CPS must start to hunt the hunters

Mr Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Crown Prosecution Service (‘The Independent’ letters, 29 December 2012), says that it is wrong to imply that the CPS is “reluctant to, and does not, prosecute hunting offences”.

I am one of the group of monitors who supplied the footage used in the RSPCA’s successful prosecution of the Heythrop hunt, and we turned to the RSPCA because more than 30 similar previous submissions by us, relating to several hunts in several counties, had not been prosecuted by the CPS. The RSPCA saw that our footage was of a high standard and duly prosecuted the Heythrop.

Mr Lewis refers to the 371 offences that have been charged by the CPS under the Hunting Act, which is very good; but, with a few exceptions, these have related to the horrible activity of hare coursing, undertaken by a few yobs with lurchers.

The prosecution of the wealthy and powerful organised hunts has been another matter, mostly conspicuous by its absence, and I hope that the success of the RSPCA’s prosecution will now encourage the CPS to look with new enthusiasm at evidence of the illegal hunting of deer and fox by gangs of animal abusers.

The public need to know that these people are subject to the law of the land. The implementation of the Hunting Act cannot be left to ordinary citizens and charities.

Originally published in The Independent of 3rd January 2013. Penny Little is an Associate of Protect Our Wild Animals.