In February, the campaign group Action Against Foxhunting applied for a pitch at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury show and their application was accepted. However, following threats made towards the group by those from the pro-hunt community, the event has decided to ban the group from attending entirely.

The show which is predominantly an agricultural focused event is due to take place on 18th and 19th August 2021. The group state on their website that “As it is a family-friendly show, we decided to aim our outreach at children and make it about foxes, rather than hunting. We bought masks for children to colour in, and we bought crayons. We had some life-size cardboard cut outs of foxes made. We also professionally designed “Learning Boards” for children. We spent a lot of our precious donations on equipment for the stall.

We planned to keep the hunting information very low-key.”

Last weekend, a post appeared on Countryside Capers – a pro-hunting Facebook page.

It asked why an anti-hunting group was being allowed a stall at an Agricultural Show. The group then faced a barrage of abusive and threatening comments from social media users but instead of looking into these comments the event organisers decided to cancel AAF. As stated by the group, “The other side – the hunts – are still centre stage in the show, parading hounds and horses in the ring on both days”


What do we do about it?

We need to complain to the organisers of the Gilingham and Shaftesbury Show. We need to send email complaints by the dozen.We have done nothing wrong. We have not issued threats of violence. Additionally, they are showing preference to hunts, discredited nationally by the leaked webinars, banned from large areas of the UK and –worst of all – supporting animal cruelty.

Here is a template letter.

There are two email addresses. Please address your complaints to both.

I understand that you have cancelled Action Against Foxhunting’s booking for the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show in August. This is because of an online post about their presence that appeared on a pro-hunting Facebook page. This post attracted threats of violence towards AAF – an entirely peaceful and professional group. AAF did not respond to the post. 

However, instead of cancelling the presence of those who threatened the violence, you cancelled the victims. 

Additionally, you also called it a “political” issue. If AAF represent one side of the debate, then the hunt represents the other. By cancelling AAF and not the hunt, you are showing unfair political bias.

You should also consider the issue of the “Leaked Webinar” in which the hunts admitted that “trail hunting” is a smokescreen for fox hunting.The webinar was run by the Hunting Office (their own governing body) and attended by over 100 Hunt Masters. In it, they admitted that they were deliberately deceiving the police by laying fake trails. A high-ranking Hunting Office official is being prosecuted for his involvement in the webinar. Many public bodies (including the National Trust and the Forestry Commission) have banned the hunt from their land because of the webinar. The very hunt that is displaying at the show has been in court many times.

You are happy to welcome a group which operates under the guidance of a governing body who have been caught openly discussing how to break the law, yet have barred a group which operates in a non-confrontational way and within the law at all times. This is not right at all.

Please explain your decision, ban the hunt and issue an apology to Action Against Foxhunting.

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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