Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire foxhounds closing meet

Hunt sabs ‘ecstatic beyond belief’ as Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Foxhounds folds

Hunt Saboteurs are celebrating as news comes in that another hunt in Scotland has folded. The Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds announced its closure just six weeks after Scotland changed its hunting laws. The country now houses just eight foxhound packs and one minkhound pack.

Glasgow Hunt Saboteurs, which has consistently sabbed the hunt, said on Facebook:

“This seismic victory comes just a month after the Hunting with Dogs Scotland Bill was passed. Clearly the restrictions in place were not workable for the L&R hunt and as a result, the hunt have thrown in the towel.
The sabs continued:
“We are ecstatic beyond belief to see the demise of the L&R as our group and our predecessors Clydeside Hunt Sabs worked tirelessly for years bringing this hunt to their knees. Thanks and recognition also go out to other Scottish sab groups past and present, our friends over the years Edinburgh Hunt Sabs as well as Scottish Borders Hunt Saboteurs, Grampian Hunt Sabs and Perthshire Hunt Sabs, who’ve all stood next to us in the killing fields at one time or another.”

Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act

Scotland passed the Hunting With Dogs (Scotland) Act on 24 January 2023. The Act made it illegal to flush out a wild animal with more than two dogs, effectively ending hunting with hounds in the country as we know it. Scottish hunts had previously exploited a loophole in Scotland’s hunting laws, saying that they were flushing foxes to guns. By making it illegal to flush out a mammal with more than two dogs, hunts could no longer use this as a smokescreen.

The new Act also makes it illegal to trail hunt. Scotland has paid attention to how hunts exploit the law in England, where they continue to get away with murder under the guise that they are trail hunting (that is, saying that they are following an artificially-laid scent). Scotland’s new legislation states that it is:

“an offence to engage or participate in trail hunting. Trail hunting is defined…as the activity in which a dog is directed to find and follow an animalbased scent which has been laid for that purpose.”

Immediately after the Act was passed, Fife Foxhounds announced that it was folding. But as sabs had already reported, the hunt was in dire straits before the new law came into force.


lanarkshire & renfrewshire foxhounds

Consistent effort of sabs

Of course, the new Hunting With Dogs (Scotland) Act has been instrumental in forcing the notorious Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt to fold. But it is hunt saboteurs who are to thank for exposing how hunts act illegally, in turn forcing a change in the law. On top of this, it is sabs on the ground who have put their bodies in the way to prevent foxes being murdered.

Glasgow Hunt Sabs said:

“Our group has sabbed every meet we possibly could over recent years saving the lives of countless foxes, stopping dig-outs and exposing the hunt at every opportunity for their cruel and sadistic pastime. We have dealt with everything the hunt could throw at us but we never once backed down.”

Glasgow Sabs ensured that the hunt made national news headlines in late 2021 after they filmed ex-huntsman Conrad Jones throwing a dead fox to hounds, who then ripped the poor creature up. At the time, the sabs said:

“Huntsman Conrad, foaming at the mouth, threw the fox to the hounds whilst laughing hysterically. This was a legal kill facilitated by illegal actions. This is what Scottish hunts are trying to convince you is fine. A pack of hounds pursued this fox for ages and were pulled off the scent several times, before the fox eventually ran into the line of waiting guns to die by bullet.”

It’s the exposure of acts like this which have ensured that the law in Scotland has changed.

Animal abuse

Reporting about the folding of the hunt on the Hunt Saboteurs Association website, Glasgow Sabs said:

“In recent years we exposed the hunt repeatedly for the treatment of their own animals including hound abuse and lashing out at their horses. As a result of our work, the SSPCA took action against The L&R because of national concern for their hounds’ welfare. Our videos of hunt staff whipping and beating their horses have also been the subject of animal welfare group’s attention.”

Indeed, the hunt made Scottish headlines once more when images of its hounds in an unhealthy state were publicised. The hounds were said to be underfed, with sores, cuts and growths.

And so it’s with irony that the hunt itself has stated how much it loves its hounds. After its final ever meet on 4 March 2023, the hunt said:

“we wish to thank our lovely hounds, we look after them with great love and affection, often better than we do ourselves. It is a labour of love with long hours and for little pay. We do it because it is our heritage and we do it for the love of the countryside and for our love of the hounds.”

It would be right to be concerned for the hounds’ welfare now that the hunt has folded, given the L&R’s form for animal cruelty, and given that hounds are often brutally murdered.

Support sabs on the ground

Glasgow Hunt Sabs have also been instrumental in ensuring that hunt staff have been prosecuted. The sabs said:

“We’ve…had successful convictions from taking L&R staff and their supporters to court. Most recently, John Bennet Wright, a thug who ganged up with L&R staff attacked a lone disabled sab from our group and was rightly convicted for assault, narrowly avoiding prison.”

The sabs have been subject to other violent attacks and threats, too:

“As a result of the criminal element involved with the L&R, sabs have been severely attacked, had multiple vehicles smashed up and even had hunt staff with guns turning up at their home addresses. More disturbingly, there was a recent rape threat thrown at a female sab by an L&R terrier man.”

It’s vital that we all support the sabs as they continue their hard work on the ground, exposing other hunts while putting their safety on the line.

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