Denial after claims that foxes were killed
» CLAIMS that two foxes were killed in illegal hunts in the county have been denied by hunts.
The League Against Cruel Sports said it catalogued 21 incidents across Gloucestershire between November and January.
It said there had been 13 incidents of ‘terrified foxes being chased by hunts’ and two ‘being killed in the jaws of the hounds’.
The organisation said there were also six reports of badger setts being blocked up to stop foxes taking refuge and two cases of horses and hounds trespassing in pursuit of wild animals.
It said the incidents formed part of nearly 300 reports of suspected illegal hunting across the UK since the hunting season began on November 1.
But a spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance described the allegations as ‘spurious’.
The figures came from reports to the league’s animal crimewatch service, reports by monitoring and saboteur groups posted on Facebook, and from investigators employed to monitor hunts.
Director of campaigns Chris Luffingham said: “Despite hunting being banned in 2004, hunts are still sickeningly chasing and killing wildlife in Gloucestershire.”
The hunts in Gloucestershire refute the claims.
After requests to speak to each hunt named by the league, we were contacted by the Countryside Alliance which said it dealt with all media inquiries.
A spokeswoman said: “Packs of hounds within Gloucestershire operate within the law to comply with the Hunting Act 2004. Anti-hunting activists exploit the fact that social media amplifies their highly emotive messages regardless of the facts.”
She added: “It is 14 years since the Hunting Act was enforced yet there have been just 24 convictions under the Hunting Act 2004 relating to registered hunts, despite more than a quarter of a million days’ hunting having taken place by over 250 hunts.”
Gloucestershire police said it was aware of some of the allegations.
A spokeswoman said: “Gloucestershire Constabulary takes all reports of wildlife crime very seriously. “We encourage members of the public who are aware of incidents to report them to us and provide us with as much evidence as possible.
“We accept there is an increase in reporting of badger sett blocking which coincides with the hunt season, and if there is evidence of a recent intentional block we will investigate.
“Some reports, however, refer to old, unused setts and though the call is well meant, it does not warrant police action.”
She said no arrests had been made in connection with the alleged incidents.