10th Feb 2019
About 70 riders followed the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt from their meet at Marsh Court in Dorset on 09.02.19, contrary to biosecurity advice from The Hunting Office with equine flu at large. Photo © Hounds Off
Horse racing was suspended last week after an outbreak of equine flu at a Cheshire stables. Equine flu is a highly contagious and unpleasant viral infection which affects the respiratory system in horses. Explaining its decisive action, the British Horseracing Authority said (7 Feb), “The health and welfare of our horses must be a priority.”
It is unfortunate that some of the hunting world has chosen to carry on regardless.
Despite Horse & Hound reporting (8 Feb) advice from The Hunting Office*, “Where there are training yards in the area it may be sensible not to hunt this weekend,” it was actually business as usual for many mounted foxhound packs across the British Isles (9 Feb).
One such hunt was the Somerset-based Blackmore & Sparkford Vale, where about seventy riders turned out on horseback to gallop behind dogs chasing the scent of foxes. Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt country is known for having some big stables, including Paul Nicholls Racing at Ditcheat, Colin Tizzard Venn Farm Racing Ltd at Milborne Port and Millfield School at Street where equine flu was confirmed on 8 Feb.
Hounds Off Founder Joe Hashman said, “If the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt genuinely cared about the health and wellbeing of horses they’d have suspended all mounted hunting immediately. The fact that they have chosen to carry on hunting demonstrates how prepared they are to put horses at risk rather than lose a days play.”
© Joe Hashman; Founder, Hounds Off
* The Hunting Office is the administrative hub for the Council of Hunting Associations. The Hunting Office exists to help and advise Masters and its member Hunts. It represents and supports packs of hounds from fourteen hunting associations in England, Scotland and Wales, providing advice on all matters regarding hunting activities, hunt management and hound health & welfare.
1st Feb 2019
Report illegal, thuggish, dangerous and disrespectful hunt behaviour to the National Trust in a consistent way that makes it harder for them to ignore:
Report illegal, thuggish, dangerous or disrespectful actions or behaviour regardless of whether it happens on National Trust land because they should take this in to account when deciding to issue a licence, or not.
Report hunts licenced by the National Trust.
Report unlicensed hunts that are trespassing on National Trust land.
- If you need to find out which hunts are currently licensed by the National Trust, all dates & maps can be seen on our Facebook page here.
- The individual ‘photo albums’ for each hunt licence also contain the contact details for the local National Trust staff who manage the area being hunted.
- If you need to confirm if the National Trust own a particular bit of land, their property boundaries can all be seen here (NOTE: please use the ‘explore’ function to open a map).
What To Report
- Brief/concise accounts of what happened, where & when.
- Presence of terriermen.
- Blocked or damaged badger setts (if any have been discovered).
- Aggression, intimidation, abuse or violent behaviour from hunt staff or supporters.
- Any police incident numbers or crime reference numbers you have been given (always make sure to ask for these when reporting illegal hunting to the police).
- If you are able to film what’s happening please do because footage can help. If you weren’t able film or photograph then please still provide a written account of what you saw to the National Trust and don’t let them dismiss you for not having footage.
Who To Report It To
- Contact details for the most relevant point of contact within the National Trust for each hunt licence can be found here.
- In addition to this, please also CC in Nick Droy and his ‘trail hunting’ management team at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as ourselves at email@example.com
- National Dis-Trust volunteers will always be on hand if you are unsure about how to go ahead with any of the above (especially hunt trespass) as relevant National Trust contact details may not be readily available.
- Contact us on Facebook, Twitter or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Riggall, National Dis-Trust.