What to look for now hunting is banned
From 18th February 2005 hunting with dogs is illegal.
However, we still need to monitor hunts to make sure they are not breaking
the law and still chasing animals for 'sport'. It is vital to gather evidence
on hunts who despite the new law still search for and hunt their quarry.
Successful prosecutions require 'objective' evidence rather than 'subjective'
opinion. One way to provide this is to gather video evidence of an offence
being committed. This evidence should establish beyond reasonable doubt 'who'
did 'what', 'where' and 'when'.
The clearest evidence of an offence would be to see a pack of hounds being
used to chase a wild animal. However, other signs can give a strong cause
for suspicion, leading you to investigate more closely.
The following could be signs of illegal hunting:
- Hounds 'casting' (dispersing)
of the hounds across a wide area of land or through woodland,
gorse or thick cover, as if to allow them a chance to pick
up a scent. This would clearly be unnecessary if the hunt
has claimed that it is exercising its hounds.
- The hounds running ahead of the riders,
and baying (howling/barking) - a sign that a scent may
have been found, and that the hounds are in pursuit, again
this shouldn't happen if the hunt claimed that it is exercising
- More than two hounds following the scent
of a live mammal (other than a rabbit or a rat) and the
huntsman or whippers-in not immediately calling the baying
hounds off by use of a horn, or physical contact (e.g.
whip) or verbal commands.
- A hunt claiming that it is drag hunting
(or 'trail', 'mock' or 'scent' hunting), hounds following
a scent across areas where the scent was unlikely to have
been laid, for example through crops, and across main roads,
railway lines, thick hedgerows or domestic property.
- Hunt staff not calling the hounds off after
a minute of chasing a live mammal if they clam they are
chasing a rabbit or a rat. If hounds chase live quarry
for more than a minute they are unlikely to be chasing
a rabbit because rabbits tend to go underground very quickly
- More than two dogs being used at the same
time in any activity that could be classed as 'pest control'
(like flushing to guns), unless they are clearly chasing
rabbits or rats.
- Hunts staff blocking ground holes prior
to the commencement of a drag hunt.
- Terrierman (i.e. with terriers and spades)
following a supposed drag hunt event supposed hound exercising
If you see or hear anything that
you think will help us, such as where a hunt is to meet or
even where they have been, please can you let the NWHSA know.
(for contact details see our home page)
If anyone would also like to help in monitoring hunts please also let us
know and we will match you up with an experienced sab who will be able to
give you advice on what to look for.
If you would like a copy of the Hunting Act 2004 it is available to read/download here - www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/37/contents