The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hounds kill a fox. Drone footage by North Dorset Sabs

BREAKING NEWS! Notorious Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt suspended

North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs’ drone footage has captured the moment the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale (BSV) Hunt’s hounds ripped up a fox. And now the notorious hunt has finally been suspended by hunting’s so-called ‘governing body’.

Channel 4 News broadcast the footage to the nation on the evening of 25 January. The harrowing video, captured on 4 December 2023, shows the hounds chasing a fox. The terrified animal seeks cover in a barn while hunt members and hounds surround the building. The footage then shows the fox running away, but she is then caught by the hounds and ripped apart. The hunt master and other staff watch on, doing nothing to call the hounds off. They make sure that they retrieve the fox’s mauled body afterwards (presumably to get rid of the evidence).

The British Hound Sports Association (BHSA), which governs fox hunting, told Channel 4:

“The BHSA are aware of the content of footage taken on 4th December. As a consequence, the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt and all BHSA members within the hunt were suspended from all hunting activities on the 24th January pending further investigation.

The incident has been referred to the Hound Sports Regulatory Authority who will open a disciplinary inquiry.”


Members of the BSV Hunt look on as hounds tear up a fox. Drone footage by North Dorset Hunt Sabs
Members of the BSV Hunt look on as hounds tear up a fox. Drone footage by North Dorset Hunt Sabs

Mainstream exposure works

North Dorset Sabs regularly capture the BSV chasing and murdering foxes. But it is because of the national media coverage that the BHSA has been forced into taking action. The governing body has known about the incident since December – after all, hunt saboteurs record all chases and kills in their HIT reports on social media – but until now it has ignored the evidence under its nose.

The BHSA has also known about numerous other illegal chases and kills carried out by the hunt. Take, for example, one week in September 2023 when the BSV murdered or dug out foxes three times in one week. On 21 September 2023, North Dorset Sabs caught the BSV attempting to dig out a fox. The sabs also caught the hunt trying to dig out another fox just days later, on 25 September. And on 28 September, the hunt killed a fox, then went on to hunt another right in front of police officers. Yet the BSV was still free to continue terrorising foxes even after that.

At the time Protect the Wild wrote:

“Evidently, the BSV has the audacity to think that it can act above the law, with total impunity. We need to see the police prosecuting this criminal hunt, because we can’t trust the BHSA to take any meaningful action. If the BHSA took its job seriously, it would expel the BSV, as it did the Avon Vale Hunt.”


The Avon Vale Hunt was expelled from the BHSA back in February 2023 after ITV News exposed the hunt nationwide. The channel showed disturbing footage – filmed on a mobile phone on 20 December 2022 – of several members of the hunt digging foxes out from underground. One fox was then thrown to hounds, who tore her up. Once again, the BHSA only took action when it knew that the ITV News piece would go viral. First it suspended the hunt, then it permanently expelled it because the eyes of the public were watching.

Shortly after that, in March 2023, the BHSA was forced to take action against the Cotswold Hunt, once again because of mainstream media exposure. Harrowing footage, captured by Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch on 18 March 2023, was shown on Channel 4 News. The footage showed a vixen being rescued. She had been trapped inside a sack, which had been tied up tightly. She had then been buried alive inside an artificial earth. Artificial earths are built and maintained by hunts and are usually used to encourage foxes to make their homes and breed in a hunting area, or to trap foxes to later flush them out. The BHSA suspended the hunt, but would no doubt have taken no action without the Channel 4 News exposure.


Two members of Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch hold up a fox who'd been found in a bag inside an artificial earth during a meet of the Cotswold Hunt
Two members of Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch hold up a fox who had been found in a bag during a meet of the Cotswold Hunt. Footage via Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch/C4 News

Support the hunt sabs!

We are of course pleased that at last the mainstream media is taking fox hunting illegalities seriously enough to broadcast them, but we should also be aware that the three incidents mentioned above are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Hunts chase – and often kill – foxes multiple times per week in the hunting season. There are usually no mainstream news outlets reporting on the foxes who are murdered: there is very little justice for their deaths.

But hunt saboteurs and monitors are on the ground, doing the hard work, recording every chase and every kill that they see. They are foxes’ first line of defence, and they are our eyes on the ground. It is only through them that we are aware of the gruesome and illegal brutalities of this blood sport.

That is of course why Protect the Wild launched our Equipment Fund last year and why there are now camcorders recording hunts in the Cotswolds and across Yorkshire; monitors are better protected by bodycams on Salisbury Plain and in Somerset; there are trailcams set up in Derbyshire and West Yorkshire; and groups can keep in better contact with each other with radios in Shropshire, Cheshire, and East Yorkshire.


This gruesome story belongs entirely to the North Dorset Hunt Sabs though. And they have put themselves at serious risk to be able to tell it. As they continue to expose the BSV they have been subjected to recent physical attacks by people associated with the hunt. We previously covered how two female sabs were attacked by three masked men. Just days after that, sabs’ homes were targeted, as well as their car windows smashed and tyres slashed. North Dorset Sabs are literally putting their lives on the line to protect wildlife.

  • As North Dorset Hunt Sabs bear the brunt of the BSV Hunt’s anger, you can support them by donating here. It’s vital that we show them our gratitude for their hard work.