Saboteurs claim one of them was assaulted during scuffle over animal’s body
A hunt has been accused of illegally killing foxes on government land twice over Christmas.
In the first alleged case, a huntsman on Salisbury Plain rode away when confronted by saboteurs, reportedly leaving the carcass behind.
Hunt monitors said they went to where hunters had been spotted, they found a fox’s front leg still warm in a field, and later found the rest of the animal stuffed in the bushes.
“We documented it all and bagged it up for the police to look at,” a spokesperson said. The saboteurs posted a photograph online of the dead animal with matted fur.
On Monday at Chitterne, saboteurs said hunt staff assaulted them during a scuffle over the fox’s body.
Footage showed a terrier man then carrying away mangled carcass and swinging it towards the sab’s face, before putting it in his 4×4.
The Hunting Act 2004 banned chasing wild mammals with dogs but hunts claim they legally follow scent trails and do not kill foxes.
“This fox died because the Ministry of Defence is one of a few major landowners still issuing licences for so-called trail hunts on their land,” said the Hunt Saboteurs Association.
Other major landowners in the UK, including the National Trust and Forestry England, stopped issuing licences after leading hunters were videoed discussing how to create a “smokescreen” of trail-hunting.
The MoD says any organisation wanting to hunt on its land must be an organisation with a recognised governing body.
The governing body for hunts is the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), whose director Mark Hankinson was found guilty in October of encouraging members to illegally hunt wild animals.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law.
“Any organisation that wishes to hunt on MoD land must have a licence and we reserve the right to monitor their activity.”
MoD chiefs say hunts must obtain and follow the terms of a trail-hunting licence and the law, and that any breach of the law is a matter for police.
Die Onafhanklike asked the Countryside Alliance, which represents hunts, the Hunting Office (on behalf of the MFHA) and the Royal Artillery Hunt to comment but had not received a response by the time of publication.
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