More hunters charged shows Hunting Act “alive and well”, says charity

A leading animal welfare charity has described the legislation banning hunting with dogs as “alive and well”, after more than a dozen cases of illegal hunting have come to light in recent weeks.

Richard Down, Huntsman of the Quantock Staghounds is being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service for an offence under section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. The alleged offence took place on what is thought to be National Trust land, adjacent to a League Against Cruel Sports sanctuary in September.

Meanwhile, a Mr Robinson is being prosecuted for an offence under section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 for activities in connection with the Ullswater Hunt and has been bailed to appear at Penrith Magistrates Court on 9th April. The alleged offence took place in October 2009 and the body of a dead fox has since been subject to a post mortem examination.

Evidence in both cases was obtained by covert hunt observers working for the League. A spokesman for the charity said that a further nine cases were in progress.

“We are delighted to see the police taking allegations of Hunting Act offences seriously. Avon & Somerset Police currently have two cases, and there is one each in North Yorkshire and the East Midlands. We have a further five cases at the preparation stage,” said Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League.

“The suggestion from the pro-bloodsports lobby that the Hunting Act is unenforceable is clearly nonsense,” he said. “Our covert observers are visiting the length and breadth of the country to keep tabs on the activities of hunts. We are delighted with the cases so far this season and will continue our work to bring those who abuse our wildlife to justice.”

The League runs a ‘Hunt Crimewatch’ service through which the public can report instances of hunt related crime.

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