Landmark Victory as Hunt pleads guilty to offences under the Hunting Act

Landmark Victory as Hunt pleads guilty to offences under the Hunting Act
Monday, December 17, 2012
London

The Heythrop Hunt and two of its members pleaded guilty today to offences under the Hunting Act 2004 at Oxford Magistrates' Court.

The Heythrop Hunt Ltd pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs in a landmark victory in the campaign against the cruel sport of hunting with dogs. It is the first time that an entire Hunt has been faced with corporate charges and been found guilty of illegal hunting.

Retired Hunt Master Richard Sumner and retired Huntsman Julian Barnfield of the Heythrop Hunt also pleaded guilty to four separate counts of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs. The sentencing is due to take place later today. Footage which was filmed by Hunt monitors was presented as part of the evidence in the case which was taken by the RSPCA.

Fox Hunting, in which foxes are pursued by packs of hounds and mounted riders, is banned under the 2004 Hunting Act.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “This is a very significant milestone as it is the first time that a fox hunt in England has been convicted as a corporate body. It sends out a clear message that both individuals and organised hunts who engage in activities which involve the cruel pursuit of animals for sport can and will be successfully prosecuted.

“IFAW is committed to ensuring that the Hunting Act continues to be enforced across the country. Given that animal welfare organisations gathered the evidence in this case, this highlights the significance of the work carried out by wildlife crime investigators. IFAW and other organisations’ professional hunt monitors will continue to work tirelessly to document the illegal activities of a minority of individuals who are breaking the law.”

The Heythrop Hunt has several high profile supporters, including the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Notes to Editors:

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Post a comment

Press Contact

Clare Sterling (IFAW UK)
Contact phone:
+44 (0)20 7587 6708
Contact mobile:
+44 (0)7917 507717
Contact email:

Experts

Azzedine Downes,Executive Vice President for International Operations, VP of P
President and Chief Executive Officer
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Erica Martin, Vice President of Communications
Vice President of Communications
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Jordi Casamitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales
Paul Todd, Director, International Policy & Program Planning
Director, International Policy & Program Planning
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union
Tania McCrea-Steele, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK