Calls for businesses to withdraw support from online auction over links to local hunt A leading national animal welfare charity has called upon businesses to withdraw their support for an online auction raising money for a point-to-point meeting in Worcestershire, because of links to a local fox hunt. The League Against Cruel Sports which campaigns against blood sports has written to three businesses about the prizes they are offering to an auction raising money for the Worcestershire Point-to-Point scheduled for April 17. The event has a race scheduled solely for members of the Worcestershire Hunt and the hunt is advertising the auction from its website. Point-to-point racing has traditionally been a source of funding for hunts. The businesses include the Worcester based dealership BMW & Mini Direct; Nothing But The Grape which are offering a tour and wine tasting at the Coughton Court National Trust property; and Apple Farm Glamping. It follows a recent expose aired on ITV News at Ten in which senior members of the hunt lobby are caught on camera seemingly admitting that trial hunting is a smokescreen for the chasing and killing of foxes. It led to Mark Hankinson, Director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) being charged by the police with intentionally encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act 2004, contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007. The MFHA are listed in the Who’s who section of the Point-to-Point Racing Company website. Emily Lawrence, regional campaign manager, at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It’s shameful that businesses are raising money for brutal blood sports and the terrible animal cruelty associated with fox hunting. “The recent revelations by the hunts themselves, that trail hunting is a smokescreen for hounds chasing and tearing apart foxes, is a game changer – no legitimate business should any longer want to be associated with the fox hunts.” 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. The Worcestershire Hunt has been reported to the League several times. Witnesses have seen this hunt chasing foxes, and there are also reports of people associated with the hunt blocking badger setts to prevent foxes escaping underground. Emily Lawrence, added: “Our polling shows that the vast majority of the public oppose fox hunting – it’s time for businesses to reflect the views of the British people and their customers, many of whom would be horrified to learn of their support for blood sports. “Businesses need to wake up to the cruel reality of trail hunting and remove their support now – this will be good for their reputation, and will also have a vital knock-on effect in protecting wildlife and the environment too.” ENDS 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 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).