Here’s why Chitterne Parish Council needs to ban the Royal Artillery Hunt from parading this Boxing Day

Every year fox hunters across the country gear up for their biggest PR exercise of the hunting season: the Boxing Day or New Year’s Day parade. So Protect the Wild has teamed up with Action Against Foxhunting to campaign for councils to ban hunts from parading on their land at the end of December.

One of the most notorious hunts in the country is the Royal Artillery Hunt (RAH), which hunts on and around MoD land on Salisbury Plain. It should be obvious to Wiltshire’s Chitterne Parish Council why this hunt shouldn’t be allowed to meet on council land. We emailed both Chitterne Council and Wiltshire Council but so far have received no reply.

So here are three reasons why Chitterne Parish Council should ban the Royal Artillery Hunt from parading this Christmas:

1) The RAH illegally murders foxes and other animals

Like every pack that is monitored across the country, the RAH is often caught red-handed hunting foxes, illegal under the Hunting Act 2004.

RAH Huntsman Charles Carter was almost prosecuted for illegal hunting in 2022 when footage clearly showed him encouraging the hounds to chase a fox. The charges were dropped because the Ministry of Defence Police didn’t file the correct papers in time: the police missed its file submission date to Swindon Magistrates Court by just one day, owing to a bank holiday weekend.

The RAH itself has admitted that it has killed foxes – one on Christmas Eve and one on Boxing Day in 2021. According to the hunt, the deaths were purely accidental. In order to hunt on MoD land, the RAH must report any ‘accidental’ kills to the DIO within 48 hours, and complete an ‘accidental mammal kill form’. The form submitted for the Christmas Eve murder states:

“the huntsman got off his horse to relieve himself. His wife held the huntsman’s horse and during the intervening period, with the huntsman unable to action as required, the hounds located a fox in the bramble and killed it. The carcass was left in a bramble patch, no larger than 10m squared.”

Salisbury Plain Monitors told Protect the Wild:

“We arrived just as the hunt rode off. The leg found first was still warm, pieces of flesh were strewn over a wide area and the rest of the body stuffed into the undergrowth.  She was laid to rest at the Save Me Trust sanctuary and Brian May named her Holly because she was brutally killed on Christmas Eve.”

On top of all this, the RAH has also murdered a badger, and has admitting to killing a hare, too.


Charles Carter of RAH is told to return to kennels after chasing a fox
Charles Carter is told to return to kennels after chasing a fox. Photo via Salisbury Plain Monitors


2) The hunt can’t keep its hounds under control

In March 2023, the MoD police issued Carter and a second man, former whipper-in Guy Loader, an official warning for breaching a bye-law: failing to keep an animal under control. This came after Salisbury Plain Monitors caught and filmed hounds chasing deer across Salisbury Plain. Neither Carter or Loader took any action to prevent the chase. Salisbury Plain Monitors told Protect the Wild:

“Two deer were chased over a considerable distance by the pack of hounds and riders, including over a public road, in an area frequented by members of the public for dog walking and recreational use. Thank goodness no cars were passing at this time, or this could have caused a serious car accident. Whilst our belief is that this contravened the Hunting Act, this is a landmark for the hunt being held accountable for out of control dogs. This was not an isolated deer hunt. We provided evidence for the first a year prior, where deer were chased over a considerable distance and across a road. The police did not pursue or focus on the prosecution case of illegal hunting.”

3) The RAH regularly uses intimidation tactics

Intimidation is second nature to the RAH, as the hunt attempts to prevent monitors and saboteurs from looking on. In December 2022, Carter ran down two Moonrakers Hunt Saboteurs with his car. The video was posted on Twitter shortly after the incident happened and shows Carter deliberately turning his car around to drive into the sabs. One person can be seen laying on the ground as Carter drives away. A hunt saboteur told Protect the Wild:

“He absolutely lost his temper, shouting ‘what the hell are you doing there?’ – I’m not going to use the exact terms he was using – and quite quickly caught up with us. He then forced his whip that he uses to control the hounds with, the handle, into my friend’s face.”

The sab continued:

“He drove past us once or twice and then went up onto the grass, did a U-turn… I went to get my hand-held camera out, and he was sat right behind us, slowly revving the engine, not excessive, and then just drove straight towards us. By the time I had chance to do anything, he basically smacked me into the side, knocked me to the ground.”

Before this, Carter caused damage to a Surrey Monitors’ car on 23 November 2022. The MoD Police issued Carter with a Community Resolution Order, and Carter was forced to pay out a paltry £30 for damages to the vehicle.

But the huntsman isn’t alone in using intimidation tactics. In February 2023, Georgie Price, trail layer for the hunt, was issued with a police caution for abusive behaviour towards a Surrey Hunt Saboteur on 5 November 2022.

The police issued hunt supporter Hayden Gover a caution, too, in 2022, after theft and damage to a Surrey Hunt Sab’s property on Boxing Day 2021.

Another hunt supporter, Lindsay Harris, who was in possession of a red card (meaning that he could drive his vehicle to areas out of bounds to the public), was issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for driving without undue care or attention, after driving at another driver’s car door.

Why are the councils silent?

Despite all this overwhelming evidence, both Chitterne Parish Council and Wiltshire Council have, so far, remained silent, ignoring our call to ban the RAH. We have informed councillors so that they know the risks they are taking – and what laws they might be allowing to be broken – if they allow the RAH to parade in their parish and district.

Do the councils want to be associated with this hunt, when there is numerous footage of it terrorising animals and threatening people?

Chitterne Parish Council has a choice: It is time that it stands up to wildlife criminals!

  • You can read more about our Boxing/New Year’s Day Parades campaign here. And you can also sign the petition, urging Chitterne Parish Council to ban the RAH from parading here.