On Boxing Day 1997 the BBC2 series 'Under the Sun' featured the Shropshire-based Ludlow Foxhounds. Whilst most of the programme consisted of a particularly long and boring rendition of the pathetic excuses offered by hunters everywhere for their so-called 'sport', it also included a horrific shooting and dumping of a three-year-old foxhound which the hunt no longer required (pictured right, click image to full full image). The Ludlow's three-year-old hound is taken from the kennels and put in front of its incinerator, it is shot in the head in the same way many thousands of excess hounds are killed all over Britain each year, and then, without even bothering to check that the animal is actually dead, the dog is dumped straight into the incinerator as if just another piece of rubbish.
Former huntsman Clifford Pellow has described the fate that befalls hounds that are unsuitable for hunting. He says, "We see plenty of images of young hounds and hound puppies being cuddled. What people don't realise is that, if those young animals don't 'enter' when they're introduced to hunting, they will be shot. I should know, I've had to do it myself. In my day, out of a pack of forty hounds, I would say that 10 would be shot in a year."
A secret investigation, by the League Against Cruel Sports, into the workings of Cheshire Foxhounds' kennels at Sandiway, had led to evidence of the shocking end of a foxhound's life. (click press article for full image)
A still from a video recording (see top of this page), made on Wednesday, 30th October 1996, shows the typical last moments of a hunting dog's life. The dog was brought out into the kennels yard, taken into a corner, where the kennelman put a gun to its head and shot it. This was one of two hounds shot at the Cheshire kennels that day. Both were unceremoniously thrown into a metal bin. The Hunt later claimed that they were sick. However, this portrays the typical end of thousands of hunting dogs that are disposed of each year. Few of them will have reached half their potential lifespan.
Hunts regularly try to give the impression that they care passionately about their animals, and yet in reality they are simply tools of the trade - to be callously disposed of as soon as they are no longer useful.
During the summer months, one-year-old hound pups that will have been looked after by hunt supporters, are introduced to the kennels. The Hunt will be looking to replace about one fifth of the pack each year. By the time the dogs have hunted for around five - six seasons they are considered too old and are usually shot in the head. The new pups are introduced to hunting during summer and autumn fox-cub hunting training sessions, where over 8,000 immature fox-cubs are slaughtered to give the hounds a taste of blood. Those that don't make the grade are also shot.
In all, by the start of each hunting season in November, the League estimates around 6,000 dogs will have been executed simply to ensure the best hounds are left to provide 'entertainment' for those who ride to hounds.
Hunts claim the hounds cannot be turned into pets, and therefore they have no choice but to destroy the animals.
This film was taken by Joe Hashman working as an investigator for the League Against Cruel Sports. It was taken on October 30th 1996 at the kennels of the Cheshire Foxhounds. This was one of two hounds shot by the hunt kennelman that day. The bodies of both hounds were dumped in a metal bin. The hunt later claimed that the hounds were sick. You can watch the video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ_Coj7hWNo
Twenty-four hounds belonging to the Flint and Denbigh Hunt in North Wales were shot by their masters after worrying sheep and killing one of them on land belonging to Mr. Michael Griffith, Chairman of the Countryside Council of Wales. Police did not take action after the sheep worrying incident despite Joint Master Rowley-Williams admitting that 'It's not as if they were out of control
Published in the Wildlife Guardian, Issue number 30, Winter 1994/5