On Monday Hunt Saboteurs were in action to stop the Gloucester-based Royal Agricultural College Beagles from killing hares in Aberdeenshire. The RAC pack are in Scotland for a week of illegal hare hunting at the invitation of the Kincardineshire Foxhounds.
The Sabs have on video a police officer at the scene telling them that the hunt are flushing hares to guns and if the sabs follow then they will be arrested. The sabs have gone to the local police station with the video and pointed out the law, and the police have realised that they have helped facilitate an illegal activity. They have now sent a wildlife crime officer to the hunt and told them that they have to stop.
The RAC are one of the most controversial hunts in England. In February 2013, their then huntswoman, Libby Gilbert, was filmed illegally hunting hares. Gilbert chose to flee to America rather than face justice in court. Two years later, a mob of drunken RAC supporters were filmed attacking a small group of hunt saboteurs and attempting to overturn their vehicle.
Given this reputation, and the intense scrutiny Scottish hunting is currently under, it is extraordinary that the Kincardineshire Foxhounds thought it to appropriate to offer a 'hunting holiday' to the RAC.
HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "People in Scotland will be outraged to learn that their wildlife is being terrorised by a gang of hare hunters from England. The fact that this visit went ahead in the midst of major political moves against Scottish hunting shows just how arrogant the hunters are. Even now these people think they are above the law."
Notes for Editors
(1) The RAC Beagles are the official hunt of the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. The Queen and Prince Charles are the university's patron and president respectively.
(2) Beagling is the practice of hunting hares by scent with packs of beagles. (This is different from hare coursing, where the hare is hunted by sight with greyhounds or lurchers). However, there are no beagle packs in Scotland and, as hunted hares run in large circles, it would be physically impossible to 'flush to guns.'
(3) League Against Cruel Sports footage of RAC huntswoman Libby Gilbert hunting a hare on 20/02/13: https://youtu.be/Hs0
(4) HSA press release on RAC attack on hunt saboteurs 10/01/2015. Includes footage of dead rabbit being thrown at sab vehicle and drunken attempts to overturn occupied vehicle: https://www.huntsabs.
(5) Details of the Jed Forest Foxhounds conviction - the first under the The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002: https://www.league.org.u
(6) Hunting in Scotland is currently under pressure from several quarters: https://www.league.o