21st February 2012
I visited a Dorset farmer this morning who lives right in the heart of hunting country. Three different packs of hounds could be in his vicinity at any time. This farmer has been a man of the earth for 40 years and never permitted foxhunting across his respectable acreage during that time. 20 years ago one of the local Hunts did trespass and, with his father, he took legal action to prevent a repeat.
Their preventative action worked, until recently. The offenders in question have had to be reminded in no uncertain terms that, regardless of whether they’re ‘trail hunting’ or breaking the law, this farmers land is off limits to anyone connected with the Hunt and that includes their dogs.
People like this man and his family are at the core of what Hounds Off seeks to do; to unite ordinary folk who, for whatever reason or reasons, do not like wildlife to be hunted on their land for sport.
This Dorset farmer is regularly buttered up by the flush-‘em-out, hunt-‘em-down and tear-‘em-up fraternity. They sent a representative round with a cake after they were caught trespassing the other week. This anti-hunting farmer is solid in his active support for wildlife protection though. The cake was refused. In fact, it didn’t even get past the front door.
As I mentioned, this guy lives and works deep in a rural county. When I asked him what Hounds Off could do to help all the other people who are quietly like-minded the message was clear, “Tell them to write a Warning-Off Letter, with a map showing their property boundaries, to their local Hunt.”
This, ultimately, is what Hounds Off is all about; sharing practical support and help between anybody who suffers the distress, harassment and alarm of Hunt trespass.
I left our meeting feeling supported too. It’s reassuring to know that, even out ‘in the sticks’, we anti-foxhunters are not alone.
Posted by Joe Hashman
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