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Undercover footage shows Beaufort Hunt hounds shot dead at kennels

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Undercover footage has captured hounds from the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt being shot dead at a kennels before being shoved into a wheelbarrow and taken away.

The clip, secretly filmed by anti-hunting campaigners Keep the Ban and the Hunt Investigation Team, shows bullets being fired into the heads of four hounds deemed no longer suitable for hunting purposes in Badminton, Gloucestershire.

Two of the hounds who appear to show signs of life are shot twice by members of the prestigious fox hunting group before being ‘thrown away like garbage’ in the video, which was shared with ITV News.

Up to 3,000 hunting hounds are killed each year, according to the Countryside Alliance, although Keep the Ban estimates this figure to be closer to 7,000. 

The practice is not illegal and can be done for a variety of reasons, including illness, injury or old age.

Responding to the video, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said that its hounds are ‘humanely euthanised’ if they cannot be rehomed.

The harrowing clip comes amid calls from anti-hunting groups to end trail hunting – where hounds or beagles follow a scent along a pre-determined route with no foxes chased, injured or killed – on National Trust land. 

Warning: Distressing content

The clip, secretly filmed by anti-hunting campaigners Keep the Ban and the Hunt Investigation Team, shows bullets being fired into the heads of four hounds deemed no longer suitable for hunting purposes in Badminton, Gloucestershire

The clip, secretly filmed by anti-hunting campaigners Keep the Ban and the Hunt Investigation Team, shows bullets being fired into the heads of four hounds deemed no longer suitable for hunting purposes in Badminton, Gloucestershire

What is the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt?

The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, also known at the Beaufort Hunt, is one of the oldest fox hunting packs in England, whose hunting dates back to 1640. 

Since then hounds have been systematically bred in Badminton for the sole purpose of hunting the foxes.

All the puppies bred by the hunt are put out to walk on farms from as young as six-weeks-old.

The hunting of deer and foxes was first led by the Marquess of Worcester during the 1600s but in 1762, Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, decided to focus on fox hunting after an unsuccessful day hunting deer. 

From this point onwards, Dukes of Beaufort have continued with the tradition and hunt on an area of land between Cirencester and Bath.

During the hunting season, the hunt will go out on four days of the week. 

The current master is the 11th Duke, also called Henry Somerset. 

 

The footage, taken several times between April and September, is the first time a hunt has been caught on camera shooting their hounds.

A spokesman for Keep the Ban said: ‘If evidence of chasing and killing wildlife wasn’t enough, now we are confronted with sickening footage of a previously licenced hunt putting bullets into their hounds and carting them away as if they’re garbage. 

‘Two of the hounds can still be seen moving after the first shot and are then shot again for good measure. This isn’t right. This isn’t normal. 

‘This isn’t the sort of behaviour that the National Trust should be condoning.’

The charity is set to vote later this month on whether to ban trail hunting on its land during the next hunting season. 

Politicians and celebrities reacted to the footage, describing it as ‘insane’ and ‘absolutely heartbreaking’. 

Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said: ‘I don’t understand why a dog…needs to be euthanised in this way and I am sure there are much more compassionate ways of putting a dog to sleep.’  

Animal rights supporter Ricky Gervais added: ‘It is so deeply upsetting that foxhounds are trained against their natural instinct to hunt foxes and when they catch them, rip them to pieces!

‘Then they are killed, usually by a shot to the head, by… someone who loves to chase and kill innocent animals. Both the hound and the fox become the victim of this cruelty. It’s insane, don’t you think?’

Mike Jessop, a fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, urged for the procedure to be done in a more humane way, by use of a lethal injection for example, by a veterinary surgeon. 

He also questioned whether the dog was still able to feel pain, saying the dog’s tail was seen still wagging even after being loaded into the wheelbarrow. 

Up to 3,000 hunting hounds are killed each year, according to the Countryside Alliance, although Keep the Ban estimates this figure to be closer to 7,000

Up to 3,000 hunting hounds are killed each year, according to the Countryside Alliance, although Keep the Ban estimates this figure to be closer to 7,000

Responding to the video, the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt said that its hounds are 'humanely euthanised' if they cannot be rehomed

Responding to the video, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said that its hounds are ‘humanely euthanised’ if they cannot be rehomed

The harrowing clip comes amid calls from anti-hunting groups to end trail hunting - where hounds or beagles follow a scent along a pre-determined route with no foxes chased, injured or killed - on National Trust land

The harrowing clip comes amid calls from anti-hunting groups to end trail hunting – where hounds or beagles follow a scent along a pre-determined route with no foxes chased, injured or killed – on National Trust land

What is the law on fox hunting? 

Fox hunting with dogs was banned in 2004 amid mounting complaints from animal welfare campaigners who argued it caused unnecessary suffering to wild animals.

It meant that groups in England and Wales could no longer hunt down and kill mammals with hounds.

But many hunts now simulate the chase by laying a scent for the dogs to follow instead of using an actual fox – this is known as trail hunting.

Dogs can also still be used to ‘flush’ foxes out of hiding if it is causing damage to property or the environment. 

Source: www.gov.uk 

The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, also known at the Beaufort Hunt, is one of the oldest fox hunting packs in England, whose hunting dates back to 1640.

Since then hounds have been systematically bred in Badminton for the sole purpose of hunting the foxes.

All the puppies bred by the hunt are put out to walk on farms from as young as six-weeks-old.

The hunting of deer and foxes was first led by the Marquess of Worcester during the 1600s but in 1762, Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, decided to focus on fox hunting after an unsuccessful day hunting deer.

From this point onwards, Dukes of Beaufort have continued with the tradition and hunt on an area of land between Cirencester and Bath.

During the hunting season, the hunt will go out on four days of the week. The current master is the 11th Duke, also called Henry Somerset.

In a statement, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said: ‘A number of options are considered for every hound before any decision is made regarding their future, whether that is retirement or rehoming, either to a domestic environment or to another kennels where their country may be deemed more suitable for that individual hound.

‘Occasionally hounds are successfully retired as domestic pets, but they are not house-trained and have only ever been used to living in a pack environment so the majority are unfortunately unsuitable for rehoming.

‘Where other options are not available, hounds are humanely euthanised. This is done by trained professionals using lawful and approved methods.’

Animal rights supporter and comedian Ricky Gervais said: 'Both the hound and the fox become the victim of this cruelty. It's insane, don't you think?'

Animal rights supporter and comedian Ricky Gervais said: ‘Both the hound and the fox become the victim of this cruelty. It’s insane, don’t you think?’



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