear at Jedburgh Sheriff Court at a later date. The case comes as Lord Bonomy carries out a review of the law on hunting in Scotland.
Two League Staff Brutally Assaulted and Robbed by Hunt Supporters
Violence against animal rights campaigners who monitor hunts is growing so bad that it could result in someone’s death, warned an observer who was beaten by hunt supporters at the weekend.
Roger Swaine and Darryl Cunnington, both hunt monitors for the League Against Cruel Sports, were allegedly assaulted and had their cameras stolen by a masked group on quad bikes at a Leicestershire hunt on Saturday.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of assault after two anti-hunting campaigners were attacked while monitoring the Belvoir Hunt in Leicestershire.
Darryl Cunnington was seriously injured and taken to hospital while RogerSwaine sustained blows to the head and was bleeding heavily following the attack in Stathern, Leicestershire, according to a statement from campaigners.
Video commentary by Eduardo Conclaves - Chief Executive League Against Cruel Sports
Roger Swaine, who was attacked while monitoring a hunt in Leicestershire - Andrew Fox
Campaigners says PC Sharon Roscoe’s role investigating ill-treatment of animals ‘untenable’ with membership of one of UK’s biggest hunting clubs Members of the Quorn, Belvoir, Cottesmore and Oakley hunts parade in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. The club organises hunts attended by the royal family.
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on police chiefs to reassign a wildlife officer with an environmental remit after it emerged she is a member of one of Britain’s biggest hunting clubs. PC Sharon Roscoe, 46, is a wildlife officer for Leicestershire police and part of her role is to investigate allegations of illegal fox hunting, trapping animals, game poaching and badger baiting, as well as numerous other breaches of wildlife law. But it has emerged that she is also an active member of the Duke of Rutland’s Belvoir Hunt in Lincolnshire.
Gruesome footage shows mutilated fox in hound’s jaws during hunt as police probe 'illegal killing'
Gruesome video footage of a mutilated fox being carried in a hound’s jaws during a fox hunt has emerged.
Police are investigating after they were called to reports of a fox being killed illegally during a meeting of Atherstone Hunt.
Officers were called to the scene by members of the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs Group who filmed the scene. The clip show the lifeless body of the animal being carried in the teeth of one of the hounds.
Later images, too disturbing to show, reveal the horrific extent of the fox’s injuries as it lies dead on the ground.
Last month the WMN carried an article reporting the hunting community’s view that hunting with hounds was a humane method of fox control. Barrister Noel Sweeney, a specialist in criminal law, animal law and human rights, offers a different perspective. The WMN is right ask the salient question whether it is ‘time to bring the Welfare of the Fox into the debate on the Hunting Act’ (Western Morning News December 20 2015).
Sonn Macmillan Walker Blog - Tim Walker
Tim is noted in the Legal 500 as 'highly rated' and 'very impressive'. Chambers legal directory comments, "The 'excellent' Tim Walker stands out for 'swiftly identifying the issues in a case and fighting very hard for his clients.' Practising as a solicitor advocate, he is 'extremely bright' and 'hugely experienced' in criminal defence."
Aggravated Trespass - defending hunt monitors
I recently acted for a number of clients who were charged with aggravated trespass. They were accused of disrupting the lawful activity of the Waveney Harriers who traditionally hunted live quarry and who now hunt a false scent laid by a human.
It was the prosecution case that the defendants (for some unspecified reason) chose to disrupt this entirely lawful activity and spoil the fun of a group of people who were simply riding around the countryside for fun.
The Disappearing Fox - A Christmas Mystery for the Boxing Day Hunts
In December 2015 the League Against Cruel Sports carried out an undercover investigation which resulted in the discovery and rescue of a fox we believe was being held to be hunted by the Belvoir Hunt.
Last Hooray of the Hunts?
Opposition to fox hunting at record level as more rural residents and Conservative MPs than ever before join the fight against blood sports.
This film asks the question - Is this illegal foxhunting?
Just one of many pieces of evidence submitted by hunt monitors to the authorities and subsequently rejected for "lack of evidence." In 2014, monitors submitted several complaints to the authorities of the Grafton Hunt foxhunting illegally. They were told that there was "insufficient evidence" to take further.
Little is known publicly about trail hunting, but IFAW's investigators have uncovered a practice that can create false alibis, seriously hindering enforcement of the Hunting Act 2004.
The Hunting ban in England and Wales has an enforcement problem, mainly caused by trail hunting -- an activity carried out by organised hunts in England and Wales.
As one of the leading anti-hunting organisation in the UK, IFAW decided to investigate this issue in depth. Our data and evidence suggests that trail hunting in general is nothing more than a post-hunting ban creation to provide a false alibi against accusations of illegal hunting.
It should not be confused with drag hunting or bloodhound hunting, which aim to cause no harm to wild animals. Our report Trail of Lies is the biggest study to date on trail hunting.
Now, it's time to share our findings.
An Investigation into Partridge Breeding Farms in Britain
In November 2015, Investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports visited three of Britain’s largest red-legged partridge breeding farms which supply shooting estates:
* Heart of England Farms, Claverdon, Warwickshire
* Hy-Fly, Pilling Lane, Preesall, Lancashire
* Southern Partridges, Court Barton, Yarnscombe, Devon
The breeding partridges on all three farms were confined in small, barren cages without perches, enrichment or litter. They were surrounded on four sides by solid walls, their only view of the world being the sky above and piles of excrement below. Breeding partridges spend two to three years confined in these battery cages, released only when their egg production declines. Then they’ll be shot.
"There's a kill, there's a kill."
This is just part of the job of a hunt saboteur, someone who has volunteered their time and risked their own safety to protect animals through nonviolent tactics.
Meet The People Who Throw Themselves In Front Of Hunters
"This is private property," a man shouts into a nearby camera. A woman's voice can be heard as well, replying: "We're just trying to make sure a crime is not going to be committed."
Near her, two people on horseback are waiting for something. After a few moments of footage, during which they stare at the camera, it seems they're waiting for the woman to turn around and leave.
The woman with the camera isn't about to be intimidated. She isn't about to let what the hunters want to happen, happen.
The League Against Cruel Sports stands by its decision to take a private prosecution against a fox hunt despite being advised to withdraw from the trial. The case, at Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court, involved six members of the Devon based Lamerton Hunt who were each being prosecuted by the League for hunting a wild mammal with dogs contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act.
The lifeless body of the fox is slung over a horse during Atherstone Hunt. Picture: West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs.
A POLICE investigation has been launched after video footage emerged which appears to show a fox being killed during a hunt near Atherstone. West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs – who are fiercely against hunting – posted the shocking footage on their Facebook page.
This newly-published footage from the Duke of Buccleuch’s Hunt appears to show illegal hunting. Hounds are seen chasing a fox, with encouragement from the huntsman.
In May this year, the League Against Cruel Sports published a video exposé which suggested that half of Scotland’s hunts were breaking the law. You can view this investigation here -
by Zoe Williams - Guardian newspaper
If your opponents are resorting to Tea party tactics to hound you, reasoned argument won’t help win the day
It’s a “sinister and nasty” organisation, one that “hounds” the innocent and “bullies and threatens” the blameless, according to one critic. And last week Neil Parish, chairman of a new Commons committee, announced an official investigation into the “balance” of its activities. Which evil organisation could this be?
Journalists have long sought a picture of hunt supporter David Cameron riding to hounds, to no avail — prompting suspicions that someone with Cameron’s interests at heart may have paid to take any such images off the market.
But after extensive inquiries, we finally uncovered this photograph of the future PM preparing to set off for a day’s sport. It was taken at the final gathering of the Heythrop Hunt before the ban came into effect, a few days after Christmas 2004.
Cameron can be seen on a fine bay mount, looking a little nervous, as horses assemble in the square in Chipping Norton.
By MICHAEL ASHCROFT and ISABEL OAKESHOTT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
* Exclusive sought-after picture emerges of David Cameron riding at hunt
* Photo taken at final gathering of the Heythrop Hunt before the hunting ban
* Future PM pictured on a fine bay mount as horses assemble in Cotswolds
* Since becoming Prime Minister, Cameron has avoided being seen at hunts
Aren't Our Police Wonderful - Especially at Hunt Meets?
Whilst attempting to monitor the Grafton Hunt because of suspected illegal foxhunting at Shelswell Park, Newton Purcell, Bicester on 19 February 2015, a female Hunt Monitor was subjected to bullying tactics by the hunt servants. She was blocked in by vehicles belonging to the hunt or hunt supporters for over two hours.
The police were useless in this situation. Take a look and see what you think. Totally unacceptable!
From the Hunt Monitors Association
The Cruelty of Cub Hunting is shrouded in secrecy
The season is about to start - can you provide any information on your local hunt meets?
We will treat this in the strictest confidence
The Shy Huntsman or What the Grafton Hunt Didn't Want You to See
Hunt Monitors believe that this film shows illegal fox hunting but the authorities said "the footage fell short of having a realistic chance of success in the courts....that's not to say they were not hunting".
We feel this reinforces the fact that The Hunting Act needs strengthening to make it easier for the authorities to prosecute those hunts that continue to cynically make a mockery of the law.
MPs express 'grave concern' over Leicestershire Police methods used against peaceful anti-hunt protesters
Leicestershire Police have misused a Police Information Notice (P.I.N), issuing it to two Hunt Saboteurs without any evidence of any wrong doing and based purely on unsubstantiated “allegations” made by a member of the Atherstone Hunt.
The saboteurs have video evidence of this member of the hunt behaving anti-socially and admitting on camera to assaulting one of them.
Yet instead of issuing him with a P.I.N Leicestershire Police are merely going to talk to him about his behaviour and issue the sabs with a P.I.N.
A vote on relaxing the Hunting Act has been postponed after the SNP said it would oppose the changes.
The SNP's intervention meant the reforms, which would only apply in England and Wales, were unlikely to win a Commons majority.
MPs were due to consider the change with a free vote on Wednesday.
BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said changes restricting Scottish MPs' voting rights on non-Scottish issues could now be introduced first.
SNP will vote to keep English fox hunting legislation
The SNP group at Westminster is to vote against attempts to relax the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales.
Angus Robertson, leader of the group, said the party wanted to send a message to the Conservative government about the narrowness of its majority.
He said the ban in England and Wales should be maintained while the Scottish parliament considers strengthening the law in Scotland.
RESPONSE FROM CSHA
“This is a sneaky way to try and weaken even further the restrictions of the Hunting Act, as it is clear that a bid to get a total repeal would fail.
It is completely dishonest, as all the evidence shows foxes represent no danger to lambs. It’s just a dirty trick,” - Penny Little, an independent hunt monitor.
RESPONSE FROM THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 8th July 2015.
Jo Cox Labour, Batley and Spen - "With people queuing to access food banks in my constituency, does the Prime Minister think it is a priority for the country to bring back foxhunting?
Kidnapped for Cruelty - 16 fox cubs found in a barn 'linked to high profile hunt', claims charity
Covert video evidence taken by the League Against Cruel Sports reveals 16 fox cubs as young as three months incarcerated in a dark shed on land linked to the Middleton Foxhounds hunt, near Malton in North Yorkshire.
The video1, filmed as part of a League investigation in late May 2015, shows a shed fitted out to mimic a fox earth, and the cubs being visited by a Middleton Foxhounds employee2 to be fed on dead chickens and provided with dirty water in bowls. There were no vixens or adult foxes, which suggests the cubs were forcibly removed from their earths.
Hunting brutality that Cameron wants to legalise
Foxes are sensitive, intelligent and lovely animals. To hunters they are defenceless targets to be hounded to a terrible death. David Cameron, now re-elected in 2015, can't wait to overturn the Hunting Act. He and his Tory hunt supporting chums must be stopped.
NEW CAMPAIGNING FILM by scorpiovulpes
FIND OUT IF YOUR MP WOULD VOTE TO REPEAL HUNTING ACT
The new Government are planning a free vote to repeal the Hunting Act.
CSHA support The League Against Cruel Sports in advising its supporters to contact their MP to urge them to defend this vital piece of animal welfare legislation.
CSHA Response to Prime Minister's announcement on Hunting Act Repeal
Following the Prime Minister’s pledge that the newly elected Conservative Government will legislate to repeal the Hunting Act, the CSHA say;
The Hunting Act is an historic piece of wildlife animal welfare legislation, supported by 80 per cent of the British public and no Government should ignore such strong public feeling.
We would like to reassure our followers that the CSHA will continue to campaign with MPs from all parties to defend and strengthen this popular piece of legislation to defend our wildlife from a return to the barbaric practices of animal cruelty outlawed over ten years ago!
USEFUL WEB SITES ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON HUNTING ACT REPEAL
A Minority Pastime, an on-the-ground documentary following the daily encounters between hunters and saboteurs. Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart with haunting music composed and performed by Maria Daines and Paul Killington.
A filmed journey of discovery - Asks the question: "Is it necessary, acceptable or justifiable to kill wild animals in the name or sport and tradition?" - Now released on-line in three parts.
"You can't legislate to change the heart, but you can legislate to restrain the heartless."- Martin Luther King
REIN IN THE HUNTERS - STRENGTHEN THE HUNTING ACT
Many organised Hunts still regularly chase and kill wild mammals for 'sport' under the guise of 'trail hunting'.
The Hunting Act 2004 allows them to take hounds to where they know 'quarry' will be found and, when the dogs chase and attack them, to simply claim 'accident'.
The prosecution has the often impossible task of proving they intended this outcome. We need a 'recklessness' clause added to the Act. Many laws criminalise reckless behaviour.
For instance, the road-using public would be at much greater risk of serious injury or death if reckless driving was not illegal.
Similar protection is necessary for wild animals such as foxes, deer and hares if the Hunting Act is to fulfil its purpose.
The CSHA is an initiative to persuade a Labour government to strengthen the Act they introduced to allow easier enforcement by the authorities and to enhance deterrence.
Tens of thousands of hunters, even before the Hunting Act became law, signed a Declaration stating they would defy the ban.
Because of loopholes in the law, they can continue to hunt and kill live quarry with little or no fear of sanction.
The Hunting Act 2004 desperately needs strengthening to ensure it properly protects wild animals from the tortuous deaths it was designed to prevent.