From League Against
Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt pair found guilty of illegal cub hunting
The League Against Cruel Sports has today welcomed the guilty verdict of two members of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt in the first ever conviction for illegally hunting fox cubs with hounds at the Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court.
John Greenall, Hunt Master and Glen Morris, terrierman of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt were found guilty of being “engaged in illegal cubbing” and subsequently fined.
The Judge said she had taken note of the fact that John Greenall had given the Police in an interview, what he claimed to be an innocent explanation. He had chosen not to give evidence at his trial and she concluded that this was "because his evidence would not bear scrutiny". She said: "I am satisfied so that I am sure that both defendants engaged in illegal cub hunting; they were active participants in intentional hunting and I find the case proved against each defendant."
Cub hunting is the practice of training young hounds to kill by setting them onto fox cubs, accounting for half of the foxes killed by a hunt each year.* It is often referred to as ‘Autumn hunting’ to disingenuously hide the ugly truth that the hunt are teaching their new litters of hounds to hunt, attack and kill fox cubs. Cub hunting is a secret but integral part of the hunting practice which is largely unknown to the public as the activity takes place hidden from sight in dense woodland in the early hours of the morning.
Sadly between 21,000 and 25,000 foxes are killed during the hunting season, a sickening 8,400 to 10,000 of these are cubs.** Cub hunting is carried out from August up until the start of the main fox hunting season in October, when most cubs are only around five months old.
Steve Harris, Head of Enforcement at the League Against Cruel Sports speaking on the verdict said: “We are very pleased that Derbyshire Police thoroughly investigated this case and that the Crown Prosecution Service were willing to allow a court to decide on who was telling the truth.”
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “Cub hunting forms a particularly cruel and barbaric part of fox hunting. Every year, after the birth of new litters of fox cubs, hunters start planning this illegal activity whereby young hounds are taken out with older, experienced dogs and trained how to hunt, attack and kill. Any foxes that do escape the hounds by going underground are typically then dug out by the terriermen and thrown to the hounds solely for the purpose of entertainment by those who enjoy inflicting suffering.
“We are absolutely thrilled that the Hunting Act 2004 has been successfully applied in this case. It is utterly shocking and appalling that so many fox cubs are killed illegally in this way each year. I would like to appeal to any member of the public who think they may have witnessed cub hunting taking place to get in touch with our wildlife Crime Watch Team.”
Cub hunting involves hounds being entered into a small wood, surrounded by hunt supporters on horse and foot who maintain a steady supply of noise, known as holding up, to scare and deter the foxes from leaving the safety of the wood. If a fox tries to leave, a barrage of noise is directed at the already frightened fox in order to push it back into the wood. Later in the cubbing season foxes are allowed to leave their woods so that the young hounds will learn to chase them.
If you notice any of the following suspicious behaviour or know in advance of any cubbing, cub hunting or autumn hunting meets due to take place, please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Wildlife Crime Watch Team in confidence by calling 01483361108
- Groups of horseboxes gathering or parked up early morning or evening
- All the riders will be in tweed coats – red coats are not worn
- Riders and foot followers will be spaced at regular intervals surrounding a wood
- Riders may be tapping their saddles and foot followers clapping their hands
- Presence of terriermen, usually on quad bikes with dogs carried in boxes on the bikes