Tourists, including children, enjoying a quiet walk in Cumbria’s National Park looked on in horror as a live fox was torn to pieces by the Melbreak Foxhounds a Cumbria fellpack.
One couple who witnessed the incident had spent many happy holidays walking in the Lake District but were left horrified by actions of the hunt. Mrs Clarke said, “My husband and I witnessed fell hunters sending terrier dogs down a hole and then saw one of the hunters literally digging a fox out, which took 15 minutes, throwing it alive towards a pack of hounds and being ripped apart by them. The hunters had every opportunity to kill the animal humanely, but it seemed to me that they were getting pleasure from the suffering inflicted on the fox.
“There were several walkers on the fell who witnessed this, some with children, the huntsmen did not care at all that we had witnessed such a distressing sight. I cannot begin to describe the effect this has had on me, I feel physically sick when I think about it, I have not been able to sleep through the night since and when I wake up it is the first thing that I think about.
“Given what we witnessed, fox hunting is clearly not a matter of pest control. Neither I nor my husband has ever been a member of or have any association with any anti-hunt organisation; we are just ordinary members of the public who get pleasure from walking in a beautiful part of our English countryside.”
Mr Clarke added, “One hunter whipped the hounds on several occasions to control them as the fox was dug up. We shouted at the hunt to stop but they took no notice of us. What the fox went through is anyone’s guess.”
Another couple who witnessed the incident wrote and had a letter published in the News and Star.
A spokesman for the North West League Against Cruel Sports (NWLACS), commented, “It is crystal clear that the hunt had every opportunity to shoot the fox but deliberately and callously chose to extends its suffering. Both the Countryside Alliance and the Central Committee of Fell Packs were informed of the incident but have taken no action. It is clear that the hunters think they are a law to themselves.”
Note: The incident took place on 6th November 2004.