Badger found shot in blocked sett entrance

*** Badger found shot in a blocked sett with lacerations to back end *** Worcestershire hunt mark a fox to ground at the SAME sett 2 days before ***

On Wednesday 6th November 2019 The Worcestershire Hunt chased a fox into a partially blocked sett near Himbleton Worcestershire. West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs were in attendance and ensured that a fox was not dug out. On 25th November we were able to speak out about what we found later that week – the following is a brief report of that day…

On Friday 8th November 2019 we examined the sett (we always check on them for activity, etc after an incident) and saw that there was some loose earth – on moving some of the earth to check if the sett had been dug out, we saw a badger’s paw sticking out of a completely covered over entrance.

We retrieved the badger and found a bullet wound in her head and what looked like bite-marks on her rear end, which bled profusely. An X-ray proved that she had been shot.

Coincidence that the Worcestershire hunt terriermen were on that exact sett on the 6th and are known for both digging out badger setts and blocking them? We are suspicious… did someone come back on the evening of the hunt to try to dig out the fox anyway and find a badger instead? With the other entrances blocked, but still obvious, this one being entirely covered over to look like a mound of earth shows that someone wanted to hide something.

We do not think that this is a one off occurrence. We would advise that advice is sought from the Badger Trust if you think that something similar has occurred elsewhere. BBC Hereford and Worcestershire covered the story later in November, interviewing two of our sabs for radio.

Worcester News covered this story a few days after the BBC spoke about it on the radio – check out their article here

*** Richard Michael Lewis Burt and Sarah Jane Burt connected both to land where the badger was found and also land on which fox cubs were obtained for the South Herefordshire Hunt who were found guilty of animal cruelty for feeding cubs to their hounds at kennels ***

Upon doing a bit of research one of our supporters has found that the land on which the sett resides is connected to Lower Hollowfields Farm, Hanbury, Worcs which in turn is connected to Richard and Sarah Burt. The farm is not to be confused with nearby Little Hollowfields Farm (where we believe a hunt master lives) at which the Worcestershire Hunt were recently found by an artificial earth with its own badger residents, although they have obvious links. In brief, a few hours of research has already uncovered the following…

Lower Hollowfields Farm and Premier Pest Control.

The farm itself is connected with a company called Premier Pest Control and Wildlife Management Ltd. which provided services to the Burts when they farmed at Rotherdale Farm in Throckmorton (now under the control of another company and connected to Evesham Vale Growers, so we believe no longer connected to the Burts). The ‘pest control’ services were given a shameless plug by Richard Burt in a Farmers’ Weekly article in 2000 talking about him, farming and DIY pest control which was called ‘Do Your Own Dirty Work’ (interesting title…) and the company was bought out by the Burts when it got too much for the original owner, having already advertised the company in his own article.

Richard and Sarah Burt.

As Richard and Sarah were both involved in Premier Pest Control and Wildlife Management Ltd (director and secretary respectively) they should be well aware that badgers have been protected for many years (and their setts in addition since the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act).

Additionally, as Sarah is a law graduate, it should not be too difficult for her to understand the law surrounding both the protection of badgers and the regulation of fox hunting plus various other aspects of wild mammal protection.

Richard Burt is listed as a now-resigned officer of the Croome and West Warwickshire Foxhounds, a hunt that also break the law by chasing foxes and blocking / digging-out badger setts on land bordering the Worcestershire Hunt country. They have held joint meets in the past and were exposed many years ago by the League Against Cruel Sports for the use of bagged foxes.

The Mynde and the South Herefordshire Hunt cub-killers.

We knew that the surname was familiar when it popped up in conversations recently and, looking back at previous land registry searches it became clear why. Richard and Sarah Burt are both listed as the registered owners of The Mynde in Herefordshire. This is the property from which the gamekeeper gave evidence against the hunt staff from the South Herefordshire Hunt in June of this year when animal cruelty charges were brought against them for feeding live fox cubs to the pack of hounds at their kennels, as exposed by the Hunt Investigation Team. The Burts owned the property prior to the activities that led to the court case against the hunt.

More research is being done into this couple and other land that they are connected with which allows hunting to take place, but this is already a very interesting start! We know they are also connected with Chyknell Hall in Shropshire (since sold on) and have traded in the past as G H Burt & Son / GHB Agriculture. If you have any information which you can share with us, you can contact us anonymously on 07891 639803