Tanatside Hunt has folded, but it has only told a half-truth when announcing the reasons why. The welcome news comes after a line of disasters for hunting, which have seriously put the future of bloodsport in doubt. 

Tanatside’s hunt master John Jones said:

“The committee of the Tanatside has made the responsible decision to disband due to increasing urbanisation which has resulted in a loss of accessible and suitable hunt country.”

But Jones isn’t telling the whole truth. Rather, Tanatside hunt supporter, Elspeth Carr, gave more insight as to the real reason the hunt has folded. Hereford Hunt Sabs thoughtfully screenshotted Carr’s comments, which previously appeared on This Is Hunting UK’s Facebook page.

Carr said:

“We have been riding to hounds on the Welsh borders since the 18 century but the brainless arrogance of the administrators of hunting in recent times meant various bodies withdrew licenses and permissions to trail hunt over their land, leaving us with insufficient country to carry on. We are devastated.”

Carr is referring to the fact that some of the UK's biggest landowners have permanently banned trail hunting on their land, after a series of webinars were leaked by the Hunt Saboteurs Association in late 2020. The webinars showed Mark Hankinson, director of the Masters of Fox Hounds Association, openly saying that trail hunting was just a smokescreen for illegal hunting.  

Carr continued:

“Unlikely that Natural Resources Wales, NT, MoD are going to reverse the decisions they made on the back of the self inflicted shambles caused by our own governing body...they are all bodies that are publicly owned and, let’s face it, we lost any public support big style following the debacle of recent times.”

Unless Carr knows something that we don’t, the MoD hasn’t yet withdrawn its licences to hunt. Nonetheless, it is clear that Tanatside has folded as a direct consequence of the exposure of the leaked webinars, and of wider efforts by hunt sabs on the ground, who time and time again have exposed hunts breaking the laws of the Hunting Act. 

No doubt there are many in the hunting world like Carr, who are quick to blame the likes of Hankinson for getting caught in the webinars. And yet hunts don't seem to be prepared to self-reflect on the fact that if they didn’t tear up foxes in the first place, then they might still be able to trail hunt freely. 

Carr concluded: 

“There will be others forced down the same path because of the stupidity, arrogance and mendacity of those supposedly looking after hunting.”

We can only hope. 

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