York & Ainsty South Hunt Mark Poskitt is seen picking up the bloodied carcass of a fox cub during hunt
York & Ainsty South Hunt Mark Poskitt is seen picking up the bloodied carcass of a fox cub during hunt

This gruesome footage shows the moment a huntsman stuffs the body of a freshly killed young fox cub into a bin bag during an early morning chase, MailOnline can reveal.

Surrounded by hounds, with his hands covered in blood, the member of the York & Ainsty South and Badsworth & Bramham Moor hunts hands the black plastic bag to another rider before clambering back onto his horse.

The film, captured last Thursday in North Yorkshire, showed a local ‘trail hunt’ – which is supposed to be only pursuing a scent – apparently claiming the lives of two fox cubs within an hour.

Campaigners called on the authorities to take action before the hunting season starts in earnest next month.

The video, obtained by MailOnline, showed farcical scenes being played out on a weekday morning in open fields full of crops off Second Common Lane near the market town.

After struggling to get the fox cub’s body into a bin liner and giving it to another rider, the Hunt’s whipper-in or assistant, identified as Goole carrot farmer Mark Poskitt, is seen wiping his bloodied hand on his horse before remounting.

He is then captured listening to his mobile phone before riding off to rejoin the rest of the hunt.

Just an hour later, the hounds seemingly strike again, but this time the moving of the body goes horribly wrong.

Mr Poskitt jumps off his horse into the field, deep in crops, to retrieve the fox from the hounds who are tearing it apart.

Grabbing the dead animal by the tail, he passes it to another huntsman but as he does so the rider’s horse delivers a back-kick to Mr Poskitt’s thigh area.

The spooked horse then tosses his own rider off, leaving both men and the dead fox lying in a field of beet.

As the huntsmen set off in search of their escaped steeds, hunt saboteurs retrieved the fox’s remains and took it to a vet for a post-mortem. 

Alec Holland of the Manchester Hunt Saboteurs, said: ‘This was a cub which was caught in a field of crops and had no way of escaping. The actions of the hunt’s whipper-in clearly shows what they do when they are caught.’ 

The horses belonging to the two felled huntsmen were later spotted running along the side of a road with another member of the hunt in pursuit. 

Mr Holland, whose group was among those monitoring the hunt’s activities, said the hunt had earlier flushed out a deer and then the hounds had gone after two hares.

He said: ‘This time of year is the start of the so-called Cubbing Season when hunts get ready for the proper season by taking out new hounds to teach them how and what to hunt and give them a taste of blood.

‘They typically go out early in the morning when the ground is still wet and the scent of a fox is likely to be stronger.

‘The quarry are the fox cubs who are old enough to be exploring but not yet developed enough to out run a pack of hounds.

‘This particular hunt has been having a very busy cubbing season going out several times a week but this is the first time we have caught them killing.

‘It was just chance that the horse was spooked and we were able to retrieve the body of the fox cub. We have taken it to a local vet so that a post-mortem can be done and its body stored in case it is required in evidence.’

Mr Poskitt, who posts pro-hunting messages on his Facebook account, was approached by MailOnline and said: ‘I’m not able to comment on the incident. Thank you very much.’

One picture he posted on social media showed a mug with the words: ‘Hunting is natural, even foxes do it’.

The Hunting Act of 2004 makes it illegal to hunt foxes with hounds but traditional hunts have continued to operate claiming they are merely following trails.

Mr Holland added: ‘It is a very difficult offence to prove because you have to be able to prove intent and the hunt always claims it to have been an accident.

‘As hunt saboteurs we are out early and we have never seen hunts laying trails – it just doesn’t happen. If they do it is purely for show.’ 

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: ‘Every incident of wildlife crime reported to North Yorkshire Police is investigated with all lines of enquiry followed to try and find those responsible. 

‘We take these offences very seriously and will do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice. 

‘We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears, remaining vigilant and reporting any incidents to us by calling 101 and giving as much information as possible including the specific location and any photos or video footage.’

The spokesman urged anti-fox hunting groups to pass their footage to the police before sharing online. 

Hunts Details: York and Ainsty South Hunt; Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt

Source: Mail Online