Glasgow Hunt Sabs celebrate the end of the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Foxhounds:
Within a week of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill being passed in parliament, we became aware that The Fife Foxhounds, a notorious hunting pack from the east side of Scotland had folded. The hunt themselves told the press that ‘financial constraints’ was the reason for their closure. However, fast forward just a few weeks and another hunt, this time the most controversial of all – The Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Foxhounds – situated a few miles outside Glasgow has announced they are closing down after 252 years.
This historic news is a huge win for wildlife, locals against the hunt and of course hunt saboteurs who have spent decades bringing this hunt to their knees. Sabs first appeared on the scene with the L&R in the 1980’s when the hunt had a larger territory and following. Sabs did what they do best and worked tirelessly well into the 1990’s saving the lives of countless foxes and dealing with all the drama that a pre-ban hunt had to offer. The Clydeside Sabs were an absolute force to be reckoned with.
When the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act came into force in 2002, many thought this was the end of fox hunting in Scotland as they knew it. As we have come to see over the years, the act was deeply flawed and allowed hunting to continue. The L&R got away from being targeted by sabs until around 2010 when new sab groups were formed including a more localised group – Glasgow Hunt Sabs – and soon enough the L&R were back in the spotlight.
Because of the geographical location of the small number of hunts north of the wall, a decision was made to focus solely on the L&R themselves. Over recent years, sabs have consistently covered every L&R meet they possibly can, covering both Tuesday and Saturday meets. The hunt have done everything they can to avoid us from swapping their hunting days and times, cancelling meets and even sneaking out on a Sunday. Our work has been made possible over the years from the fantastic intel from locals opposed to the hunt.
Due to the campaign against the L&R, we’ve seen a high turnover of hunt staff including the huntsman being changed 3 times in just 3 seasons. None of this would have been possible without the persistent work of sabs exposing the hunt both online and in the press constantly. Conrad Jones joined the L&R as huntsman in 2021 and lasted just 5 months before he handed in his notice and retired from hunt service at the age of 24. Conrad thought he could feed a fox to hounds in front of sabs and his psychopathic behaviour be ignored. Within days, we had Conrad’s face (complete with him frothing at the mouth) in multiple national tabloids for the world to see. It wasn’t long until Jones was gone, now working in a different industry and hopefully leaving wildlife alone.
The final huntsman to be duped into taking the reins of the L&R before their demise was Fraser Campbell who had previously held the position of whipper-in. Fraser’s lack of confidence and inability to control the hounds hugely affected the hunt’s effectiveness to operate in an efficient manner. This led to, on numerous occasions, hounds being scattered in all directions terrifying livestock, running along busy roads and regularly found miles away from the huntsman. His incompetence led to the hunt upsetting local landowners and ultimately to Police intervention.
The Police have never been too far away from the L&R mainly due to the hunt keeping unsavoury company. We are aware of both recent and ex hunt staff members that have committed despicable crimes against people and animals which the hunt knew about but chose to ignore. As a result of the criminal element involved with the L&R, sabs have been severely attacked, had multiple vehicles smashed up and even had hunt staff with guns turning up at their home addresses. More disturbingly, there was a recent rape threat thrown at a female sab by an L&R terrier man.
Unfortunately for the L&R, sabs never once backed down to bully-boy behaviour. In fact, our group has grown considerably over the years, thanks to the hard work behind the scenes in recruiting new sabs into the fold. For years, sabs held an annual camp-out where interested folk could come and experience first-hand about the work we do and more importantly, how to do it properly.
In recent years we exposed the hunt repeatedly for the treatment of their own animals including hound abuse and lashing out at their horses. As a result of our work, the SSPCA took action against The L&R because of national concern for their hounds’ welfare. Our videos of hunt staff whipping and beating their horses have also been the subject of animal welfare group’s attention.We’ve also had successful convictions from taking L&R staff and their supporters to court. Most recently, John Bennet Wright, a thug who ganged up with L&R staff attacked a lone disabled sab from our group and was rightly convicted for assault, narrowly avoiding prison.
Despite everything the L&R have thrown at us, we still turned up week in, week out and got to work sabbing the hell out of the hunt. We’ve watched hunt numbers decline, the hunt territory getting smaller and most noticeably since the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill was announced there’s been an overwhelming air of hopelessness filtering through the hunt. The wooden smiles and lies about obtaining licences to continue were soon laid to rest thanks again to fantastic intel from multiple sources confirming our dreams were finally coming true: the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Foxhounds were finished.
On Saturday 4th March 2023 the L&R met for the final time ever, closely watched by a large group of sabs who made sure there was no chance of the hunt killing wildlife on their last day. As it turns out, we didn’t have to try very hard as the hunt put on an absolute shit-show. The drinks were flowing all day long leaving some hunt staff so intoxicated they couldn’t string a sentence together. Multiple drink-driving offences were documented on the day.
The hunt wrote of their final day “Finally we wish to thank our lovely hounds, we look after them with great love and affection, often better than we do ourselves”. In reality, at the final meet huntsman Fraser lost control of the hounds for hours on end and it seemed no one in the hunt knew where they were. Two hounds were found 5 miles away by concerned locals after the hunt had packed up.
As darkness kicked in, sabs lined the road leading to the kennels, watching the hunt return home for the last time. The wooden smiles were long gone.
Whilst the L&R nurse their hangovers, we look back proudly at the countless foxes, deer and other wildlife that we’ve helped to safety over the years. Also, all the times we’ve stopped the hunt digging out foxes, blocking shooters from being able to do their work and being a constant thorn in the side for every huntsman that has dared go near the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds.
Above all else, this win is for the fox. For the fox that has been mauled by the L&R hounds, the fox that has been dug out of the ground by the L&R’s thugs and of course, the fox that was let down by the 2002 legislation and has been shot for no reason other than to satisfy the bloodlust of those opposed to wildlife living free.
Our work will not stop until every hunt in Scotland follows suit. Who’s next?