After a video was made public showing people pulling a fox out of a den and then throwing it to fox hounds, three men have been arrested in Wiltshire, England, on suspicion of wildlife offences. The men, from Lacock, Bromham, and Devizes, were all arrested on 10th February 2023 on suspicion of offences connected to hunting a wild animal with dogs.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association, which made the footage public, says the arrested men are members of the Wiltshire-based Avon Vale Hunt. They claim the footage shows Avon Vale whipper-in Aaron Fookes and three terriermen crouching over a fox earth, with the excited hounds being held back by hunt master Stuart Radbourne and others.
Wiltshire Hunt Sabs said: “We routinely sab this particularly vile and vicious hunt, so we aren’t surprised to see them shrieking in delight as the whip chucks the first fox to the hounds as a second fox tries to flee. It’s almost a year to the day since they seriously assaulted a hunt sab after sabs stopped a similar dig out of a fox from an active badger sett near Erlestoke. We hope Wiltshire Police do their jobs properly this time.”
After the arrests, James Brain, Chief Inspector of Wiltshire Police, said to the BBC: “After being made aware of this disturbing footage, our officers have acted quickly to detain a number of people in relation to suspected wildlife offences. I would like to thank members of the public in responding to our appeal for information relating to this. We take such allegations extremely seriously and we continue to appeal for anyone with further information to contact us.”
The British Hound Sports Association (BHSA), the governing body for hunting in the UK, has expelled the Avon Vale Hunt after the video was posted online. This, together with the arrests that could lead to prosecutions, may end up meaning the end of this particular hunt.