Saboteurs claim fox was killed by hounds during hunt at Oxhill - while Warwickshire Hunt say they were attacked and threatened by protesters

A fox was reportedly filmed being killed by hounds of the Warwickshire Hunt during a meet at Oxhill on Wednesday.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 12:28 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 12:29 pm
Photos from the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS).

West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS) and other animal rights monitors who were taking video claim they were assaulted by the hunt's ground crew who were attempting to prevent them approaching the scene.

Warwickshire Hunt did not confirm or deny that a fox had been killed but they said that the protesters were aggressive to them.

Police have been called in regards to the action of one man who allegedly made death threats to the Warwickshire Hunt.

Photos from the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS).

One of the women with the hunt, who has requested to remain anonymous, said: "The verbal abuse I suffered on Wednesday as a result of those extremists is deeply upsetting and unacceptable on any level."

She added: "I feel violated and frightened. These animal rights activists frequently publicise personal information and encourage others to attack. I am incredibly concerned for my safety."

"In a statement, a spokesman for the Warwickshire Hunt said: "This disgusting behaviour is completely unacceptable. Irrespective of anyone's view on hunting, this behaviour is just plain wrong and extremely concerning."

The Countryside Alliance, a rural campaigning group, has also joined the condemnation.

Photos from the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS).

Polly Portwin, head of hunting, said: "Behaviour of this nature is deeply worrying and calls into question the tactics used by groups like this. We sincerely hope the police investigate this matter further."

A spokesman for the saboteurs said: "On Wednesday, January 15 members of WMHS, Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and an independent hunt monitor attended a meet of the Warwickshire Hunt in Oxhill. Whilst hunting just outside the village of Oxhill the Warwickshire hounds were seen killing a fox.

"A member of the hunt can be seen wading into the middle of the pack of hounds and using his whip to move them off the fox. He can then be seen stepping on the body of the fox as one of the hounds goes back to the fox and attempts to drag the body out from under his boot."

The saboteurs said the first thing they saw when they arrived was a fox running from the hunt.

"The Warwickshire Hunt were ruthless and relentless in their hunting all day.

"At this time of year foxes are pairing up and mating so when they are hunted there are quite often two of them about together. Unfortunately one of those foxes was killed by the Warwickshire Hunt near Oxhill.

"We tried to get into the field to try to save the fox however we were assaulted and physically prevented from getting into the field by the Warwickshire Hunt stewards (who wear pink high-viz). One sab managed to run into the field only to be attacked and taken to the ground by one member of the hunt."

The group said members faced 'extreme provocation' all day from members of the hunt.

"The fact that we were physically blocked from helping the fox speaks volumes. Most compassionate animal loving people would go out of their way to help any animal in distress, instead the Warwickshire Hunt not only stopped us getting to the fox but also attacked us and violently brought one of our group to the ground.

"This disgusting behaviour is completely unacceptable and extremely concerning."

Three reports of hounds being 'out of control' while out have been reported in the Banbury Guardian during December and three in January. On New Year's Day hounds got onto the main Birmingham to London railway near Fenny Compton and held up trains for 30 minutes.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "One train (was) involved in the initial incident but overall 21 services were affected. The driver believed he struck a hound although no body was found by the British Transport Police following the incident.

"The train involved does have forward facing CCTV. Due to the ongoing investigation Network Rail cannot comment on the footage at this time. Network Rail has been liaising with the British Transport Police (BTP) and Chiltern Railways. We have provided an impact statement to the BTP investigators and we will continue to liaise with investigators."

Chiltern Railways spokesman Laura Jones said in a joint statement with Network Rail: "On New Year’s Day, dogs strayed onto the railway tracks and those responsible for them then trespassed onto the line between Leamington Spa and Banbury. This meant trains had to be stopped, causing disruption to passengers. No dogs were hit by a train and when their owners were told to leave the railway, they refused.

“Trespass is a serious risk to life and a criminal offence which causes unnecessary delays on the railway. We are in contact with British Transport Police and will fully support any action taken against those responsible.”