March 28, 2023
From Hunt Saboteurs Association

On Saturday 18 March 2023 Sabs from Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and Three Counties Hunt Sabs attended the Cotswold Hunt meet at Miserden, Gloucestershire and rescued a bagged fox that the hunt had stored in an artificial earth.

The hunt move through the wood

Late in the day sabs approached a wood where hounds were heard in cry. Sabs entered the wood and drove the hounds away, worried that they’d killed a fox.

Terriermen wait for the signal to release the bagged fox

They discovered an artificial earth, a network of underground pipes and chambers used by hunts to encourage foxes into an area to ensure they have animals to chase on a hunting day.

Hounds in cry in the wood

Upon exposing one of the chambers they were horrified to discover a tied up sack that moved when sabs tried to pick it up.

A sack was found in an artificial earth

Realising the sack contained a fox they contacted a local wildlife hospital to come and rescue the captured animal. They also contacted Gloucestershire police to report the crime. The fox was examined – and discovered to be a female who may have had dependent cubs – and then released.

A female fox was found inside the sack

After the fox was safely released sabs stayed to monitor the area as the hunt terriermen were still near by. At the farm where the hunt had met, sabs film one of the terriermen saying to another “Get the sack, it’s evidence and the fox was kept at your place”. Two terrier men on a quad then approach the wood in a bid to retrieve the sack containing the fox but sabs were able to leave the scene and take this vital evidence with them.

Terriermen were unable to retrieve the evidence

We showed the video to Chris Packham and his response was:

“A vixen with cubs somewhere, trapped and tied up in a sack, buried in a purpose built torture chamber . . . whenever we think we’ve seen the worst of fox hunting’s sickening savagery it gets worse. It’s time these dog shooting, hound whipping, badger baiting, horse kicking criminal monsters were shut down forever. Please help us end hunting now.”

Following the Avon Vale being caught digging out foxes the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA), the governing body for hunting, advised all its members, of which the Cotswold Hunt is one, that terrier work should be suspended pending a review. This video clearly evidences that not only are hunts ignoring this ban but they are also breaking the law by keeping captive foxes to be chased and killed.

Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch stated:

“We were shocked and sickened by what we found whilst out sabbing the Cotswold Hunt 18th March 2023. The small, terrified vixen had been tied up in a bag, stuffed into a chamber under the ground called an Artificial Earth awaiting her cruel fate.

Hounds were marking the ground where she was buried and we believe she would have been released and hunted by the blood thirsty psychopaths out with the hunt, if we hadn’t been there. This poor fox would be disorientated away from her territory and could possibly have cubs dependent on her elsewhere. We hope this wildlife crime is taken seriously by Gloucestershire police and those responsible for her suffering get the punishment they deserve.”

Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:

“The BHSA attempted to assert their authority over their member hunts by banning the Avon Vale. They must now do the same to the Cotswold Hunt if they don’t wish to appear toothless to the British public. Fox Hunting has been illegal for over 18 years yet hunts are still actively using artificial earths and keeping live foxes to be chased and killed.

These organised criminal gangs have shown time and again that they are unwilling and unable to obey the law and so clearly the only option is the disbanding of all hunts, starting with the complete abolition of terrier work.”

All images: Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch.