While many foxhunts make Boxing Day their one public meet of the year, the hare-hunting beaglers remain as secretive as ever. On hunting's premier day not a single beagle pack, anywhere in the country, chose to avail themselves of the chance to engage with the public.
However, many hunt sab groups have been busy tracking down their local beagle packs, knowing that they are even more likely than the foxhunts to
be illegally hunting.
As a result, several packs were successfully sabbed over the festive period (including the Colne Valley/Holme Valley, the Old Berkeley, the New Forest
and the Warwickshire); but many more across the country were placed under covert surveillance in a major intelligence-gathering operation designed to ensure the success of future sabbing.
These packs included: the Black Combe who met in Waberthwaite, Cumbria; the Leadon Vale Bassets who met at the Lower Lode Hotel, Gloucester; the Wilts and Infantry who met at the Longs Arms, Steeple Aston and, most revealing of all, the new Severn Vale Beagles who foregathered at the Salutation Inn, Berkeley.
Crucial information, including identification of key personnel and vehicles, was obtained and this will be put to good use in the next phase of the campaign against hare hunting.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Over 50 different beagle and basset packs have been targeted by hunt saboteurs in the past year and many more are being covertly monitored. The evidence gathered shows that the majority of these packs are hunting illegally and we will continue to make them a focus of our activities.