Fox hunt on the rampage next to animal sanctuary
Posted 19th January 2024
A horrified helper at an animal sanctuary says she fears foxes she and other volunteers nursed back to health and released back into the wild could have been illegally killed by a hunt rampaging through neighbouring fields.
Anstice Jones watched as the hounds from the Quorn Hunt terrified the animals she and other volunteers care for at Field Farm Animal Sanctuary in Costock, near Loughborough.
She saw several foxes running for their lives, but then watched as hounds gathered in a crazed scrum yelping frenziedly – behaviour that usually indicates they have found prey.
At one point Anstice feared for her own safety as a horse ridden by a huntsman reared up next to her.
Anstice reported the incident to national animal charity the League Against Cruel Sports.
She said: “I was scared. I’ve never been in that type of situation before; the horse reared up next to me and there were dogs from the hunt flooding the area.
“The huntsman on the horse was very stand offish and very abrupt. It was all really upsetting and an extremely frightening experience.”
Anstice says the hounds belonged to the Quorn Hunt, whose former huntsman Ollie Finnegan was convicted in December 2022 for illegal fox hunting.
She said four ponies, a horse and goat, plus other livestock she cares for, were all left distressed by the hunt.
The hunt was in the area for two hours and, at one stage, she said the hounds caused havoc by spilling out onto a road and almost causing a car crash.
Emma Judd, head of campaigns at the League, said: “What Anstice has described to us appears to indicate that illegal hunting was taking place, contravening the Hunting Act 2004.
“However, without solid video evidence of a fox being killed there’s not much the police can do.
“That’s why the League says it’s time for change – for hunting laws to be tightened to prevent hunts operating in areas where wildlife could be killed, and to prevent the distress of other animals such as those in sanctuaries or valuable farm livestock.
“Anstice was left terrified by the hunt and their behaviour – they are a blight on the countryside and rural ways of life.”
Notes to editors
The Hunting Act 2004 came into force in England and Wales in February 2005, and outlaws hunting with hounds. However, its many loopholes and the invention of so-called ‘trail’ hunting, described by the police as a smokescreen for illegal hunting, means it needs to be strengthened or replaced with more robust legislation.
For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 07496 496454 (24hrs) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 2004 and the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021. 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 wildlife reserves. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).