Calls for fundraising company to stop hosting online auctions for fox hunts in Devon

A campaign has been launched to stop fox hunts from raising the money they need to continue with their barbaric activities after a League Against Cruel Sports investigation.

The League has called on the Jumblebee fundraising company to drop hunts from its books after the Devon-based Eggesford Hunt raised over £13,000 from an online auction hosted on its website – despite evidence emerging of the hunt chasing and killing foxes.

The League, one of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities, has uncovered reports revealing the Eggesford Hunt were witnessed killing four foxes last season with one particularly upsetting kill caught on camera. Terrier men attached to the hunt were also caught blocking badger setts to prevent foxes from escaping, and digging up setts to get to foxes that had hidden underground for which they received a police caution. There were also reports of livestock worrying with a sheep collapsing and dying after hunt hounds entered the field she was in, in January 2020.

The Eggesford Hunt auction raised £13,660 and ended earlier this month. A series of auctions held by Jumblebee across England and overseas have now helped fox hunts pocket more than £200,000. Jumblebee profits by taking five per cent of the total proceeds from these auctions.

This is set against the backdrop of a recent expose in which senior members of the hunt lobby are caught on camera seemingly admitting that trail hunting is a smokescreen for the chasing and killing of foxes – something the League has been saying for more than a decade.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns, at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Polling shows the vast majority of the British public are opposed to fox hunting and would be shocked to learn that hunts such as the Eggesford are being allowed to use Jumblebee to raise large amounts of money to fund their barbaric blood sport.

“It’s time for Jumblebee to stop allowing fox hunts to raise money on its online auction site. The recent revelations from the hunts themselves about trail hunting seemingly being a smokescreen for the chasing and killing of animals should be a clear sign of where the thousands of pounds raised for hunts is really going.”

Despite fox hunting being banned in 2005 and national lockdowns, the League Against Cruel Sports received more than 300 reports of suspected illegal hunting during 2020/21 – 11 of these reports were of hunts that have held auctions on the Jumblebee website including the Eggesford Hunt. Fox hunting is currently suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The League also commissioned polling from Survation in February 2020 which showed that 67 per cent of the public would think more positively or much more positively of a company that promised not to allow, promote or support ‘blood sports’ such as hunting, shooting, or animal fighting.

Five other auction sites – including Auction Direct, GalaBid, and Give Fundraising – have now gone on the record to state that they would not host an auction for a fox hunt.

Nick Weston, added:

“It’s time for businesses to disassociate themselves from fox hunts and animal cruelty – a decision that would be popular with their customers.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Link to ITV News at Ten expose

The 11 hunts which were witnessed being involved in suspected illegal hunting are:

Cattistock Hunt

Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds

Derwent Hunt

Eggesford Hunt

Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt

Hursley Hambledon Hunt

Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt

Sinnington Hunt

The Berkeley Hunt

The Vine & Craven Hunt

Worcestershire Hunt

Survation polling February 2020:

If a company promised not to allow, promote or support ‘blood sports’ such as hunting, shooting or animal fighting, would this make you view them more positively or more negatively?

Much more positively:                34%

Somewhat more positively:        33%

My view would not change:        25%

Somewhat more negatively:       2%

Much more negatively:               3%

Don’t know:                               2%

Survation conducted an online survey of 1,012 people aged 18+ living in Great Britain, 26th – 27th February 2020. Data tables are available here.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email pressoffice@league.org.uk

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).

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