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10th February 2019

Hunters Disregard Horse Welfare

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.

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8 Comments | Leave a comment

  • Gill Mitchell says:
    Posted February 10, 2019 at 10:38 am

    It doesn’t surprise me at all – these hunt psychos revel in seeing defenceless creatures being torn to piece. They don’t care for the safety and wellbeing of their horses and hounds so they certainly aren’t concerned about anyone else’s horses!

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    • Marion Shepperd says:
      Posted February 10, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Huntsmen need to learn that movement of a species is so very detrimental during an epidemic. History has taught us this concerning Foot and Mouth and TB.

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  • Lee Berry says:
    Posted February 10, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    The lust for blood will always come before animal welfare for these scum.

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  • Geraldine Sephton says:
    Posted February 10, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    When will the time come these narcissistic sick elitist non human reptiles, are actually going to be held accountable for there inhuman actions towards animals? There beyond the law why? Why are they constantly allowed to behave like thugs? When people like Tommy Robinson is arrested and locked up for what? Something is very wrong in society.

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  • Judy bradley says:
    Posted February 10, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Pompous, arrogant, egotistical, self entitled assholes

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  • Glenys Williams says:
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    So now we know how TB is spread on the countryside.

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  • Lena Chenery says:
    Posted February 12, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    They are the most arrogant, heartless, cruel despicable people on the planet.
    They have no regard for animal welfare or suffering, just as long as their blood thirsty fix’s are met….. it doesn’t matter what suffering is caused to any animal.
    I pray karma deals with them and they pay for their wickedness.

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  • Suzanne Lowe says:
    Posted February 14, 2019 at 12:57 am

    Absolutely disgusted. What has happened to this country? Our heritage! Our caring for animal rights and human rights. No need with the wealth that these activists have. Heartless they are bloody heartless😡

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