Fox, coyote and turkey hunting proposed at Potomac River wildlife refuges

https://www.insidenova.com/headlines/fox-coyote-and-turkey-hunting-proposed-at-potomac-river-wildlife-refuges/article_57ff51ca-9eba-11eb-b5cd-abf68e4e6af6.html?fbclid=IwAR1NRtmWtZvK1X6CyooXBEb5M6aj__TrqEqzMKLwMd92flK4ucTLf-DGeq8

  • Apr 16, 2021 Updated Apr 16, 2021
Occoquan Bay NWR
The scene from a wildlife viewing platform at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge.By Casey Pugh

U.S. Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on new plans for fox, coyote, waterfowl and turkey hunting, along with expanded deer hunting and fishing opportunities, at the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Woodbridge and southern Fairfax.Trending on InsideNoVa https://c5x8i7c7.ssl.hwcdn.net/vplayer-parallel/20210408_1900/ima_html5/index.htmlhttps://c5x8i7c7.ssl.hwcdn.net/vplayer-parallel/20210408_1900/videojs/show.html?controls=1&loop=30&autoplay=0&tracker=a400ac00-21b7-4967-adeb-951c15739530&height=352&width=625&vurl=%2F%2Fd14c63magvk61v.cloudfront.net%2Fvideos%2Fdgv_insidenova%2F20210418054149_607bc4b07dee4%2Fdgv_insidenova_trending_articles_20210418054149_607bc4b07dee4_new.mp4&poster=%2F%2Fd14c63magvk61v.cloudfront.net%2Fvideos%2Fdgv_insidenova%2F20210418054149_607bc4b07dee4%2Fdgv_insidenova_trending_articles_20210418054149_607bc4b07dee4_new.jpgXPowered By 

The complex includes the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck, Occoquan Bay, and Featherstone National Wildlife Refuges. The USFW is inviting the public to review and comment on the draft plan for proposed hunts and fishing access.

The proposed plan includes:

  • Open fishing opportunities on non-motorized watercraft in designated areas of Occoquan Bay NWR, Mason Neck NWR and Featherstone NWR. Additionally, Featherstone NWR will also open fishing opportunities to motorized watercraft in designated areas.
  • Expanded deer hunting hours at Occoquan Bay NWR.
  • Open opportunities for mentored turkey hunting and mentored archery deer hunting on Occoquan Bay NWR.
  • Open fox and coyote hunting opportunities in conjunction with permitted deer hunt days at Occoquan Bay NWR.
  • Open waterfowl hunting opportunities in designated areas of Featherstone NWR.

A “hunt application/permit” (FWS Form 3-2439) will be required for hunting deer on E.H. Mason Neck NWR and Occoquan Bay NWR. No more than $10 application fee and $20 permit fee for deer and turkey hunts would be established to defray the costs of operation.

Deer hunt permit applications would most likely be administered by a contracted company that will feature online, mail, and telephone services to collect hunter information, required fees, and issue permits, the release said.

Draft documents for review are available here.

You can contact the refuge at 703-490-4979 to request more information. Submit your comments to the refuge by mail at 12638 Darby Brooke Court, Woodbridge, VA 22192 or by email at HuntFishRuleComments@fws.gov with the subject line of “Potomac River NWR Complex.”

The comment period will be open through the end of the 2021-2022 federal hunting and sport fishing regulations open comment period to be announced in the Federal Register, USFW said in a news release. Federal officials expect the comment period to be open through mid-June. 

“Across the country, national wildlife refuges work closely with state agencies, tribes, and private partners to expand recreational hunting and fishing access,” the release said. “Hunting and fishing provide opportunities for communities, families, and individuals to enjoy the outdoors, support conservation efforts, and participate in a popular American tradition.”

Breaking news: Maryland lawmakers ban wildlife killing contests

April 9, 2021 0 Comments

Breaking news: Maryland lawmakers ban wildlife killing contests

Wildlife killing contests have increasingly come under the scrutiny of Americans after we began to expose the carnage with undercover investigations in Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana and Texas. Photo by the HSUS20.9KSHARES

Maryland legislators have just passed a bill banning wildlife killing contests—cruel events where participants compete to win cash and prizes for killing the most or the heaviest animals.

The vote comes just over a year after we did an undercover investigation of such contests in the state that targeted foxes, coyotes and raccoons. Our investigators documented participants bringing in red foxes, their mouths zip-tied shut and their tiny bodies riddled with bullets from high-powered rifles. They tossed the dead animals into piles for weighing or counting.

To lure the animals to their death, contestants used digital technology that mimics the sound of prey or even young animals in distress.

Our footage outraged Marylanders and soon after the House of Delegates passed a bill to ban these killing contests by a landslide vote. But before the Senate could take up the bill, the legislature shut down for the year due to the pandemic.

Fortunately, the bill’s author, Del. Dana Stein, quickly reintroduced it in the 2021 legislative session, with Sen. Ron Young as the Senate sponsor. The bill moved forward with lightning speed, guided by HSUS Maryland state director Jennifer Bevan-Dangel and the group Maryland Votes for Animals, and passed both chambers this week. Organizations including the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, the Animal Welfare Institute, In Defense of Animals and Project Coyote provided support.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan. We expect he will either sign it or let it pass into law without his signature.

Maryland is on track to become the eighth state to ban wildlife killing contests in just the last seven years—the others being Vermont, New Mexico, ArizonaMassachusettsColorado, California and Washington. These events have increasingly come under the scrutiny of Americans after we began to expose the carnage with undercover investigations in Maryland, New YorkNew JerseyIndiana and Texas.

These events, with names like “Moondog Madness Coyote Tournament” and “Good Ol’ Boys Fall Predator Tournament,” glorify wanton killing and are not that much different from dogfighting and cockfighting, which have been outlawed in all U.S. states. Children are often present and are even encouraged to participate, inuring them to the violence at a young age. In Maryland, we found children playing among the dead animals and even helping to drag them to the judging area.

Wildlife killing contests are still held in nearly all of the 43 states where they are legal, but that is changing rapidly. Americans increasingly view animals like coyotes and foxes, who have long been persecuted because of misconceptions and are typically targeted in these events, with compassion. They also recognize the important role that these native carnivores play in a healthy ecosystem, and are acknowledging the wide variety of humane, effective strategies that are available to help them coexist with our other wild neighbors. Many more states are now considering similar bills to prohibit wildlife killing contests, including New York, New Jersey and Oregon.

We are grateful to Maryland lawmakers for acting decisively to end this cruel practice. We have incredible momentum in this fight right now and we need to keep it up and end these contests wherever they exist. If you live in a state where wildlife contests are still being held, please visit humanesociety.org/wildlifekillingcontests and download our toolkit to learn how you can help end them.

Flying fur prices put fox in focus as mink cull sparks shortage

DECEMBER 13, 20204:24 PMUPDATED 13 DAYS AGO

By Silvia AloisiNikolaj Skydsgaard

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-mink-fur-focus-idINKBN28O00U?fbclid=IwAR2mYNEdjBTTWH5-8KPSwJ39PilaX1WSPUNnuoY0W69C20Q_VtOZuv8xviU

6 MIN READ

MILAN/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark’s coronavirus-driven mink cull has put the fur business in a spin, with industry officials expecting fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi to snap up fox and chinchilla to fill the gap.kill 17 million farmedhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.432.0_en.html#goog_1953459022 

The global fur trade, worth more than $22 billion a year, is reeling from Denmark’s decision to kill 17 million farmed mink after COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of farms led to the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus in the mammals.

Worries of a sudden shortage of slinky mink pelts, of which Denmark was the top exporter, have lifted prices by as much as 30% in Asia, the International Fur Federation (IFF) says.

Now, all eyes are on Finland, where one million mink and 250,000 fox pelts will soon be up for grabs for buyers in Korea, China, the United States and elsewhere next week. Auction house Saga Furs plans to hold the international sale, the first since the Danish cull, via livestream from Dec. 15.

A sales programme offers mink fur from both Europe and North America, such as “Pearl Velvet” and “Silverblue Velvet” mink, in addition to “Silver Fox”, “White Finnraccoon” and Russian sable.

Saga Furs, which last year took over its North American rival NAFA, expects to sell all the pelts, compared with a 55% take-up so far in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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“The market will strengthen, an increase in prices will help our business in general,” Saga Furs CEO Magnus Ljung said of the industry, which has seen years of falling prices.

“We’ve already had more requests about foxes, if people see that there is a lack of mink, they could consider using something else,” Ljung told Reuters.

LVMH’s head of sustainability Helene Valade said this week that the French luxury group obtains fur from Finland. The owner of Louis Vuitton, Dior and Fendi, which relies on brokers to bid, says it is using only 100% certified mink, fox and finnraccoon.

Fur demand has been falling since the 1950s, except for a rise between 2000 and 2013 when it was popular on fashion runways and Chinese appetite for luxury pelts boomed, Lise Skov, an academic who researched the Danish fur industry, said.

A typical mink pelt sold for more than $90 at auction in 2013, while last year skins fetched around $30. This was despite a fall in global production to just under 60 million pelts last year, from more than 80 million in 2014.Slideshow ( 5 images )

Euromonitor predicts the value of fur and fur products, both real and faux, will fall by 2.6% this year.

IS FUR FINISHED?

A Danish breeder-owned cooperative that sold 25 million mink hides last year, or 40% of the global total, is considering selling its brand and other assets after announcing that it would gradually shut down operations over the next 2-3 years.

Kopenhagen Fur CEO Jesper Lauge Christensen told Reuters he had received expressions of interest from Chinese customers to take over the auction house’s brand, which he said could be valued at up to 1 billion Danish crowns ($163 million).

It still plans to sell some 25 million pelts over the next two years, from Danish farms not infected by the virus, frozen stocks and foreign animals.

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Animal activists hope the Danish debacle, which has had political repercussions in the country, will finish off the fur industry and demand for items such as $1,700 fur trinkets, $16,000 fur vests and $60,000 fur coats will disappear.

Countries and states which have already banned fur farms or fur products includes Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Israel and California.

PJ Smith, director of fashion policy at Humane Society International, says that brands still using real fur will ditch it soon, following Gucci, Prada, Armani and others.

But for now, Kopenhagen Fur’s Christensen said fashion brands in Europe had expressed concern they will not be able to find a similar quality to the Danish mink furs.

“One of the biggest challenges from the brand perspective is that the unique Danish qualities will be disappearing from the collection and you cannot source that product elsewhere.”Slideshow ( 5 images )

He said he was looking at selling warehouse facilities and equipment such as automated vision machinery to grade the skins.

China, followed by Russia, is the biggest buyer of Danish fur as its own mink are considered of lower quality than those raised in Europe, where breeding standards are generally higher.

“We wouldn’t choose Chinese-made fur due to its poor quality,” Zhang Changping, owner of China’s Fangtai Fur, told Reuters, adding that it had already bought enough fur at least for the first half of 2021.

Fangtai would shift to auctions in Finland if Denmark failed to supply enough mink in the future, he said.

Niccolò Ricci, chief executive of Italian luxury designer label Stefano Ricci which has many clients in Russia and eastern Europe, said he expected mink prices to increase by up to 50% but that high-end labels like his would continue to seek top quality pelts, mainly from U.S. suppliers.

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“The real shortage could come from 2022, but by then we are hoping mink farmers in Canada, Poland, America and Greece will increase production to replace Danish output,” said IFF head Mark Oaten. Russia and China are also expected to hike output.

“People will also be looking at other types of fur. Fox has been very popular for trimmings, in parkas for example. Wild fur is also becoming more popular, as is chinchilla,” Oaten added.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard in Copenhagen and Silvia Aloisi in Milan; additional reporting by Shanghai newsroom and Sarah White in Paris; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Alexander Smith

Animal-rights groups picket NH Trappers banquet ahead of hearing on recreational trapping bill

  • Updated 
https://www.unionleader.com/news/animals/animal-rights-groups-picket-nh-trappers-banquet-ahead-of-hearing/article_2fbad506-8e4e-5e82-8db8-b3277398d2c0.html
Trapping protest

Annie Smith, a member of Twin State Animal Liberation, stands with a photo of a red fox on South Main Street in front of the Franklin Elks Lodge where the New Hampshire Trappers Association’s annual banquet was being held Saturday.

FRANKLIN — Ahead of what is expected to be a contentious, lengthy hearing on a bill that opponents say would lead to the elimination of recreational trapping, three animal-rights groups picketed the New Hampshire Trappers Association’s annual banquet on Saturday.

From about 4:15 to 5:30 p.m., a dozen-plus people and one human-sized red fox representing NH Citizens Against Recreational Trapping, NH Animal Rights League, and Twin State Animal Liberation conducted an informational picket on South Main Street, outside the Franklin Elks Lodge, where the banquet was held.

Kristina Snyder of Chester said the goal of the picket was to raise public awareness about trapping, the NHTA’s relationship with the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program, and House Bill 1504.

On Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Rooms 305-307 in the Legislative Office Building, the House of Representative’s Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee is scheduled to take up HB 1504, which would create a study committee to examine the feasibility of banning recreational trapping and would require that committee to file a report by Nov. 1.

The NHTA, on its website, urged members to attend the HB 1504 hearing, saying that “if there was one day worth taking a day off from work to attend it would be this one.” The NHTA says “trapping is humane and the only way to successfully control furbearer populations.”

Larry Torr, president of the NHTA, was not immediately available for comment.

Holding a large photo of a silver fox with its leg caught in a trap, Snyder said HB 1504 would ban recreational trapping, but not commercial trapping of nuisance wildlife.

She said that in September 2019, California became the first state to make recreational trapping illegal and that the Granite State should follow suit.

Animals feel fear and pain, she said, and trapping is an outdated and unnecessary tradition.

Another tradition that should end, Snyder said, is that of the NHTA annually presenting a coat made of furs collected by members to the winner the Miss New Hampshire competition.

An official with the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program, in published reports last year, said the organization, despite the controversy, would continue its relationship with the NHTA, adding that the Miss New Hampshire winner had the option of accepting the fur coat, something Snyder disputes.

Annie Smith, of Westminster, Vt., came to Saturday’s picket because, she said, “we want to let people know that trapping still goes on and there’s no reason for it.”

Smith, who held a picture of a red fox, is confident that recreational trapping will cease. “I just hope it happens in my lifetime,” she said.

Further up the picket line, a much larger, faux red fox, who said his name is Anonymous and that he hails from New Hampshire, said the NHTA and “a few hundred trappers are holding wildlife hostage. It’s time for that to end.”

New permit means open season for hunting many furry predators

You can soon hunt raccoons, coyotes, and other furry predators on your private land to help protect bird populations.

It will soon be critter season all year long in Arkansas. It may be the worst news in a while for coyotes since the Acme Roadrunner trap arrived in the mail.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted to relax hunting regulations on certain predator species.

RELATED: UCAPD help save raccoon hilariously stuck in drain grate

“Raccoons, possums, red fox, coyotes — things like that,” said Randy Zellers, the assistant chief of communications for the AGFC. “What it is going to do is give a private landowner to manage on a local level if he feels that predator populations are high and maybe impacting his ground nesting birds in the area.”

Coyotes and possums like quick meals they can get from a quail’s nest. To manage that, you can now set traps or hunt them with a special permit. There doesn’t have to be a set season, and more importantly, no set hours.

“You will be able to harvest bobcat, coyote, skunk, possum, and raccoon day or night,” Zellers said after getting a free predator-control permit. That lets hunters get them when they are out and active.

Officials are not declaring a critter crisis, but the rules needed updating because the days of every kid running around with a Davy Crockett hat are long gone.

“Years ago, people used to trap animals for pelts,” Zellers said. “As that has gone out of style, there’s not as much money involved in trapping animals for pelts.”

Rules are already in place that allow you to shoot predators if they threaten people, pets, or livestock. This new permit means you can do it more efficiently with an eye on wildlife management.

A hunter is also not responsible for having to turn the skin into a coat or a hat if they have the special permit.

Zellers points out that the permit is mainly for people living in the country.

While coyotes and foxes often encroach on suburban or even residential areas in cities, local firearms laws still supersede the special permit regulations.

RELATED: Dad, teens face-off against growling coyote

If you have a raccoon or skunk problem closer to town, the AGFC has standard advice.

“We still recommend the number one thing is remove all the food sources and make sure those animals are not welcome,” Zellers said.

The permits will be available in late August.

Scientists “speechless” after fox makes 2,176-mile, 76-day trek from Norway to Canada

A 1-year-old explorer made an epic journey from Norway to Canada, covering 2,176 miles in 76 days. That young explorer was an Arctic fox.

The fox started her journey in March, at just under a year old. She walked nearly 1,000 miles from the archipelago near the North Pole to Greenland. She completed this leg in just 21 days, then began the second part of her trek.

The fox then walked about 1,242 miles farther to Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The whole trek took her just 76 days, averaging about 28.4 miles a day. Some days, however, the ambitious fox walked over 96 miles.

ap-18278571138868.jpg
Researchers believe the fox curled up in the snow to brave the weather, much like this arctic fox lying in its enclosure at Osnabrueck Zoo.FRISO GENTSCH

Eva Fuglei, a research scientists at the Polar Institute, spoke to Norway’s NRK public broadcaster about the fox’s unlikely journey. “We couldn’t believe our eyes at first,” she said. “We thought perhaps it was dead, or had been carried there on a boat, but there were no boats in the area. We were quite thunderstruck.”

Fuglei has been tracking how foxes cope in with the dramatic changes of the Arctic seasons, BBC News reports. No fox has been recorded traveling that far, that fast before.

“There’s enough food in the summer, but it gets difficult in winter,” Fuglei told NRK. “This is when the Arctic fox often migrates to other geographical areas to find food to survive. But this fox went much further than most others we’ve tracked before – it just shows the exceptional capacity of this little creature.” Researchers think the fox curled up in the snow to sit out the bad weather.

The Polar Institute created a gif that shows the two parts of the fox’s journey across Greenland.

giphy.gif
Researchers made a gif of the fox’s travels across Greenland. She walked close to the North Pole for over 2,100 miles to Canada.POLAR INSTITUTE

The fox could have traveled even farther, but scientists stopped tracking her when she reached Canada in February, because her transmitter stopped working, the Polar Institute said.

The adventurous fox may have a hard time finding food in Canada, since she ate a mainly marine diet in Svalbard. Foxes in Canada’s Ellesmere Island eat mostly lemmings, which are small rodents.

World’s intelligent hunters in a race for survival in Iran

TEHRAN – Foxes, the intelligent hunters who avoid humans, having a limited range in Iran, are endangered due to human encroachment on their habitats and the lack of safety, said Jalil Imani, a biodiversity and ecosystems management expert.

There are more than 20 species of foxes who eat almost anything, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, worms and fruit. The common fox is considered by some as pest species, being an opportunistic hunter of game birds, ground-nesting birds and small mammals, often killing animals’ surplus to its needs.

Foxes in Iran are often seen in farmlands in search of rodents. They are also likely to feed on melons, scavenge in refuse dumps, or track hares and other small mammals, especially when there is snow on the ground. Foxes in Iran are trapped, shot, and hunted almost everywhere they occur, and yet they still manage to thrive.

Foxes feed on small animals like rats, but farmers turning pastures into agricultural land over the past few years are using pesticides to protect their product, which kill foxes’ prey, and in some case the foxes themselves by the poisonous baits.

Four fox species inhabiting in Iran, including Blanford’s, Corsac, Rüppell’s and common foxes, Imani said, lamenting, according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), all four aforesaid species of foxes in the world are defined as least concern, however in Iran, their condition is different.

“Blanford’s fox is assigned endangered by the Department of Environment, any hunting or trade of which is considered illegal,” he noted, adding, while Corsac fox has been listed as extinct before sighting some in northeastern part of the country, which switched to critically endangered.

Rüppell’s fox is also placed in the IUCN’s least concern category, while being vulnerable in Iran which requires protection, he said.

“Fortunately, common fox is in better condition and is not listed as endangered yet,” he added.

So far, no measures have been taken to estimate fox population in the country, he said, adding, so there are no accurate statistics on the number of foxes in the country.

“The results of genetic tests showed that genetic variation of the foxes is desirable. There are two major genetic groups in the country that are in some ways compatible with the global groups.”

Imani went on to say that the Rüppell’s fox found mainly in Yazd, Kerman, somewhat Sistan-Baluchestan and Isfahan provinces, have proper genetic diversity, so there is still hope for the preservation of the sub species.

Blanford’s and Corsac foxes while offering insufficient information for a proper assessment, can be conserved to some extent, he said, noting, for precise determination scientific analysis and researches must be conducted in this regard.

One of the most important threats to fox species are habitat fragmentation, as well as the use of pesticides eradicating their prey, road construction, rabies and stray dogs, although the conflict with humans is the leading cause for their heading toward extinction.

“Foxes feed on small animals like rats, but farmers turning pastures into agricultural land over the past few years are using pesticides to protect their product, which kill foxes’ prey, and in some case the foxes themselves by the poisonous baits.

“On the other hand, road accidents took lives of many of the smart species, for example, there is a road in northern island of Qeshm, in which one to two foxes are killed per day due to road crashes.

“Unfortunately, another threat posed to the foxes is hunting for the fur trade, or some people keep their pelt for prosperity beliefs and superstitions.

“Foxes are primarily nocturnal hunters who prefer to search for food at a time when there is little chance of being spotted by humans, therefore, they are no threat to humans and there is no need to persecute the precious species,” Imani regretted.

Corsac fox’s habitat no longer safe

An official with the Golestan DOE, Mahmood Shakiba, said in October 2018 that living conditions for rare corsac fox in the country is so improper that spotting a few nests of the species is a pleasure.

In the Iranian calendar year 1395 (March 2016-March 2017), some 14 Corsac nests have been found in Turkmen Sahara in Golestan province, of which only four nests have been active and last year the nests have no longer been active, he added.

All Corsac habitats have been destructed turning into agricultural land, animal husbandry, manufacturing workshops or factories, so that the animal has no place to live, he regretted.

What happens when species go extinct?

As the species is at the top of the food chain, it plays an important role in conservation of the country’s ecosystem as well as protecting other species.

When an ecosystem loses key species such as common fox, it triggers what ecologists call a trophic cascade—a butterfly effect that spirals down the food chain. A well-documented case study for this phenomenon is the gray wolf, once among the world’s most widely distributed mammals. Prior to their extirpation, North American gray wolves were a key predator of deer, elk, moose, bison and caribou, as well as numerous smaller mammals. Following the wolves’ disappearance, the abundance of deer skyrocketed, with some populations climbing to six times their historical size.

Disappearance of foxes also have potential of disrupting the balance. For example, common fox’s function as an apex predator control the abundance of their prey and thus help to maintain a balance of nature.

Activists vow to continue fight to save foxes in Warwickshire

Catherine Thompson5th Mar, 2019
Sboteurs say they have no plans to give up the fight to save foxes in Warwickshire.

Anti-hunt campaigners in the county are concerned at the number of foxes killed by ‘mistake’ during hunts up and down the country, and say they will not stop disrupting the Warwickshire Hunt until foxes were properly protected under the law.

Following the ban on fox hunting introduced in 2004, the hunt and its hounds now follow artificial trails, but saboteurs still follow the hunt closely when it takes to the Warwickshire countryside.

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands hunt saboteurs said: “It’s sad that it’s up to us to fight. The law is not enforced properly and hasn’t stopped animals being killed for blood sport. It’s barbaric.

“We do our utmost to try and save the animals.

“We will always try and stop them until the day when the law is tightened an outright ban on hunting. They can’t keep claiming killing foxes is an accident. If so many accidents are happening then it shouldn’t be allowed at all.”

But the hunt denied the accusations and said it operated within the law.

A spokesman for the hunt said: “We hunt legally to comply with the Hunting Act 2004 and our professional staff correct hounds as quickly as possible should any mistakes occur. Hunting remains a popular activity as demonstrated at many of its venues and increasing public attendance and support especially on Boxing Day and Opening Meets. People are welcome to come and see what we do.”

The hunt and saboteurs recently blamed each other when an ambulance was held up on a country lane near Shipston.

The hunt accused protesters for not pulling their car over as they followed the hunt, while saboteurs said the ambulance was delayed by the hunt ‘using the road as their own personal playground’.

Campaigners Warn Of Disease Risk From Hounds As ‘Hunting Festival’ Opens

The animals have been described as a biosecurity hazard
Hunting hounds are a biosecurity risk

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/campaigners-warn-hounds-disease-risk-ahead-of-hunting-festival

Hunting hounds can potentially spread disease to other hounds and animals across the British countryside, according to research revealed by an animal welfare charity.

The independent report – Hunting with Hounds and the Spread of Disease, 2018 – uses research on disease spread over decades. It was commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports following the discovery of bTB in a pack of hunting hounds early in 2017. According to the charity: “Accumulated evidence in the study suggests overwhelmingly that hunting with hounds maintains and/or spreads several livestock parasites and pathogens that have a major economic impact on British farmers.”

Now campaigners are highlighting this research ahead of the annual Lycetts Festival of Hunting being held today in Peterborough, saying the attendance of the packs of hounds is a major biosecurity threat.

Disease

According to the study: “Hounds used for hunting carry numerous infectious diseases which can be spread to livestock, other hounds, and even humans. The dogs often contract the diseases after being fed the carcasses of diseased livestock.

“Diseases spread by hunting hounds contribute to a substantial number of infections each year, costing the livestock and farming industries ‘millions’, as hunts regularly ignore ‘biosecurity’ measures which are designed to prevent disease spreading.

“At least 4,000 hunt hounds are euthanised by hunts each year, many around 6-10 years old, often because they are too ill to keep up with the rest of the pack. Studies suggest many of these will have diseases but post mortems are rarely done.”

The hounds can spread diseases to other animals

‘Melting pot of disease’

Chris Pitt, Deputy Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: Agricultural and country shows are a long-standing tradition and a part of country life, but research shows that they are basically a melting pot of disease which is leading to disaster for farmers and animal welfare.

“You’ve got hunting hounds from different parts of the country all mixing together. If even one of those dogs is carrying disease – which is highly likely – then the risk of it passing it to other dogs or livestock is also high. The disease then gets moved around the country and livestock dies, which is both a financial and welfare cost. Local hounds are then fed the carcasses – and the cycle continues.

“Anyone taking livestock to a show must follow basic biosecurity measures to ensure that their animals do not spread, or pick up, disease. There are question marks over how successful these measures are anyway, but evidence suggests that hunts take even less care with their hounds. Given the huge impact disease has on the countryside, it’s unbelievable that so little care or thought is being given to this problem.”

Human health risk

Evidence also shows there are ‘significant risks’ of disease transmission to humans from animals (though it is lower than animal-to-animal disease transmission). This is a particular worry when it comes to children, because of their immature immune systems and poor standards of hygiene, and older people.

The lack of veterinary care received by hunting hounds, as well as their diet, and their freedom to roam move across farmland without biosecurity scrutiny, means the risks of catching diseases is higher from these animals than companion dogs.

Examples of diseases that can be spread from hunting hounds to humans include Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis, which can lead to serious problems for pregnant women, and Campylobacteriosis, a common cause of diarrhoea, fever and stomach pain, which can be carried by dogs without them showing any signs.

The study, Hunting with hounds and the spread of disease, by Professor Stephen Harris, BSc PhD DSc and Dr Jo Dorning, BSc PhD, is available online.

Falconer cleared of hunting charge because he uses golden eagle to hunt foxes

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/05/falconer-cleared-hunting-charge-uses-golden-eagle-hunt-foxes/
John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt
John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt CREDIT: PETERBOROUGH TELEGRAPH / SWNS

Afalconer has been cleared of breaching strict hunting laws because he hunts foxes using a golden eagle.

John Mease, 45, was found not guilty after a court heard he used the bird of prey to catch animals as opposed to a pack of dogs.

He was further cleared of causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal despite “dispatching” a fox by driving a knife through its eye after it was caught by his raptor in 2013.

George Adams, 66, a co-accused Fitzwilliam huntsman, was convicted of using hounds to kill a fox on January 1 2016.

Peterborough Magistrates Court was filled with supporters of the huntand hunt saboteurs during the two-day trial.

Magistrates heard that the hunt’s hounds were used to flush the fox out into the open before the eagle was meant to be released to catch the fleeing mammal.

John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt 
John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt  CREDIT: PETERBOROUGH TELEGRAPH / SWNS

Video footage filmed by Stephen Milton, a hunt saboteur, showed the 40-hound hunt in a field near Wansford, Cambs, and picked up the sound of a hunting horn.

Mr Milton said he did not hear anyone from the hunt calling the dogs off the fox after they picked up its scent.

The fox was killed by the pack of hounds and Mr Mease’s golden eagle was not released.

Adams, who joined the Fitzwilliam Hunt in 1981 and became a huntsman in 1984, said he had not seen the fox before it was killed.

When asked if it was his intention to kill the fox with hounds, he said: “Absolutely not. We wanted to flush it out for the bird of prey.”

Mr Mease told the court there was no chance for him to release his golden eagle because the saboteurs were in the field.

Asked why he did not radio Adams to call the hunt off, he said: “A hunt is a fluid thing. It was changing minute by minute.

“It was the heat of the moment and it was the first time I had come across saboteurs in my 11 years.”

He told the court he was in charge of the bird but had no control over the pack of hounds, which was Adams’ responsibility.

The court was also shown headcam footage from Mr Mease taken in November 2013, when he used the golden eagle to catch a fox.

He then used a falconers knife to kill the animal by driving the spike through its eye.

It took him 47 seconds to kill the fox from the moment it was caught by the eagle.

Mr Mease said: “No-one else could have done it quicker.”

He denied hunting for sport and described himself as a pest controller.

District Judge John Woollard said he had heard no evidence the hunt had made any changes to their activities – other than using the falconer – since the hunting act was introduced in 2005.

Joe Bird, prosecuting, alleged that the eagle was used as a “smokescreen” to allow the hunt to continue as it had before the law was changed.

He said: “The set up was never going to work. It was a smokescreen.

“There were so many occasions when they would not have been able to fly the eagle.”

Stephen Welford, defending both men, said: “There is video footage of Mease using his eagle to kill a fox. That would not exist if it was a smokescreen.”

Judge Woollard said it was clear Adams had no control over the hounds during the hunt.

He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £930 costs.

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Lee Moon said after the trial: “To anyone who witnessed the events on the day in question it was abundantly clear that a wild mammal was hunted and killed illegally, in a most gruesome manner.

“The loopholes and exemptions in the current act have always been cynically exploited by hunts in order to operate much as they would have done prior to the ban.”

Adrian Simpson, from the Countryside Alliance, said they believed the judge had made the wrong decision, and said Adams was planning to appeal.