In May 2016, HIT uncovered shocking scenes from within the kennel complex of the South Herefordshire Hunt.
Members of the SHH were filmed with a supply of caged fox cubs aged around 8 weeks old, which they took one by one into the kennels full of hounds. The hounds were heard baying from within, and a human voice gave verbal encouragements to hunt. The cubs’ lifeless bodies were later taken from the kennels and dumped in the waste bins.
These cubs were taken from their mothers and thrown live to the pack of hounds, to instill in the dogs a bloodlust for hunting. This barbaric training ritual is used so that the the hounds are more effective in the next season. The SHH cubs’ bodies were retrieved from the waste bins by HIT investigators, taken for a vetinary post-mortem and formed part of the evidence in the criminal investigation. The fox cubs suffered terrible injuries: one had 23 broken ribs and the other had 14 broken ribs plus other horrific injuries.
Such cruelty is the hidden side of fox hunting and had never been exposed before. This investigation was groundbreaking. HIT believes such practices are commonplace amongst fox hunts. It shows an intentional supply of foxes to train the hounds, outside of the main hunting season. This contradicts the myths perpetuated by the industry of trail hunting, accidental kills or fox population control.
As a result of HIT’s investigation, the South Herefordshire Hunt disbanded entirely, clearly seeing no way back from its disgrace. At trial in May-June 2019, Julie Elmore and Paul Reece (terrierman) pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected species, for their parts in the process. Paul Oliver (former SHH Huntsman & Master) and Hannah Rose (kennel maid) were later found guilty by the judge of multiple counts of animal cruelty. Nathan Parry (terrierman) was found not guilty.
Sentences were as follow: Paul Reece & Julie Elmore: Conditional Discharge.
Paul Oliver: 16 weeks imprisonment suspended 12 months.
Hannah Rose: 12 weeks imprisonment suspended 12 months.
No disqualifications were made from keeping animals in future.
The guilty verdicts clearly illustrate the SHH’s use of live fox cubs to train their hunting hounds. Fox hunting has been illegal since 2005 yet SHH’s investigation showed a hunt deliberately training its hounds to kill. We believe this is common practice and will be occurring in hunt kennels throughout the country. We will continue fighting to expose the unseen truths of bloodsports. Our message to hunts: Expect us.
Please also see the exclusive report from a HIT investigator involved in the operation here: Vegan Life Article, Autumn 2016