Walkers have been left shocked after seeing a fox chased by hunting hounds across Bodmin Moor on Saturday.

The North Cornwall Foxhounds chased the fox out of Forestry England woodland, across their public car park used by walkers to visit Rough Tor, and into a disused china clay works that now serves as a South West Water reservoir.

Huntsman and Master of the North Cornwall Foxhounds Ralph Mankee

Looking for hounds

A member of the public tried to stop the hounds and reported the incident to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Separately, Paul Tillsley, head of conservation and education at the League Against Cruel Sports, witnessed the hunt whilst climbing the tor with his wife.

He said: “It had been an idyllic winter’s day. The sun was shining and families were out walking on the moor with their children and their pet dogs. Some people had arrived early to see the spectacle of millions of starlings coming in to roost in the woods.

“Suddenly, the peace was shattered as a pack of about 30 hounds chased a terrified fox through the car park, with the huntsman and a handful of mounted followers in pursuit.

“The arrogance of the hunt was astonishing and members of the public were visibly upset.”

Paul has reported the incident to both Forestry England and South West Water. South West Water regulations state all dogs are to be kept on a lead and under control and Forestry England only allow ‘trail’ hunting under a licence - which the hunt hadn’t been granted.

The hunt was accompanied by two terrier men on a quad bike. Before the fox hunting ban came into force, hunts would employ terrier men to block fox earths and badger setts before a hunt to prevent foxes from taking refuge below ground. They would also use their terriers to ‘deal’ with foxes that had managed to go to ground during the day’s hunting.

Terrier men on a quadbike with hunt

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League, said: “If hunts were really operating within the law there would simply be no need for terrier men to be with them. How many times do we need to highlight illegal fox hunting taking place in order for law-makers to take notice and strengthen the Hunting Act and remove the loopholes that hunts use to try and get away with it?

“We look forward to assisting the police in any enquiries they may make as a result of this incident.”

The incident comes nearly 15 years after hunting with dogs was banned in England and Wales with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force on February 18, 2005.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Photos of the North Cornwall Foxhounds:

  1. Huntsman and Master of the North Cornwall Foxhounds Ralph Mankee
  2. Terrier men on quadbike with hunt
  3. Rough Tor car park
  4. Looking for hounds
  5. Hunt on Bodmin Moor

 

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).