The League Against Cruel Sports has condemned the actions of a former huntsman who threw live fox cubs into a fox hunt’s kennels so the hounds would learn to kill.

The former huntsman of the South Herefordshire Hunt, Paul Oliver, was found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court today of four counts of causing an animal unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

A second defendant, kennel maid Hannah Rose, was found guilty on three of four counts of causing an animal unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Paul Reece and Julie Elmore, who also have connections to the hunt, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The court was shown video evidence obtained by the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT), which also showed the huntsman dumping two dead fox cubs into a wheelie bin.

Sentencing for all four is expected either later today or on July 1 at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

A further defendant, Nathan Parry, was found not guilty of the same charges.

Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports and former head of the police’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, said:

“We believe the incidents show that hunts are clearly still hunting as the poor fox cubs were thrown into the kennels to give the hounds a taste for blood.

The barbarity of these incidents is sickening and will horrify the vast majority of the British public who are overwhelmingly opposed to fox hunting.”

Deborah Marshall, spokesperson for the Hunt Investigation Team, said:

“We are clearly pleased that the hard work and integrity of the Hunt Investigation Team has resulted in convictions. This case has taken far too long to come to court and we have faced false allegations against investigators and obstruction throughout. We are glad that justice has finally taken its course.

“The capture of fox cubs to be used to train hounds is nothing new and is widespread across Britain, as is the mass destruction of healthy hounds to make way for younger ones. We will continue to expose cruelty and wildlife crime and our message to hunts everywhere is ‘Expect Us’.”

HIT filmed four fox cubs being moved around the South Herefordshire Hunt kennel complex in 2016 before two were taken, one by one, into the hounds. The Judge believes the other two fox cubs suffered the same fate.

Martin Sims added:

“This case shows that fox hunting is a horrendously cruel and brutal activity which needs to be consigned to the history books.

“We need to increase maximum prison sentences for animal cruelty to deter animal abusers. “The Hunting Act is another vital piece of legislation but it needs to be strengthened for it to be effective in stamping out the root cause of this cruelty.”

The South Herefordshire Hunt has subsequently folded.

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).