The Huffington Post - 15 March 2017

The Hunting Act banned fox hunting 12 years ago, yet every weekend hundreds of men and women place themselves between huntsmen, hounds and wildlife, fearing that the animals are still being killed.

The hunting lobby claim the Act “lies in tatters” and say it should be revoked, while anti-hunt campaigners believe the legislation is “one of the most successful laws of its kind in the country” and say it should be strengthened.

The Hunting Act 2004, which came into effect the following year, has been lauded by the League Against Cruel Sports as a “milestone law because it said for the first time that chasing and killing animals for sport was cruel and wrong”.

But the group is dismayed that trail hunting, in which the artificial scent of an animal is laid, is legal. Anti-hunt campaigners believe it is just a pretext for hunts to kill foxes.

The Burns Inquiry, which examined fox hunting before the ban, estimated that hunts were killing between 21,000 and 25,000 foxes every year. The League has launched a study into how many foxes are dying now.

Despite the much-celebrated “success” of the legislation, conflict in Britain’s countryside rages on.

A week doesn’t seem to pass without footage being circulated online of clashes between huntsmen and saboteurs. Last month, the Huffington Post UK joined the wildlife warriors to report on the growing hostility between the two sides during a hunt in Sussex.

BBC NEWS - 14 March 2017

Three people have been fined for illegal hunting after their actions were recorded by birdwatchers. Paul Larby, 58, Peter White, 57, and Jane Wright, 63, of the Grove and Rufford Hunt, insisted their dogs were on a trail when they stumbled on a fox. But the footage, taken at Laneham, Nottinghamshire in January 2016, showed no attempt to call the hounds off. All were convicted at Mansfield Magistrates' Court of hunting a mammal with dogs. Including costs, Larby was fined £1,128, White £853 and Wright £448.

Mail OnLine - Wednesday 15 February 2017

This is the shocking moment a huntsman appears to hit a saboteur over the head with a riding crop before spitting at another protester and calling him a 'gay c***'. Animal rights activists, who captured the footage, say it happened while they were tracking the Atherstone Hunt during a meeting in Shackerstone, Leics. 

Mobile phone footage has captured the moment a hunt master told a married female activist he'd 'quite like to s***' her after she confronted him about illegal fox hunting.

Charles Carter, 33, was filmed telling the 41-year-old mother-of-four she was 'very pretty' before asking for her number and saying: 'Can I take you to bed please?'

The Tory councillor, who has since been suspended, made the remarks after being challenged by activists during a meet of the Middleton Hunt in North Yorkshire. 

Independent - Christmas 2016

Opposition to fox hunting has risen to historic levels, according to a poll that found an all-time high number of Britons opposed to the activity.

A full 84 per cent of the public now believe fox hunting should not be made legal again, as enthusiasts take to horseback for traditional Boxing Day hunts, where hounds follow a scent rather than a fox.

Campaigners claim that illegal fox hunting continues.

Despite public opposition, it was reported in September that Theresa May is planning to push ahead with a vote to repeal the Hunting Act in Parliament, a pledge included in last year’s Conservative election manifesto.

Kent Online - Saturday 24 December

An anti-hunt group has sparked a social media storm by asking the public to rally against the police.

The North Downs Hunt Saboteurs posted graphic images and videos of a supposed hunt by the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt on Saturday, December 3.

Two weeks later, the saboteurs say nothing has been done by Kent or Surrey Police to prosecute this group.

MailOnline - Saturday 24 December

Expletive-laden footage captures the entire violent confrontation at Crooke Burnell, North Tawton, Devon, sparked when a huntsman shouts at a cameraman and the woman to leave 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of illegal hunting following the deaths of two foxes in Leicestershire last weekend. The 49-year-old was taken into custody for questioning about the animals' deaths while the Belvoir Hunt was riding in the Scalford area, near Melton.

Police said on Friday night that he had been released on bail pending further enquiries. Leicestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach was present and monitoring officers' policing of the event when two foxes were killed by the Belvoir Hunt's hounds. 

Leicester Mercury - Friday 9 December
The Guardian - Monday 21 November

Landowners in Scotland should be held legally responsible for hunts on their property, with hunt activities observed by independent monitors and governed by a new code of practice, according to a review of Scotland’s foxhunting legislation.

Campaigners immediately welcomed the “robust and detailed” report by Iain Bonomy, which was commissioned by the Scottish government last December after significant concerns were raised about loopholes in the law.

The Economist - Friday 19 November 
On the trail of an animal-welfare organisation

THERE are few more august charities than the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Founded in 1824, the RSPCA claims to be the oldest animal-welfare charity in the world. In a country as sentimental about its pets as Britain is, that gives it clout. It is not used, therefore, to being attacked by equally august bodies.

But on November 15th a House of Commons environment committee took a swipe at it. The cross-party body of MPs recommended that the RSPCA should stop conducting its own prosecutions in animal-welfare cases. By law any person, or any charity, has the right to bring a private prosecution. But in practice most comparable organisations have let the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) take the lead since it was set up in 1985. Not the RSPCA. Considering itself to be uniquely qualified, and with enough money, to bring prosecutions in its field of expertise, 

The Daily Express - Friday 21 October

A FEMALE hunter has been pictured stuffing an alleged bloody HARE CARCASS inside her jacket in what campaigners claim was a bid to hide from them.

A FEMALE hunter has been pictured stuffing an alleged bloody HARE CARCASS inside her jacket in what campaigners claim was a bid to hide from them.

The woman, who was wearing a green hunting jacket and blood-smeared light trousers, is allegedly seen stashing the mammal's body in her clothing. However its long legs and head can be seen poking out from underneath. Anti-hunt campaigners say they scrambled onto the field in Suffolk, earlier this month to try and protect a frightened animal from a 22-strong pack of hounds.

The Guardian - Monday 10 October
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.

A few days before the Conservative Party Conference, the front page of the Sunday Telegraph loudly declared that “the Government is determined to hold a vote on scrapping the (Hunting) ban before the next election“.

Inside it dedicated the best part of a page to how “Fox hunting could be revived with call for free vote“. The story quoted ‘a Defra source’ who confirmed that “we stand by our manifesto commitment to give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a government bill in government time“.

A few days earlier, Defra Minister Therese Coffey had answered a written parliamentary question to the same effect.

Huffpost Politics Blog- Friday 7 October

What exactly prompted the sudden new-found drive to propel the issue to the top of the agenda still remains unclear.

Sunday Express - Sunday 2 October

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.

A huntsman accused of trampling a hunt saboteur with his horse - leaving her with broken ribs and a collapsed lung - has been cleared by a jury. Peter Mark Doggrell denied causing grievous bodily harm to Nicola Rawson on August 28, 2014 at a meet organised for children with members of nearby Pony Clubs. 

SomersetLive - Wednesday 21 September

An anti fox-hunting campaigner was left with seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung after being trampled on by a 'reckless horse rider', a court heard today. Protester Nicola Rawson, 43, was left lying on the ground in agony after being struck by a horse travelling at 15mph during a hunt in Charlton Horethorne, Somerset.

Peter Mark Doggrell, of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, was leading a hunt for children on the day of the incident in 2014 and is accused of causing GBH. 

Mail Online - Monday 19 September
Mail Online - Monday 19 September

A new push to repeal the ban on fox hunting is set to be announced by the Environment Secretary. Former Tory leadersh ip contender Andrea Leadsom said she wants to hold a free vote on the issue before the next election. Mrs Leadsom had made the pledge of a Commons vote on fox hunting a key plank of her election campaign in the summer.

Aides say that even though she lost to Theresa May, she is still in a position to fulfil her pledge as she now heads up the department in charge of the issue. However, campaigners say it is unlikely that a free vote will be won, saying the current odds are about 100 to 1. 

ECOLOGIST - Thursday 18 August

The disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier on a Scottish grouse moor and the loss of eight Golden eagles in five years provide the latest evidence for a ban on driven grouse-shooting, writes EDUARDO GONCALVES. But birds of prey are only the most high-profile victims of a cruel and ecologically destructive industry.

As another hen harrier goes missing over a grouse moor - this one satellite tagged - the war of words on either side of the grouse shooting fence continues to intensify.

The Guardian - Tuesday 16 August - Wildlife Opinion
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.

The Sun - Tuesday 9 August

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.

Independent - Friday 15 july

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.

The Tory leadership contender says she would 'absolutely' bring a vote in parliamentary to bring back hunting
Independent - Friday 8 July
The Sun - Thursday 23 June

FOX HUNT HORROR Watch the shocking moment fox cubs are put into kennels with hunting dogs ‘to train them to kill’

MailOnline - Sunday 26 June

Shocking moment two fox cubs were grabbed by the scruff of their necks by huntsman before being killed by pack of baying hounds 

STV NEWS - Wednesday 30 March 2016

Two men arrested after footage of fox hunt handed to police

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.

Eduardo Goncalves CEO League Against Cruel Sports - Friday 25 March 2016

The recent brutal attack on two League Against Cruel Sports investigators shocked many people. Six men were involved in setting upon Darryl and Roger, punching and kicking, pushing them down a 14 foot ledge then continuing the attack. Both were badly hurt, Darryl has fractured vertebrae in his neck and will be wearing a neck brace for some time.

Condemnation has been widespread. Conservative MP Kevin Foster: "This was an unprovoked and extremely violent attack, on a public bridleway, which is utterly shocking and should be condemned by all. No-one is above the law in this country, so stories of people being attacked, threatened or intimidated whilst they are lawfully observing hunts are very disturbing."

We've heard nothing from the hunt themselves, or the Countryside Alliance, by the way.

The Independent - Tuesday 15 March 2016

Violence against hunt monitors 'could result in someone's death'

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.

Roger Swaine, who was attacked while monitoring a hunt in Leicestershire - Andrew Fox

The Guardian - Friday 12 February 2016

Wildlife officer who regularly attends foxhunts should lose post, says petition

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.

Western Daily Press - Friday 12 February 2016

Police wildlife officer Pc Sharon Roscoe slammed after it is revealed she goes hunting 

A female police officer responsible for investigating illegal fox hunting is coming under pressure to quit - over claims she regularly goes HUNTING.

Pc Sharon Roscoe is a wildlife officer for Leicestershire Police and part of her role is to probe allegations of illegal fox hunting, trapping animals, game poaching and badger baiting. But it has emerged Pc Roscoe, 46, is also a keen member of the Duke of Rutland's Belvoir Hunt in Lincolnshire.

In December the hunt was slammed by animal rights' groups after a video emerged of a dehydrated fox which was said to have been held captive for two days in an outbuilding.

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.

Daily Mirror - 27 January 2016
Western Morning News - 15 January 2016

Hunting Act is all about welfare of the fox - hunting is not humane

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).

Western Daily Press - 4 December 2015

'I was only open and honest' says fox expert professor after collapse of Lamerton hunting case 

The West professor at the centre of the collapse of a major prosecution of illegal fox hunting has spoken out for the first time about the case, and the 'shameful' attempts to 'rubbish him'.

Bristol University professor Stephen Harris, the world's leading expert on foxes, said it would be 'strange' for him not to 'interact' with the League Against Cruel Sports 'from time to time', and denied ever being told to hide his links to the animal welfare charity in the controversial court case this week in which he appeared as the expert witness for the prosecution. 

The lifeless body of the fox is slung over a horse during Atherstone Hunt. Picture: West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs. 

Tamworth Herald - 17 November 2015

Police launch investigation after fox killed during Atherstone Hunt 

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.

It shows a pack of dogs chasing the fox, with members of Atherstone Hunt following behind on horseback. The dogs manage to catch the animal.

The Guardian - 27 September 2015

This RSPCA attack is a masterclass in how conservatives argue

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?

‘The real behaviour behind that ‘sinister and nasty’ charge was a series of prosecutions launched against illegal hunts.’

Mail Online - 22 September

Tally-ho Cameron and the hunt chum he helped: Exclusive picture shows future PM riding out at Boxing Day meet before ban 

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. 

KentOnline - 23 July 2015

East Kent Hunt Saboteurs Association hit out at Crown Prosecution Service for dropping charges against suspected Bilsington fox hunters

Anti-foxhunters have spoken of their shock after hunting charges against five people were dropped.

Members of the East Kent Hunt Saboteurs Association (East Kent HSA), who regularly disrupt organised hunts, said the group is "concerned" about the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to drop the case.

Jack Jones, 23, from West Brabourne; Paul Smissen, 61, from Alkham; Michael Manahon, 26, from East Sussex; Alfie Vassar , 24, from Rhodes Minnis and Mary Major, 46, were accused of fox hunting with hounds in Bilsington, near Ashford.

The Independent - 26 July 2015

Fox hunting ban: A shabby, cynical and underhand manoeuvre

With the prospect of another vote in the autumn Labour intends to ensure that the David Cameron does not get away with this appalling behaviour.

David Cameron is being outfoxed, not only by the SNP, but by a sizable number of his own MPs who have decided to join the Labour Party in their opposition to the Government’s proposals which would effectively repeal the Hunting Act by the back-door.

Western Daily Press -15 July 2015

Three 'hunt terriermen' fined after police find them with live fox in a bag in Herefordshire

THREE men allegedly connected to a West hunt have been convicted of illegal hunting after being caught driving through the countryside in the middle of the night with scarred terriers and a live fox in a bag.

KentOnline - 14 July 2015

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson changes mind on repealing the Hunting Act as government delays free vote

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has performed a u-turn on government proposals to relax the Hunting Act on the day the vote was delayed in Parliament.

Mr Johnson previously said he was in favour of repealing the ban but had changed his stance following opposition from constituents. Mr Johnson said: "I maintain that fox hunting is not the most pressing issue for Dartford but I am aware that some people feel very passionately about it. "I have been listening very carefully to people in Dartford expressing their views on this issue.

Sky News - 14 July 2015

Outfoxed: Tories Forced To Drop Hunt Plans

Government plans to relax rules on fox hunting in England and Wales have been shelved in the face of the change being defeated.

The dramatic climbdown comes after it emerged the SNP was to vote against the proposals despite them not affecting Scotland.

The nationalists, who normally do not vote on England-only matters, had linked their opposition to the Government's plans for English votes for English laws (EVEL).

BBC - 14 July 2015

Hunting vote delayed after SNP U-turn

A vote on relaxing the Hunting Act on Wednesday has been postponed after the SNP said it would oppose the changes. The party had previously said fox hunting was the kind of issue it was unlikely to vote on. But its change of heart meant the plans, which apply to England and Wales only, would be unlikely to get through the House of Commons.

DailyExpress - 14 July 2015

Controversial fox-hunting vote POSTPONED following SNP threat to wage war with Cameron

MPs were due to vote today on whether to make changes to the Hunting Act, in a move that sparked fury among animal rights groups. But the plans were dramatically shelved after the 56 MPs in the SNP today announced they would also take part in the vote - despite normally sitting out on decisions that do not directly affect Scotland.

Their intervention and objection meant the proposals were unlikely to win a majority in the House of Commons. The SNP forced the Prime Minister's hand when its contingent of 50-plus MPs said they would vote against the proposed Statutory Instrument, seriously damaging the chances of it being agreed in the Commons.

Mirror Website - 13 July 2015

Thousands of healthy foxhounds - including pups - are clubbed to death or shot if they're 'unsuitable'

Hounds will be the “other victims of fox hunting” if the sick sport is allowed to return, campaigners warn.

On Wednesday MPs will vote on an amendment to the Hunting Act, which opponents claim will effectively legalise the bloodsport. But as well as the foxes at risk of being ripped apart, thousands more hounds will also be slaughtered.

Former huntswoman turned anti-hunt campaigner Lynn Sawyer revealed it was seen as “normal” to shoot and incinerate dogs once they were no longer “productive”.

Yes, foxhunting INCREASES the number of foxes

A study published in the New Statesman in 2013 found that winter culling of foxes in the Welsh forests led to more foxes the following spring. 

The report concluded: "Culling undertaken by fox control societies, mounted hunts and rangers appeared to have no utilitarian value with respect to reducing fox numbers." 

Within three days of a fox being killed other foxes move in to compete for the territory. For a farmer, this could mean fields being menaced by one fox are suddenly being menaced by seven.

Coincidentally, it also increase the number of visible idiots.
Mirror Website - 13 July 2015

Why does David Cameron want to bring back foxhunting?

Mirror Website - 12 July 2015

Former fox hunter exposes full scale of bloodsport's barbarity as David Cameron seeks its return

A former fox hunter disgusted by the sport is leading the fight to block its return. Clifford Pellow says “I got sick of the cruelty” as he reveals the full horrors of vile hunts in a bid to stop David Cameron axing the ban .

With 23 years of hunts behind him involving the horrific deaths of more than 2,000 foxes, ­there is little Clifford does not know about the bloodsport.

Top Tory leads rebellion against relaxation of foxhunting ban

The Tory sports minister, Tracey Crouch, has called on MPs of all parties to reject her own government’s plan to relax the 10-year-old hunting ban, saying they should not be “fooled by the spin of the pro-hunt lobby”.

Ahead of what may be a knife-edge Commons vote on Wednesday, Crouch is leading a group of prominent Conservatives who will side with Labour to maintain the law in its current form.

The Guardian - 12 July 2015
Mirror Website - 12 July 2015

Fox-hunting: David Cameron facing Tory rebellion from 45 MPs over 'back door' plan to relax ban

David Cameron faces a Tory rebellion of up to 45 MPs over his plans this week to ease the laws on fox-hunting. The rebels could include up to five Government ministers including Sports Minister Tracey Crouch who has branded the plan a “back-door” move.

The PM has granted Tory MPs a “free vote” after a 90-minute Commons debate on Wednesday about softening fox-hunting law.

In England and Wales, only two dogs can be used to flush out a fox so that a farmer or landowner can shoot it. But in Scotland an unlimited number can be deployed.

The Independent - 12 July 2015

Fox hunting: Cameron faces defeat on change to hunting law

The Government’s attempt to change the rules on fox hunting and end the ban on using a full pack of hounds could be wrecked in the Commons this week.

Late plans to include “research and observation” loopholes are now likely to mean the SNP will claim that the changes do affect Scotland, allowing them to join Tory rebels and a whipped Labour vote to inflict the first defeat on David Cameron’s majority government.

The Guardian - 12 July 2015

Foxhunting: an unspeakable way to repeal a very good law

This Wednesday in parliament, to be hastily debated without public input, there’s a proposed amendment to the foxhunting laws (basically, the return to packs to flush the fox, in line with Scottish law).

The first thing to note is how remarkably confident, perhaps even omnipotent, the Tories must be feeling, post-election. Here they are, attempting to undermine an act that a majority of the British public wanted. These would be ordinary people, who wouldn’t care if, for instance, prior to the election, prominent Tories stood on faded rugs, in grand houses, secretly promising amendments/“stealth” repeals (however they wish to term it), should they get in.

The Guardian - 8 July 2015

David Cameron the sly fox is about to legalise hunting by stealth

Ten years after the Hunting Act banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs, the subject is back on the agenda. Or sort of back on the agenda. The government is seeking to relax the act by stealth, allowing a vote next week on a statutory instrument designed to bring the law in England and Wales into line with that in Scotland.

Everything about this piece of legislative legerdemain stinks. For a start, the news that MPs are to vote again on the issue was leaked on budget day, when media eyes are turned elsewhere. A day to bury hugely unpopular news. The hunting ban is still supported by a majority of the public. Even polls where the question is put in a narrow way – relating to the controversial and undoubtedly flawed act itself rather than to hunting in general – produce a majority against the return of hunting.

'Cunning, clever, cynical – everything one would expect of the Cameron-Osborne government. If enacted, it would mean the return of old-style hunting.'
The Independent - 9 July 2015

Tories poised to relax hunting ban without new Commons battle

David Cameron has been accused of trying to sneak fox hunting in by the back door as he announced a vote to relax the ban next week. MPs will vote on whether to allow packs of hounds to be used for pest-control purposes by flushing out foxes that can then be shot.

But opponents accused the Prime Minister of fudging the controversial issue, offering hunters a cover for their illegal activities by amending the existing ban.

The Telegraph - 9 July 2015

MPs to get free vote to relax fox hunting ban next week

Back bench Tory MPs were briefed on the plans at a meeting of the party's influential 1922 committee in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Downing Street said on Wednesday that David Cameron, the Prime Minister – who rode to hounds before he became leader of the Conservatives in 2005 - is likely to vote in favour of the changes.

Ecologist - 21 June 2015

Kidnapped fox cubs explode the myth that hunting is ‘wildlife management'

The discovery of a secret 'fox farm' apparently linked to the Middleton Hunt exposes the lie that is used to justify fox hunting, writes, Dr Toni Shephard: that it's a legitimate means of wildlife control. On the contrary, foxes are deliberately fattened up for the kill, also indicating possible violations of the 2004 Hunting Act, which prohibits the hunting of wild animals, including foxes, with dogs.

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.

Kidnapped for Cruelty - Hunting Exposé 2015 - click to view film on YouTube
League Against Cruel Sports - 11 June 2015
Young foxes are being taken from the wild and kept in captivity so they can be hunted illegally, claims a charity, after an undercover investigation discovered 16 cubs in a barn linked to a high-profile hunt.
The Guardian - 26 May 2015

Calls for SNP to make anti-foxhunting stance clear as hunts caught on video

The SNP has been challenged to underline its opposition to foxhunting across the UK as fresh video evidence alleges that half of Scotland’s hunts are breaking the law on hunting with dogs.

MailOnline - 25 May 2015

Cameron will LOSE vote to bring back fox hunting because a 'substantial number of Conservatives are against it' 

Any bid by David Cameron to bring back fox hunting is likely to be voted down by MPs even though the Tories have a majority, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox said today.

The Independent - 25 May 2015

Hunting ban: David Cameron to propose 'middle way' to limit outcry over animal welfare

David Cameron is considering a “middle way” option to the controversial planned repeal of the hunting ban in a bid to limit public outcry over animal welfare, it has emerged.

The Telegraph - 23 May 2015

Conservative attempts to scrap hunting ban could start within weeks

Moves to repeal the hunting ban are set to begin within a month after it emerged that David Cameron has met with senior colleagues to discuss how to organise a free vote.

The news means that a vote to repeal the controversial legislation could take place in the House of Commons within the next 12 months.

However, senior sources told The Telegraph that the Government is unlikely to repeal the ban in new legislation published in the Queen’s Speech next week. Instead it is looking at support a backbench Private Members Bill which is less certain to be successful.

Cameron should tighten up the hunting ban, rather than repeal it
The Spectator - 23 May 2015

Let’s set the cops on barbaric fox-hunters

Among those deeply disappointed with the Conservative party’s victory on 7 May was Britain’s diverse and vibrant community of wild animals. They have not yet daubed anti-Tory slogans on war memorials or marched through city centres screaming that they are not going to take it any more — and still less written vacuous and hyperbolic tirades for the Guardian.

But they are deeply worried and consider themselves vulnerable to the assaults from a Conservative government untrammelled by the moderating influence of those sentimentalists the Lib Dems.

Ecologist - 22 May 2015

Bring back fox hunting and hare coursing? Not on our watch

Fresh from his surprise election victory, David Cameron is facing calls to expedite a 'free vote' in Parliament to repeal the law that forbids hunting with dogs, writes Chris Pitt.

We must make sure our MPs vote to protect wild animals from the horrendous cruelty that resumed hunting would inflict on them.

The Scotsman - 18 May 2015

SNP MPs may vote against repeal of hunting ban

Scotland’s new team of 56 SNP MPs could be poised to vote against a planned repeal of the fox hunting ban south of the Border – despite the move having no impact on Scotland.

Nationalists have previously indicated they would not vote on the issue, but the party’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, has said he is now looking “very closely” at it after being contacted by campaigners opposing the Conservatives’ plans.

Scotland became the first part of the UK to ban hunting with dogs, with England and Wales following suit. The SNP MPs are being lobbied to oppose the repeal. Picture: PA

Hunting ban ‘set to be repealed within 12 months’ with early Commons vote expected

The Independent - 16 May 2015

Exclusive: Cameron is under pressure from Tory MPs to honour their election manifesto pledge to hold a free Commons vote on the ban

Supporters of hunting with dogs are confident of overturning the ban imposed 10 years ago, claiming that a majority of MPs in the new House of Commons will vote to lift it.

David Cameron is under mounting pressure from Conservative MPs to honour swiftly the party’s election manifesto pledge to hold a free Commons vote on the ban.

The pro-hunting lobby, which has analysed the views of the MPs elected this month, believes it has achieved the “magic number” of 286 votes it needs to win.

The figure is less than half of the 650-member House because the Scottish National Party has said its 56 MPs will not take part.

Western Daily Press - 15 May 2015

Hunt ban repeal 'likely soon' - as long as the Scots don't get involved 

The ban on hunting looks almost certain to be repealed – as long as the new army of Scottish National Party MPs keep their promise not to vote on English laws.

But repealing the ban on hunting could be the first issue to spark the division of the United Kingdom – if those SNP MPs do step in and vote with anti-hunt English and Welsh members. 

BBC trending - 14 May 2015

Fox fight: comedians drive online opposition to hunting vote

Less than a week after Conservative Party won a majority in the UK general election, animal rights activists - with prominent comedians and entertainers as their allies - are organising online to fight an effort to legalise hunting with dogs.

Daily Mirror website - 13 May 2015

More than 200,000 people sign fox hunting petition after David Cameron returns to Number 10

The Conservatives have promised a free vote on Labour's 2004 hunting ban to the horror of animal rights campaigners. 

More than 215,000 people have urged David Cameron to keep the fox hunting ban since he returned to Number 10 on Friday. The Tories will give MPs the chance to overturn Labour's 2004 law - infuriating animal rights campaigners, who fought a bitter battle to secure it.

Now a huge swell of people have joined calls to stop the change in an online petition, whose total signatures reached 200,000 last night.

The Independent - 12 May 2015

Anti-hunt campaigners say they'll work with sympathetic Tory MPs to stop David Cameron legalising fox hunting

Anti-fox hunting campaigners are planning to work with anti-hunt Conservative MPs to sink any attempt by David Cameron to repeal the ban on the traditional killings.

With the Tories returned as a majority government Britain now faces the prospect of a free government-time vote in parliament to legalise the practice, which was included in the Conservative manifesto.

IFAW - 5 May

Controversial new ad campaign highlights sly tactics of fox hunts which flout the law

Hunters are given a fox-like makeover in a controversial new advertising campaign launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) today to highlight illegal fox hunting.

‘The Sly Ones’ campaign, featuring photographs of models with subtle fox-like features in hunting attire, drives home the message that 10 years after the ban on hunting with hounds, foxes are still being illegally hunted and it is time to strengthen the Hunting Act. The images are captioned ‘It’s not the foxes who are sly’.

IFAW - 5 May

When it comes to hunting, it’s not the foxes who are sly

So, election time is here again, the time when big issues such as the economy, the future of the NHS, taxation, immigration and the like are all thrown into the melting pot and packaged up into headlines and soundbites that try to appeal to each and every one of us.

But, there’s another contentious issue that affects hardly anyone, yet apparently ‘divides the nation’…. fox hunting.

But, with fox hunting, it’s not all what it seems, and that’s why today sees the launch of a controversial new advertising campaign from animal welfare charity IFAW. ‘The Sly Ones’ campaign aims to highlight that 10 years since the ban on hunting with hounds, foxes are still being hunted and it’s high time to strengthen the Hunting Act.

With just around 300 active hunt groups, involving roughly 50 people each, we’re talking just 15,000 people at any one time taking part in hunting – a miniscule 0.03% of the UK population! When you think that home games at Manchester United average over 75,000 people, and that numerous polls have shown that around 80% of the public are against fox hunting and want to keep the ban in place, no matter where they are from, the fight to keep fox hunting seems all the more strange.

Western Morning News - 28 April

For the sake of wild animals, strengthen the Hunting Act 

The controversial Hunting Act is very successful, however you judge it, according to Joe Duckworth, chief executive for the League Against Cruel Sports.

Could attitudes to fox hunting be the deciding factor on which way the polls go on May 7? 

The Journal - 25 April

The Hunting Act has worked now let's strengthen it

Could attitudes to fox hunting be the deciding factor on which way the polls go on May 7? It’s a particularly pertinent question in this part of the country, where so many hunts operate. When the Hunting Act was given Royal Assent in 2004, it was a landmark moment for animal welfare.

After 80 years of tireless campaigning, the legislation finally made it illegal to hunt a wild mammal with a pack of dogs, one of the worst acts of cruelty allowed to take place in our countryside.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, says the next government needs to crack down further on illegal hunting

BBC - 22 April 2015

The CSHA says that when the hunting law is improved, it will make it easier for the authorities to act

Hunting ban 'not enforced properly' in South West

Opponents of wild animal hunting claim the fox hunting ban, in force for more than 10 years, is not being properly enforced in the South West. Under the Hunting Act 2004, foxes cannot be killed by dogs as part of a hunt in England and Wales.

The claims come after figures obtained by the BBC show no prosecutions have been made in Devon and Cornwall since the ban was introduced.

Western Daily Press - 17 April 2015

David Cameron 'delighted' with hunt support to swing election 

Prime Minister David Cameron said he is 'delighted' with the efforts of an army of hunt supporters being mobilised to help the Conservatives win in marginal seats across the West. And Mr Cameron made his own pledge to vote to repeal the ban on hunting after the general election as he welcomed the practical help that Conservative candidates across the West are receiving from hunt supporters. 

Western Morning News - 13 April 2015

OPINION: RSPCA charity would not have to take action if hunt law was upheld 

Setting hounds on foxes, and then milling around on horseback whilst they are eviscerated and then torn apart is as unsavoury as it is cruel. The pain and fear of an animal in the wild is no less than that which would be experienced by our domestic animals were they killed in the same way, and if Richard Martin, the founder of the forerunner to the RSPCA was alive today I have no doubt that he would see hunting for the callous and brutal pastime it really is

Western Morning News - 13 April 2015

OPINION: Huntsmen have never accepted or abided by the ban  

Last month, the RSPCA dropped its last active prosecution of illegal fox hunting and since then the pro-hunt community has been both vocal and joyous in celebration. The truth is that hunting with hounds still continues week in, week out, despite the enactment of the Hunting Act in 2004. The fundamental issue is that there is a downright lack of willingness from many hunts and huntsmen to abide by the law, or to act in the spirit of the law. 

The Independent - 13 April 2015

Otis Ferry fails to pay thousands promised after civil assault of two women... even after bailiffs allegedly visit house

More than a year after agreeing to pay thousands of pounds in damages for his part in the civil assault of two women, fox hunting advocate Otis Ferry has yet to give his victims a penny – even after bailiffs allegedly visited his house in an attempt to recover the money.

The Independent - 4 April 2015

Prominent fox hunting supporters step up Tory support – and expect repeal of ban in return

Two of Britain's most prominent fox hunting chiefs have issued a call to arms for all their supporters to canvas on behalf of Conservative election candidates backing their campaign to overturn a ban on the blood sport, as two more Tories are revealed to be receiving direct backing.

The plea will increase concerns among animal rights campaigners that the bar enforced a decade ago could be lifted if the Tories form a government
"The unspeakable in support of the intolerable." icarus_69 - commentator
The Guardian - 30th March 2015

Why I am still sabotaging fox hunts 10 years after they were banned

by Lee Moon 

As a hunt saboteur, I spend every Saturday during the hunting season intervening to save wildlife. During August and September, when the hunts are training their young hounds to kill fox cubs, this means getting up at 3am to be in position for when they start their vile “sport” at dawn.

Some people will ask what motivates an ordinary person like me to devote so much of my spare time to this. Well, it’s wrong to take the life of another being for pleasure.

IFAW -18th March 2015 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is changing its position on the Hunting Act and calling for a number of necessary amendments in light of another prosecution being dropped. IFAW, one of the key groups involved in successfully campaigning for the Hunting Act to be introduced a decade ago, has continued to work to protect this vital piece of wildlife legislation.

However, it believes the Act now needs amending so it can be used more effectively.

A case brought by the RSPCA against the Cattistock Hunt, based on IFAW evidence, has been dropped two days before a pre-trial hearing at Weymouth Magistrates Court scheduled for this Friday. It is the latest in a series of cases where the prosecution has hinged on evidence which IFAW and other animal welfare groups believe show clear evidence of illegal hunting, but which the prosecution claim is legal trail hunting (following an artificially laid fox-based scent).

IFAW is also concerned by lack of enforcement and the length of time cases take to reach court. Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are very disappointed that the case has been dropped, although we do understand the RSPCA’s reasons with the great difficulties in getting these cases through the courts. “We stand by our evidence completely; this case was dropped, not lost. In fact, it was the strength of our evidence in this case that led us to the reluctant conclusion that having tried everything under the current justice system, we need to call for changes to strengthen the Hunting Act.

“Time and time again, hunts are able to flout the law and escape prosecution by using the false alibi that they were trail hunting. The pro-hunt lobby are continually dragging out cases, wasting public and charity funds and in cases which do reach court the smokescreen of trail hunting is simply letting them off the hook.”

IFAW is calling for the following changes to the Hunting Act to ensure those who illegally chase or kill foxes and other British mammals with hounds are successfully prosecuted:

The introduction of a recklessness clause to prevent ‘trail hunting’ from being used as a false alibi;

The removal of the ‘observation and research’ exemption, which has been abused by stag hunts to avoid prosecution for illegal hunting;

An increase in the penalty for illegal hunting to include custodial sentences, in line with other wildlife crime legislation.

The Independent - 11th March 2015

Fox-hunting lobbyists fronted by Otis Ferry target backing of Tory candidates in stealth campaign

A pro-hunting group fronted by Otis Ferry is offering to supply canvassers to help Conservative candidates win parliamentary seats if they quietly agree to support repealing the fox-hunting ban.

The push by Vote-OK, a lobby group set up to overturn the fox-hunting ban, comes after David Cameron promised last week to hold a parliamentary vote on repealing it if the Tories win the election.

Letters: Hunting ban needs strengthening – not repealing

Friday 13 March 2015

Tory Environment Secretary Liz Truss says, apparently without so much as a blush of shame, that hunting is “important for rural communities” and “traditional and part of the fabric of our countryside”. (“More Tory MPs accept help from pro-hunting activists”, 13 March). This person, incredibly, has responsibility for “animal welfare”.

As a hunt monitor (one who collected evidence that convicted the Heythrop Hunt on multiple charges of illegal hunting in 2012), I will give Ms Truss the benefit of the doubt and assume her ignorant comments are the result of never having seen a hunt. I have just spent my 20th season monitoring fox hunts, and I have been subjected to relentless aggression (including a physical assault), insults and intimidation from hunt followers. Over the years I have seen and filmed scenes of animal cruelty of such horror that they still haunt my dreams.

I remember the fox that the Heythrop hounds killed a few feet away from me (post-ban). I remember seeing it sinking down on the grass verge in total exhaustion and despair, and I remember the hounds swarming over it and tearing it to death. As I filmed this, my car was kicked and a supporter tried to grab my camera, and I was told to “Fuck off”.

I remember seeing hunt supporters cheering as a fox was overwhelmed by the hounds in a field, and I remember seeing terrier men brandishing a dead fox in front of monitors, after they had sent their terriers into its refuge and dug it out. These are just a few examples of the disgusting animal abuse that I have filmed, and they are the reality of hunting. Forget the colourful spectacle of the hunt in the fields.

Ms Truss should inform herself about what hunting really is before she dares to insult residents of the countryside by implying they support this cruelty. The majority of rural dwellers detest the hunts, both for their cruelty and the ineffable arrogance and haughtiness displayed as they block roads and trespass into land where they are not welcome. Far from re-legalising this brutality, politicians should concern themselves with strengthening the ban, to put a stop to the current wholesale defiance by these gangs of animal abusers.

Penny Little, Great Haseley, Oxfordshire.

TWEET - League Against Cruel Sports 

Allegations of illegal hunting & police collusion via @TheEconomist. We are making formal complaint to police

The Economist - 7th March 2015 

The Hunter and the Hapless

The decade-old fox-hunting ban has irked countryfolk, spared few foxes and damaged politics

Rising on his stirrups, somewhere in the west of England, the huntsman issued the same statement he, impeccable in red coat and white stock, gives every Saturday morning of the season. 

“We will hunt today within the law,” he told the assembled riders, who were sipping from tiny port glasses astride their champing steeds, with hounds boiling beneath them. He said it with a straight face, too, and no hint of a blush.

Western Daily Press - 6th March 2015

David Cameron pledges free vote on Hunting Act repeal after general election 

David Cameron has pledged to hold a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act, should the Conservatives win a majority at the general election. Writing in the spring issue of the Countryside Alliance magazine, the Prime Minister promises a "government Bill on government time". 

CSHA says: "This is what we expected from David Cameron and the Conservative Party, but we will fight not only to keep the Hunting Act but also to strengthen it, so that those hunters undermining and breaking the law can be brought to justice."

The Independent - 29th March 2010

Tally ho! 'Barbour cavalry' rides to Tories' rescue of Tories in key marginal seats

Hundreds of hunt supporters are under orders to ride into action in key marginal seats within hours of a general election being called, in the knowledge that David Cameron will allow a return to hunting with dogs if he gets to Downing Street.

The Independent - 26th December 2014

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

The holidays are supposed to be about peace and goodwill, but every Boxing Day, one small group of people seems to forget that and invades the countryside with packs of dogs to chase down, terrify and violently kill foxes. The Boxing Day hunts that take place every year make a mockery of the 2004 Hunting Act, and they are horrifically cruel.

The Spectator - 27th December 2014 

Why the Tories are stirring up a row on hunting

Why on earth are the Tories using the quiet news period between Christmas and New Year to talk about fox hunting? It’s a question many Conservative MPs are asking, worrying that it will only make their party look more posh and out-of-touch to most voters.

The Guardian - 18th November 2014

Jail those convicted of illegal blood sports, campaigners say

Hunters should face prison sentences for illegal blood sports, be banned from sending dogs underground and prevented from escaping prosecution by claiming that kills are accidental, according to animal welfare campaigners.

The Spectator - 18th November 2014

The Hunting Act has been successful and popular. It should now be made even better

It’s hard to believe a whole decade has passed since the Hunting Act was passed on 18 November 2004. This legislation, undeniably one of the most contentious seen in modern political times, outlawed the killing of foxes, hares, mink and deer by dogs, ending centuries of cruelty.

Western Morning News - 1st November 2014

Hunt opposition get 'sympathetic' hearing from Labour

Calls from an animal rights group to strengthen the Hunting Act have received a “sympathetic hearing” from Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and shadow Defra Secretary Maria Eagle.

Western Daily Press - 25th October 2014

Hunt ban is failing and hunters need 'to be jailed' - new campaign claims

The ban on hunting is failing to prosecute ‘widespread’ illegal hunting and should be strengthened by the next Labour Government, a new campaign has suggested. 

Western Daily Press - 18th November 2014

Jail illegal hunters, League Against Cruel Sports say, 10 years after hunt ban 

The law banning fox and stag hunting in the West Country IS working, ten years after it came into force, but should still be strengthened with potential jail terms for perpetrators. 

The Independent - August 2014

If you care about Claude the cat – or any animal – you should support the RSPCA

We appear set for another bout of anti-RSPCA braying this week in response to the story of the 16-year-old cat Claude who was removed from the Byrnes family by an inspector and euthanised because of alleged ill-treatment. Poor Claude the cat.