Illegal fox cub hunt shows law needs to be strengthened
Leading animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports is calling for political parties to commit to strengthening the law on hunting.
On the same day as the charity [Friday, 15th November] launched its general election campaign to strengthen the ban, two members of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates Court [Friday] to hunting fox cubs.
The charity says it is a stark reminder as to why the ban needs to be strengthened to include custodial sentences, as well as closing the loopholes that prevent more hunts from being prosecuted for killing wild animals for ‘sport’.
Hunting a wild mammal with dogs is an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act.
Today’s plea and sentencing hearing follows an investigation by Derbyshire Police based on video evidence obtained by investigators working for the animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports.
Sam Staniland, former huntsman of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt, and William Tatler, joint master of the hunt, were each fined £350 and ordered to pay £150 costs.
Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:
“We welcome this conviction for fox cub hunting, a callous crime which the vast majority of the public will regard with horror.
“To receive just a fine for this barbaric activity shows the need to strengthen the Hunting Act, including the introduction of prison sentences.
“This is the second time members of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt have been convicted of hunting fox cubs in the same patch of woodland, which indicates the hunt are showing a blatant disregard for the law.”
The offence was committed on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 in woodland near Sutton on the Hill in Derbyshire.
The case comes 14 years after hunting with dogs was banned in England and Wales with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force in February 2005.
Before the Hunting Act was introduced, hunts would train their hounds to kill adult foxes by first encouraging them to hunt and kill young fox cubs living in patches of woodland. When the Hunting Act was introduced that practice was made illegal.
Polling commissioned by the League and run independently by YouGov found a majority of the British public in support of introducing prison sentences for illegal hunting. The results showed 74 per cent of respondents who expressed a view support prison sentences for illegal hunting.
In 2017 Theresa May ignored the views of the general public at her peril; advocating to repeal the ban the issue became one of the most discussed topics at the ballot box and, by her own admission in a BBC interview, cost her vital seats.
The League is urging all political parties to learn that lesson and unite against hunting, pledging to strengthen the ban in the next parliament.
For more information on the League’s campaign, see unitedagainsthunting.co.uk
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@example.com
- Joint masters manage the hunt.
- A huntsman is employed by the hunt and is responsible for directing the pack during the day’s hunting. A whipper-in helps the huntsman with the control of the hounds.
- The traditional role of a terrier men and their assistants was to use terriers to find foxes that have gone to ground.
The League Against Cruel Sports is running a campaign to see politicians committing to strengthening the Hunting Act in their manifestos. See unitedagainsthunting.co.uk for more information.
All figures from the polling, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,639 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th - 30th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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).