Google Maps streetview image of the front of the Raven Inn, Welshpool.

One ‘kind’ message led a pub to take a stand against hunting

A Powys pub has chosen not to support hunting. The pub said the decision came after it had received a “kind and non-abusive” message. And it’s the latest in a string of decisions that increasingly isolate the hunting industry.

The Raven Inn based in Welshpool, Powys, said on 19 December that it “will not be hosting the hunt on Boxing Day”. Boxing Day in Welshpool had previously seen the presence of the Tanatside Hunt. However, the Tanatside Hunt folded in June. Instead, according to a now-deleted post by the Raven Inn, the pub was planning to host the South Shropshire Hunt. Its huntsman, Daniel Cherriman, plead guilty to illegal hunting in November.

A number of social media posts tried to dissuade the pub from going ahead with the event. However, the pub’s announcement said that there were “nasty comments… between people on both sides of the argument”.

Facebook reply from a hunt supporter excoriating the Raven Inn for giving in to anti-hunt "trolling".
Frustrated hunt supporter has a dig at the Raven Inn on Facebook.

Nonetheless, it decided to stop hosting the Boxing Day meet after someone messaged the pub with a different tone:

The most compelling argument was from an antihunt FB page who simply asked us to reconsider in kind and non-abusive language. We were wrong, we have reconsidered and we will learn and move on.

The decision led to hundreds of supportive replies, though a number of hunt supporters vented their frustrations too.

Pub-lic relations

Pubs are central to the hunting industry’s public relations. Hunting often takes place away from public view, across private land far from roads and footpaths. As such, public events are important for hunts to shore up the biscuit tin image of a quaint countryside pastime. Pubs, which traditionally form a hub for the local community, have played an essential role in this by hosting hunts. This can be seen in the number of pubs with names such as ‘Fox and Hounds’ or ‘Hare and Hounds’.

Decisions by pubs not to host hunts, especially when those establishments have historic associations with hunting, are therefore commendable. Notably, the Cornwall-based Jamaica Inn said in March this year that it would no longer host hunts. The pub had hosted hunts for 100 years. However, the Jamaica Inn’s owner decided to end this tradition after local pack the East Cornwall Hunt invited the Beaufort Hunt to the pub on 12 March.

In November 2021, the First and Last Inn – also in Cornwall – chose to stop supporting hunting. It came after the Western Hunt, which had reserved a lunch event at the pub, was filmed killing domestic cat Mini. And in 2019, the Tredegar Arms pubs in Bassaleg, Wales, decided not to host the Tredegar Farmers’ Hunt on that year’s Boxing Day. It came after cheering and jeering at the previous year’s event resulted in a horse backing into the crowd.

Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs said that “all pubs in the village” of Lacock will shut on Boxing Day this year. Lacock was the scene of widespread confrontation during the 2021 Boxing Day parade of the Avon Vale Hunt.

A photo of the Jamaica Inn pub during the 'golden hour', featuring the pub's famous sign.
The Jamaica Inn pub chose to stop hosting hunts in March 2022.

Take their land away

The Raven Inn’s decision is another marker in the hunting industry’s decline. Encouraging pubs to stop supporting hunting runs alongside campaigns to stop councils from permitting Boxing Day parades. Somerset County Council announced on 20 December it was no longer closing roads for three hunt parades after it received more than two thousand letters via Protect the Wild. And both of these form part of a wider strategy to encourage landowners to stop allowing hunts on their land.

These campaigns are working. Hunting is a dying industry. But the energy and pressure must continue until the last hunt has its kennels shut down permanently.

If you’re aware of a pub that supports hunting, let Huntpubs know.

Featured image via Google Maps.