Pack of foxhounds hounds on the road. The legs of horses can also be seen.

Two hunting hounds killed on busy road

2023 came to a close with more animals suffering needless deaths when two hunting hounds were killed on the A30 in Devon.

On 30 December, hunt saboteurs reported that the dogs, suspected to belong to the Mid Devon Hunt, had been killed after being hit by cars. One was still alive and in critical condition with a broken back when found. Another was found lying dead at the side of the road.

Devon County Hunt Sabs wrote on Facebook:

“Our sabs were just on their way home from sabbing the Stevenstone Hunt near Stibb Cross when we heard via the HSA that a hound had been hit on the busy A30 near Okehampton today. The hound was picked up by members of the public and taken to the vets but sadly had to be put to sleep. Shortly after, we were sent a notification from a Dogs Lost page about another hound that was seen lying on the side of the A30 in the same area so sabs have just been to check and we can confirm that there is indeed a second dead hound on the side of the A30.”

The sabs continued:

“Why is it left to sabs and members of the public to deal with the upsetting aftermath of their ‘trail hunt’?? Hunts allowing hounds anywhere near a busy dual carriageway and not even bothering to come looking for them tells you just how little they care for these animals.”

All too often

Tragically, this incident isn’t a one-off. Protect the Wild reports time and time again on hounds running down busy roads, or trespassing on railway lines. In the past two years, we have reported on a number of tragedies and near-misses:

Facebook post by Warwickshire Rural Crime Team announcing the CPN.
Warwickshire Rural Crime Team announces the CPN, via Facebook.
  • 29 November 2022: A Grove and Rufford Hunt hound was hit and killed by a car on the A614. The pack was out of control, forcing cars and lorries to come to a standstill. Once again, it was down to hunt saboteurs to make sure no other dogs were killed, as hunt staff were nowhere to be seen.
  • 31 October 2022: At least four Dunston Harriers hounds died after the pack ran onto a railway line in Norfolk. The dogs, which are used to chase hares, were struck by a high-speed Greater Anglia train on its way from Norwich to London. Just one day after that, the sabs reported that one hound was still running loose on the A410.
  • 1 January 2022: Four Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt hounds were killed when they were run down by a train in Somerset. It was the second time in the space of two weeks that the hunt’s hounds were seen on the tracks.


Of course, theses are just examples that we know of. There are likely many more hunt havoc incidents on roads that have gone unreported.

Back in December 2021, a specialist crash investigator documented 200 “near misses” and other dangers caused by hunts. The investigator collected numerous evidence over three years, and said that hunts put public safety at risk. The Independent reported:

“Seventeen cases involved road traffic collisions, nine involved railways, and one meant an airfield had to shut, diverting planes.”

Hounds: the forgotten victims of hunting

It’s all too easy to forget that hounds are also the victims of the hunting industry. They don’t just get killed or hurt on roads and railways, either; on 7 February 2023, the Four Burrow Hunt’s dogs fell down a mineshaftfor a second time. Fire and Rescue teams, as well as the police, were called to the scene in Cornwall. The hounds were safely rescued.

And then there is the fate of hounds deemed too unfit to hunt any more, or of the hounds whose hunt has closed down. In October 2021, Protect the Wild and the Hunt Investigation Team published covert footage from the Duke of Beaufort Hunt’s kennels. Men were filmed shooting a number of 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 was 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 hunting lies

Of course, all of the road and railway tragedies listed above tell us what we already know: that the majority of hunts are not following an artificially-laid scent like they claim to be. If hunt staff were laying trails themselves, why would any hounds run into the path of oncoming cars, or fall down mineshafts?

Protect the Wild is calling for the Hunting Act to be scrapped and replaced by a watertight new law. The current legislation deliberately includes loopholes, such as the excuse that a hunt is actually trail hunting, and that if hounds catch the scent of a fox it is unintentional. Therefore, we see hunts getting away with murdering foxes every week, and causing road chaos while they’re at it.


Our Hunting of Mammals Bill, drafted by Advocates for Animals, gets rid of all loopholes: if you intentionally or recklessly hunt a mammal using one or more dogs, you are breaking the law and will be prosecuted.

Hunting recklessly can include:

“whether the person failed to take reasonable steps to control a dog which is hunting a wild mammal,

whether the person took such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to avoid hunting a wild mammal,

whether reasonable efforts are made to control a dog which a reasonable person would consider, in the circumstances, is likely to be hunting a wild mammal…”

This reckless clause will also ensure that hunts get convicted not just for hunting foxes, but for trespassing on railway lines and for causing havoc on busy roads.

The needless death of the two Mid Devon Hunt hounds highlights, once again, how urgently the law needs to change: not just for foxes, but for dogs, too.


  • To read the Hunting of Mammals Bill, click here.
  • To sign our petition calling for a proper hunting ban through the implementation of the Hunting of Mammals Bill, click here.
  • Please consider donating to Devon County Hunt Saboteurs, who come to the rescue not just of foxes, but of hounds, too. Donate here.