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by Felicity Collier
AN ANIMAL welfare charity is offering a £1,000 reward to anyone with information on “one of the hunting fraternity’s dirtiest secrets:” the illegal hunting of fox cubs.
The barbaric practice, involving live cubs being put among young hounds to train them to kill, continues despite a ban under 2004’s Hunting Act.
The League Against Cruel Sports charity asserted yesterday that there is evidence the practice continues, despite registered hunt groups’ denials.
Up to 10,000 fox cubs are killed annually, according to the charity, in a cub-hunting season between the end of August and October prior to the main hunts in November.
Meets usually take place out of public view in the early morning or late evening, the charity said, around woods on private land. Young and inexperienced hounds follow the scent of a cub and when the fox family is disturbed, frightened cubs may try to flee but are sent back into the cover of the trees by hunt members to be ripped apart by the dogs.
The charity is appealing for the public to be vigilant for signs of cub-hunting: hunt members may well be in civvies, claiming they are exercising hounds or out for a social.
Successful prosecutions have been rare, but in 2012 hunt master Johnny Greenall, son of the Baron of Daresbury, and Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt worker Glen Morris were fined £3,250 between them by magistrates after campaigners secretly filmed them hunting cubs in October 2011.
League Against Cruel Sports CEO Eduardo Goncalves said: “Cub hunting is one of the hunting fraternity’s dirtiest secrets and one which I’m sure will come as a horrible shock to the majority of people unaware that this callous practice continues to take place.
“Even prior to the ban on hunting being enacted, hunts started to refer to the practice as ‘autumn hunting’ in a bid to mislead and cover up the gruesome truth of what is involved.”
Illegal cub hunting can be reported to the charity’s Animal Crimewatch line on 01483 361 108 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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