TAKE ACTION: Tell the Royal Horticultural Society to disassociate itself from fox hunting

The Chelsea Flower Show, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), has come to an end for another year. The show’s four-year headline sponsor, luxury hotel business The Newt in Somerset, allows fox hunting meets on its land. You can take action by telling the RHS to cut its ties with the company, which is set to sponsor the flower show again in 2025.

Protect the Wild was joined by animal welfare defenders at the flower show throughout last week, informing the public about The Newt’s links with the violent and criminal Blackmore and Sparkford Vale (BSV) Hunt. Most of the show’s attendees were shocked to learn that the luxury hotel, which has crafted a wholesome image of itself, would support such a barbaric bloodsport.

The Newt claims to have a deep respect for the land and all creatures on it but the hotel has continually allowed the hunt to meet on its land – and despite telling Protect the Wild that no hunting meets are scheduled in the future, it has remained resolutely silent when we have asked it to confirm an indefinite ban. As well as hosting the hunt, as we have revealed The Newt’s estate manager also has a number of ties with the BSV.

The BSV is one of the country’s most notorious hunts. It made national news headlines back in January when Channel 4 News broadcast drone footage of its hounds tearing up a fox. A study by Protect the Wild of the 2022/23 hunting season revealed that nearly a third of the BSV’s observed meets resulted in the pursuit and killing of a fox.

Some of the UK’s most famous gardeners, including Sarah Gerrard-Jones, author of The Plant Rescuer and writer for BBC Gardeners’ World, spoke out about the RHS’s association with The Newt. Gerrard-Jones, a gold medal winner at the 2022 Chelsea Flower Show, boycotted this year’s event because of The Newt’s sponsorship.

Take action!

You can let the RHS know that you are concerned that it continues to ignore The Newt’s links with fox hunting.  Sponsorship implies shared values or beliefs, and by continuing to accept sponsorship from The Newt the Chelsea Flower Show is (no matter how inadvertently) aligning itself with cruelty and illegal hunting practices. This not only undermines the show’s commitment to promoting a positive and ethical relationship with nature but also tarnishes its reputation.

We’re asking our readers to send the horticulture charity a message on its feedback form here, urging it to cut sponsorship ties with the hotel.

We suggest that you copy and paste or adapt the following text:

I am concerned about The Newt in Somerset’s sponsorship of the Chelsea Flower Show, due to the hotel’s association with the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt – one of the most violent, fox-killing hunts in the country. A recent Channel 4 exposé revealed the hunt’s criminal activities, leading even its own hunting body to suspend it. More than 11,000 people in just over a week requested the RHS to drop The Newt in 2024, yet the business is still set to be the flower show’s headline sponsor in 2025. Please consider disassociating from The Newt until it commits to banning hunts from its property. The RHS should not  withalign establishments linked to such activities.