Hunt monitoring is an activity undertaken by concerned individuals who want to see the Hunting Act upheld. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunt_Monitors Our group operates in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire located in the South of England.
The Hunting Act, banning hunting in England and Wales, became law in February 2005. This ban was achieved through the work of many campaigners over almost a century. In recent times the work of hunt monitors became central to the campaign, as monitors use video cameras to film the cruelty and chaos involved in hunting. The filmed evidence they collected was shown in the media, and to MPs, and proved conclusively that a ban on this barbaric activity was urgently needed.
Before the ban even came into force, around 50,000 hunters signed a “Declaration”, stating that they would break any such law should it come onto the Statute Book. Local newspapers were invited to hunting rallies in order to publicise the signing of this Declaration.
On the Declaration form were printed these words: “Consequently we the undersigned declare our intention peacefully to disobey any law purporting to ban hunting” It also included this: “Please enclose a cheque for £10 made out to Hunting Declaration..’ saying that this would be used to fund “…a national advertising campaign to ensure our message gets wide coverage.”
After the law came into force, it immediately became clear to the hunt monitors that the hunters were indeed carrying out their threat to break the law, and so they have been forced to continue monitoring in order to collect evidence to put before the authorities to try and get acts of illegal hunting prosecuted.
It has been far from easy. Hunt monitors are routinely subjected to threats, assault, damage to their cars , cameras and radios, as well as foul verbal abuse, obstruction and intimidation. While tackling illegal hare coursing fairly consistently, the police and Crown Prosecution Services have shown a marked reluctance to act against the organised hunts
However, at last some of the large organised hunts are being taken to Court, and convicted of illegal hunting.
The Meynell and South Staffordshire are the latest hunt to be found guilty of illegal hunting, with their hunt master and terrierman both convicted at Derby Magistrates Court in August 2012.
In May 2012 three members of the Crawley & Horsham Hunt were found guilty of illegal hunting. In 2011, the Huntsman and terrierman of the Fernie Hunt were found guilty of illegal hunting.
In December 2012 the RSPCA took out a private prosecution, using evidence collected by independent hunt monitors, against the Heythrop Hunt Limited. This was a major landmark case, as it was the first time a hunt has been prosecuted as a corporate body. The Heythrop Hunt, their Huntsman and their Senior Master all pleaded guilty to four charges of illegally hunting a fox.
The reason these hunts have been successfully prosecuted and convicted is, in every case, because of the hunt monitors, whose footage of their illegal activities has provided the evidence needed to bring these people to justice. It is very encouraging that, at last, the sterling efforts of the monitors are beginning to show results in the Courts.
Unfortunately, the majority of hunts are never visited by monitors, and more monitors would mean more convictions.
The monitors are mostly independent individuals who are unpaid and self-funded. The petrol costs alone are extremely high, as are the costs of cameras, films, memory cards, CB radios etc.
You may well feel that you could not do the extremely stressful and dangerous work the monitors undertake. However, you can make a huge contribution to their work by making a donation today to enable them to continue.