Secret footage1 has been released which appears to show live fox cubs being delivered to the kennels of the South Herefordshire Hunt before being thrown to the pack of fox hounds. The lifeless body of a cub is then seen to be dumped into a wheelie bin, before another is taken to meet the same fate.
Independent group, the Hunt Investigation Team, supported by the League Against Cruel Sports, filmed the horrific scenes, and say the footage is damning evidence of the reality of fox hunting and is not an isolated incident. The footage has been released as part of a major ongoing League investigation into ‘cubbing’2, the secretive illegal practice of training young inexperienced hounds to hunt and kill fox cubs.
League intelligence reveals that fox cubs not killed during these hunts are sometimes captured and kept to be used as live training bait for the hounds, like in this horrifying case, or taken to artificial earths3 to provide a ready supply of foxes for the hounds to hunt in the coming season.
The footage taken at the South Herefordshire Hunt kennels follows an earlier League investigation, which led to the rescue of a fox being held by the Belvoir Hunt and the subsequent brutal alleged assault by Belvoir Hunt supporters on two of the charity’s undercover investigators in retaliation, leaving one with a broken neck.
League Against Cruel Sports CEO Eduardo Goncalves, said:
“This is the ugly and vicious truth behind the glossy image portrayed by hunts. What we believe this footage clearly shows is that cubs have been ripped away from their families, kept captive and then callously thrown alive to the hounds to rip apart. The horror and the suffering these cubs must have gone through is almost unbearable to think about.
“Hunts want us to believe that fox hunting is a sport but I can’t start to get my head round how this is sporting. What they are doing here is training the dogs to kill foxes, as simple as that and unfortunately this is not an isolated incident as this barbaric practice is happening across the country. The hounds won’t naturally kill foxes so they must be taught to do so and this footage exposes the gruesome training secrets of hunts in the UK.
“We know this happens every year during the ‘cubbing season’, when young foxes are surrounded by the hunt and the dogs sent in to kill them, but to catch this despicable activity on camera at a hunt kennel is almost impossible.
“With this evidence in front of them, we hope those administering the law, and the people of the UK, accept once and for all that there is no justification for the cruelty that seeps through every aspect of fox hunting.”
Two people from Hereford and a further individual from Abergavenny have been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty in connection with the incident shown in the footage.at the South Herefordshire Hunt kennels. All three individuals have been released on police bail.
Portia Landry from The Hunt Investigation Team said:
“The Hunt Investigation Team, acting on intelligence, placed sophisticated surveillance equipment around The South Herefordshire Hunt kennels. Once concluded, the evidence was given to West Mercia Police. Investigators also removed the bodies of two fox cubs from the site and handed these to the RSPCA to conduct post mortems.
“The Hunt Investigation Team does not consider this to be an isolated incident and are monitoring other hunts.”
The incident at the South Herefordshire Hunt kennels is not the only time hunts have been caught capturing foxes for their own ‘use’:
- In May 2015 a League Against Cruel Sports investigation led to the discovery and rescue of 16 fox cubs in a barn, on land linked to the Middleton Foxhounds Hunt. The League believes these fox cubs were kidnapped as a ready supply of animals to be chased by the hunt (investigation footage here).
- In December 2015 the League carried out an undercover investigation which resulted in the discovery and rescue of a fox the League believes was being held to be hunted by the Belvoir Hunt (Investigation footage here).
- In March 2016 two League investigators were seriously assaulted and robbed of their camera while monitoring the Belvoir Hunt. The alleged assault is thought to have been in retaliation for one of the same investigators (Darryl Cunnington) discovery and subsequent release of a fox being kept in a shed on land hunted by the Belvoir Hunt (press release).
- In addition, intelligence reports received by League Against Cruel Sports’ investigators implicated more than 20 hunts in capturing foxes to be hunted during 2014 and 2015.
Eduardo Goncalves added:
“Once again we see evidence which destroys the deliberate deception of hunting as a means of fox control. Fox hunts hunt foxes because they like hunting foxes, not for any other reason. As we have seen time and time again, they will capture foxes, release them on hunt days just to make sure hunters get their gruesome chase, or as we believe this footage shows, throw them to the hounds as bait. There’s nothing sporting, nothing natural and nothing remotely honourable about this so-called tradition. It’s grimy, it’s cruel, it’s going to be offensive to most right-minded people, and we need the police and courts to punish all those involved.”
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Notes to Editors
1 The footage is available to view here: https://youtu.be/pHtc78NNMYs
The footage shows:
– The huntsman removing a fox cub from a cage in a trailer
– A live cub is taken towards the kennels
– The huntsman enters the kennel block with the cub
– The hounds are heard baying
– The huntsman can be heard vocally encouraging the hounds to kill
– The huntsman dumps the lifeless fox cub in a bin
– A second fox cub is taken into the kennel block
- ‘Cubbing’, cub hunting or as it is also known ‘Autumn hunting’ is the training of young foxhounds to follow the older hounds, obey the horn and calls of the huntsman, to familiarise themselves with the scent of the fox and to give them the taste of fox blood.
- Artificial earths are structures built and maintained by hunts to provide shelter and breeding places for foxes. Their sole purpose is to ensure a good supply of foxes ready for the hunting season which starts around November.
- Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for any image or comment requests
- League Against Cruel Sports is a registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (SC045533) that brings together people who care about animals. Like the majority of the public, we believe that cruelty to animals in the name of sport has no place in modern society. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk