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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Is internet post evidence of illegal hunts in Cumbria?

Anti-hunting campaigners claim to have found written evidence that one of the Cumbrian fell packs has been hunting foxes illegally.

Elaine Milbourn photo
Elaine Milbourn

They say that a follower of the Blencathra Foxhounds has boasted openly of hunting with hounds on an internet message board.

The Blencathra denies it has ever broken the law.

The post – on the website www.thehuntinglife.com/ – is almost two years old but campaigners have asked Cumbria Police to investigate.

A hunt follower posts how a Blencathra meet was disrupted by anti-hunt campaigners from Northampton.

He writes: “The antis then phoned the cops, which turned up to make sure we behaved ourselves (typical), so we waited about an hour then got away and hunted the other side of the mountain.

“When we did get hunting it didn’t take long for some real good sport.”

Hunting foxes with hounds was outlawed in 2005. However, hunts still meet to drag hunt where hounds follow a scent rather than chase a fox.

Anti-hunting groups are convinced this is a sham and that illegal fox hunting is rife.

Elaine Milbourn, of Torpenhow, a member of Protect Our Wild Animals, said: “On many occasions when our people have gone out, they have seen hunts on to a fox. They are not following the law at all.

“The police have agreed to go up there but it’s a waste of time. They behave themselves when the police are there.

“They are just laughing at the law and this is happening up and down the country.”

The Blencathra hunts on foot on fells around Keswick. Its kennels are at Threlkeld. Secretary Bob Fell said that a minibus of anti-hunt campaigners from Northampton turned up at Blencathra meets up to four times a year.

But he could not recall the occasion in January 2009 mentioned in the internet post.

He said: “Since the Hunting Act came into force, the Blencathra has tried to abide by the law.

“There are occasions when accidents happen, when the hounds get away and we can’t stop then, but we abide by the law and the Hunting Act.”

He added: “These antis call themselves ‘hunt monitors’, which is ridiculous. They are antis and saboteurs.

“They cause problems, leading hounds to stray and being abusive to people.”

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