We come across collective nouns a lot in the animal kingdom; you can spot a murder of crows, a parliament of owls or indeed a pack of hounds. Given their frequency, is it not time we gave consideration to coining a collective noun for hunting 'accidents'?
The news of a pack of hounds savaging a pet cat in North Down this week, which Lyall Plant of the Countryside Alliance called a "very, very sad incident" is not just a reminder that Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom not to have legislation outlawing cruel hunting with dogs, but it is notable for it's similarity to other 'accidents'.
It is almost a carbon copy of a "regrettable incident" in North Yorkshire in December, where 27 hunting dogs ripped apart a cat.
Many of you will remember the North Shropshire Hunt in December was spotted both chasing a live fox and rioting on a housing estate, while claiming to be hunting an artificial trail. The local paper were told it was a "freak accident and won’t happen again." Well it didn't happen again... in 2011.
However, in January 2012 the same hunt (North Shropshire) rampaged through villages and ripped apart a fox. So much for a freak accident that'll never happen again.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of 'accidents' and 'incidents' that Joe Duckworth, our Chief Executive has called "a clear pattern of law breaking".
Just this hunting season we've also seen 'accidents' in private gardens in Kent and Essex, alpacas injured in Herefordshire, and hounds chasing a fox along the London to Exeter railway live in Somerset. These are just the incidents that are reported in the media, I shudder to think what the true scale of hunt havoc and hunting accidents are, given the number of people I speak to who will only report incidents to us anonymously for fear of reprisals.
My colleague Matt blogged last week about the perceived failings of police forces who by not taking anti-social behaviour associated with wildlife crime seriously, undermine the confidence of local people in their forces. The British Crime Survey, which the Home Office says measures crime more accurately than official police figures shows each and every year how recorded crime is systematically under reported, largely due to a belief could not or would not do anything about it.
So, what should the collective noun for 'accidents' be? A pretence of 'accidents'?