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At Castle Cary’s Town Council meeting on Monday 9th December 2019, AAF asked the council  to distance themselves from the BSV meet on Boxing Day.

CASTLE CARY TOWN COUNCIL REFUSED TO DISCUSS OR COMMENT ON THE MEET – DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE MASTER OF THE HUNT IS FACING PROSECUTION FOR ILLEGAL HUNTING. 

 IS THIS BECAUSE ONE OF THE COUNCILLORS ORGANISES THE MEET?  He does this “not in his capacity as a councillor”, of course. But we think that this is a detail. People who support the hunt ALWAYS act in the interests of the hunt, whatever their “capacity” at the time. 

 Prior to the meeting, AAF sent this email to the council. In it, the hunt’s recent appalling behaviour was highlighted.  

This is what I would like you to bring to the attention of the Castle Cary Town Council on 9th December. 

While I understand that the Council cannot “ban” the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt (BSV)  from meeting in the town on Boxing Day, it is possible for you to state openly that you disapprove. St Ives, Uppingham, Salisbury, Liverpool, Nottingham and Blandford have all done just this. Other councils are also under pressure. Pewsey, St Just, Utoxeter, Grantham, Lewes, Keswick, Rutland, Melton Mowbray –  and these are just a few of them. All over the country, people are expressing their abhorrence for the hunts.    

Illegal hunting is widespread – there is absolutely no doubt about that. This website www.powa.co.uk records all hunt incidents, if you would like to see evidence of it. The Hunting Act 2004 is full of loopholes and the hunts are taking full advantage of them. Scotland are planning on strengthening their act, and the Labour Party also intend to strengthen the Act here (if they are elected). If the law was doing its job, there would be no need to strengthen it. Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) – previously Minister for Defra, drew it to the attention of the house in November.   

 

There is also a great deal of evidence of wrongdoing in the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt themselves.  

The master of the BSV is due in court shortly for a breach of the Hunting Act. He was filmed chasing a pregnant (or lactating) vixen across the churchyard at Charlton Horethorne in February this year. He has previously been in court for other breaches. The hunt was seen to kill a fox on 9 February 2019 outside Alweston.  Another member of this hunt assaulted me personally, pushing me under a moving horse box. And yet another intimidated me and my entire family (my husband and two daughters were in the car with me) on a previous occasion.  A few weeks ago, several monitors took a film of this hunt causing chaos on a main road in Dorset, while chasing a fox. The hunt claims it is hunting legally, following a trail. Laying a trail across a main road is unlikely. Here is a link to the film which was featured in the Daily Mail 

After I saw you yesterday, I took my leaflets into all the shops in the High Street. Not one of them said they liked seeing the hunt in Castle Cary on Boxing Day. Many of them were very firmly opposed. One of them pointed out that the 4X4s that arrive in Castle Cary on Boxing Day are not seen at any other time of they year; these are not locals coming to watch the hunt. 

I have also leafleted all of Castle Cary and Ansford. Three times, people came out of their houses to thank me for the leaflet and told me that they would not ever attend such an event. I spoke to several other people and all of them said they oppose the hunt.  

My group has conducted a street-poll about fox hunting. Our results were clear: 85% of people oppose hunting. Most people rightly think that recreational animal cruelty is wrong.  

Castle Cary Town Council should distance themselves from this event. If the Master of the Hunt is convicted of illegal hunting then they will be drawn into a scandal. I should add that this same person was involved in a violent confrontation outside Weatherspoons in Yeovil. It was filmed – the homophobic language heard in this film is shocking.  

 I hope to attend the council meeting myself. If you can secure me a few minutes to speak at the meeting, I would be grateful. I am chair and co founder of Action Against Foxhunting (the national group) and I also run the Dorset and Somerset branch.

Pip, from AAF, did attend the meeting. She showed the councillors pictures of hunted foxes and referred again to the pending prosecution. However, when the item was reached in the agenda (two emails had been received on the subject) the Leader of the Council simply said that she was putting forward a motion that the council would not comment. 

They all voted and that was it. No discussion at all.   

One of the councillors organises the meet. He was not asked to leave the room when the vote was taken.

IN THE OPINION OF AAF, THIS COUNCILLOR UNFAIRLY INFLUENCED THE VOTE. WE KNOW THAT 85% OF PEOPLE RIGHTLY OPPOSE FOXHUNTING. SO HOW COME CASTLE CARY TOWN COUNCIL DON’T? EITHER THEY DON’T REPRESENT THE PEOPLE – OR THERE IS SOMETHING UNTOWARD GOING ON.

If you wish to ask Castle Cary Town Council to explain themselves, please email the leader of the council at this address:

Judi Morison

Chair of Town Council
judi.morison@castle-cary.co.uk

You might want to ask her why she allowed for no discussion. You might also want to ask her why she felt unable to look Pip in the eye as she left the meeting.