Acting on intelligence received, investigators at the League Against Cruel Sports visited areas in Buckinghamshire to investigate reports of artificial earths set up in close proximity to hunt kennels.
Upon arrival, the investigators identified several artificial earths. One earth consisted of two entrances and a brick built central chamber with concrete tunnels leading off it. Inside the immediate vicinities of the earths, investigators found the remains of a significant number of chickens in varying states of decay, indicating the animal carcases were being purposely deposited there on a number of occasions.
Artificial earths are built by hunts to encourage the breeding of foxes to ensure that there are foxes to illegally hunt in that area. Typically, this involves encouraging foxes to use the earth by leaving offal outside them to feed off of. This practice completely contradicts the often used justification by the pro-hunting lobby that foxes are pests and their numbers should be controlled.
On returning to the area on a separate occasion, to recover further surveillance footage of the culprits responsible for dumping the animal carcasses used to attract the foxes, it became apparent the hunt were not happy to find that their secret had been uncovered.
The investigators found themselves surrounded by pick-up trucks and quad bikes with terrier boxes fitted to them. After making a quick decision to take shelter in the village pub, the pub became surrounded by vehicles with some of the occupants staring through the windows and others entering the pub. The investigators left the area and the police were called to protect their safety. Further attempts to intimidate were then made, including blocking their exit and trying to photograph them, which was witnessed by the police present.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports says: “It is sadly often the case that the individuals responsible for these shocking activities feel empowered by their fellow pro-hunt supporters to intimidate investigators with verbal abuse, threats and violence. We will continue in our efforts to expose those responsible and in doing so will not tolerate intimidation from illegal and violent countryside gangs.”
A League Against Cruel Sports Investigator comments: “The fact that those individuals responsible for building the artificial earths and encouraging the foxes to use them, do not want this activity exposed, speaks volumes about their hidden agenda and illegal intentions to commit cruelty to animals.”