A petition set up by Keep The Ban titled ‘Vote of no confidence in Jonathon Seed’ today passed 20,000 signatures. The petition voices concern that Seed, a former Hunt Master of over ten years, is in the running to become Wiltshire’s next Police and Crime Commissioner in the upcoming May election.

Below is an overview of Jonathon Seed's involvement with hunting and his views on the Hunting Act. 

Seed's history with the hunts

In the late 90s, Jonathon Seed was involved with the Royal Artillery Hunt. A report titled 'The Royal Artillery Hunt Newsletter July 1999'by Major Jonathon Seed describes the barbaric activity of 'Cubhunting' and the 'bestday of the season' occurred when a 'strong fox' was chased over eleven miles by hounds. 

In 1999 Jonathon Seed became the Hunt Master of the Avon Vale Hunt in Wiltshire (a role that he held pre-ban and up until 2011 which was his final season)

The Avon Vale Hunt is one of the more notorious when it comes to violence. In 2005 (while Jonathon Seed was Hunt Master) the Hunt Saboteur Association reported that “The Avon Vale Hunt has seen regular intimidation and violence directed at hunt saboteurs from stewards, and huntsman Jonathon Seed recently boasted in hunting magazine “Horse and Hound” (20 January 2005) “We have a policy of zero tolerance for antis. If they step on private land, they will be nicked by our marshals.”

Of course, “antis” refers to those out ensuring hunts are not breaking the law and illegally hunting wildlife. The question then is how we are supposed to believe Jonathon Seed’s claim that he supports firm policing of illegal activity in the countryside and won’t have a bias against those monitoring and sabotaging illegal hunting?

Under the stewardship of Seed, “Two men operating as hunt“stewards” for the Avon Vale Hunt were arrested on Saturday 29th January after attacking hunt saboteurs from Pewsey Vale and Bath.

The stewards attacked 2 saboteurs as they walked along a bridleway between Great Chalfield Manor and Little Chalfield Farm near Holt in Wiltshire.”

Jonathon Seed court appearance

In 2012 Jonathon Seed appeared in court alongside four other members of the Avon Vale Hunt.

Jonathon Seed

Jonathon Seed’s views of the hunting ban

In 2005 following the introduction of the Hunting Act,Jonathon Seed made comments about the ban reported on by the BBC.

“We will endeavor not to break the law, that doesn't mean to say we won’t test the law because any law which is so badly drafted and so prejudiced needs testing.”

Seven years later in 2011, Seed spoke to Wiltshire Times and made the following statement:

“I look back with great fondness. I’ve got 20 years as a master and hunter in Wiltshire and now I think it’s time to move over.”

He said he was confident the ban on fox hunting, introduced in 2004, would be overturned by Parliament in the forseeable future.

“We’ll get the ban overturned in due course,” he said. “The minister in charge has said he’d like to see it overturned.

One only has to look at Seed’s Facebook page to see the sorts of pages and organisations that he supports. He has ‘liked’ the page ‘Boycott Lush for supporting hunt sabs’ as well as the page ‘The Ross Harriers’ who's profile image reads ‘Felix says- Keep Hunting- FightTheBan.com

It is concerning that an elected official tasked with up holding the law has demonstrated support against the very law he is meant to be upholding.

Jonathon Seed's response and our reply

1. "I am not a member of any fox or deer hunt or any of their supporters' clubs. I campaigned for a repeal of the ban, but as time has gone on I have changed my opinion on the ban"

So why then is Jonathon Seed listed as a regional coordinator for the anti-ban and pro-hunt organisation This Is Hunting UK as recently as 2018? If he couldn't care less about the ban being repealed why is he involved with an organisation whose main goal is the repeal of the Hunting Act? Why has Jonathan Seed liked a Facebook page from his personal account that also supports the ban being overturned? And how are we to just accept as truth that someone who hunted foxes for years and enjoyed doing it has no interest in it being legalised?

2. "Despite what has been quoted all over social media and in comments in mainstream media, I have never been convicted of any wildlife offence or had any such allegation heard before a court." The case may not have been heard by the court but he has still appeared in court under Hunting Act charges. And while not present at the scene he has clear links to those who have been arrested and convicted of wildlife offences.

3. "This was a case that cost the RSPCA approximately £70,000 in charitable donations that could have gone towards looking after animals in need rather than being wasted" Isn't it interesting how Jonathon Seed now seemingly cares about "animals in need". In 2009 Jonathon Seed shot numerous pigs to death in front of each other after they had been neglected and starved by a local farmer. He has also boasted about the hunt of the season where a poor fox was chased "over eleven miles" by hounds - where was his care for these animals in need?

Jonathon Seed pictured holding dead fox killed by hunt - Image: Wiltshire Hunt Sabs Bath Hunt Saboteurs

4. "These people are simply trying to interfere with the democratic process" Holding candidates to a public office accountable for their past actions and opinions is not interference with the democratic process but rather strengthens the process. Members of the public deserve to know who they are voting for and we are simply providing facts about Seed's hunting ties and views on legislation that he would have a role in enforcing.

It is also worth noting that Jonathan Seed has consistently failed to answer our questions and blocked Keep The Ban along with hundreds of others for raising perfectly reasonable questions about the suitability of his candidacy. He has also deleted every comment on his Facebook posts that asks questions.

As a Wiltshire councillor he is meant to uphold the following values: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership. We're not convinced that Jonathon Seed is being entirely honest or open to members of the public about his association with hunting. It is misleading for Seed to claim that he is not a member of any hunt or supporters club after having described how he hasn't hunted since 2012, to know that a leaked document shows that as recently as 2018 he was a regional coordinator of pro-hunt group This Is Hunting UK.

5. Jonathon Seed also states "The overwhelming majority of those who have signed the petition do not live in Wiltshire or Swindon "How does he know this? Has he researched and looked up every individual?

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban