The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


Ampleforth Boys' Hare Hunting 'Uncivilised'

From The 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.

'Hounds Unfortunate'

"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 CATHOLIC HERALD."

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 Twenty-first century.

See Article: Packing up the school hound dogs

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