The Boxing Day Meet
is not what it seems
Boxing Day, 2018, Okehampton, Devon.
They arrive. Upright, red-coated, bouncing high on smartly coiffured horses, enthusiastic hounds below them, heads-up, tails-up and very hungry. A young rider – no more than twelve years old, sweeps past, grinning. The huntsman, elbow like a teapot handle as he holds the horn to his mouth, blows a clear and chilling message to his hounds.
People with upturned faces fix their gleaming eyes on the horsemen, clapping, cheering and waving.
Are the horsemen heroes?
Can these beautiful people really be planning to kill?
A few miles away, a young female fox is sleeping. She wakes up and sniffs. She catches something in the air.
Life has been a challenge for her, but she knows how to survive. She’s made it through one of the coldest winters and then one of the hottest summers in living memory. She is tough and clever and capable.
But now she hears something. She crouches low in her cover, still as possible, listening and listening. It’s coming closer. Presently, she hears the cry of a hound and then another. She hears their feet; she hears the grass rustle and scrape. She hears the horses’ hooves. The sharp, clear noise of the hunting horn cuts through the air and she raises her head. She can see them. They are coming. Coming for her.
Desperately, she breaks cover and runs. A hunt supporter spots her, gleefully pointing, shouting. The huntsman sounds his horn again. On her scent are the hounds; the hungry hounds that had earlier paced alongside the parading horses and riders. They can smell her and now they must taste her.
She runs and runs. The pack is behind her. The riders are behind the hounds. So very many of them; just one of her. She races along a hedgerow and into the corner of the field. Panicked, she hesitates for a second, looking for a way through, but that second is too long. A hound is on her, biting through her flesh. The agony of the first bite floors her. Stretched out and vulnerable, she cries out in pain. More hounds arrive. They grab, they bite, they tear. A dozen hounds; one small vixen. They bite through the fur, they bite through the flesh, they bite into the living organs beneath.
Then a woman screams, “Leave it! Leave it!”. Her voice is hoarse and frantic. The biting and tearing pause and human hands reach down for her. She is lifted out of the deadly mass of hounds.
Her breathing stops, and she is gone. The hole in her side shows her kidneys and guts. The bone of her foreleg is exposed.
The woman holds the warm body of the little vixen close to her own and weeps. The fox has died, but she is in the arms of someone who did care; someone who would have done anything to stop this from happening – someone who warned the onlookers earlier that day that this was what the hunt was setting out to do.
And the red-coated, upright horsemen and women? How do they react? What about the grinning youngster?
The huntsmen and women cheer. The man with the hunting horn winks at the woman holding the dead fox.
And the youngster? His grin widens. This kill has made his day.
The Eggesford Hunt killed a fox on 26thDecember 2019. The hunt held their Boxing Day meet at Okehampton in Devon, where a small crowd gathered to watch them leave. If you’d like to see what happened for yourself, please click here.
There is nothing we can do for this fox. But we have put her picture on AAF’s Boxing Day leaflets to shock people into seeing what they are really doing if they turnout to watch a hunt leave on Boxing Day.
Deliver our leaflets in any town/village/area where the hunts meet openly on Boxing Day. Let’s shame the hunts. Let’s push them into the corner of a field from where there is no escape. It’s time they were finished.
If you’d like to order these leaflets to deliver door-to-door wherever you think they will have an effect, please email Pip at email@example.com
A donation of £5.00 for 250 leaflets would be gladly accepted. Either PayPal or Bank Transfer
Action Against Foxhunting
60 02 05
make it “friends and family”.