Four Burrow Hunt: hunting hounds fall into mineshaft – again

Cornwall’s Four Burrow Hunt has shown once again that it isn’t able to take care of its hounds after its dogs fell down a mineshaft for a second time.

Fire and Rescue teams, as well as the police, were called to the scene near Porkellis on 7 February 2023. The hounds were safely rescued. Four Burrow insists, of course, that it was trail hunting, that the dogs were following an artificially-laid scent rather than the scent of a real fox. But this is ludicrous: firstly, sabs spotted a fox running for her life, and secondly, what hunt would, in its right mind, lay trails close to mineshafts?

Kernow Sabs released a HIT report. They shared footage of hounds running out of control. Then the sabs said:

“we spotted a fox ahead of the pack. Shafts in this area are clearly marked and known. If this was a ‘trail hunt’, why would a trail have been laid there?”

The sabs continued:

“[Huntsman] Daniel left the area clearly with hounds missing and tried to gather the strays in nearby fields. Of course the hounds were by now down the mineshaft…

The fox was spotted getting safely away. Around 4pm the fire engines were seen arriving and we discovered that hounds had fallen down the mineshaft. A hunt supporter told our sab to “fuck off”, obviously not wanting the truth to get out. The sab was, however, on a public right of way, which the hunt supporter tried to argue… This was another day of blatant illegal hunting by Four Burrow Hunt. It was just lucky that the shaft wasn’t flooded else it could have ended very differently.”

Hound abuse

This isn’t the first time that Four Burrow hounds have fallen down a mineshaft. Back in 2018, six hounds were trapped in a mine for days. After four days without food, they were rescued, but one died. At the time, the huntsman cried crocodile tears for the media, saying:

“It’s a horrible thing. I hate to think of them being trapped down there… You know, these [the hounds] are our life. They can go missing and if you can’t find it, you just can’t sleep.”

But Devon County Hunt Sabs reported at the time that not only did it take days to rescue the hounds, but that the Four Burrow went out hunting while the dogs were still trapped down the shaft.

It’s difficult to believe that the hunt has any regard for the well-being of its hounds at all. If it cared for them, like it claims, then it wouldn’t continue to take them into territory that it knows is extremely dangerous.

Hunts across the country continue to abuse and murder their hounds while parroting the lie that they care deeply for them. Dogs of all ages are killed if they’re not deemed fit for hunting. In October 2021, Protect the Wild and the Hunt Investigation Team published covert footage from the Duke of Beaufort Hunt’s kennels. The videos show men shooting multiple hounds before carrying them off for disposal in wheelbarrows. And in February 2022, Ecotricity published undercover footage filmed at the kennels of the Carmarthenshire Hunt. Its huntsman Will Pinkney is seen shooting hounds before throwing their bodies into bins.

Research from Protect Our Wild Animals calculated that between 4,942 and 7,302 foxhounds are killed per year across 195 packs, with approximately 3,250 to 4,500 of those in English and Welsh hunts. This means that around 15% of hounds are killed per pack each season.

Trail lies

Like all hunts around the country, the Four Burrow uses the excuse of trail hunting – that is, following an artificially-laid trail – as a smokescreen so that it can continue murdering foxes. It is continuously seen by sabs illegally hunting. And it isn’t without other controversies, too. It’s been reported that the hunt regularly trespasses at a local wildlife sanctuary, sending its hounds in while the horses stay outside, as well as onto nature reserves. On top of this, hunt supporters have assaulted a woman and damaged her vehicle, and like many hunts, their packs have darted down busy roads.

Of course, it can only get away with hunting by being propped up by its financial supporters, and by those who allow it to hunt on their land. In their HIT report on the latest mineshaft incident, Kernow sabs listed complicit landowners as:

Medlyn Farm; Wheal Enys Farm; Barry Richards of Sunny Corner; Netley Farm; Paul Collis of West Calvadnack; White Alice Farm; and Sandra Riley of Chy Melyn.

All of these landowners should think twice before allowing the hunt to use their land; after all, landowners can be prosecuted under Section 3 of the Hunting Act, too.

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