When monitors arrived, hounds were in an area of hedge next to a small field containing cows. The field was fenced off with electric fencing and clearly no trail had been laid there – even so, the huntsman Evo Shirley was on foot hunting the hounds.\
The hunt’s whipper-in, Josh Clarke, was on the road and making loud noises to deter the fox from leaving cover. As the fox ran out he made no effort to call off the hounds or to stop them from following the fox’s line.
Dorset police were called and a wildlife liaison officer attended the incident – all relevent video evidence has been requested and will be made available to them.
There have already been posts on this page from pro-hunt supporters claiming the fox was merely “in the area of the hounds and the hunt were trail-hunting”.
The film clearly shows the huntsman, on foot, in a field surrounded by electric fencing – no trail would be laid there.
It clearly shows hunt staff and known supporters attempting to deter the fox from leaving the cover by shouting and making loud noises.
Make no mistake, this was not trail-hunting. It was fox-hunting. Fourteen years after it was made illegal it is still being carried out…and in full view.
Many will blame the police for the failure to deal with incidents like this but here in Dorset we have an excellent working realtionship with the police – if we are able to provide the evidence, then they will take that evidence to the CPS. It was Dorset Police who took the Portman to court last year on charges of illegal hunting.
We should not blame the police for the failings of governments to create a Hunting Act that actually delivers on the will of parliament to ban the hunting of wild animals with dogs.