On Saturday 11 November, a Kent Hounds field rider struck his whip at a cyclist. His action shows the complete disdain hunts have for the public.
Footage released on KentOnline shows the woman sitting on her bike in the road as the hunt moves past her. As the rider meets her, he aggressively strikes his whip down at her. The incident occurred in Aldington, near Ashford.
It was the Kent Hounds’ “inaugural” opening meet of the season after a series of amalgamations left just one hunt standing in Kent. East Kent Hunt Sabs, who were on the ground that day, said of the incident:
“The hunt blocked the road and showed the usual disregard to other road users that they always do. Some local cyclist took to giving the hunt some verbal before giving the hunt a taste of their own medicine. The two “Jonty’s” at the back of the hunt were having none of that. One of these pillocks used his whip to assert his entitled position.”
Changing the narrative
The footage clearly shows the incident taking place, yet Kent Hounds has still attempted to change the narrative. Its spokesperson told KentOnline:
“You’ll appreciate that spurious allegations are regularly made to the media about hunts and their supporters to discredit hunting despite an alarming lack of evidence to justify such claims.
“It’s impossible to identify the hunt, the location, the date, the context or any specific individuals in the video footage that has been provided. But of course, if there is proved to be any substance to these allegations, we apologise for any distress that may have been caused to those involved.”
This lack of accountability is usual for hunts, who are quick to blame monitors, saboteurs, and even the public for tarnishing their reputation, even when there is overwhelming evidence showing hunt violence.
Disdain for the public
Hunts have little to no regard for the local people as they ride recklessly on roads. They have such entitled arrogance that they believe they can block roads, ride in front of cars and target members of the public.
The Kent Hounds’ field rider is just one of a line of violent hunters who make life hell for those who get in their way. In December 2022, a couple were surrounded by hunt supporters as they sat in their car. The couple were not involved with sabbing the group, but the men slashed their tyres anyway. And in February 2023 a disabled member of the public was attacked by thugs on a quad bike during a meet of the Worcestershire Hunt.
And the risk of violence gets far worse if you’re brave enough to be a hunt saboteur or monitor on the ground. Incidents of extreme violence are all too common, and include that of fox hunter Chris Mardles, who was jailed just days ago for almost killing a hunt saboteur. Others have been left for dead by hunt thugs as they have tried to protect foxes.
Havoc on roads
This latest example of the Kent Hounds blocking the road is just one of many similar incidents that occur week in, week out. Hunts regularly cause danger to the public as their hounds race down streets and country lanes, following the scent of a fox. There are too many incidents of hunt havoc on roads to list in this article, but a few this past year include:
- 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.
- December 2022: Calder Valley Hunt Sabs and Sheffield Hunt Sabs reported that a car killed a Grove and Rufford Hunt hound on the A614.
- 4 February 2023: Surrey Hunt Sabs drone footage showed hounds running along a road into oncoming traffic, forcing a van to make an emergency stop.
- 15 August 2023: Essex and Suffolk Hunt hounds mauled a dog as the pet was being walked by an elderly person in Layham, Suffolk.
- 18 October 2023: Warwickshire Hunt’s hounds ran out onto the road in front of oncoming traffic.
An urgent change of law needed
Kent Hounds’ latest action shows that without stricter legislation, hunts will continue to act with disdain for the public, while police will continue to allow them to get away with their actions with impunity. Protect the Wild argues that we need to scrap the Hunting Act completely and replace it with a new, robust law that would consign hunting with dogs to the history books.
The cyclist was lucky that she didn’t receive a serious injury from the Kent field rider’s actions. Enough is enough: hunts need to be shut down before more people are put in hospital, and before hounds cause more traffic accidents on roads.