Catholic Herald, July 18, 1969
HUNTING hares with a pack of beagles by boys of the Catholic public
school Ampleforth was criticised this week as "uncivilised" by Mr.
Sydney Pepper, secretary of the National Association for the Abolition
of Cruel Sports. He was commenting on the report in the summer issue of
the Ampleforth Journal on the hunt's activities this year.
He said: "I cannot understand how civilised people can hunt a tired
'hare, which cannot turn round and harm them, to its death. It is not
exactly a manly sport."
Ampleforth, near York, run by Benedictines,
was listed in a pamphlet put out by the society last October as one of
six public schools which still keep packs of beagles. Downside, which
used to keep a pack, has now disposed of it.
The journal's report
states: "Beadlam Rigg, on February 1, provided the best of the Saturdays
during the term. Conditions and scent were good, hounds ran well all day
and, though hares were numerous, they did themselves justice by killing
at the edge of Nawton Towers Wood at the end of the day.
"Wednesdays were as good, if not better, than the
Saturdays. Thorgill on January 22 was, without doubt, the best. Weather
conditions were ideal, scent excellent, and hounds were very unfortunate
and unlucky when the hare was lost at the end of a magnificent hunt."
The report on the last day of the season, March 21, says: "There was
much good plough but, despite recent snow, it was surprisingly dry and
scent was remarkably good.
"It was a busy, enjoyable, if exhausting,
day and hounds were very unlucky not to kill one very well-hunted hare."
Fr. Tancred Ambrose Agius, 0.S.B., chairman of the Catholic Study
Circle for Animal Welfare (the Ark), of which Cardinal Heenan is Patron,
said: "If parents of boys at Ampleforth who read this report protested
to the headmaster, it might have some effect.
"After all, the whole pattern of civilisation has changed since the
time when we had to hunt animals for food—and since the days when
bull-baiting and bear-beating were popular sports."
Mrs. May Bocking, hon. general secretary of the Ark, said: "We
deplore all forms of cruelty, not merely blood sports. The law protec'ts
domestic animals, but not the hare."
When asked to comment, Abbot Basil Hume, 0.S.B., of Ampleforth, said:
"I would have thought there were more important things to print in the
Reproduced with Thanks.
NB Basil Hume became Archbishop of Westminster and a Cardinal of the
Catholic Church in 1976, until his death in 1999. The Ampleforth Beagle
pack survives under controversial Catholic moral teaching in the
Packing up the school hound dogs
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