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Chepstow Show won’t review decision to host Curre and Llangibby Hunt

Despite protests by local residents, organisers from the Chepstow Show have told campaigners they will not be reviewing a decision to invite the Curre and Llangibby Foxhounds to parade there on August 12th (coincidentally also the date that shooters will again open fire on Red Grouse on moorland shooting estates).

Held at Chepstow Racecourse, the Show features both the Woolaston Bassets (a hare hunting pack and one of just five basset packs left after the Leadon Vale Basset Hounds folded in June this year) and the Curre and Llangibby, which hunts in South Wales.

The Curre’s kennels are based in Itton, a village in Monmouthshire, about 3 miles (4.8 km) north-west of Chepstow. Itton became notorious when former resident and terrierman Paul Reece (on the right in the photo below), was convicted of causing ‘unnecessary suffering’ after an undercover investigation by the Hunt Investigation Team in May 2016. HIT detailed fox cubs being ‘fed’ to hounds from the South Herefordshire Hunt (which collapsed and disbanded soon afterwards).

 

 

 

You don’t get blood-covered terriers from trail hunting

Covering Monmouthshire in South Wales. the Curre and Llangibby Hunt has in the past been sabbed by (amongst others) Bath Hunt Saboteurs, Bristol Hunt Saboteurs, South Wales Hunt Saboteurs and Severn Vale Hunt Saboteurs. Recently though it appears to have escaped the sort of scrutiny that many other hunts are subjected to and is perhaps relatively unknown. Local monitors have reported numerous incidents of threatening behaviour though. One monitor (who asked not to be named because of a genuine fear of retribution) was threatened by a notorious (and reportedly cocaine-addicted) terrierman in November 2022 who swore violently at them and warned them that he had found out where they live.

Despite photographs being supplied to the police of the terrierman snarling and balling his fists, no action was taken. One officer in fact told the monitor that if they hadn’t been filming the hunt there would have been no aggression. This form of ‘victim blaming’ is all too common, and an extremely unhelpful and inaccurate interpretation of laws on Anti-social Behaviour and laws on assault. Hopefully, such offhandedness is not being taught at the new “state of the art learning facility at South Wales Police’s headquarters in Bridgend” where the Police expect to “deliver [the] high-quality training which the public would expect us to provide for our future police officers”.

Terriermen have been described by hunting itself as its “soft underbelly” or ‘weak spot’. A professional ecologist we spoke to (who again asked not to be named because of the fear of retribution) told us of a shocking incident that took place near the hunt’s kennels in Itton when they “encountered a loose, unaccompanied terrier, covered in blood. We were somewhat alarmed. A local boy told us that the hunt was out, nearby and this happened frequently. But you don’t get blood-covered terriers from trail hunting.”

 

 

Illegal hunting is ‘prolific’

‘Country Shows’ do seem rooted to the past when it comes to showcasing violent and abusive hunts, maintaining against all the evidence that ‘traditional’ hound packs are hunting lawfully by following ‘scent trails’. Hunts have been exposed and prosecuted for continuing to hunt illegally on multiple occasions. So-called ‘trail hunting’ has been exposed as a ‘smokescreen’ and a lie hundreds of times now.

Several police forces also now consider hunts to be Organised Crime Gangs, and Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, who oversees the police response to hunting at a national level, has described illegal hunting as ‘prolific’ and said “Illegal hunting is still common practice. I know it. You know it. The public know it and the hunts know it.

Show organisers seem to be rather slower on the uptake, despite the concerns raised by, for example, Newport Vegans, hunt monitors and sab groups, and local residents. One local told Protect the Wild (again on condition of anonymity because of the fear of retribution and lack of police support) that:

I find it ugly and disappointing that the local Chepstow Show aimed at families, parades this disgusting and probably illegal organisation at its event.”

Like many hunts, the Curre and Llangibby will almost certainly have been hit by declining support and finances. Local residents assume that the Chepstow Show will not be only used to promote the hunts (visitors, according to the Show’s flyer, will have the “chance to meet the Woolaston Bassets and the hounds of the Curre & Llangibby Hunt” but presumably won’t be told about how thousands of hounds are typically shot once they become too old to hunt) but fundraise for them too.

Parents considering allowing their children to take up the hunt’s invitation, though, may also be interested in a report that found that hunting hounds pose a significant risk of passing on infectious diseases like salmonella and toxoplasmosis because they are routinely fed on fallen stock which may not be examined for parasites and pathogens. According to the report, “Hounds used for hunting carry numerous infectious diseases which can be spread to humans, particularly children, at events such as the Boxing Day hunt parades and country shows.”

 

  • If you would like to ask the Chepstow Show to reconsider its decision to invite the hunts to parade, please contact the Show Secretary, Margaret Jackson, at chepstowshow@hotmail.co.uk. Volunteers will be leafletting the event: if you would like to help please get in contact and we will pass on your details. Thank you.