Deer hunt on Exmoor branded ‘sickening’ by campaigners
A video which appears to show a member of a hunt chasing a female deer has been released.
The League Against Cruel Sports recorded the footage in Exmoor, Somerset, in December.
It claimed the video showed an illegal hunt, and accused Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds of exploiting loopholes in the law to continue hunting.
The hunt said it was legally controlling herd numbers, as part of a conservation programme.
The Hunting Act has three exemptions which allow a hunt to take place, including research and observation.
But The League claims there is no data to support this defence, and branded it a “scam”.
Director of Campaigns, Chris Luffingham, said: “Hunting deer with dogs, chasing them for miles on end, shooting the exhausted animal, and then carving them up for trophies, can never be justified.
“At this time of year, many of the hinds being chased will be pregnant.”
It has tried to bring three cases to court over allegations of illegal hunting but all of them have collapsed.
Hunters say all research they gather is published online and covers the health of deer, transmission of diseases and population counts.
Guy Everard from the hunt said his group worked with the Exmoor and District Deer Management Group to control numbers.
The hunt has said they are legally controlling herd numbers, describing their actions as “a great force for conservation”.
The League said it had seen “no credible research” supporting the claims published in more than a decade.
Hunt protesters said they observed one of the hunts in Exmoor where a female deer – a hind – was pursued by two hounds at a time in a relay for several miles.
Posted 8th February, 2019
Author: Chloe Govindasamy – Public Affairs Intern
The League Against Cruel Sports is urging over 200 hunts to stop hunting immediately to prevent the spread of horse flu among both its horses and hounds and beyond. Many horses involved in racing also take part in hunting and this virulent disease spreads easily in horses and it can even jump across to the hunting hounds.
The horse flu crisis is suspected to have started after three horses were taken ill at trainer Donald McCain’s Backhouse stables in Cheshire, in an area that the local hunt frequents.
Cheshire has been in the headlines recently with seven fox kills by hunts reported in only the last six weeks. This has led to increasing scrutiny of the hunts, pressure on the police for better enforcement and questions being raised by local MPs in parliament.
Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:
“There is a serious risk of horse flu spreading among both horses and hounds if they continue meeting up
“It would be grossly irresponsible of the hunts to ignore the precedent being set by the horse racing authorities.”
During the foot and mouth crisis in 2007, hunts were confined to stables and kennels.
There are currently 209 mounted hunts operating the UK – with 199 targeting foxes, ten targeting hares, three targeting red deer and two targeting roe deer.
Chris Luffingham said:
“It would be shameful and irresponsible if the hunts were to be out in the countryside this weekend given the risks.
“They should be putting the welfare of their horses and hounds before their cruel pleasure in chasing British wildlife for ‘sport’.”
A League petition called ‘Stop the killing of animals by hunts in the UK’ attracted over 100,000 signatures and was handed into Downing Street in December.
League Against Cruel Sports President and naturalist and TV presenter Bill Oddie joined League CEO Andy Knott MBE for the hand-in.
Details of the League’s petition which is still open here: www.league.org.uk/huntingkills