30 March 2016
Damning new video evidence suggests Scotland’s hunts are still trying to pull the wool over our eyes –
Police in the Scottish Borders have arrested and charged two men from the Jed Forest Hunt with illegal hunting after viewing shocking new video footage filmed by the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland.
The footage appears to show the Jed Forest huntsmen repeatedly sending their hounds after fleeing foxes. Police Scotland say that the two men, aged 23 and 65, will appear at Jedburgh Sheriff Court in May.
The video footage was obtained by League Against Cruel Sports Scotland as part of a new investigation into Scotland’s hunts. Throughout the 2015/16 hunting season six out of the ten Scottish hunts were covertly filmed by League investigators. The animal welfare charity recorded these hunts appearing to behave in a way that has not been legal since the Scottish hunting ban came into force in 2002.
The footage was potentially so incriminating that the most blatant incidents were handed over to the police, resulting in the Jed Forest hunt staff being charged on the 22nd March with illegal hunting.
The League’s new video shows hounds apparently being urged on by hunt members to chase foxes, hunts seemingly pretending to flush to guns with no guns in use and hounds following scent in the open with no guns.
The new video footage is being released to coincide with the Scottish government’s review of the Protection of Wild Mammals Act, which aims to establish whether the law provides a sufficient level of protection for wild mammals in Scotland. The League is making a comprehensive submission to the review which includes over 100 hours of this damning video evidence.
The Scottish government decided to review the Act last year after it saw the League’s previous footage from last year’s 2014/15 hunt season. That footage revealed highly questionable behaviour from half of Scotland’s hunts, including absolutely no sign of any legitimate ‘flushing to guns’ – which is what Scottish hunts claim to be doing.
Robbie Marsland, Director of League Against Cruel Sports Scotland said: “We applaud the police for acting so quickly to arrest and charge members of the Jed Forest hunt. Our latest footage strongly suggests that many of Scotland’s hunts are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
“The audacity of the hunts is breath taking. In last year’s League video, their apparent contempt for the law shocked people across Scotland. Our new video footage suggests that nothing has changed.
“If anything, their behaviour is even more brazen than before.”
Mr Marsland added: “This is not an issue of poor police enforcement. It is all too easy for Scottish hunts to ride a coach and horses through this well-intended law.
"We are convinced that hunts are using flushing to guns with a full pack of hounds in an attempt to provide a false alibi. A number of simple changes to the law would put an end to the spectre of packs of hounds being spurred on to chase and kill foxes across the Scottish countryside."
From October 2015 to March 2016 the League Against Cruel Sports investigators covertly filmed six hunts in the Borders and Fife.
Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email press for any image or comment requests
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Link to League’s new video exposé of Scottish hunts during the 2015/16 season
2. Polling by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland shows that 84% of people are opposed to fox hunting being legal in Scotland.
3. Poll details: Scottish Public Opinion Monitor – November 2015. Results are based on a survey 1,028 respondents (adults aged 16+) conducted by telephone. Fieldwork dates: 9th – 16th November 2015 The League’s expose of Scottish hunts from the 2014/15 season here: http://www.league.org.uk/news-and-opinion/press-releases/2015/may-15/scottish-hunting-video
4. Watch the League’s 2015 footage of the Buccleuch hunt here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqbe6xFnR4s
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