On Boxing Day, dozens of hunting parties, known as ‘meets’, took place across the UK nearly 15 years after the bloodsport was banned. Sadly, though, the Hunting Act doesn’t prohibit all forms of hunting, as drag hunting is still allowed, which involves a pack of hounds following an artificially-laid scent.
It’s very common for hunts to be interrupted or sabotaged by protestors, who suspect that hunts are ignoring the ban and harming foxes anyway. (The RSPCA has warned that trail hunting is often used as a “smokescreen” for traditional hunting.)
And today, shocking footage has emerged of a presumably pro-hunting individual violently attacking a car with the corpse of a dead fox.
Check it out but be warned, some may find it distressing:
Hunt saboteurs, or “sabs”, follow hunts and try to sabotage them if they suspect that animals are being harmed.
Afterwards, animal rights activist Charlotte Smith uploaded photos to Twitter showing blood across the windows of the group’s vehicle.
Clearly, the act has done little to discourager people from hunting.
The League Against Cruel Sport has even admitted that loopholes exist that allow foxes to be killed illegally.
The charity’s director of campaigns Chris Luffingham wrote in The Times: “As they parade today in their gaudy finery, fox hunts will be facing the fact that, with their political support gone, hunting is history.
“Their 14-year campaign to repeal the fox hunting ban hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of success.
“There has been a sea change in the way the fox hunting debate is being framed and with the ban now secure, our emphasis has shifted towards the strengthening of the Hunting Act.”
Mr Luffingham added: “To end fox hunting for good, the Hunting Act needs to be strengthened by removing the loopholes and exemptions being exploited by the fox hunts to cover up their brutal activities.
“The introduction of prison sentences for those convicted of fox hunting would help ensure there is a strong deterrent to prevent the deliberate and widespread chasing and killing of foxes.”
Furthermore, a recent poll showed 85% of people support keeping the ban on hunting, and the League Against Cruel Sports wants jail terms for those convicted of illegal hunting.
Luke Pollard MP, Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister, said:
“Fox hunting is cruel, unnecessary and unpopular. It should be consigned to the history books. The Prime Minister must ensure his majority is not used to allow the return of fox hunting.
Labour will use every opportunity to enhance and strengthen the Hunting Act, reviewing penalties to make sure there is an effective deterrent for illegal hunting, and introducing a ‘recklessness’ clause to stop trail hunts being used to kill foxes.”
However, the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance has called on its supporters to attend meets today, stating, via their website:
‘Boxing Day meets offer hunts the perfect opportunity to showcase their legal hunting activities to the public. We need to give the world the chance to understand what makes us all so passionate about following hounds.’
“We need to give the world the chance to understand what makes us all so passionate about following hounds.
“Now is the time for the hunting community to work together to ensure we tell our story and let the general public, politicians and hunting’s opponents know why our way of life should be free from attack.”
Clearly still more needs to be done, and videos like the one above only prove the disparity between those for and against the sport.
Images via Twitter/Getty