Fiztwilliam huntsman found guilty of illegally killing a fox - Hunt Saboteurs Association welcome the decision

PUBLISHED: 15:53 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 05 April 2018

On New Year's Day, 2016,  hunt saboteurs filmed the Fitzwilliam Hunt illegally chase and kill a fox. The evidence was then looked at by legal experts and presented to Cambridgeshire Police

On New Year's Day, 2016, hunt saboteurs filmed the Fitzwilliam Hunt illegally chase and kill a fox. The evidence was then looked at by legal experts and presented to Cambridgeshire Police

Archant

A huntsman who was in charge of a pack of hounds that killed a fox near Peterborough has been fined £1,000.

On New Year's Day, 2016,  hunt saboteurs filmed the Fitzwilliam Hunt illegally chase and kill a fox. The evidence was then looked at by legal experts and presented to Cambridgeshire PoliceOn New Year's Day, 2016, hunt saboteurs filmed the Fitzwilliam Hunt illegally chase and kill a fox. The evidence was then looked at by legal experts and presented to Cambridgeshire Police

George Adams, 66, was in charge of the hounds as part of the Fitzwilliam Hunt, which began at about 11am on New Year’s Day two years ago in Wansford. As well as the hounds, a falconer was present with a golden eagle.

Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard that to remain within the law, birds of prey are sometimes used to kill foxes that are flushed out by a pack of hounds during a hunt.

However, when the hounds picked up the scent of the fox on this occasion the bird was not released and it was killed by the pack instead.

Adams pleaded not guilty to hunting a wild mammal with dogs. However, yesterday (April 4) he was convicted following a two-day trial. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £950 costs.

The falconer, a man in his 40s, was found not guilty of hunting a wild mammal with a dog and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “We take breaches of the Hunting Act very seriously and we will do all we can to bring people to justice who do not comply with the law.”

The Hunt Saboteurs Association posted on their website that their members from several local groups attended and witnessed the hunt kill the fox and it was their evidence from both statements and video footage which secured the conviction along with Professor Stephen Harris acting as expert witness.

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the association, said: “The trial ended a long period of delays and court politics as the Countryside Alliance tried to scupper this high profile trial at every turn.

“To anyone who witnessed the events on the day in question it was abundantly clear that a wild mammal was hunted and killed illegally, in a most gruesome manner. Although a fox had to suffer and die due to the blatant and remorseless actions of the defendants we are pleased that hunt saboteurs were able to bring at least one of them (Huntsman at the time, Geroge Adams) to justice and would like to thank Cambridgeshire police who conducted a robust and unbiased investigation.

“The loopholes and exemptions in the current act have always been cynically exploited by hunts in order to operate much as they would have done prior to the ban.

“The guilty verdict proves that hunting with a full pack of hounds is not the same as falconry and the judge in summing up confirmed as much. The outcome today will of course have wider reaching implications for all those hunts around the country who claim to use this exemption.”

Lee added: “We will continue to vigorously oppose those who gain enjoyment from the torture and killing of our wildlife and will use all the tools at our disposal to those ends. We have the overwhelming support of the general public who wish to see an end to the barbaric minority pass time.”

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