George Pullen and huntsman's whip

Hunt master caught on camera ‘thrashing’ a hound with his whip

Mendip Hunt Saboteurs published video that showing a hunt master that “thrashed” a hound with a whip. And it’s a cruel reminder of how much care and respect some hunts show the animals they’re supposed to care for and respect.

The group said the master in question was George Pullen, a master of the Mendip Farmers Hunt. In the footage, published 24 February, the red-coated master is off his horse and brings a whip down with a sharp crack across the back of a hound. The hound immediately runs away, whining, as another red-coated rider watches on. Although the camera appears to be some distance from the incident, it picks up the sound of both the whip and the crying hound.

In its report for the day, the sab group added:

“[Pullen] then appeared to shout at the hound as they ran off. Nothing could ever justify such a barbaric act against an animal, and given George’s well documented raging temper, this action raises huge concerns about the welfare of the whole pack.

In its caption accompanying the video, Mendip Hunt Sabs said it was “a shocking act of cruelty”, and that it:

“shows the total lack of respect these thugs have for any animals and fully disproves the myth that they “love their hounds”.”

“Angry” George

Less than two weeks earlier, Mendip Hunt Sabs released a video of a wound-up Pullen aggressively confronting the group. The video shows Pullen stopping his car behind the group’s stationary vehicle before pushing his way into the vehicle, apparently attempting to count its number of seats. Pullen becomes increasingly angry as he demands the sab group moves its car away from a gate. At one point, Pullen angrily confronts an older man that the group says is his father.

This is just one of many past incidents in which Pullen allegedly lost his cool. Unsurprisingly, then, the group have dubbed the master “Angry George Pullen”.

Nonetheless, the footage showing him whipping a hound is particularly shocking. The master is dismounted and apparently targeting a specific hound. It wasn’t just an angry reaction but a calculated, premeditated decision. As a result, in the video’s comments on Twitter, someone tagged the RSPCA asking it can do something about the “cruel, savage abuse”. The animal charity responded:

“Rest assured that we are taking the appropriate action and will be investigating further.”

Punching horses and whipping hounds

This is not the first time sabs have filmed members of hunts attacking hounds or horses, of course. Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs filmed field rider Sarah Moulds kicking and punching a horse during a meet of the Cottesmore Hunt on 6 November 2021, an incident that made national news and landed Moulds a trial at Lincoln Crown Court in August 2023. This led to sab and monitor groups releasing a spate of similar videos.

In December 2021, West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs filmed a rider with the Warwickshire Hunt hitting his horse with a riding crop. And in the same month, Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs filmed Tory councillor Bill Borrett also hitting his horse with a crop during a meet of the West Norfolk Foxhounds. In November of that year, North East Hunt Monitors published footage of a man whipping a hound while exercising the pack. The monitor group identified him as Mark Baldwin of the South Durham Hunt.

However, the issue was raised by sab groups long before the Moulds incident. Perthshire Hunt Sabs published video in November 2017, for example, showing then-huntsman of the Fife Foxhounds, Robert Howarth, casually striking a hound with a whip.

All of these are just a small portion of incidents that happen both in front of and away from the eyes of sabs and monitors. And its a reminder that many involved in hunting see horses and hounds not as living creatures, but as tools for their sick and grisly pastime.

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