Thousands of pro-fox supporters spill out two days running at Westminster #KeepTheBan #IAmFox #ForFoxSake
Recent undercover footage revealed by LACS showed 16 fox cubs being raised in a barn on land linked to the Middleton Foxhounds hunt, near Malton, with intention to be released into the hunt. It was also revealed by LACS that this was not an isolated case and in fact twenty other cases of foxes being raised illegally have been discovered. Footage was also released showing land owners keeping foxes in artificial dens, fed daily with chicken carcasses by the farmers to be then flushed out by terrier-men when the hunt would be close. Footage shows the fox actually being flushed out and chicken being thrown down by the artificial earth on camera, so there is no doubt to why these foxes are being kept, as the footage speaks for itself.
To view LACS Hunting Expose, please click below:
All these illegal activities showing that huntsmen and land owners have been acting dishonourably certainly questions to whether the Trail Hunting should be allowed to continue at all. It also brings into question why landowners are arguing that fox numbers need to be quashed and brought down, when they are finding the need to raise foxes for release. This footage is surely backing up opposing arguments that Fox Hunting is for pleasure and for sport, NOT for control.
Anti fox-hunt protesters filmed the following footage of a hunt in Oxfordshire in which a fox is chased by hounds and killed. Members of the Heythrop hunt, Richard Sumner and Julian Barnfield, admitted illegally hunting a fox on land in the Cotswolds after the footage was passed to the RSPCA for investigation. David Cameron has previously ridden with the Heythrop Hunt. With David Cameron’s history, it is hard to see him as ever being impartial in foxhunting.
In the light of the impending vote in the commons which was originally scheduled for Wednesday the 15th of July 2015, various organisations rallied hard and fast to come together in a massive media push. The protest on Tuesday the 14th was headed up by #TeamFox, a coalition of animals groups united to keep the hunting ban in place which include Save Me, The League Against Cruel Sports, Network for Animals, LUSH, Animal Defender Int, RSPCA, PETA, Humane Society International, Blue Fox, Hounds Off and A Minority Passtime.
Dr Bryan May has also collaborated with Team Fox and was joined by other celebrity speakers including Actor Peter Egan, Vet Marc Abraham, Blue Fox’s Lorraine Platt and Save Me’s Anne Brummer. President of Born Free, Will Travers and TV dog expert Victoria Stillwell also stopped by to support, where as Chris Packham and Sir Paul McCartney voiced their support online by tweeting hard and holding up #KeepTheBan posters.
— PETA UK (@PETAUK) July 15, 2015
I was unable to join Tuesday’s protest as I was filming for The Badger Trust, but was instead asked to join celebrities in signing a letter on behalf of Animal Defenders International urging MP’s to block the proposed changes and prevent the return of the despicable bloodsport, which I was very keen to do alongside fellow colleague and TV presenter Wendy Turner Webster
Tuesday’s protest held outside of Westminster took an unusual turn when it was announced to the arriving crowds that David Cameron had postponed the vote due to the SNP making it clear that they would be voting against all changes. There were some celebrations, but then realisation that this was not the end. This was simply a postponement in order to remove Scotland out of any future votes affecting England and Wales, so it was not a ‘win’ yet.
In February, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon identified fox hunting as the sort of English-only issue her party’s MPs would not vote on.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Sturgeon said she had “changed her mind” for three reasons.
She said: “There has been an overwhelming demand from people in England for the SNP to vote on this issue this week.
“Second reason is that this debate has thrown a spotlight on to Scotland’s hunting law. It’s made a lot of people think we should be tightening up our law to bring it in to line with England’s law as it stands.
“The third reason is less to do with fox hunting. Since the election, David Cameron’s government has shown very little respect to the mandate that Scottish MPs have.”
It was decided that in the light of this ‘postponement’ that Wednesday’s protest must still go ahead. Day 2 was headed up by Born Free’s Political Adviser and CEO of The Badger Trust Dominic Dyer in tandem with LACS and Team Fox. I was invited to speak alongside Dominic, as well as League Against Cruel Sport’s trustee and ex Labour MP Chris Williamson, renowned Campaigner Luke Steele, Actor Peter Egan, Naturalist Bill Oddie, Badger Trust’s Chairman Peter Martin and wonderful Hunt Sab & ex huntswoman Lynn Sawyer.
Here’s a video of Dominic speaking to pro-fox protesters after voting had been postponed by David Cameron’s government:
I decided to focus in on the fact that killing foxes is just one part of the whole picture and that man is murdering animals in their millions all over the planet and it cannot be sustained. I also spoke about my filming alongside The Hunt Sabs earlier in the year where I witnessed how desperate the fox hounds were for attention, pressing their poor scarred faces and bodies up against me for attention. We often forget that the hounds are killed at age 6-7, by a shot to the head or clubbing, if they have not already been killed at birth for being weak, deformed or small. Other reasons for early euthanasia in fox hounds has also been shown to be due to hounds not following commands correctly and going off scent.
Watch this short video of myself speaking to pro-fox protestors on Wednesday’s demo:
Once Trail Hunting is finally banned, these poor dogs will not be bred for a torturous existence anymore. In one year, it is estimated that between 3,000 and 10,000 foxhounds are killed. It is completely unacceptable. How can farmers, land owners and huntmen be allowed to get away with flouting animal welfare laws when dogs in domestic situations are protected so heavily. If a dog was shot by his owner, the owner would be charged, so how can The Hunt be allowed to shoot so many dogs a year and not be charged with animal abuse on a mass scale? One Sab even told me that it had been known for dogs to be fed back to the other fox hounds.
To view my VegFestUK Brighton interview with The Hunt Sabs please click the below link – there is footage of the wonderful and desperately attention seeking fox hounds in the film.
Wednesday’s protest’s turn out was just as impressive as Tuesdays was and it was clear that everyone attending that most of the UK were not going to back down from making their voices known. If approximately 80% of the UK are against a return to foxhunting, it seems ludicrous that a vote would even be put to a small majority of MPs to decide for us all.
Wednesday’s protest was moved to a spot opposite Downing Street within earshot of David Cameron and after we heard all of the powerful speeches by the celebrities & speakers, the chanting was taken hard up against the gates of Downing Street by our army of ‘Foxes’. The wonderful Peter Egan had dashed out of theatre rehearsals to be with us, a true campaigner through and through. Everyone appreciated just how busy he was but how committed he was to ending fox killing.
It was really heartening to have Richard Arkless, MP for Dumfries and Galloway come to lend his support to the protest but also equally shocking to see that Robin Smith Ryland, previous Hunts Master of the Quorn, the Warwickshire and other hunts had the audacity to show his face. He has guts I have to say, as well as a huge reputation which precedes him….Lynn Sawyer was quick to point him out in his black hat at the back on the crowds and soon the crowds were directing their chanting at him. He did not leave though and stuck around to fight his corner in his dark wide brimmed ‘baddy-esque’ panama hat and black jacket and trouser suit.
The latest rumours to circulate is that the SNP may now decide to down the number of dogs used to flush out a fox to be in accordance with England and Wales which will quash any of David Cameron’s attempts to up the number of dogs to lie in accordance with Scotland. Well let’s hope so, but until then, we need to all stay firmly on the bandwagon fighting for the foxes and be the voice that they do not have and perhaps one day, two dogs to flush out a fox might instead become two dogs too many and we might also be lucky enough to wave goodbye to that long, fox-urine drenched, smelly trail-sock that keeps the hounds all ‘eyes on fox’.
Naturalist, TV Presenter & CEO of Green World TV