The League Against Cruel Sports has welcomed the conviction of the former huntsman of the Fitzwilliam Hunt for illegally killing a fox with a pack of hounds.

George Adams, the retired Fitzwilliam huntsman, was convicted at Peterborough Magistrates Court on Wednesday April 4, and fined for breaching the Hunting Act.

The Fitzwilliam Hunt had been using a ‘falconry exemption’, a loophole in the law which several fox hunts try to take advantage of by taking out a bird of prey when hunting with a pack of hounds.

The Fitzwilliam Hunt took a Golden Eagle when out hunting but prosecutor Joe Bird described its use as a ‘smokescreen’ to allow it to continue as it had done so before the hunting ban was introduced.

Chris Luffingham, League Against Cruel Sports director of campaigns, said:

“The magistrate said this huntsman was trying to cover up illegal hunting by pretending to use a bird of prey. Week on week we see examples of hunts trying to cover up illegal hunting by pretending that they are following fake trails rather than actual animals. Slowly but surely the deception of hunts is being exposed and punished.

“We welcome this conviction and hope it will act as a deterrent to prevent fox hunts from illegally hunting with hounds and literally tearing their quarry to pieces.

“This conviction sends a message to hunts across the country that chasing and killing British wildlife will not be tolerated and that you could be successfully prosecuted for persecuting animals and breaking the law.”

When Adams was found guilty, the court was told the only sentence that could be passed by law was a fine.

Adams was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £930 costs.

The high profile case comes 13 years after fox hunting was banned in England and Wales with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004 which came into force in 2005.

Evidence for the prosecution came from Beds and Bucks Hunt Sabs and North Cambridgeshire Hunt Sabs.

Chris Luffingham, League Against Cruel Sports director of campaigns, said:

“The hunting of foxes, hares and deer was made illegal in 2004 but sadly hunts across the country continue to hunt illegally – we have received 550 reports of illegal hunting since the beginning of the hunting season last autumn, though these figures are merely the tip of the iceberg and many thousands of animals are still being killed every year.

“Polling shows that 85 per cent of people are in favour of keeping the hunting ban so we have the overwhelming support of the British public. Now we need to strengthen the Hunting Act and bring in tougher sentencing including custodial terms for the criminals who are still engaged in barbaric blood sports.”


Petition

The League is encouraging members of the public to sign their petition titled ‘stop the killing of animals by hunts in the UK’.

http://www.league.org.uk/huntingkills


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Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected].

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).