The hunting fraternity should feel thoroughly ashamed of itself.

You would think for a group of people that enjoy the pursuit, torture and killing of animals, that would-be a given. But surely there has to be a line?

This weekend’s reported attack on at least three individuals and the hospitalisation of a member of the South Devon Animal Rights Group, after being viciously assaulted by a member of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers, has unsurprisingly been met with outrage and outpourings of sympathy (we wish him a speedy recovery) from those that oppose fox-hunting.

But nothing from the hunting community.

This is not the first time (nor do we suspect it will be the last) that those who represent the hunts have bitten their collective tongues.

Just last week, Celia Hammond Animal Rescue in Sussex found itself invaded by hunting foxhounds. At the time, 60 cats went missing, possibly hiding, injured or killed (most have thankfully returned but at the time of writing six are still missing and feared dead), staff were traumatised and the centre was left worrying about the welfare of these animals. While the East Sussex and Romney March Hunt offered a half-hearted apology, those who lobby the government for the repeal of the Hunting Act spent their time sending tweets to Sussex Police telling them not to waste their time!

Over this hunting season, hunting hounds have been found dead by the side of the road, peoples’ gardens have been invaded, and land has been trespassed upon.  Anti-hunt monitors and sabs have been ridden at on horse-back, whipped and assaulted by pro-hunt supporters.

Our Animal Crimewatch line is continuously receiving reports of trespass and intimidation by hunts from members of the public, but are asked not to release that information for fear of reprisals. As Head of Campaigns, I think it’s pretty clear where I stand on the issue of hunting, but if I sat on the other side of the fence, I’m not sure this feeling of fear is something I’d feel comfortable being associated with.

Even if you believe that ‘trail’ hunting is a legitimate activity (it’s not), and that no animals are harmed (they are), one must surely wonder why people are so scared of the hunts, and how the hunts find themselves assaulting members of the public and invading animal sanctuaries?

Surely this a wake-up call for those that support and facilitate hunting? Land owners such as the National Trust, Ministry of Defence, Crown Estate or Forestry Commission (to name but a few) who allow so-called ‘trail’ hunting to take place, need to start seeing the trail hunting fraternity as one, rather than giving individual hunts the benefit of the doubt. So do the Police forces who seem to turn a blind eye to the nefarious hunting activities because they are ‘legally trail hunting’.

The lack of condemnation from the hunting community just goes to prove what we already know – they’re all in it together. As much as hunt apologists will say that each hunt is different, and that the actions of one hunt do not reflect on the others, when you refuse to stand up and condemn such abhorrent behaviour, then you are condoning it.

So, if you are a hunt supporter and you are reading this, then there is a question you have to ask yourself: do you condemn this kind of violence, or are you keeping quiet? Because if you’re keeping quiet, then you are condoning this behaviour. And if I were you, I would be deeply ashamed.