ANIMAL WELFARE INFORMATION SERVICE

BLOODSPORTS GUIDE


An alphabetical aid to understanding the intimacies of hunting and similar rural amusements, past and present

Where two publication dates are given the first is of first publication the second is that from which the reference is extracted. (.......) shows the omission of words to save space. Phrases in brackets thus ( [ ] ) are added for clarity.

Abolition of Cruel Sports, early attempts.

  • The shooting for sport of live pigeons released from traps:

"When that good sportsman, Lord Redesdale, declared his intention of opposing the second reading of Mr. Anderson’s Bill to prohibit pigeon-shooting, the fate of that measure was sealed. No one could accuse the noble lord of any leaning towards pigeon-shooting or betting; his objections to the Bill were founded upon the broad principles which have been laid down in these pages by "The Hermit in London." "It was a fact," said his Lordship, "that many who supported this measure were practically opposed to all kinds of sport whatever;" and in that view he was quite correct. The Bill was but the narrow end of the wedge, and, although it was not openly avowed, it was intended to be a stepping-stone towards the abolition of all those amusements that bind a country gentleman to his home......Let then our golden youth bear in mind that the more they tame down sport, and make it easy and luxurious, the more they place arguments in the mouths of those who are opposed to every description of amusement. Our contention is that the prohibition of pigeon-shooting was not a fit subject for legislation at all, but should be left to the good feeling of sportsmen."(Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes. Pub. A.H. Baily & Co., September 1883. Page 184 in Volume 41. [The pastime of pigeon shooting in this fashion was abolished by the Captive Birds Shooting (Prohibition) Act, 1921. Clay pigeon shooting, a humane alternative, now thrives] )


Alternatives to Hunting.

  • Draghunting. Cross-country riding can be enjoyed without pursuing wild animals:

"The hard-riding contingent vote cub-hunting to be tame sport, and doubtless from their standpoint they are right. Their point of view is to regard as good sport a fast gallop with lots of jumping. In their opinion the fox and the hounds are mere accessories, and as they never trouble to learn the orthodoxy of fox-hunting it is not to be expected that they should take any interest in the preliminaries of the legitimate fox-hunting season."

(A Century of English Fox-Hunting. George F. Underhill. Pub. R.A. Everett & Co. 1900.

Page 269)

"Riding can be enjoyed without hunting. It is to this day my greatest pleasure, and it must be remembered that only about five per cent ride straight to hounds, the rest of the field career round the lanes and through the gates. For the good horseman there is always the draghunt, which almost invariably develops into a steeplechase. (This, however, makes it unpopular with those who only require a little social activity, the admiration of the crowd, the pomp and pageantry associated with hunting.)" (The Farming Ladder. George Henderson. Pub. Faber and Faber Ltd. 1944. Page 20)

  • Hound Trailing (in which hounds competitively pursue a humane scent):

"Hound trailing is rising rapidly in the social scale now that such men as Lord Lonsdale have taken it up; and indeed, fairly conducted, it is excellent sport entirely without the taint of cruelty." (Article, "Sporting Life in a Cumberland Dale, by "Dalesman" The Badminton Magazine of Sports & Pastimes July-Dec 1911. Page 492)


Badgers.

  • Killed by Foxhunters:

"At the annual dinner of Lord Middleton’s Hounds, held at Malton, in Yorkshire, in May, 1903, Will Grant, the retiring huntsman, made an extraordinary statement. He told his hearers that during the fifteen years in which he had hunted the pack he and his hounds had killed 2,000 foxes, a highly satisfactory record. But he added further that during his last three seasons he or his pack had killed, into the bargain, no fewer than 161 badgers. Badgers are, evidently, plentiful enough in Yorkshire, and these animals are by no means beloved of fox-hunting folk; yet it passes the wit of the average sportsman and lover of wild life to understand why, in three seasons, Lord Middleton’s huntsman should have destroyed this huge number of a beast which has not only become comparatively rare in Britain, but which is, after all, one of the most harmless as it is one of the most interesting of our native fauna. [Since this chapter was written I have heard from Lord Middleton and his late huntsman, Will Grant, in reply to inquiries of mine on this subject. Lord Middleton tells me that his country is overrun with badgers, and that these animals have greatly increased during the last quarter of a century. He adds that they are mischievous and do harm in many ways. Even from the point of view of the fox-hunter, however, this extirpation of badgers seems to me a trifle unreasonable.]" (Nature and Sport in Britain. H.A. Bryden. Pub. Grant Richards. 1904. Pages 235-236 inc. note)

"The Countryman. More night noises.

.............Next day the racket started up again and continued into the night. It became so unbearable that a young man was sent to drive the badger out of the wood towards waiting guns.

The noise in the wood was so terrible, however, that the young man would have no more of it. He bolted in fear and was seen running like a bat out of hell towards the main road. The blood-curdling racket continued on and off until November when foxhounds in the wood contacted a badger which killed two of their number and mortally wounded two more before being killed itself. From then on the noise ceased. That all took place in 1933........." (Article by Fred J. Taylor. Shooting Times & Country Magazine. May 21-27, 1981, page 23)

"CLIFTON’S WHITE BADGER

A Club Mascot

The Clifton Badger Club, like others of its kind, pursues with zest the partial extermination of badgers because of the burrows they provide for foxes in the area of the hunt.

Mr. Celebatch’s farm at Little Wittley was the rendezvous of the Club on Good Friday. The shades of evening were well advanced before the presence of badgers was disclosed. The haunt sheltered a small litter, in which, to the amazement of the diggers, one of its number was found to be perfectly white with pink eyes. A successful effort was made by Mr. W. Millward, ex-Kennelman of the Clifton Hunt, to secure this animal uninjured, and the Club is surely unique in its possession of a live white member of the badger family, which has been chosen as the Club’s mascot." (Report Berrow’s Worcester Journal. 11th July 1936)

"An old dog fox or a badger, should one accidentally be encountered, may put two terriers on the sick-list within an hour.

It is a mistake to allow the Hunt terriers to be used for badger digging, as, apart from the fact that they may get badly mauled, it tends to make them too hard. It is, to say the least of it, disappointing to dig for an hour with the hope of giving the fox a run in the open, only to discover that it has already been killed by the terrier." (To Hunt the Fox. David Brock. Master of the Thurles and Kilshane Foxhounds sometime Master of the East Sussex. Pub. Seeley Service and Co. Ltd. 1937. Page 274)

"Duo convicted on evidence of ‘mole’

TWO HUNT workers were convicted yesterday of digging for badgers on the evidence of an undercover RSPCA "mole."........

Stephen Clifton (35), manager of the Isle of Wight hunt kennels at Gatcombe, and James Butcher (25), a terrier man with the Essex and Suffolk kennels in Lower Layham, Suffolk, where he lived, both denied digging for a badger and attempting to kill, injure or catch one. They were each fined a total of £500 and each ordered to pay £500 costs...........

They claimed they were digging for foxes at the request of a nearby farmer." (Report Dundee Courier & Advertiser. 31st May 1991 [Stephen Clifton was the professional Huntsman of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds] )


Campaigning.

  • Various tactics:

"I had hoped not to worry you again with a letter, but I have just had the most interesting lunch with Ian Trethowan (it was his turn to give me lunch!).

He is entirely and 100% on our side and greatly deplores the stupid announcements made by some BBC programme kings. For example I told him about a rather stupid broadcast on Boxing Day Meets made that morning. He took a note immediately and said he would deal with it.

However, the main object of this letter is to tell you that he thinks it important that we should get a well-known personality who would be willing to talk on the radio or even television to the general effect: "I do not care much about coursing (or foxhunting, etc) but I am dead against the interference with the freedom of the individual by the Government." He suggested such personalities as Enoch Powell, Robens, Richard Marsh and Gormley.

Ian said that if we could get anyone on this he would guarantee to get them on the air for us and possibly television. He said that this was the sort of personality who would sway people and I think he is right. He also said that it was desperately important to get the miners behind us in regard to coursing, as indeed Tom Reynolds has said on many occasions.

I am copying this to Raymond." (Letter from Sir Richard Goodwin, Secretary British Field Sports Society, to Marcus Kimball, Esq, M.P., dated 8th January 1975, printed in HOWL No. 12, Spring 1979 [Marcus Kimball was Joint Master and amateur Huntsman at the Fitwilliam Foxhounds from 1951-53 and he held the same position at the Cottesmore from 1953-58. He was Conservative M.P. for Gainsborough from 1956 to 1983, and Chairman of the B.F.S.S. from 1966 to 1982. Ian Trethowan was Managing Director, BBC Radio 1969-75, Managing Director BBC Television 1976-77, Director General of the BBC, 1977-82] )

"Trolley tactics

Sir,- There is a simple method to register our disapproval of the Co-operative Society’s ban on hunting.

Simply enter the nearest Co-op and fill one of the mobile trolleys and take it through the payout desk. On presentation of the bill, hand the cashier a leaflet on "Hands off Hunting", stating that you have changed your mind on shopping at the Co-op until the ban is lifted.

I feel certain that the manager will not be best pleased, particularly on a busy day!" (Readers letter, Shooting Times & Country Magazine. May 13-19, 1982)

"The Association of Lurcher Clubs. BY GARY HOSKER

......I organised groups or cells (as we activist call them) of lurchermen to help pro-hunting MP’s at the last General Election, we helped six, three were elected.

With the aid of a local Master of Hounds we set up a telephone pyramid so that phone-in’s could be answered and telephone opinion polls won. These pyramids were in turn linked to other pyramids throughout the country, so that an opinion poll in the Isle of Skye might very well be answered by lurcher or terriermen in Kent. As a mark of their success I don’t know of an opinion poll the anti’s have won recently." (Article, Earth Dog ~ Running Dog, September 1996. No. 53. Page 37)

"A real protest

Sir - I shall be attending the rally in Hyde Park on 10 July.

But more drastic action is required. In this respect, we could learn from the French~truck drivers, fishermen and farmers~now, they really know how to protest.

The hunting and country sports bodies could snarl up London with thousands of horseboxes and trailers and thousands of mounted riders. What an amazing sight this would be, and a sure way of getting the message home.

A few thousand people in Hyde Park will be somewhat more effective than Stoneleigh or Ardingly, but not nearly as effective as the action I have mentioned above." (Readers letter, Horse & Hound. 29 May 1997 Page 12)


Farmers attitude to hunting.

  • General:

"Ethically it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering for the gratification of a mere thrill, and for that reason fox-hunting is a disgrace to the civilization of a country that permits it, and a reflection on the mentality of the people who take part in it. To contend that it provides employment is to put it on a level with crime and lunacy, for which the same thing could be said. The work and trade associated with the sport could be put to more productive and creative use." (The Farming Ladder. George Henderson. Pub. Faber and Faber Ltd. 1944. Page 20)


Farming.

  • Loss of livestock due to poor care:

"Down on the farms of our traditionally animal-caring society about three million piglets, two million lambs and a million calves die unnecessarily each year.....On farms not 150, but well over 16,000 large animals die unnecessarily each day....The round figures for deaths in millions are widely agreed to be reasonable estimates of actual losses, are accepted by the farming industry, by the Government and the professions involved in animal care, but are not often discussed in public. They indicate, not some massive cruelty, but a state of animal husbandry ~ of animal public health down on the farm if you like ~ which is comparable with human public health in Europe in the eighteenth century.

For these are animals dying within 48 hours of birth, through cold and privation, through inadequate support, perhaps inadequate prenatal care." (The Guardian report, page 8, September 30th 1982, of the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Liverpool, 1982)

".....Livestock farmers have also suffered from the cold, wet spring. Most lambing is now done indoors, but sheep and lambs turned out afterwards are meeting the impact of the weather. One farmer reported a loss of 29 lambs after a rainy April night...." (News report, Tonbridge Courier. May 6th 1983)


Foxes.

  • Bagged foxes for hunting:

"On the hounds returning to the kennels, five were missing. The next morning the huntsman sent a man to Ruperra to look for the absent dogs. Three of them were found lying outside the drain, and two GOMER and COUNTESS in the hole, with a fox. The huntsmen soon after arrived, and the hounds, and a splendid male fox was dug out alive. The fox was bagged and brought to the Heath, where he is reserved for another day’s sport. He will be turned out in a few days, when the gallant Master of the hounds promises another hard days run to the tired sportsmen of Cardiff and neighbourhood." (Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian 2.3.1866 page 5 col.5 quoted in Master of Hounds. Fred, Vida and John Holley. Pub. V.A. Holley. 1987. Page 204)

"On Tuesday last the Pentyrch Hounds met at St. Fagans for the purpose of turning out a bag fox.

There was a large assembly present, amongst whom we noticed a party from St. Fagans Castle. The fox was turned out by the grandson of the Baroness Windsor and after a good run in the open was brushed by J.P. Booker, Esq., Master of the Pentyrch Hounds, and the brush sent by him to St. Fagans Castle, to the young representative of the Clive family." (Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian 12.10.1866 page 5 col.4 quoted in Master of Hounds. Fred, Vida and John Holley. Pub. V.A. Holley. 1987. Page 210)

"In Abe Pattinson's days a similar joke was played at Howtown~this time against the huntsman. A fox had been so desperately run that he took refuge in a stick heap and was secured alive by J. Waugh and Atty Grisdale, who took it to Howtown Hotel. Several of the hounds had been kennelled and the huntsman was returning home with the remainder. Prompted by that spirit of devilment which reigns eternal in the hunter's breast, the two natives liberated their "bagged" fox at the back door of the hotel, and he immediately stole off in the direction of Steel End. Someone, however, acquainted Abe with what had occurred and he immediately cast off the remaining hounds afresh, and before the lapse of half-an-hour they had run reynard down. Shortly before being run down the fox turned and pluckily faced the leading hound with bared fangs but found the odds too great." (Reminiscences of Joe Bowman and the Ullswater Foxhounds. W.C. Skelton. Pub. Atkinson & Pollitt. 1921. Pages 118-119. [Abe Pattinson was the huntsman for the Ullswater, a Fell pack, from the creation of the pack in 1873 to 1879] )

"Probably all hunting men whose lot is cast in a country where game is preserved to excess know all about the bag-fox, and what sort of creature he is to hunt, but fields are in these days of such enormous size, and so many of the men and women who go out hunting care so little for sport as sport, that when a fiasco occurs with a bagman they are often none the wiser...........

In one good country, which for obvious reasons we shall not particularise, we were trotting on to a meet in company with the master, and never having been in the exact locality before, we interrogated him as to the likelihood of sport. He was not sanguine as to the morning draw, and candidly told us that hounds would probably find quickly, but that he doubted the capabilities of any foxes in those coverts he was likely to draw first. He had realised the situation exactly; hounds found a fox which ran three hundred yards, and when the huntsman picked him up he shook a shower of chaff out of his coat. A second fox ran from one little spinny to another a quarter of a mile away. He had a broken bit of rope round his neck, and hounds would not break him up. At a lawn meet in quite a different country we saw a quick find in some laurels, and what appeared to be a genuine, good-looking fox broke away in view of a big field. He crossed a small park, and slipped under a gateway into a stubble field, securing a capital start, but he was quite dazed, and ran twice round the little enclosure he found himself in, never making any attempt to leave. He had not only an old, rusty collar round his neck, but part of a label attached." (The Complete Foxhunter. Charles Richardson, (Hunting Editor, "The Field"). Pub. Methuen & Co. 1908. Pages 28-30)

 

"But some shooting tenants, though possibly sincere enough themselves in their attitude towards the Hunt, have little or no control over their keepers, who either risk their master’s displeasure and produce no foxes, or more frequently commit a worse crime and turn down a bag-fox whenever their coverts are being drawn........It should be remarked that the Master cannot blame a keeper for turning down a bag-fox if he himself, or one of his own servants, is also in the habit of doing so." (To Hunt the Fox. David Brock. Master of the Thurles and Kilshane Foxhounds sometime Master of the East Sussex. Pub. Seeley Service & Co. Ltd., 1937. Pages 37 & 38)

  • Benefits of foxes: "One good work the fox does is the snapping-up of diseased game as soon as it becomes at all feeble, and thereby preventing the spread of the complaint. In the Eastern Counties, and elsewhere, coveys of partridges are frequently seen afflicted with gapes, and, when flushed, individual birds drop exhausted at intervals along the whole line of flight. These birds linger on from day to day, spreading the disease, but if foxes existed there all but the most vigorous would be promptly destroyed, and their capacity for harm at once brought to an end, with ultimate benefit to the rest of the stock." (Game And Foxes. F.W.Millard, (Secretary to the Gamekeepers’ Association). Pub. Horace Cox. 1906. Page 107)
  • Caged foxes for hunting:

"Hearing hounds in front we pressed on and found them baying at a cage, which was placed in the middle of the covert in a tremendously thick place, and inside of which were two foxes~evidently ready for the draw which was to be made in a day or two. The hunted fox had probably gone on, but the master and one of his men were quickly on the spot, so that the situation was thoroughly grasped.

We have heard on what appeared to be absolutely reliable information that another pack of hounds came upon one of these cages in a big covert, and that, owing to the wire not being strong enough to resist their weight, they got inside, and quickly disposed of the half-dozen foxes which were being bottled up for future use. The story was told us by a master of hounds, and we have little doubt of its truth, because we have actually seen three of these cages~the one referred to above and two others." (The Complete Foxhunter. Charles Richardson, (Hunting Editor, "The Field"). Pub. Methuen & Co. 1908. Page 43)

  • Damage allegedly caused by foxes to:
  • Lambs:

"As regards foxes killing lambs, there is a great deal of nonsense talked and of misconception about it. That a fox will undoubtedly kill one, if it is very weak, or sometimes, when a ewe has two, will nip up one whilst she is defending the other, is a fact; but it is only when they are very small. The ewe is quite capable of defending her lamb.....In almost every case where a fox is found eating a lamb, it has been killed by a dog, and generally by a sheep dog; more often than not by the lamb’s own shepherd’s dog.....I do not say that foxes never kill lambs, but I say that such an occurrence is very rare.....We make a rule that no poultry shall be paid for that are not shut up at night......I have had claims for calves and cows killed by foxes, but they are too ridiculous to require any remarks from me." (The Badminton Library. Hunting. The Duke of Beaufort & Mowbray Morris. Pub. Longmans, Green, and Co., 1885. Pages 154-156)

"If here and there a fox does kill lambs the owner or his shepherd is often much to blame. A farmer generally establishes a lambing pen in the fields, and all the pregnant ewes are collected therein. As soon as lambs begin to appear foxes are attracted to the spot~and how? Why, simply by the cleanings or afterbirths of the ewes being merely thrown outside the pen instead of buried deeply out of the way. Either fox or dog will go miles for such fare as this, and the odour, which savours strongly of newborn lamb, attracts them from over a long distance. If a fox is encouraged in this way, is it to be wondered at that a lamb is stolen when afterbirths are no longer to be had? Were these disposed of properly, a fox would not consider it worth his while to visit the lambing fold.

The same remarks apply to the dead lambs of tender age, which the shepherd is too lazy to bury, for these, too, are generally thrown into some convenient ditch, or covert, where a fox can feed on them. In this way a liking for such food is engendered, and when dead lamb is no longer available, that alive has to pay the penalty. A farmer who permits his shepherd to leave dead lambs lying about is deserving of little sympathy should foxes attack his young flock.

Foxes are frequently blamed for killing almost mature mutton, when dogs are the real culprits; the latter feed on their victim and leave it, and a fox passing near is attracted to the spot and also enjoys a meal. The tracks of one or several foxes soon obliterate those of the dogs, and, as the footmarks of the former only are to be seen in the morning, foxes are at once condemned without further inquiry. A vixen, too, is sometimes considered guilty because a dead lamb is found near her earth, but it may be one she has found which a shepherd had neglected to bury." (Game And Foxes. F.W. Millard, (Secretary to the Gamekeepers’ Association). Pub. Horace Cox. 1906Pages 117-119)

"The question of lambs cannot be ignored, and there can be no doubt that at times a fox will kill and eat a lamb; one wonders why more do not go this way because it must be a comparatively easy way of obtaining a good meal. I feel that ravens and rooks do much more harm, while we all know that the domestic dog constitutes almost the greatest menace. However, it is fun to have a grievance, and bad luck, or bad management, must be put down to something." (Fox and Hare in Leicestershire. Eric Morrison, (Ex-Master, Westerby Basset Hounds, Joint-Master, Atherstone Foxhounds). Pub. Eyre & Spottiswoode 1954Page 23)

  • Pheasants:

"There is one thing the Hunt authorities often do which cannot be too strongly condemned, and that is the turning down of semi-tame foxes in a covert stocked with young game. This is done because such litters are on hand and the Hunt does not know what to do with them. Before now a litter has been released at night in a covert containing hand-reared pheasants just removed from the rearing field, and great destruction wrought before measures could be taken to prevent it.............Cubs which have been kept in confinement a few weeks and fed by hand become partially tame; their dread of man is not so pronounced as it is in the case of purely wild foxes, and being unaccustomed to get their own food such cubs venture lengths which an ordinary fox would not dare. In this case all the keeper’s efforts and carefully-devised scares are of little avail." (Game And Foxes. F.W. Millard, (Secretary to the Gamekeepers’ Association). Pub. Horace Cox. 1906. Pages 100-101)

"Another keeper, a well-known man in his profession, vouched that he secured the safety of his nesting game by performing on every cub a slight operation which utterly destroyed its scenting faculties. How he contrived to do this he could never be persuaded to divulge, but observation of the habits of his foxes certainly went to prove that something of the kind had been done." (Game And Foxes. F.W. Millard, (Secretary to the Gamekeepers’ Association). Pub. Horace Cox. 1906. Page 105)

  • Encouraging foxes for hunting:
  • Artificial earths:

"The artificial earth is now-a-days very often the accompaniment of the artificial covert, and we think it is just as well to make an earth in every new covert, if only in the hope that wild foxes may take to it in years to come. Artificial earths, however, are almost invariably made in order that they may form a home for hand-reared cubs, and though they are a horrible thing in themselves, there is undoubtedly a necessity for them in these days, where the fox is much interfered with in many districts, and would disappear altogether if he were not carefully cherished. It amounts to this, then, that it is wise to remove and hand-rear such cubs as will not be allowed to live if left where they were bred, and that being the case it is of course right to give the matter one’s best attention, in this case by imitating nature as nearly as possible. And writing of imitating nature what natural earth can compare with the elaborately planned artificial one that is now made? The wild fox lies up in a drain, in a rabbit-hole, or amongst the rocks, while the hand-reared cub has his "mansion replete with every modern sanitary convenience."" (Baily’s Fox-Hunting Directory. 1897-8 [Vol. 1] Pub. Vinton & Co. Ltd. 1897. Page 16)

"It should be borne in mind that an artificial earth is frequently the means of introducing mange into a country; that it provides a golden opportunity for a gamekeeper to turn down a bag-fox, for a dishonest huntsman to "doctor" a fox, and for poachers to steal one.

The diagram gives details of a satisfactory type of artificial earth. [Plan drawing shown~Ed.]

Having built the earth it is necessary to persuade foxes to use it, and the best way of doing this is to turn a litter of cubs into it and to leave them there until the earth smells thoroughly "foxy"~say for a month. It will be necessary to arrange a wire run for the cubs to exercise themselves, and to see that they are fed and watered daily. On no account must they be fed on meat, other than rabbits, rats, or birds. "Butcher’s meat" is very likely to introduce mange. For this reason, too, they should not be kept in the earth a moment longer than necessary....Should there be a natural earth in the immediate neighbourhood it should be destroyed, so that the foxes which would normally use it may be attracted to the artificial earth....If absolute quiet is observed a fox may often be bolted from an artificial earth if a strong electric torch is flashed up one pipe. This method is especially useful if it is thought that there are two foxes in the earth, for a sharp man can put down the grating as soon as the first is clear of the mouth; two hunts may then be scored from the one earth." (To Hunt the Fox. David Brock. Master of the Thurles and Kilshane Foxhounds sometime Master of the East Sussex. Pub. Seeley Service & Co. Ltd. 1937. Pages 58-60)

"I have been asked to say a few words about the upkeep of artificial fox-earths and coverts, which serve as a reservoir of foxes in those districts which would otherwise be insufficiently "foxed" to show consistent sport. I should like to say that the creation of man-made fox-earths borders too closely upon the "artificial" to suit me, for, although it is a comparatively simple matter to see to it that there are always foxes in them, it is nearly always necessary to bolt them in order to get a hunt. With too many artificial earths in a country, hounds get used to having foxes bolted for them and simply go to a holloa when once they are afoot. Very soon they get so used to having half their work done for them that they will not draw regular coverts well when it is necessary for them to do so. Moreover, such procedure comes perilously close to the evil practice of hunting a "bag-man." (Fox Hunting chapter by A. Henry Higginson in Youth in the Saddle, edited by Lt.-Col. W.E. Lyon. Pub. Collins 1955. Page 126. [A.H. Higginson was Master of the Cattistock Foxhounds from 1930-1939] )

"An artificial earth

I should be grateful for help over the making of an artificial fox-earth, please.-A.V. (Staffordshire)

A fox needs a space about 1ft. 3in. cube, but it can be larger. You can either dig a hole in a bank, or create a bank enclosing a cavity. Another way is to create a cavity with cordwood covered with sods, or use logs and earth. Indeed, any cavity with a bare earth floor, no matter how enclosed, will serve. It is said that a fox prefers only one entrance to the earth, but it is often found that if a second entrance is not provided (that is, an exit), the fox makes one." (Readers enquiry, The Field, November 29th, 1965)

"In countries where earths are scarce it is sometimes found necessary to make artificial earths, to provide somewhere for local foxes to have their cubs : in other words, for breeding purposes. Another advantage of artificial earths is that in grass countries where the coverts tend to be small and scattered it is useful to have snug earths judiciously placed at regular intervals, thus persuading foxes to take a good line. An additional advantage is that if an artificial earth is left open, it will only take a few minutes to bolt a fox. Also if it is a blank day, one knows where to go with some certainty of finding a fox.........In this book I only wish to touch on the subject, and to tell you what my grandfather had to say.

He felt that artificial earths should be primarily intended as breeding establishments, and so among the chief points to be borne in mind should be the aspect, position, soil, drainage and materials used for their construction." (Fox-Hunting. The Duke of Beaufort. Pub. David & Charles. 1980. Page 141)

"Barry drew again down Lansdale Fell, found, and hunted over to Mill Beck, marking to ground in "Porter’s Parlour".

Now I would have attempted the short climb to where they were digging, but a very interesting Mr John Gregg came and spoke to me and told me the history of "Porters Parlour". It is the largest man-made borran ever known, built about 30 years ago by Ronnie Porter. A maze of pipes and entrances exists..........The fox in Porters Parlour was accounted for, making a total of four foxes that day. On returning to the kennels, they were a terrier short, so went back to Porters Parlour, where a terrier was heard baying. It was then dug to, and the fifth fox of the day was added to the tally"

(Article by The Gaffer, "Spring Hunting In the Cumbrian Fells" Hounds magazine. Vol. 10 No. 1. November 1993. Page 28. [Refers to meet of the Blencathra Foxhounds, a Fell pack, Huntsman Barry Todhunter] )

".....there are artificial earths in almost every hunting county in England." (Jeffrey Olstead, British Field Sports Society spokesman for Cumberland Foxhounds, in the ‘Sunday News & Star’, Carlisle. 17/3/1996)

  • Feeding foxes for hunting:

"The method of building the horseshoe drain is not of great consequence, we think; stone flags, bricks or pipes, all answer the purpose, but perhaps the flags are best and cleanest, and least likely to generate mange. When the cubs are brought there they must be well looked after and fed, for in all probability they will have left their mother before she had taught them to look after themselves, and at first they are quite unable to find their own food. Rabbits, rats, beetles and birds of every description suit them best, but too much raw horse-flesh often causes mange, which is, with the exception of barbed wire, the greatest curse any hunt can have to face, and we mention this because, if the cubs are located within easy distance of the kennels, the man in charge, in order to save trouble, often secures his supplies from the feeder, and thus the cubs get surfeited with horse-flesh at a time when they are better suited by milder food. Besides which, too, horse-flesh causes the cubs to shirk hunting on their own account, and foxes who get into these bad habits always become pottering, ringing beggars, and often die the moment the food supply is stopped." (Baily’s Fox-Hunting Directory. 1897-8 [Vol. 1] Pub. Vinton & Co. Ltd. 1897. Page 17)

  • Stick-piles:

"Besides gorse coverts and osier beds~which latter are good covert, but are seldom made with a view to foxes only, and which can only be formed on certain lands~sticks are the most popular of artificial fox preserves, and these are becoming more numerous every year. There is something simple about a stick heap. Anyone can make one, and if he has chosen a good locality in a neighbourhood that is nicely "foxed," it is almost odds that his covert holds soon enough." (Baily’s Fox-Hunting Directory. 1897-8 [Vol.1] Pub. Vinton & Co. Ltd. 1897. Page 15)

"In order to bolt foxes from a stick-heap, a short ladder and some 8ft. poles should be kept at the nearest cottage or farmhouse. If these are left lying near the heap, they may tempt farm hands and others to disturb the foxes. To bolt a fox three or four men mount the ladder, and get on to the top of the heap. They then work in line towards the entrances, pushing the poles down through the thorns, and rattling them against the roots below.......Should a fox bolt early in the proceedings, the pole-men should at once get off the heap, as there may be another fox in the latter, and he may come in useful later in the day." (Foxes Foxhounds and Fox-Hunting. Richard Clapham. Pub. Heath Cranton Limited. 1922. Pages 103-104)

  • [Within the area hunted by the Thurlow Foxhounds based near Newmarket, 31 artificial earths and 16 stick piles have been identified to date. In addition 6 sites were found where hunt supporters put out food for foxes, contravening the 1992 Animal By-Products Order.]
  • Hunting does not control the fox population:

"This column, and quite rightly so, has often praised the efforts of the R.S.P.C.A. in various field but the attitude of the Society towards field sports has been equivocal to a degree which almost beggars belief. It professes to support foxhunting on the grounds that there is no more humane way of controlling foxes, when anybody who knows anything about the matter at all must be aware of the fact that foxhunting does not control foxes. The fact that foxes are flourishing as well as they are is due, in no small measure, to our hunts and, if you are a genuine conservationist, you should acknowledge their existence with thanks." (Jack Snipe article "Notes & Comments", Shooting Times & Country Magazine. 23/2/1967. Page 231)

  • Imported/moved for hunting:

"Reynard appears to have been originally divided into three distinct sorts, the greyhound, the bull-dog, and the cur-fox. The first is the wildest, stoutest, and fleetest, and is found in wild and mountainous districts. It is the indigenous species, and the best; hard to find, harder still to kill. Though now fast becoming extinct, he frequently leads the hounds many a mile up-hill and down dale, from dawn till dusk, ere his funeral chime is rung..............

The importation of foreign foxes is very great, and increases each year, from various parts of the Continent, and it may be safely averred, that if this were to cease, there would not be a fox in Great Britain in the next century, save in some of our extreme mountain fastnesses, or what may be strictly preserved. It is said that over one thousand are annually disposed of in Leadenhall market, the supply principally coming from Holland, France, and Germany. "Gastang," the well-known dealer, had once an order to stock a country in three weeks, and actually got seventy-five brace of both sexes and various sizes from the Continent and Scotland, charging twelve shillings and sixpence for the smaller, and fifteen shillings each for the larger ones.

The French fox has a long narrow head, rather long in the leg, and is not so bright in colour as our English fox. Russian foxes are blacker than ours, and shaggy in coat. Canadian foxes are very like ours. German foxes are grey in muzzle, more bluff and bull-head. Holland foxes are lengthy, with ears like donkeys, and thick brushes. So with all this variety of foreigners, which of course get intermixed, it is difficult to say what description of animal we really have now, and well might an eminent M.F.H. exclaim, that foxes are sadly changed now, and that there are few stout and straight foxes to be found." (Horn And Hound in Wales and some adjoining Counties. Edwin Wathen Price. Pub. Daniel Owen and Company, Limited. Undated but believed to be 1895. Pages 45-46)

"Among these enemies of fox-hunting, the man who has become suddenly rich, who has been reared in towns, and cares little for the ancient interests and traditions of the countryside, and especially that of fox-hunting, is too often in evidence. He is too old, too soft, or has too little nerve to acquire the difficult art of riding to hounds; but he can and does acquire a certain amount of skill in shooting. He spends money lavishly in rearing pheasants and providing big "shoots"; his wealth, his magnificent entertainments, his holocausts of game, bring him quickly the friends and the paragraphic notoriety that he desires. In the opinion of this class of person, wild foxes and foxhounds have no business near his coverts, and his keepers take good care that his private ideas are carried out. It is true that this type of pheasant preserver dare not plainly declare himself the bitter enemy of the fox-hunter. Public opinion, of which he has a wholesome dread, would not at present tolerate such an open avowal. But the wild fox knows his woodlands no more, and miserable imported beasts, kept in hand and turned down periodically against the coming of the hounds, are offered in its place. From these imported foxes, confined in some filthy kennel till they are foul with disease, has been spread the fell plague of mange, which nowadays devastates whole districts and threatens even to exterminate wild-bred foxes altogether. In some countries foxes have become so scarce from the ravages of mange that even masters of hounds are compelled to import fresh stock and turn them down. These importations again are, from confinement, often liable to disease, and are very poor substitutes for the aboriginal wild fox of the district." (Nature and Sport in Britain. H.A. Bryden. Pub. Grant Richard. 1904. Pages 140-141)

"That dread scourge, mange, seldom makes its appearance on the fells, and was unheard of until the importation of foxes from outside introduced it. There is no more horrid sight than a badly manged fox, hairless, and foul with disease." (Foxhunting on the Lakeland Fells. Richard Clapham. Pub. Longmans, Green and Co., 1920. Page 37)

"In the old days there were some very big foxes on the fells, but now the breed has somewhat deteriorated owing to an admixture of outside blood, introduced by foxes imported to countries bordering the fells." (Sport on Fell, Beck, & Tarn. Richard Clapham. Pub. Heath Cranton Limited. 1924. Page 24)

"To All Masters.

CONFIDENTIAL

MOVEMENT OF FOXES

May I once again draw your attention to the allegations which have been made in Parliament and the Press to the effect that foxes are being moved from one part of the country to another for the purpose of restocking hunting countries.

As was the case last year, it is absolutely essential that hunts should avoid all traffic of this sort. If our opponents, who are extremely watchful and active, are able to prove that such movements are in fact going on, untold damage would be done to foxhunting which rests more than ever on the goodwill of the Government and Parliament.

I feel certain that all Masters will be aware of the seriousness of this matter and take all the necessary precautions to see that nothing occurs which may jeopardize the future of foxhunting.

FOXES AND POULTRY

May I also remind you of the circular which was sent out on the 2nd March, 1946 asking Masters to co-operate with the War Agricultural Executive Committees and the local branches of the National Farmers’ Union so as to ensure that foxes do not become too numerous in any part of the country and that if complaints are received, prompt action is taken.

I would emphasize that the future of foxhunting depends to a very large extent on the willing and co-operative spirit with which this advice is carried out even if it means using unorthodox methods for the destruction of foxes.

The recent long spell of hard weather, has, as you will appreciate, added considerably to the difficulties of the situation.

Beaufort. Chairman." (Letter from Masters of Foxhounds Association. Dated 13th March 1947)

"CONFIDENTIAL

MOVEMENT OF FOXES

In spite of the fact that both in 1946 and 1947 a notice was sent to all Masters, warning them that any movement of foxes from one part of the country to the other was highly undesirable, and that should specific instances come to the notice of the M.F.H. Association’s Committee, they would feel compelled to take the strongest action against offenders, our opponents have continued to assert that this is going on. Even the R.S.P.C.A. in a circular which was issued in connection with the recent introduction of two anti-sport Bills, spoke of foxes being transported from one place to another.......

Should it be necessary to move cubs because of complaints of losses of poultry or other reasons, you are asked to comply with the recommendation made in paragraph 40 of the constitution rules and recommendations of the Association. (Signed) Beaufort. Chairman" (Letter from M.F.H. Association dated 31st March 1949)

"Soon after I came, Sir Evelyn Wood was Commander-in-Chief. I used to meet him very often out riding with the old Duke of Cambridge when I was exercising hounds. He’d always stop, and ask about the hounds. He was very keen on the beagles, and used to come out hunting with us often. He was the first to import foxes into Aldershot. He got a lot down from Scotland and kept them in an enclosure in the Government House grounds. In the early part of the season, when the Garth Hounds were going to hold a cubbing meet anywhere near, he used to get us to bring the beagles to hunt the foxes out of the Government House grounds to spread them about the country. On one of these occasions we hunted one from Government House to ground at Fleet Pond, three and a half miles away. Sir Evelyn wasn’t at all pleased. He thought we ought to have stopped them."(Fifty Years A Kennel-Huntsman. Part I The Reminiscences of Eli Cranston, Fifty years the Kennel-Huntsman of the Aldershot Command Beagles and Draghounds. The Field October 30th 1937Reproduced from The Merry Beagler, The Journal of the Army Beagling Association. April 1965 No.6 Page 19)


"Dear Sir,

We write to draw your attention to the digging out and taking alive of fox cubs by a member of the Tickham Hunt footpads, on Sunday, 21st April 1974.

I should like to know what you propose to do about it.

Yours faithfully. M. Davies. Secretary" (Letter from League Against Cruel Sports to the Secretary of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Chipping Norton, dated 24th April 1974)

"Dear Dick,

.................I have been in touch with the Secretary of the Tickham on the question of this fox digging, and it appears that the man who did the job had no connection with the Hunt other than the fact that he happened to be a Member of the Supporters Club and was not in any way acting for the Hunt, and they do not know what has happened to the cubs.

Yours ever, J.E.S. Chamberlayne, Lt-Col., Honorary Secretary." (Letter from M.F.H. Association, Chipping Norton to Sir Richard Goodwin, British Field Sports Society, London. Dated April 29th 1974)

"Australia received the blessing of the fox, for sporting purposes, and the lesser blessing of the rabbit to feed the foxes." (Article by Colin Willock, Shooting Times & Country Magazine, May 23-29, 1974. Page 10)

"There are plenty of foxes on the island which were introduced from the mainland in the last century along with the badger, both of which are thriving..................................The Hunt dates from 1845, when foxes were imported into the island and a pack of foxhounds established by a few gentlemen, of whom Ben Cotton was the leading spirit, Henry Nunn assisting him. John Harvey, of Marvel, supplied the kennels." (Baily’s Hunting Directory 1997-1998. Entry for Isle of Wight Foxhounds. Page 81)

  • Survival prospects for foxes in absence of hunting:

"Then, in May 1965, Mr Goschen founded and registered his own pack to hunt country loaned by the Chiddingfold and Leconfield and Cowdray Hunts in Hampshire and West Sussex. Some of this region had not been hunted for 50 years but there were plenty of foxes in residence." (Shooting Times & Country Magazine, January 9-15, 1975. Page 13 [Foxes can survive well without hunting] )


Foxhunting.

  • "Blood":

"Masters and huntsmen hold widely different views on the subject of blood. There are few that do not agree that it is essential for a Pack to be in blood, but it is on the subject of what "being in blood" is that they differ. Many will say that hounds are out of blood if they take the field on three consecutive days without killing a fox; others say that the magic period is three weeks, and so on...................

Personally I am of the opinion that, for blood to do hounds any good, they must have it when they have their hackles up. To eat a fox out of a sack in cold blood, or to lie curled up at an earth for a couple of hours, then to have a half dead fox thrown at them, does hounds remarkably little good." (To Hunt the Fox. David Brock. Master of the Thurles and Kilshane Foxhounds sometime Master of the East Sussex. Pub. Seeley Service & Co. Ltd. 1937. Pages 251-252)

  • Bolting foxes that have sought sanctuary from the hounds below ground:

"It is as a rule wise to bolt a fox from a drain, even if he has afforded you a fast, straight run, because certain drains are veritable death-traps to foxes. When hounds have been trotted away to fresh covert, somebody can be left to do the job, and it may mean the saving of one or more good foxes to the Hunt." (Foxes Foxhounds and Fox-Hunting. Richard Clapham. Pub. Heath Cranton Limited. 1922. Page 108)

"CONFIDENTIAL.

BOLTING FOXES.

At a meeting of the Committee of the Masters of Foxhounds Association held recently consideration was given to the Report of the Committee on Cruelty to Wild Animals with special reference to Rule 18b of the M.F.H. Association.

You will have observed that the Committee on Cruelty to Wild Animals expressed the view that if a fox goes to ground he should either be dug out and killed at once, in accordance with M.F.H.A. rule 18c, or left where he is (M.F.H.A. Rule 18a). The Committee of Enquiry however expressed the view that M.F.H.A. Rule 18b, which allows a fox to be "bolted and given a fair and sporting chance of escape" is needlessly cruel and should be prohibited. The Committee of the M.F.H.A., whilst they do not propose to alter at present Rule 18b wish to draw particular attention to the finding of the Committee on Cruelty to Wild Animals, and to say that it is desirable to comply with them as closely as possible. With this view it is strongly recommended that the practice of bolting foxes which have been run to ground should be kept to a minimum.

Your Committee thinks that very often Press accounts of particular hunts give rise to the impression that a fox has been bolted several times, and they would be grateful if care may be taken in the wording of reports which are sent to the Press. Beaufort. Chairman" (Letter from M.F.H. Association, 19/10/1951)

"I have been known to get quite hot under the collar when someone has interfered when a fox is about to bolt for besides upsetting the plan it is unfair on the terrier who has probably already worked quite hard to get his fox out. My most memorable occasion when this happened almost cost me my job for I was, at the time, doing terrier work for a pack on the Welsh border.

Hounds had met at a really big country house and the "Lord of the Manor" was an eighty year old ex-Master~an arrogant old son of a bitch and as big a snob as one could possibly find. Hounds found immediately in a big old spinny near the house and after a short circuit of the property they marked to ground within three hundred yards of the meet.

It was a three hole earth but about twelve feet deep and I could see it would be a difficult dig....I asked the master to take hounds well back so that I could try for a bolt.....I slipped a little bitch, a cracker for bolting a fox....five minutes passed, then ten, but I was sure of a bolt....just then this old boy from the big house came ambling down the field with an even older looking terrier under his arm. I waved to indicate to him to keep back, or at least out of the line of fire....I shouted at him to keep back but as he reached the stream he threw the dog across and as the dog landed, so the fox came to the entrance, saw both the dog and the old man, and did a quick about turn back into the earth....I literally screamed at the master to get the old fool out of the way, swearing at him and leaping across the stream to tell him what I thought of him. I could hear the fox lay hold of my bitch as he turned back at her, which sent me into more of a rage....I shouted to the master to take hounds on as there was no chance of a bolt now and he would probably not see me again that day as, thanks to the old idiot, I was now faced with a long and difficult dig.....

I netted the holes and, leaving one man to watch them, set about trying to find the terrier....After about three hours we were down to the sandstone but although the bitch could now be heard quite plainly, it would have taken a jack hammer to make an impression on that rock.....We would have to tunnel between the two layers of sandstone....By eleven thirty that night I was just about done in and I had only gone in about ten feet or so....I decided to call it a night and, lifting the nets, I left my coat on the top hole and drove the two hours home.....The next morning, with my brother to help, I got back to the earth at nine o’clock....the old bitch was still baying away steadily so I reset the nets and started to dig into the tunnel once more.....we got lucky and broke into a pipe that led directly to the bitch....She was lying on her back baying upwards, for the fox was directly above her. It would take several hours to reach her so I decided to call her back and try another terrier that might get hold of the fox....I released Cooper, with lots of encouragement to send her on her way. She hit the fox like a train and, taking an instant firm hold, started to draw. Actually, she had gone in and then up a couple of feet to reach the fox so she was now really swinging in mid air, her back end six inches from the floor, jerking like mad to try to pull the fox away from his elevated position....The old man from the house brought us tea and sandwiches....Half an hour later Cooper had not made any progress, just swinging there, jerking so we just had to tunnel in to reach her. By late afternoon I had managed to get near enough to reach her and I got hold of her, helping her by pulling with her. The first bit of pressure saw the fox come with a rush and if I had not blinded him with the torch, which halted him for a moment, I reckon he would have been over me and away, even with the bitch holding him, for he was as big as an alsation and just as strong. I got him by the scruff with my free hand then, dropping the torch, got a leg, by mistake, with my other hand and before I could change my hold he got me, fair across the hand.

The next few minutes were murder as my brother dragged me back by my boots, fox, terrier and all and we shot this very big specimen, still gripping me like a vice. And all that just because the old man had interfered at the crucial time!" (Article "Silence is Golden" by Eddie Chapman, Earth Dog ~ Running Dog. No. 20. December 1993. Pages 12-14)

  • Cubhunting:

"URGENT

Your Committee was recently called upon to investigate allegations that cubs which had been marked to ground by the Bedale Hounds had not been killed before being given to hounds, as they should have been in accordance with Rule 18(c). The Master, Captain H. Farrer, admitted this to be true and that the foxes had in fact been drawn by hounds before being killed.

Under these circumstances, and in view of the fact that after a previous incident in October, 1947, all Masters were warned that if any similar case was brought to the notice of the Committee in the future the membership of the Master concerned would be terminated and official recognition withdrawn from the Hunt, your Committee had no alternative but to terminate Captain Farrer’s membership of the Association......Beaufort Chairman" (Letter from M.F.H. Association dated 2nd February 1949 [Baily’s Hunting Directory 1997-1998, page 12, reveals that Capt H L Farrer was Master of the Bedale Foxhounds from 1946-49 and again from 1950-53. From 1953 an unnamed Committee took over] )

"The object of cub-hunting is to educate both young hounds and fox-cubs. As was said earlier, it is not until he has been hunted that the fox draws fully on his resources of sagacity and cunning so that he is able to provide a really good run....I try to be out cub-hunting as often as possible myself, and the ideal thing is for the Master to be out every day....Never lose sight of the fact that one really well-beaten cub killed fair and square is worth half a dozen fresh ones killed the moment they are found without hounds having to exert themselves in their task. It is essential that hounds should have their blood up and learn to be savage with their fox before he is killed." (Fox-Hunting. The Duke of Beaufort. Pub. David & Charles. 1980. Pages 68-69)

"Memorable Day With Hounds

Sir, Two years ago we went cub hunting in Northumberland with the West Percy Foxhounds. It was, by nine o’clock, a beautiful sunny morning, about a dozen of us were standing on a road, leaning against a wall, looking over a grass field towards a covert where hounds were.

Suddenly out of the covert we saw a fox cub coming towards us at a steady trot, and heard a rather feeble cry, which emanated from a young puppy ~ who resolutely followed the cub. We all stood motionless. The puppy came within a yard of the cub ~ who turned round ~ snarled and raised a foot. The puppy sat down and scratched his ear and the cub resumed its trot towards us and the wall. Following the cub for several yards, the puppy stopped and looked back where he had come. He seemed undecided whether to hunt on or return to the pack. He looked again at the retreating cub and then galloped back to the covert.

We shall never forget the lovely sight of these two young animals eyeing each other with curiosity. The cub, on reaching the wall ran along it until he came to a gate through which he passed, crossed the road and entered another cover."

(Readers letter. Hounds Magazine. Volume 5, No. 1. November 1988. Page 37)

  • Digging out of foxes:

"It should be a standing order that, except where there is a likelihood of the fox digging farther in, he should always be kept in the earth for the hounds to draw~if it is decided to kill him. Nothing teaches hounds to mark so well as drawing their foxes, and at the same time the spectacle, so distressing to many, of a fox being thrown to hounds, is avoided.

If a fox is to be killed, but for some reason cannot be drawn by the Pack, let him be eaten at the earth, or near it. The practice among certain Masters of pretending to give a fox which they intend to kill a "sporting chance" (having first given instructions that he is to be so interfered with that he cannot possibly escape) deceives but few of the Field. If the Master decides that, for one reason or another, that particular fox must die, he should have the courage of his convictions, and not have to resort to attempts to deceive his Field into believing that he means to give them a hunt........

If it is necessary to throw a fox to hounds it is as well to do so when as few people as possible are looking. If necessary the Pack can be trotted quickly and quietly away to some secluded spot, and the fox be eaten before the Field and foot followers have realized that they have gone.

The terrier man and the other hunt servants must be warned that they should exercise the greatest care that no action of theirs can be construed as an act of cruelty. There is, unfortunately, no doubt that much unnecessary suffering is caused to many foxes during the various stages of a dig, much to the detriment of Foxhunting and of Field Sports at large. That these acts of cruelty arise from pure thoughtlessness and familiarity cannot be denied, but, nevertheless, they are quite rightly and quite naturally much resented by many of the followers and chance onlookers." (To Hunt the Fox. David Brock. Master of the Thurles and Kilshane Foxhounds sometime Master of the East Sussex. Seeley Service & Co. Ltd. 1937. Pages 276-277)

"TO ALL MASTERS OF HOUNDS.

VERY URGENT

On October 3rd, a letter was published in the "Oxford Times" which alleged that a fox, marked to ground in a drain by the Bicester Hounds (South) had been ejected with drain rods, caught in a noose made from a whip and broken up by hounds. Certain other details were given which were denied by the Master, but the fact remains that the instructions laid down in the Association’s rules for dealing with foxes which have gone to ground and must be killed, were not complied with. The fox was not destroyed before being given to hounds.

As this is the first case to be brought before the Committee’s notice since the adoption of this rule, they have refrained from taking disciplinary action, though the Master has been very severely warned and reprimanded. It should, however, be very clearly understood that should any similar case be brought to the notice of the Committee in future, the Master’s membership of the Association will be terminated and official recognition will be withdrawn from the hunt concerned.

It is most unfortunate that such a case should be brought to the notice of the Committee at this time when foxhunting is on its trial and when opponents are exerting every effort to bring it to an end.

There is no doubt that full use will be made of the incident to damage the sport in the eyes of the general public and we simply cannot afford a repetition.

Masters are, therefore, requested to ensure that their hunt servants are not only made fully aware of the rules governing the digging out of foxes but also that they carry them out to the letter.

(Signed) BEAUFORT Chairman" (Letter from Masters of Foxhounds Association. 13th October 1947)

"To all Masters,

IMPORTANT

It was recently reported to the Committee of the M.F.H. Association that on January 19th 1952 a fox having been marked to ground by the Bramham Moor was dug up to and drawn by hounds, and subsequently another fox in the same earth was also killed by hounds, neither having previously been destroyed, as laid down in para 18(c) of the Association’s rules. After due enquiry, these facts having been established, the Committee decided that the membership of Mr. T. Paisley, the Joint Master who was responsible on this occasion, should be terminated forthwith......Beaufort Chairman" (Letter from Masters of Foxhounds Association dated 9th April, 1952. [T.L. Paisley was joint Master at this hunt 1948-52] )

"On 27 October, the Mail on Sunday published an ‘exclusive’ story that a spy or ‘mole’ representing the League Against Cruel Sports had been taking video pictures of recent cubhunting operations by the Quorn, who were, in one instance, allegedly breaking Masters of Foxhounds Association rules....

The video film appeared to show one fox being shot in a hole while being held by the terrierman, and another being pulled from a hole and thrown into a hedge, then apparently running headlong into the pack of hounds which immediately killed it. The latter manoeuvre was described as a case of ‘throwing the fox to the hounds’, although anyone with long experience of foxhunting could see that this was not the intention; it appeared to be a botched attempt at bolting the fox.......

The MFHA Committee, chaired for twenty years by Captain Ronnie Wallace viewed the nine minute video film issued by the League. Afterwards the Committee announced that it took ‘a very serious view of the contents’ and required the Quorn Masters and Hunt staff concerned to attend an inquiry.....

On 14 November the MFHA held a Committee of inquiry, and heard evidence from the former Quorn Masters, the Chairman, and huntsman Michael Farrin. The verdict and penalties were the stiffest ever handed out by the Association in its one hundred and eight years. The Committee decided that the Masters had breached rules one and five. ‘The Committee found that a fox had been handled in such a way that it should have been destroyed and not hunted further’ said the MFHA statement.

Rule one is that already quoted above. Rule five contained a provision that members of the MFHA had to bind themselves to abide by its rules and instructions. The two senior Joint Masters, Joss Hanbury and Barry Hercock, were expelled from the MFHA for four years before they could re-apply for membership; the two junior members, who had only been in office since 1 May that year, were expelled until the start of the next season, 1 May 1992." (Foxhunting in Paradise. Michael Clayton. Pub. John Murray. 1993. From pages 97-103)

"The fox had gone to ground....It was time for the terriers.....the old bitch was slipped into the tunnels....From above ground we could hear the terrible fighting below us. The screaming of dog and fox was only partly muffled by the layers of earth and rock that separated us from it. The noise moved for about ten minutes around different parts of the earth and then went quiet. The huntsman, the whipper-in and the followers stood listening in silence as a lark rose from the moorland grasses round us.

Then the huntsman said, "All right, that’s us then," and headed back downhill. It was just before nine in the morning. "But what about your dog?" I said to the terrier man as we walked down. "Oh," he said, "that’s all right. It’ll either be dead and the fox will be eating it, or the fox’ll be dead and she’ll be eating the fox. Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be back home in a couple of days, once she’s slept the whole thing off." And so, I gather, she was." (Article by Adam Nicolson describing incident following a meet of the Blencathra Foxhounds, A Fell pack. Sunday Telegraph Magazine. August 17th 1997. Page 46)

  • "Doctored" foxes:

"When I went as huntsman to the North Shropshire Hounds I took on the most difficult job of my life. The huntsman I succeeded had been there eleven seasons, and was very sore about turning out, consequently it was not easy or made easy for me to take over....A difficulty I had to contend with and try to stamp out was "doctored foxes," which had just about ruined the hunting capabilities of this pack. It was no secret in this country that for many years it had been a regular practice to drop "touched up" foxes at every opportunity. Any fool can show sport (of sorts) under such conditions, but it is not fox-hunting. I whipped-in to eight professional huntsmen and I never once knew them touch a fox up in any way. A farmer, who lived near a big wood in the North Shropshire country, told me that it had been arranged for him to drop a "doctored" fox his end of the wood at a signal from the huntsman as he put in at the other end. On that occasion they found a genuine fox at once and the farmer timed it just about an hour later when they hit the line of the fox he had dropped. They hunted this fox for over two hours and killed him.

One of the best hunts seen in this country was from Long Plantation, the fox being killed near Lacon Gorse, about a thirteen-mile point, but a certain man saw him turned out of a bag. I once said to this same man : "Have you ever seen any good hunts from the Wrekin?" He replied : "Oh, yes, but we used to bring one and drop him in the gorse a few fields below and had several topping hunts, always killing at the end....A first whipper-in at the time (now huntsman with a well-known Yorkshire pack) told me the very first morning they went cub-hunting they were hunting a good litter of cubs when an old fox, which the huntsman (a young chap in his first season), had arranged to be turned down, was holloaed away, ran about a five-mile point and was killed. About a couple of hounds dead beat got to the end, the rest were all over the country, it being a hot day. This pack had marvellous sport all this season, splendid hunts, catching their foxes day after day. It was a dry, bad scenting year in most countries. The whippers-in with this pack even had bottles with "Tallyho" printed on and the necessary mixture inside for doctoring the foxes. Hounds continually hunting artificially "scented" foxes soon lose their sense of smell for the genuine article, also it gets them absolutely mute." (Thirty Years A Hunt Servant. Jack Molyneux. Pub. Hutchinson & Co. 1935. Pages 225-230)

"......all would be well with both fox-hunting and fox-preservation if attention had not been drawn to another deplorable custom within the last few years. I refer, of course, to the ‘doctoring’ or ‘doping’ or ‘scenting’ of foxes with various compounds such as aniseed or turpentine or disinfectant.....What is the use of keeping foxes if one can be obtained by closing up any drain or earth and then be dropped before hounds after being treated in such a manner that its chance of escape is negligible?

I do not think that hounds will break up a fox which has been rubbed with aniseed or paraffin or ‘doped’ with gin with the fury and the gusto that they would a clean run fox, if indeed, they will break him up at all." (Fox~Hunting. William Fawcett. Pub. Philip Allan. 1936. Pages 54-55)

  • Fell hunting:

"Sheep farming is, of course, the staple industry of the dales, and in connection therewith are various sports and junkettings. In the autumn there are shepherds’ meets at various specified centres where sheep which have strayed from different districts are returned to their owners. This business being transacted there comes pleasure. A fox hunt and a dance are usually the great social functions of a shepherds’ meet." (Article, Sporting Life in a Cumberland Dale, by "Dalesman". The Badminton Magazine of Sports & Pastimes. Pub. E. Hulton & Co. Ltd., July-Dec 1911. Page 490)

  • Kill. What of claims that it is an "instant nip to the back of the neck"?:

"Amber, a wire-haired terrier, bred from Mr Russell’s celebrated old Devonshire strain, and a great-granddaughter of his famous old Tip, would face any wet drain, and would swim for miles....One season she bolted a large fox from a drain under the road near Thornhill, and hanging tight to his brush, she was dragged over a field and to ground in a rabbit-earth before the hounds could get up. She quickly had the fox out again, and he made a meal for the eager pack outside." (With Hound And Terrier In The Field. Alys F. Serrell. Pub. William Blackwood and Sons. 1904. Page 74)

"Another puppy which distinguished itself by a single-handed encounter with a cub was Sapient (1889) by the Hon. Mark Rolle’s Bajazet. Sapient met a cub face to face on the ride in Holtham, and as the fox jumped to one side to avoid her, she jumped and caught it by the under part of the body. They both rolled over together, but the hound would not release her hold....A curious incident happened during cub-hunting at Inwood. In the field just outside the wood a young hound named Mayfly, a draft from the Ludlow kennels, got hold of an old dog-fox and was viewed having a desperate fight. Hound and fox stood upon their hind-legs snapping and biting at one another, but with very little noise. At last Mayfly got a firm hold of the fox’s nose, and rolling him over, stood shaking him until some more hounds came to her help and he was despatched." (With Hound And Terrier In The Field. Alys F. Serrell. Pub. William Blackwood and Sons. 1904. Pages 228-229, chapter on the Blackmore Vale Hounds)

"Hounds still hunting well, they continued on to Weston Mead Farm where they worked up to their fox and rolled him over, but somehow he managed to get away. Hounds now ran at a great pace crossing the canal bridge on College Farm and into the Whaddon Chase country.........over the hill onto Mr North’s farm at Wing Park. Here the fox doubled back onto Miss Packer’s Farm where scent gave out."

(Article "From my Hunting Diaries" by Jim Bennett in Vale of Aylesbury Hunt Magazine, Summer 1990. Page 8. [Jim Bennett spent 34 years as Huntsman to the Old Berkeley Foxhounds and the Vale of Aylesbury Foxhounds. The incident mentioned occurred from the meet at Weston Turville, 3/1/1961. The condition of the fox after surviving this 2½ hour hunt in which hounds ran 12 miles is unknown] )

  • Political:

"TO ALL MASTERS OF HOUNDS

In these days when the general public is labouring under many restrictions including the loss of basic petrol, it is very essential that the impression should not get about that foxhunting is an exception.

Although of course there is no truth in such a suggestion, I feel very strongly that large gatherings of horse boxes, cattle trucks etc. (mostly hired), are very apt to convey that impression, with consequent complaints, letters to the papers and questions in Parliament.

Will Masters therefore please give instructions that horse boxes must not be brought to the Meet, but if they must be used, that they are left at nearby farms........Signed BEAUFORT Chairman" (Letter from Masters of Foxhounds Association, dated 18th December 1947)

"STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

LEGISLATION TO CONTROL FOXHUNTING.

Your Committee has good reason to believe that strong representations are being made by Animal Welfare Societies and others to the Government Committee enquiring into cruelty to wild animals, urging them that if they will not recommend the total abolition of Foxhunting and other sports they should recommend that their conduct should be strictly controlled by legislation. This would include the enforced use of a Humane Killer for destroying foxes which have to be dug out, the prohibition of the movement of foxes, etc., etc.

Obviously legislation of this nature would be most objectionable and lead to all kinds of supervision and meddling prosecutions carried out at the instigation of our opponents. It is therefore being made quite clear to the Committee of Enquiry that the Committee of the Masters of Foxhounds Association is itself in a position to ensure that Foxhunting and everything incidental thereto is carried out in the most humane way possible.

Under these circumstances your Committee feel that they must insist that as soon as they become available all Hunts shall acquire, carry and use whenever possible, a Humane Killer for the destruction of foxes which have been marked to ground and have to be killed.......Beaufort Chairman"(Letter from Masters of Foxhounds Association, dated 6th June 1950)


Germany.

  • Resurgence of foxhunting after the Second World War, by the British Army of the Rhine [BAOR]:

"It is of much interest that hunting by the B.A.O.R. is now so well established that various Regimental Packs formed since the Second World War have now appointed their own Masters of Hounds Association. The Duke of Beaufort has agreed to become their President, and Colonel H. Tilney, O.B.E., will be Chairman. Thus hunting in the B.A.O.R. will be controlled in the highest English tradition. Germans will be welcomed to their meets." (Baily’s Hunting Directory 1950-1951. Pub. Vinton & Co. Ltd 1950. Preface)

"3rd Hussars (B.A.O.R.)

The pack was formed in 1948....................While residing in Schleswig-Holstein the pack hunted foxes, but on moving to Munster were compelled to change to hare by the inaccessibility of foxes....

Warman Hunt (B.A.O.R.)

Foxes are hunted......The Warman Hunt was founded in 1945-46 by Brigadier H. Cumming-Bruce, D.S.O., and Capt. T. Russell, M.B.E." (Baily’s Hunting Directory 1950-1951. Pub. Vinton & Co. Ltd. 1950. Pages 361-363)

  • Why there is now no such animal hunting with dogs in Germany:

"Royal Engineers (B.A.O.R.)

The pack was formed in 1951..............With the advent of German Sovereignty in 1955, the Hunt had to cease fox-hunting, in order to conform with German game laws, and now follows a drag.....

Wessex Hunt (B.A.O.R.)

This pack was formed in June 1950............Until 1953 hares and occasionally foxes were hunted. Owing to opposition from German shooting interests it has become necessary to confine activities to a Drag.........." (Baily’s Hunting Directory 1957-1958. Pub. Vinton & Co. Ltd. 1957. Page 233)


Hare Coursing.

  • Cruelty of the coursing season:

"Please Stay Our Coursing Season

Dear Editor

Many lurcher men and women travelled down to Hyde Park to show the world we are true sportspeople who care about our dogs and are thoughtful about our quarry and the environment.

These same men and women wouldn’t consider running stubble hares and leverets who have no chance of escape from a collie mongrel, let alone a specially bred coursing machine.

We have no need to boast of our dog’s prowess by killing weak hares and, because of the wet summer season, late bred leverets.

May I make an appeal to other coursing people and clubs who didn’t attend the rally? Please stay your season until the middle of October at least, to give these leverets a chance to grow into the beast that will give a sporting test to any halfway decent dog.

Please don’t undo all the good we have achieved this year. Let us all stand together and show the general public that we are not mindless morons with no respect for anything." (Letter from A.R. Stainton, (Chairman, East of England Lurcher Club). The Countryman’s Weekly. August 22nd 1997 page 25) [See below]

"NATIONAL COURSING CLUB FIXTURES 1997-98

September : 25 Altcar : October : 2/3 Old Yorkshire; 6 Kimberley & Wymondham; 8 North Herts

9 Yeovil & Sherborne (p); 11 Sherburn Farmers, Sportsmans; 15 Coquetdale (p); 15/16 Altcar" [Of these the only meeting checked, that at Altcar near Liverpool on September 25th, went ahead]

"NORTH DEVON BEAGLES

Sat., Aug. 30 Spanhead At 2p.m." (Meet advertised West Somerset Free Press Friday August 29th, 1997)

  • Hare shortage:

"(b) Coursing Committee

Mrs. Shennan reported a good season of coursing despite the shortage of hares." (British Field Sports Society. Minutes of a Meeting of the MAIN COMMITTEE held 23/7/1974 at 11.00a.m. in the Council Chamber, National Farmers’ Union, Agriculture House, Knightsbridge, London S.W.1., page 4)


Hares.

  • Advice to hunt followers not to sympathise with the hare:

"In hunting, whether it be of fox or hare, every follower should identify himself with hounds’ aims and give his entire sympathy to them. If he allows himself to sympathise with the hare, his pleasure in the chase will be neutralised and he might as well go home at once." (The Art Of Beagling. Captain J. Otho Paget. Pub. H.F. & G. Witherby. 1931. Page 217)

  • Bagged hares for hunting:

"Wyndham Lewis’s Harriers at Brean, 1862-63 Season.

"This pack of harriers met on MR. SPERRINGS land at BREAN on Friday. As this was the first regular meet of the season, there was a good field, forty horsemen were present. After a good lunch, the hounds were set on, and a fine hare was soon found, a few fields from the farmhouse. Scarcely was the view "hallo" given than the hare bounded away to the "warren" where she sought shelter in a rabbit burrow. She was, however, speedily dug out of her retreat and BARRELLED for a "nest egg". A second hare was soon started by the merry pack, but got clear off to BERROW.

The captured hare was then let loose, and afforded some excellent sport, leading the hounds at a rattling pace towards the railway, and then turned off to the right through brake and briar. After a splendid run this hare was killed."" (Cardiff Times 14.11.1862 p.5 quoted in Master of Hounds. Fred, Vida & John Holley. Pub. V.A. Holley. 1987. Page 154)

  • Kill delayed in order to provide better "sport":

"It is probably better to have a good hunt of an hour or 90 minutes, rather than over match the hare and pull her down in 20 min." (Horse and Hound. November 7, 1980)


Hounds.

  • Disposal of:

"When asked the secret of his success, the greatest hound-breeder of all time, Lord Henry Bentinck, replied laconically, "I breed a great many; I put down a great many." His were the highest of standards, and even if he put down many hounds for the slightest fault~hounds that, with patience, might have proved themselves~Lord Henry did prevent what he thought were indifferent hounds from begetting their kind."

(Come and Hunt. The Hon. Charles Willoughby. Pub. Museum Press. London. 1952. Page 144)

"And how are you going to start drafting your hunting hounds? It has been said, somewhat humorously, that you should place a man behind a tree with a gun and tell him to shoot the leading two couples and the tail two couples, and there is something to be said for it!.......Before the war, in Leicestershire, a hound was regarded as too old to keep at five seasons." (Fox and Hare in Leicestershire. Eric Morrison. (Ex-Master, Westerby Basset Hounds, Joint-Master, The Atherstone Foxhounds). Pub. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1954Page 119)

"One has to breed more than one requires and must therefore, get rid of the worst. There is neither the room nor the money to keep them all and you cannot carry passengers of any sort. Babblers and hounds that have got too slow must be drafted or put down. They are very often the same individuals." (Hunting Notes. A monthly discourse from behind the scenes by Tremolo. Shooting Times & Country Magazine. October 3rd, 1963. Page 1166)

"Mr Boyles, 50, who has been a huntsman since he left school, takes puppies into the kennels at Exford, Somerset, [Devon and Somerset Staghounds] for training at about 12 months. "If for some reason they are not suitable for the hunt by the time they are two they are put down," he explained. "Perhaps two or three couples~that’s four or six~each year don’t make the grade."

And out of nearly 140 hunting staghounds, between 10 and 20 are replaced each year.

"Their toes tend to go flat or their stifles (hind legs) get a nasty twist," he said.

"In some cases the dogs simply lose pace."............The staggering death toll of 12,000 a year is accepted by the British Field Sports Society. Publicity officer Robin Mackenzie agrees that the 458 hunts in Britain, including Northern Ireland, replace an average of 28-30 dogs a year.........." (Man of the People special investigation, by Alan Ridout. Sunday People. March 24, 1985. Page 5)

  • Indifference to hounds by hunt staff:

In July, masters spend a few days in Northumberland organising meets with the help of the large green book which has been compiled and updated over the years and carries details of all the landowners whose permission must be sought. It also contains a brief paragraph on the temperament and bete noir of each farmer coupled with a final prescription for damage limitation. Masters are recommended to keep a stock of whisky so that a bottle may swiftly be produced in the event of an unforseen disaster. Rumour has it that 10 years ago, a master who shall remain nameless, left Northumberland half a couple short with the order: "If you see the thing, shoot it."" (article The Trinity In Hares’ Heaven. Stephanie Hirsch-Miller, ex-Master Trinity Foot Beagles [Cambridge University Pack]. The Field. Sept. 1997. Page 50)

  • Killing each other:

"Even a domesticated dog will often go for another, which you are chastising. Hounds much ‘more so,’ and they will even kill one of their number in kennels if not minded. A pack has been known to break up one of the pack in the actual course and excitement of a run when their blood was up, and when, for example, the unfortunate victim has fallen back from a wall, hurt." (English Sport. Captain H.F.H. Hardy. Pub. Country Life Limited. 1932. Page 23)

"Another hound that I had years ago was called Waggoner ‘32~....He had a brother called Watchman ‘32 who was killed and broken up in kennel. The whole pack had been moved to other kennels for a fortnight, and there was not as many lodging rooms there as in the kennels at home. Watchman who lodged with the bitches at home, was put with the dog hounds, with this awful result.....I knew he was for it if the dog hounds got a chance at him, because I had seen them ‘setting’ him as he lay on the benches........The only thing to do if you see this is to move that hound if you don’t want a tragedy in the kennel." (Fox and Hare in Leicestershire. Eric Morrison. (Ex-Master, Westerby Basset Hounds, Joint-Master, The Atherstone Foxhounds). Pub. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1954Page 45)

  • Killing and eating hunt staff:

"One more tale of this Worcestershire M.F.H., which Captain Hubert Berkeley tells me is true. John Parker met the Berkeley hounds on the Broadway side of their country and borrowed a hound from Colonel Berkeley (afterwards Earl Fitzhardinge), who was the Master (1807-57), for stud purposes. The story goes that the fool of a kennelman put this strange hound in with the dog-hounds and in the night they set on him. The second whip, Tom Pitt, heard them and hurried in to stop the fighting. He did not put his kennel-coat on, and the hounds set on the poor fellow, eating all but some of his limbs and the Squire of Spetchley and his groom carried such remains as there were to Spetchley Churchyard.

There is a tradition of a similar happening in Northumberland. Whilst a brother of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, Dauphine de France, lost his father-in-law, Don Philip of Parma, who fell from his horse in the woods of Colorno and was torn to pieces by his own hounds."

(Hound, Horse, Hoof and Turf. Tom Andrews ("Gin and Beer"). Pub. Ebenezer Baylis. 1934. Page 97)

"I mentioned that Lord Lonsdale’s Sergeant was savage. This reminds one of the various hunt servants reputed to have been eaten by their hounds! Believe this or not, as you will, but there is evidence that the K.H. of the Worcestershire Hounds went into them one night in his nightgown and was promptly eaten! This case is, I believe, quite authentic and extremely bad luck on the huntsman!" (Fox and Hare in Leicestershire. Eric Morrison. (Ex-Master, Westerby Basset Hounds, Joint-Master, The Atherstone Foxhounds). Pub. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1954Page 65 [K.H. refers to Kennel Huntsman] )

  • Killing and harming sheep:

"It is not far from Hurlstone Point, on the sunburnt sheepwalks near East Myne, that a great outbreak of sheep killing by the pack took place in recent years, and caused the early demise of many promising young hounds." (Staghunting with the Devon and Somerset 1887-1901. Philip Evered [He was Secretary of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds]. Pub. Chatto & Windus. 1902. Page 261)

"There is one temptation to which fell hounds are more liable to fall than low-country hounds, i.e. sheep worrying. It may be a wild, windy day, and hounds are on a catchy scent, and eager to be pushing on. No one is near them, and perhaps a young hound happens to view a solitary Herdwick sheep scurrying off. He gives chase, pulls down the sheep, and his example may be followed by several others. When this happens the huntsman is reluctantly forced to put down the culprits, no matter how short of hounds he may be at the time.

Although, luckily, such a contretemps as the above seldom happens, it is always liable to happen with certain young hounds. Death is the only cure for a hound which takes a liking to mutton on the hoof, for he can never be thoroughly trusted afterwards." (Foxhunting on the Lakeland Fells. Richard Clapham. Longmans, Green and Co., 1920. Pages 59-60)

"In 1908 there was almost an epidemic of sheep-worrying amongst hounds. How it started is not known, but the Ullswater hounds were smitten like the rest. There was nothing for it but to pocket sentiment, deal out the most drastic treatment, and destroy the guilty (and, which is often but too true, some of the innocent). One of the quietist hounds amongst sheep that ever ranged a mountain breast, Towler, a worthy descendant of Old Towler and almost as clever, was embroiled in the excitement, and was one of the ill-fated nine to pay the extreme penalty for indiscretion."(Reminiscences of Joe Bowman and the Ullswater Foxhounds [A Fell pack]. W.C. Skelton. Pub. Atkinson & Pollitt. 1921. Page 101)

"Hounds go wild, eat sheep alive

Four lambs were eaten alive after a pack of hounds taking part in a fox hunt went wild among his flock, a West Wales farmer told a Lampeter court yesterday. Altogether 26 lambs were massacred.

The master and huntsman of the Vale of Clettwr Hunt farmer Mr. Trefor Owen Jones (38), of Dancapel, Bancyffordd, Llandyssul, was fined £5 and £10 10s. advocate’s fee after pleading not guilty to being in charge of dogs which worried sheep on farmland at Drefach Llanybyther......

Mr. Lloyd told the magistrates that on March 11 he had about 286 young lambs on his 150 acre farm.

About midday his sheep started bleating and running up towards the farm. He saw a pack of fox hounds hunting on land adjoining his farm. Mr. Lloyd said, "While I was watching the dogs some riders came down a nearby lane at full gallop like a pack of Indians.

I was very distressed to find a pack of hounds out at that time of year and I was concerned about the young lambs. I called to the master to call the dogs away from my land but they didn’t take any notice of me and kept urging the dogs on." said Mr. Lloyd.....

He said he had again asked the master, Jones, to keep away from the sheep but Jones replied that his were a registered pack and had a right to go anywhere." (Western Mail news report 27/5/1967)

  • Spread of disease by hounds in the countryside:

"An inquiry into the causes of liver damage in lambs......

The lamb slaughter records of a large private abattoir showed that a small minority of farms had a lamb liver rejection rate exceeding 40 per cent. Small sheep farms were most likely to have high rejection rates and farms producing both lambs and pigs had relatively high lamb liver rejection rates. In a farm survey statistical analysis showed that the spreading of pig slurry, access to the grazing land by hunts and the infrequent use of dog cestocides were factors significantly linked to high lamb liver rejection rates..............

Foxes were present on all farms, with most flock owners’ considering that they had ‘lots’. Most were sceptical about the value of hunts for controlling foxes. A fox-shoot at lambing time was a popular method of control at a critical period. The recorded incidence of 6 per cent infection of T. hydatigena in foxes (Hackett and Walters 1980) could presumably only come from scavenging sheep carcases as it is unlikely that a fox would kill a lamb old enough to have the larval form C. tenuicollis. This throws suspicion on the claim by farmers in the survey that they are meticulous in disposing of carcases properly. The occurrence of gid. caused by the larva of Coenurus cerebralis, on some of the high incidence farms adds further evidence to this suspicion.

All but one of the high incidence group of farms were hunted over by hounds as compared to half of the low incidence group...Four farmers in the latter category forbade hounds to come on to their land as they thought that they spread disease, although they were uncertain as to which ones.......

Seven packs of foxhounds, two of stag hounds and two of beagles were identified as using the land of the 40 farms visited. All but one, which was a private farmers’ fox hunt, fed the hounds on uncooked raw meat and offal.

All the hunts were aware of the potential presence of tapeworms in their hounds. More concern was expressed about the effect the tapeworms might have on the hounds rather than the possible effects of subsequent infestation of farm livestock with the larval stages of the parasite.

The hounds were wormed on average three times annually (range 2 to 12 times). The cost of modern anthelmintics was of concern to most hunts and three still used the old-fashioned purgative cestocide, areca nut powder.

The success of the worming procedures was not evaluated but tapeworm segments were observed in the faeces, even in hounds wormed every two months." (Report by P.G.H. Jepson and M.H. Hinton. The Veterinary Record May 24 1986 from pages 584-586. Vol 118)


Hunting ethics.

  • General:

"In winding up these Reminiscences, and in speaking of my sporting inclinations yet existing, supposing that I had a domain of my own, I think that at my present time of life I should feel as much or more pleasure in rearing, taming, and taking care of birds and animals, and of affording them rest and enjoyment around me, than I should have in active pursuit of their lives. Landseer’s beautiful picture of "The Forester’s Family" should have a living illustration at my door; where, though I might still kill the fat stag or buck at the right season, as well as the "yeld hind," or "dry doe," and the "aver," or "hevier," as it is vulgarly called, between the seasons of the male and female deer, still my chief amusement and pursuit would be in nursing and rearing heaven’s creatures, rather than in their chase and destruction;......." (Reminiscences of a Huntsman. The Honourable Grantley F. Berkeley. Pub. Edward Arnold. 1854, 1897. Page 320 [Grantley Berkeley was Master and Huntsman of the Oakley Foxhounds from 1829-1834. He was MP for West Gloucestershire for 20 years] )

"Sport has no sympathy with cruelty, though the latter may possibly be inseparable from its performance, but a real sportsman ever regrets the pangs, that he would willingly avoid causing, if possible, and does his utmost to lessen them." (Reminiscences of ...The Course The Camp The Chase Colonel R.F. Meysey-Thompson. Pub. Edward Arnold. 1898. Pages 25-26)

It is up to this coming generation of this British people to see that sport is kept clean and free from unnecessary cruelty. A huntsman loves and ‘lives with’ his hounds so much that he makes every effort to catch their fox~but the fox must be given a fair chance. It is not sport to put aniseed at the mouth of a fox’s earth so that he gets it on him as he leaves the earth~nor to put a fox in a bag and let him out in front of hounds." (English Sport. Captain H.F.H. Hardy. Pub. Country Life Limited. 1932. Pages 13-14)

"All field sports unfortunately are cruel; we cannot get away from that fact; but it is always the aim of every true sportsman to render them as little cruel as possible." (My Fifty Years Of Sport. Major Charles Van Der Byl. Pub. Arthur H. Stockwell, Ltd. 1937. Page 9)

"Sir, May I, at the threshold of the 1982-83 foxhunting season, crave the courtesy of your columns to express concern about certain ethics of the sport?

As a foxhunter who enjoys days with a dozen or more different packs a season in every quarter of Britain I have been impressed by the universal increase in the size of hunt supporters’ clubs. Not only do most of these clubs raise substantial amounts of money to present essential equipment and facilities for use in their kennels and stables~as all the hunts so warmly appreciate~but they are also significant of the grass-root support for foxhunting throughout the country.

On the other hand their enthusiasm is often in conflict with moral and sporting principles. Clearly the burgeoning of the clubs has produced a considerable growth in the "terrier-and-spade brigade"; and in many countries, when a fox goes to ground, there is often a race to see who can get their terriers first to the earth. Since the clubs are good to the hunts, many Masters and huntsmen indulge them. The result in most countries, is a great deal more digging. This is very often done in the twilight or by torchlight, when hounds have returned to kennels; and it is rarely carried out in accordance with MFHA guidelines let alone done in a humane way.

The increase in size of the hsc has also resulted in a proliferation of "amateur" earthstoppers, men who are sedulous in blocking up holes, but who have no intention of unblocking them at the end of the day; so that one hears stories, not once but time and again, of foxes shut in and starving to death.

Foxhunters used to be a more sporting fraternity. While fully acknowledging the need to control fox numbers in some instances, they honoured the "good" fox that got away; they approved of digging only if there were strong complaints about marauders by local farmers, or if the fox gave them a very short run; and provided the dug fox was disposed of as speedily as possible with the humane killer. Foxhunters used to take pride in "giving Charlie a sporting chance". Now the motto seems to be "the foot followers must have their sport, too".

It seems to me a great shame that now, when foxhunting has so many enemies, and we are endeavouring to present an image of fairplay and humaneness, that there is greater callousness than ever before.

In these days of short Masterships, mostly composed of juntas, there is less authority in the hunting-field at a time when more than ever is required.

I know of several young people who have been put off the hunting field by the sight of excessive digging and indiscriminate earthstopping. That does not augur well for the future of the sport." (Letter from J.N.P. Watson to The Field published 27/10/1982 [An entry in the Guiness Book of Records reads "Between 1968 and 1989 J.N.P. Watson hunted with 267 packs of foxhounds, staghounds and harehounds in Britain, Ireland, USA and Europe." ] ) [See below]

"I have always disliked the digging and bolting of foxes. Ideally, for me, the sport should be concluded when the fox, eluding the pack, finds a refuge. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, witnessing an excessive amount of digging, I attributed this partly to the growth in membership of hunt supporters’ clubs. It seemed to me that foot followers, raising large amounts of money through a variety of fund-raising events, were demanding their little bit of extra sport in terms of terrier work. I sensed that this was getting out of hand and a letter of mine expressing these sentiments, though couched in very moderate terms, was published in The Field in October 1982. The vehemence of the response was quite extraordinary. The chairman of the British Field Sports Society wrote me the most vitriolic letter I have ever received in my life, while the chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association demanded to see me immediately. If I had any complaints to make, he said, I was to make them through him. Let those who follow me be warned: the fact that you are set up as a spokesman for hunting does not mean you have the liberty of free speech!" (Blue & Scarlet. An Autobiography. JNP Watson. Pub. The Sportsman’s Press. 1990. Page 107)


Hunt havoc:

  • Hounds:

"Hunt chaos on M1

Two hounds after a fox caused chaos on the M1 yesterday. Drivers skidded and one crossed the central reservation to avoid the hounds from the Oakley Hunt, Bedfordshire. Police said : "It’s a miracle no one was killed."" (News report, Daily Mail, October 23rd, 1970)

"HOUNDS DIE: Five foxhounds of the Warwickshire Hunt were killed by an express train at Chipping Camden as they were in full pursuit of a fox yesterday. The other 17 couples of hounds and 40 members of the hunt continued with their sport after the train was delayed for 20 minutes. The fox got away." (News report, Guardian, November 23rd 1972)

"FOX HUNT HOLDS UP AIRLINER

As a jet airliner approached to land at Gatwick airport yesterday members of Surrey Union hunt careered after a fox crossing the airport. Air control spotted the danger and warned the incoming plane. The aircraft circled. Meanwhile the fox slipped across the runway to escape and the hunt turned away. Col Barry Girling, hunt secretary, said later: "We didn’t get too close."

Told that a jet had been delayed Col. Girling said: "Country sports were here before jets, old boy.""

(News report, Sunday Telegraph, February 4th 1973 [Col. Girling was Hunt Secretary from 1964-84] )

  • Violence:

"Horse-whipping a hunt saboteur is rather like beating a wife. They are both private matters." (Comment by Tim Asplin, Joint Master Essex Union Foxhounds [1976-1984] following incident at his hunt November 27th 1976, quoted in HOWL No.8 Spring 1977)

  • [Many have been beaten for trying to save the lives of hunted animals. Some have died at hunts. Michael Hill was killed 9/2/1991 protesting against hare hunting at the Cheshire Beagles. Thomas Worby was killed 3/4/1993 protesting against foxhunting at the Cambridgeshire Foxhounds.]


Illegal Bloodsports.

  • Cockfighting:

"Perhaps~it is a delicate subject~it would not be amiss to wind up with a reference to that legally-extinct sport, cock fighting, which is~dare I say it?~still in full swing in Cumberland. Cock fighting~as compared to the barbarous and abominable rabbit coursing, let us say~is not a cruel sport, though it is illegal whilst the other is not. The cocks themselves no unprejudiced person can doubt thoroughly enjoy it; indeed, it is a very difficult matter to avoid impromptu cock fights if you keep game fowls." (Article, Sporting Life in a Cumberland Dale, by "Dalesman". The Badminton Magazine of Sports & Pastimes. Pub. E. Hulton & Co. Ltd., July-Dec 1911. Page 494)

"EIGHT MEN who placed bets on cock fights, in which the birds fought "vicious and bloody battles to the death," were yesterday fined a total of £5,750. They were arrested after police and RSPCA officials raided the kennels of the Wheatland Hunt at Eardington, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, on June 16.

They found six dead birds in a plastic bucket in the "cockpit" where straw bales had been arranged to form a ring. Pictures of fighting cocks decorated the walls...........

The cockpit was in a corrugated shed next to the home of Terence Richmond, who was then the kennel huntsman for the Wheatland Hunt. There was a calendar giving details of contests going back to April, 1981." (News report, Western Morning News 20/8/1985. [Terry Richmond was Kennel Huntsman and Whipper-in at the Wheatland Foxhounds, 1974-1985, he went on to be Huntsman at the West Somerset Vale Foxhounds from 1987 to 1995] )


Minkhunting

  • Cruelty:

"The TV film the League Against Cruel Sports released DID show a live mink being thrown to hounds.

The man who did it ~ Peter May, a professional terrier man with the Three Counties Mink Hounds from the West Midlands ~ was dismissed....The three joint masters were reprimanded." (Arlin Rickard, Master of the Devon and Cornwall Mink Hunt writing in the Sunday Independent. August 7th 1983 [This refers to an incident that occurred when a terrier was used to extract a mink from a hole following the meet of the Three Counties Minkhounds at Ketford Bridge on September 4th 1982. Ian Coghill, a Joint Master who was present on the day, was at the time Conservation and Education Officer for the British Field Sports Society. Ian Coghill was a Master of the Three Counties Minkhounds from 1977-1988] )


Miscellaneous

  • "Blood Sports?":

"TO ALL MASTERS OF HOUNDS.

CONFIDENTIAL

NOT "BLOOD SPORTS" PLEASE.

.....Some years ago our opponents coined the term "BLOOD SPORTS" to cover those sports which they wish to bring to an end. They did this deliberately because they knew the term had the great advantage of suggesting to townspeople in two words all sorts of unknown horrors.

Unfortunately many sportsmen have themselves adopted this term and from newspaper reports which we receive it is often used in public by Masters of Hounds and others.

May we please appeal to you not to use this term or give it any encouragement. The sports for which we stand have for years been called by one word "SPORTS", but if they are to be qualified we suggest that the term "COUNTRY SPORTS" or "FIELD SPORTS" is used.........." (Letter from J. W-Fitzwilliam, Secretary. British Field Sports Society. Dated 4th November 1947)

  • Foxhunting:

"Several foxes were soon afoot in the thick gorse however and John Smith viewed one away downwind back towards the lough. Eamon got hounds on, but the pilot very soon got to ground.

Terriers were some time in coming as car followers were the wrong side of the wind for hearing. A quick dig followed and two foxes were dispatched. Eamon had a brush for Clarissa and a fox’s tongue, which he intends pickling in vinegar and using to cure warts and draw thorns." (R.C. writing under the caption "Westmeath face run of poor scent" The Irish Field. 7/12/1991 [Refers to Westmeath Foxhounds] )

  • Political:

"Baroness Mallalieu (below) heads a group of celebrity Socialists cautioning the Labour Party on the folly of continuing hostility to country sports...............

Ann Mallalieu QC was elevated to the peerage in 1991. The former grammar school girl and daughter of a Labour MP began riding at six and hunting with the South Oxfordshire at 10.

Her marriage to Timothy Cassel, also a QC, was on condition he took up hunting too and now their daughters Bathsheba, 12, and nine-year-old Cosima, are ardent followers in their hoofprints." (Article, Adella Lithman Reporting. Horse and Hound, February 10, 1994. Page 8)


Otterhunting.

  • Hunting:

"An otter is a sufficiently formidable beast of chase, and the terrier that has to tackle him must be a hardy and high-couraged one; no creature, in fact, knows better how to use its teeth than an otter, and the unaccustomed spectator will do well not to try to "tail" or otherwise meddle with one of these animals in the course of the hunt, if he values his fingers. "Tailing" an otter~that is, seizing the beast by his tail and flinging him to the hounds, or turning him, is an operation of extreme nicety, and only old hands know how to achieve it successfully." (Nature and Sport in Britain. H.A. Bryden. Pub. Grant Richards, 1904. Page 255)

"Dear Member,

The going is tough, but that is nothing new in our daily lives........What can you do? Well you can double your support of this hunt by coming out more days than you ordinarily would, by supporting the social functions, and giving generously to the cap which we will take this year for the BFSS Fighting Fund. You can demonstrate that you are proud and unashamed of your sport. Hunters and Otter hunters in particular have been conservationists for longer than most can remember and long before conservation became a weapon of those who wish to stop our pleasure.

We have got a jolly good little pack of hounds with this years puppies of our own breeding being entered for the first time since 1968. Please help me to find water for them to hunt.......

Help me to kill a few otters this season and I think that next year we will shake the pessimists by showing just how many there are about. We have been keeping a low profile for too many years now, and there is nothing quite like a pack of hounds that is catching otters, to show sport every day we go out. I am taking steps to bring this about, belated perhaps, but I realise that successful hunts don’t just happen, they are made by their members and masters................Good hunting Charles Corner"

("Message from the Master" by Charles Corner, Master Eastern Counties Otterhounds [1974-76], Spring 1976)

  • Political:

"CONFIDENTIAL

Otterhunting

Thank you so much for your letter of 31st October and for giving me your own personal views in confidence at the same time alerting me to the rumours which you say are circulating among otter hunters in Wales.

Any rumour that the BFSS is planning "to sacrifice otterhunting to save other sports" is quite untrue. It is both unfounded and uncharacteristic............

Speaking personally, I would never give up a field sport without using every devise to protect and retain it. We expect to have quite a battle on otterhunting in the next session of Parliament and we shall have to play that as best we can, depending in what way it comes up........" (Letter signed MRK to a Master of Foxhounds in Oswestry, dated 8th November 1976 [Marcus Richard Kimball was Chairman of the British Field Sports Society at the time] )

"(j) Otterhunting Committee

The Chairman reported that efforts to protect the otter were likely to be made in Parliament. The BFSS would oppose any legislation directed at otter hunting." (British Field Sports Society. Minutes of the Meeting of the Main Committee held on 9th December 1976 at 11.30a.m. in the House of Commons, London S.W.1. Page 6)

"Let me warn you that if any attempt is made to add the Otter to the list of protected animals, my friends and I in Parliament will argue every clause in the Bill over and over again and add every other animal and extraneous reforms so that the proposal will eventually be talked out." (Marcus Kimball, M.P. for Gainsborough [now Lord Kimball] and at the time Chairman of the BFSS talking at the Otter Conference held by the Joint Otter Group 22/6/1977 reported in HOWL No.9 Autumn 1977. Page 1)

  • [From 1958 to 1963 the 11 otter hunts in England and Wales, according to their own records, killed 1,065 otters between them]


Political.

"Dear Humphrey

I am reluctant to add to your problems at the moment but I am extremely uncertain about one aspect of Margaret as our leader. My personal view is very minor and I would never do anything to undermine the Conservative party.

I must consider the 1.6 million members and associates of the Field Sports Society. We have had for many years a "special relationship" with the Conservative party at constituency level, the House of Commons, and within your office. We had support from Ted and active encouragement in our tactical battles and help in a major way from Willie and you under Ted continued this support.

Before the 1970 election Margaret voted for the abolition of coursing and made it clear to me that she felt our vote on that night was an error. We appreciate that this was the eve of a general election.

We now face a very different situation ~ country sports are to be legislated against one by one year after year.

I hope Margaret will allow our special relationship to continue and will agree to stand by any tactical successes we may achieve in either House.

An undertaking on those important matters would make it much easier for me to continue as always, to obey and receive your whip. Yours ever, Marcus. " (Letter from Marcus Kimball M.P. [Chairman BFSS] to Humphrey Atkins M.P., Conservative Chief Whip, 12/2/1975, printed in HOWL no. 12 Spring 1979)

"You may remember suggesting to me last week that a good way of getting at Margaret Thatcher might be through her sister Mrs Cullen about whom some newspapers had written.

I thought the best way of doing this was probably through the Master of the local hunt and by chance I met Guy Aldous, master of the Essex and Suffolk at a Press Lunch in Ipswich last Friday. I showed him the Daily Telegraph cutting and asked him if he could "put the ferrets in". He has written me two postcards fully covered on both sides and I have reduced them to a rather long looking document photocopied from the post cards. I hope you can read it but it will explain what steps he has taken.

I have of course acknowledged and asked him to let me know what follow up there is from his contacts.

With best wishes" (Letter from Sir Richard Goodwin, Secretary British Field Sports Society, to Lord Margadale, TD, JP dated 28th February 1975, printed in HOWL No. 12, Spring 1979 [Guy Aldous was Master of the Essex and Suffolk foxhounds from 1967-76] )


Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals. [R.S.P.C.A.]

"(c) R.S.P.C.A. Council:

The R.S.P.C.A. Council are very embarrassed by the activities of the Reform Group as it is threatened by them. It is important that as many as possible be persuaded to join the R.S.P.C.A. from the hunting fraternity, The MFHA have agreed to help as much as possible." (British Field Sports Society. Minutes of a Meeting of the MAIN COMMITTEE, 22nd March 1973 at 11.30 hours in Committee Room 5 at the House of Commons, London S.W.1. Page 5 [MFHA is the Masters of Foxhounds Association] )


Staghunting.

  • General:

"19. The study produced clear-cut scientific results. These show that lengthy hunts with hounds impose extreme stress on red deer and are likely to cause them great suffering. The hunts force them to experience conditions far outside the normal limits for their species. These stresses are at least at the same level as for severely injured deer and usually last for hours in the case of deer which are killed and much longer in those that escape. We could not judge, for the latter group, the likely extent of recovery but this does not efface the reality of the suffering caused. Moreover, the potential for such suffering occurs with every hunt.

20. The alternative of shooting red deer, already accounting for most of the culling on Exmoor and the Quantocks, produces on average much lower levels of individual suffering. Thus, I estimate that 130 hunted deer that are killed each year by the Hunts and roughly a further 100 that escape will experience unacceptable levels of suffering whereas only seven or so of the 130 at present killed by hunting would have such problems if they were shot.

21. I conclude that the level of total suffering would be markedly reduced if hunting with hounds were ended. Hunting with hounds can no longer be justified on welfare grounds, taking into account the standards applied in other fields of animal welfare...." (The Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Culling Red Deer. Report to the Council of the National Trust. Professor Patrick Bateson, FRS. 1997. Page X)

  • Hindhunting:

"It is almost unnecessary to say a word with reference to the proverbial agility of the deer. ‘Nimrod’ thus adverts to a remarkable leap taken by a hind under difficulties, at the time when the late Lord Fortescue was the Master of the old stag-hounds. "I was shown," he says, "a leap which a hind had taken last season, before the pack, when close at her haunches, after a long run, and not more than ten minutes before she sank before them. What makes it more extraordinary is, that on being paunched, a calf was taken from her almost able to stand."" (Notes on the Chase of the Wild Red Deer. Charles Palk Collyns. 1862, Pub. Alston Rivers Ltd., 1907. Page 155 quoting article in "Sporting Magazine" Oct., 1824. Page 42)

"At first the hinds will perhaps run round and round in a most exasperating way, and many days are marred by the hounds changing on to fresh deer when their hunted one is more than half beaten; nevertheless the sport is often first-rate. Especially is this the case after Christmas, as by that time the calves are able to take care of themselves, and a mother when pressed by the hounds will leave her offspring and go straight away, instead of ringing round to the place where she hid the little one under a bush in the morning." (Fur, Feather, & Fin Series Edited by Alfred E.T. Watson. Red Deer. Pub. Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912. Page 238-9. Stag-Hunting section by Viscount Ebrington, Master Devon & Somerset Staghounds 1881-87)

  • [Hinds are hunted November, December, January, February. With the rut occurring in red deer in October the hinds are pregnant the whole time they are hunted.]
  • Kill:

"1789~The spring hunting was attended with two rather unusual circumstances. On April 27th, Horner Wood was drawn with the pack (a very imprudent practice, as the following account shows). They soon found, and after running the coverts half an hour by Stoke Pero Church for the open; before reaching Alderman’s Barrow, a dense fog came on, the hounds were lost, and two days after the head and part of the carcase of a fine old stag was discovered on Exmoor, evidently killed and eaten by the hounds..........

May 4th~The meet was Porlock. Soon found in Park Brake; the hind at once faced the open country, and such was the pace over Exmoor, that no horse could live with the hounds; the consequence was, that before any of the sportsmen could catch them, they had killed and eaten their deer."(Notes on the Chase of the Wild Red Deer. Charles Palk Collyns. 1862, Pub. Alston Rivers Ltd., 1907. Pages 171-172)

"........here the pack bayed him as he stood on a rock for safety, but in a few minutes obliged him to seek other quarters. He now leapt down about four feet on to the ledge of another rock, where it was impossible for the hounds to get at him; no doubt thinking himself safe, he lay down exhausted. Several foot-people attempted in vain to reach him; eventually, by throwing stones at him, he was driven off, and made a bound for the beach, a distance of sixty feet; he so injured himself that he could not go to sea, and was easily captured. This chase lasted three hours and a half, the hounds got blood as they deserved... ." (Notes on the Chase of the Wild Red Deer. Charles Palk Collyns. 1862, Pub. Alston Rivers Ltd., 1907. Page 234 [describing outcome of opening staghunting meet at Brendon Barton, August 15th 1855] )

"Fresh found their hind, ran her on to Tennerleigh, pointing for Westland Pound, but turned left near Whitefield allotment, and again to the left over Wollhangar, killing her in the dark in Farley Water, high up in the combe. Not a soul with them." (Staghunting on Exmoor. Hon. John Fortescue. Pub. Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1887. Page 271 [Describing end of hind hunt from Doone Valley. November 15th 1884] )

"Occasionally a stag is lassoed, and so taken, but as a rule some one or two men go up to him in the water when his attention is distracted by the hounds and take him literally with finger and thumb.........The stag must of course be approached from behind, as it would be certain death to attack him in front. His horns must be seized when his head is laid back and jammed down on to his shoulders. He is then powerless, and may be dragged ashore if there be men enough for the work, or thrown and stabbed to the heart there and then. The strength in a stag’s neck is enormous, and a very old stag has been seen to hurl two strong men who handled him injudiciously, far in front of him. It is rare for men to be hurt by a stag, though two men were roughly handled by a very savage one in 1883." (Staghunting on Exmoor. Hon. John Fortescue. Pub. Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1887. Pages 159-160)

"One often hears complaints about this modern motor boat method of taking the stag, but when I first hunted on Exmoor the Pollards and Perkyns of the Weir went out on these occasions in a row-boat. It often took a very long time, first to get out to the swimming or floating stag~they float as easily as they swim~ and then secure him, generally by tying the legs and somehow getting him into the boat, so bringing him in alive.

I never liked this method. A fast motor boat, notwithstanding the adverse criticisms I have heard from time to time, is a much more humane and quicker way of ending the life of a hunted deer~which we should never forget must end on the day he is harboured and hunted if it can possibly be accomplished~than by chasing a powerful swimmer with only a pair of oars.

Immediately the motor boat gets to him a rope is slipped over his antlers and the boat goes ahead at full speed for a minute or two. This pulls the stag’s nostrils under water and he is drowned in a very short space of time, or, unable to struggle, one knife-thrust can be accurately made and so kill him instantly.

Tying the legs and getting a tired stag into a row-boat was not pleasant and a very spun-out operation, whereas the motor boat reaches him immediately and puts him out of action in a few seconds without any further struggling or fighting.

I fail to see the argument that to use a motor boat is "an unfair advantage" and that the old-fashioned row-boat was more sportsmanlike. It might look it but it certainly was not so, for it dragged out the hunted stag’s last moments for a much longer period of time. The quicker a huntsman can kill his quarry when once it is at the final bay the better, and the same action applies when a stag goes to sea.

Every hunting man or woman wants this done. Very few of us, anyhow, enjoy seeing a kill, and the people who seem to like most this necessary part of hunting are the foot people who always seem to collect from nowhere on such occasions, and who press on the hunted animal in his last moments, sometimes hindering the huntsman in his work much more than do the riders." (Exmoor. The Riding Playground of England. Cecil Aldin. Pub. H.F. & G. Witherby. 1935. Pages 81-82)

"It is astonishing how deer will often loiter about in front of hounds, often to their own ultimate undoing, presenting a very different picture from that of the terrified creature fleeing in dread for its life conjured up by the sentimentalist. That there is a bad ten minutes at the last is undeniable, but we all have to face that sooner or later." (The Fairest Hunting. Hunting and Watching Exmoor Deer. H.P. Hewett. Pub. J.A. Allen & Co., 1963. Page 45)

  • Staghunting:

"CERTAIN PERIODS ARE FIXED for hunting wild red-deer; being, for the warrantable hart, from the 20th of August to the 31st of September [sic], both inclusive; after which, he is so weak from rutting, as to be unfit for sport." (British Rural Sports. Stonehenge (Editor of "The Field"). Pub. Frederick Warne and Co., 1868. Page 132)

"To-day the deer are numerous and the stags are not hunted until they are at least four years old. There is a summer and autumn stag-hunting season: no hunting during the rutting season in October: then a hind-hunting season: then the stags are hunted again during a short spring season."(The Wild Red Deer Of Exmoor. Henry Williamson. Pub. Faber and Faber Limited. 1931. Page 47)

  • [Horse & Hound, 23rd October 1997, advertised meets for the Devon & Somerset Staghounds on 23rd October and for the Quantock staghounds on 23rd, 27th, 29th, and 30th October]

"....a stag turned to bay in the doorway of an outhouse and no doubt thought himself unassailable, but the hounds went straight at him and pulled him out like terriers drawing a badger~a thing quite unprecedented, and not it is hoped to be repeated." (Staghunting on Exmoor. Hon. John Fortescue. Pub. Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1887. Page 162)

"On Monday, August 27th, 1894, drawing with the pack was resorted to, for a heavy stag had been harboured by himself by George Barwick in Hollacombe Wood.....The bulk of the pack change to a hind in Twitchen Wood, but he stops them by Button Bridge, and meanwhile Sidney is busy with the stag with only three hounds under Honacott. Breaking away, he conceals himself until Anthony returns with the rest of the hounds, and then a few turns up and down the water quickly finish him. A real forest king, with a royal head of twelve perfect points, the velvet clean gone. A very difficult stag to take; the tenth of the season; time, seven hours and a quarter; the pace at first quite fast enough, but slow towards the end. A lemon-coloured hound called Sovereign seized this stag by the flank, and never released his hold though carried for some distance through the air." (Staghunting with the Devon and Somerset. 1887-1901. Philip Evered [Secretary Devon and Somerset Staghounds]. Pub. Chatto & Windus. 1902. Pages 154 & 158)

"The Devon and Somerset Staghounds was banned from hunting for five weeks, until midnight November 18, in an unprecedented decision by the sport’s governing body after a committee of inquiry last Friday.

The committee viewed a video showing repeated failed attempts to kill with a shotgun a stag brought to bay by hounds in the River Barle. Eventually the quarry was despatched with a humane killer. The committee decided that the incident brought the sport into disrepute. Hunt staff attempting to kill the stag swiftly were impeded by unruly behaviour of foot followers, it was alleged.............

Some footfollowers waded into the river and prevented the two marksmen getting a clear shot. The first shot hit the stag, but it did not die; it began to move up and down the river, and survived a second shot, with two other shots missing the deer. Eventually, the huntsman, Donald Summersgill, and two Hunt followers went into the river, held the deer and despatched it with a humane killer. Altogether the incident took about six minutes." (Horse and Hound, October 20, 1994. Page 30 [Incident referred to followed meet of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds at West Molland, Thursday September 29th, 1994. The video was taken, under great duress, by League Against Cruel Sports Sanctuary Officer, Kevin Hill] )

"Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, 40, (pictured) will have winced on opening his sister paper, the Sunday Telegraph, this weekend. His friend Adam Nicolson, 39, stirs bad memories with an article about fox-hunting, whose headline speaks of a ‘howling pack of natural born killers’. Mr Nicolson once wrote, also in the Sunday Telegraph, about spending a day stag-hunting. After the kill, his host, ‘wailing and screaming.........like a banshee’ had scooped up a ‘soup-bowl of blood’ in his hands and smeared it into Mr Nicolson’s hair with ‘a manic delight’. Mr Nicolson, horrified, concluded that this ‘chaotic, ugly primitivism could only be the sign of something degenerate’, Suave Old Etonian Mr Moore was mortified when it emerged that he was the unnamed banshee." (Daily Mail 19th August 1997)

GLOSSARY OF RELEVANT HUNTING TERMS.

  • Babbler : A bad fault in a hound. A noisy hound that gives tongue freely to all sorts of scents.
  • Bagman : A fox released from a sack, box or similar when required for a hunt.
  • Chop : To kill the quarry before that quarry has provided a run.
  • Couple : A pair of hounds. A pack is counted in couples.
  • Covert : (Pronounced cover) Woodland, gorse or thicket where the quarry may lie for shelter.
  • Holloa : (Pronounced holler) A loud high scream given when the quarry is viewed.
  • In blood : Hounds that have recently killed.
  • Law : In coursing the start given to the hare before the greyhounds are released. In foxhunting the start given to a bolted fox before the hounds are released.
  • Mark : When hounds bay at the earth or drain in which a hunted fox has sought refuge.
  • Putting to : The blocking of earths in an area into which hunted foxes might run, possibly a radius of five or six miles from the meet. A keeper can put-to his earths on the morning of the meet, provided they are all put-to by 11a.m.. It is done in daylight, possibly with the fox still inside. Coverts where the earths are put-to will not be drawn but a hunted fox must not get to ground.
  • Mute : A bad fault in a hound. The hound is silent, it does not give tongue when hunting.
  • Riot : Hounds riot when they hunt any animal other than their proper quarry.
  • Scarlet : This, rather than pink, is the correct term for the red hunting coat.
  • Skirter : A bad fault. The hound does not follow the exact line of the quarry but instead cuts corners.
  • Stern : The tail of a hound.
  • Stopping out : The blocking of all earths used by foxes where the hounds are likely to draw. It is recommended that this is done after 9.00 p.m. to ensure foxes being out of the earths hunting for food. Done to ensure that foxes are above ground in the coverts that are drawn by hounds.
  • Trencher-fed : Term used for hounds that are not looked after as a pack but rather cared for by individuals and brought together to form a pack on hunting days.

Hunting wildlife with packs of dogs is cruel by design and cruel by calculation. The hounds used are bred not for the speed that might produce a quick kill but rather for the stamina that guarantees the lengthy hunts the supporters seek. Hounds can be trained to hunt any scent and could easily hunt the humane artificial scent. Most supporters have no idea what their hounds are hunting.

Most foxes that are killed by hounds are not caught above ground. Instead they are dug out after seeking sanctuary below ground. There are no "instant kills" in digging out.

Animal Welfare Information Service, P.O. Box 8, HALESWORTH, Suffolk. IP19 0JL

(Printed copies of this booklet are available from the above address for 75p each to cover postage and packing, cheques/postal orders payable to AWIS please)

Mike Huskisson