A hound from a Northamptonshire hunt was killed and another was seen running loose on a busy A road between Northampton and Kettering yesterday according to eye witness reports.

The dead hound was photographed by a Northamptonshire resident on the A43 between Sywell and Hannington. If hounds were loose on a busy road it throws into doubt claims by hunts that they are ‘trail’ hunting rather than still targeting foxes.

A hunt hound dead on the side of the road

Trail hunting was invented after the fox hunting ban was introduced in England and Wales in 2004. It purports to mimic fox hunting but by following a fox urine scent laid before the hunt begins rather than targeting wildlife. Animal welfare campaigners monitoring the activities of fox hunts have established that trail hunting is actually a deception used by hunts to fool the public and cover up their illegal hunting activities.

The road where the hunting hounds were witnessed is understood to be in the area hunted by the Pytchley Hunt.

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Why were hunting hounds loose on a busy A road if they were following a trail laid by the hunt? Despite hunting being banned 14 years ago, very little has changed with hunts still chasing foxes. On this occasion, they spilled out onto a busy main road with tragic consequences.

“Hunts are still causing havoc in the British countryside and are routinely being witnessed on busy roads, on railway lines and in people’s gardens – how can this be so if they are following a trail?”

The League Against Cruel Sports has received 197 reports of suspected illegal hunting activity across the UK since the beginning of the hunting season on November 1. There have been 23 separate reports of foxes being killed although the League suspects this is the tip of the iceberg.

405 reports of illegal hunting activity were received by the League last year. A further 145 reports came in of hunt causing havoc in the British countryside which consists of incidents such as packs of hounds killing domestic pets, trespassing through people’s gardens and allotments and running onto busy roads and railway lines.

Chris Luffingham added:

“We are calling for the hunting ban to be strengthened with the introduction of prison sentences for those caught illegally hunting. We need a proper deterrent to stop the barbaric activities of the hunts and we also need to close down loop holes that allow hunts to use transparent excuses such as trail hunting.”

The report of the dead hunting hound and the hound loose on a busy road came in to the League Against Cruel Sports Animal Crimewatch service.

Animal Crimewatch is a confidential hotline where you can report cruelty to animals in the name of sport by telephone, email or using the online form.

Petition

A League petition called ‘Stop the killing of animals by hunts in the UK’ attracted over 100,000 signatures and was handed into Downing Street in December.

League Against Cruel Sports President and naturalist and TV presenter Bill Oddie joined League CEO Andy Knott MBE for the hand-in.

Details of the League’s petition which is still open here: www.league.org.uk/huntingkills

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

I enclose a photograph of the hunting hound on the busy road which was reported as killed.

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).