The League Against Cruel Sports has today published a new report showing the extent of artificial earths being maintained in areas known to be used by hunts.
League investigators have uncovered a number of artificial fox earths being maintained which suggests fox number are being kept artificially high.
A massive undercover operation spanning three months, 16 counties and 24 hunts has recorded undisputable evidence that individuals are encouraging foxes in artificial earths. League investigators have found evidence of earths which have been built or renovated since the passing of the Hunting Act where food and water is being supplied.
The League has obtained footage of four hunts dumping food close to the earths and three providing water. Among these is a Dorset hunt where a kennel worker was seen depositing large amounts of offal near to an earth.
Several well maintained artificial earths were found in the country of the Heythrop Hunt – with whom David Cameron has hunted – with one being supplied with fresh chickens. Duck carcasses and what is believed to be out of date supermarket stock were found dumped in woods in Yorkshire believed to be owned by the Sinnington Hunt.
The League’s chief executive Joe Duckworth described the findings as the “tip of the iceberg”. He said: “In just a short space of time our investigators have shown without a shadow of a doubt that there is a determined effort amongst the hunting community to keep fox numbers artificially high.
“The evidence points at a pattern of extreme behaviour which I am convinced goes far and beyond the evidence obtained by the League in this investigation and may be connected with other wildlife crimes such as hunting with dogs”.
The evidence has been passed to relevant local authority trading standards departments and where appropriate, the police where investigations are ongoing.
Download: Hunts and Artificial Earths