In yet another sickening incident involving a horse being abused by a member of a hunt, this time it is senior Norfolk county councillor Bill Borrett of the Conservative Party filmed twice striking his horse with the handle of his hunting crop. It has since been revealed that he will not face criminal charges because the Police deemed that the incident does not meet the threshold of a crime.

A spokesman said: “There will not be any criminal proceedings into the incident as following consultation with CPS and animal experts, it is deemed that it does not meet the threshold of a crime under the Animal Welfare Act.”

However since the footage was released by Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs, there have been growing calls for Bill Borrett to step down from his senior councillor position with immediate effect. Interestingly a day after the footage emerged, Companies House - a register of UK companies - shows Mr Borrett, who represents Elmham and Mattishall, resigned as a director of West Norfolk Foxhound Hunt Ltd on Tuesday, December 21. It is not known whether the resignation is linked to the video but it is highly likely and would seem too coincidental to not be linked considering Borrett has been in the role for many years.

Image credit: Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Sabs

The hunt saboteur group said in a statement that "councillor Borrett (was) hitting his horse in anger after it too appeared to be refusing his instruction. This was his latest display of poor horsemanship, adding cruelty to his catalogue of tacky incompetence, we can’t help but wonder if Borrett should be allowed to ride a horse at all."

The sickening footage is sadly just the most recent incident in which a horse has been abused by a hunter during a hunt. In this case the incident was filmed on December 18th during a hunt near Lexham Hall, West Norfolk.

In November 2020 there were two disturbing incidents of hunters abusing their horses in the British countryside. Footage of a Cottesmore Hunt supporter went viral after she was filmed kicking and punching a horse. The footage taken is shocking not only considering the fact that the woman filmed unleashes several blows to the animal but the fact that she does so in broad daylight in public. One can only imagine the way in which this horse and the other animals under the care of theCottesmore Hunt are treated behind closed doors.

Understandably social media users have been appalled by the footage shared by Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs and the video has since accumulated over half a million views at the time of writing this piece. One commenter wrote"These people do not love animals, they love what animals can do for them.When the animals don't serve a use for them, they are considered disposable." while another twitter user stated "This is unacceptable!!!That poor horse was hit and kicked. Everyday more shocking evidence emerges of the violent cruelty these hunts inflict on innocent animals"

The video was taken by HertfordshireHunt Saboteurs and as a direct result of the subsequent nationwide press coverage she has been suspended from her position as a primary school teacher. The RSPCA is also investigating the incident. However, this isn’t the first time that a hunter has been caught on film abusing the animals in their care and we doubt it will be the last time. Whether it be horses or hounds, both animals are treated as nothing more than tools to these hunts. When they’re deemed no longer good enough, they’re simply disposed of like garbage. Our undercover investigation carried out by the Hunt Investigation Team proved this to be the case. Last month it showed the prestigious Beaufort Hunt shooting dead several of their hounds deemed no longer suitable for hunting. This shocking footage showed two of the poor hounds being shot twice after appearing to show signs of life. Last week Keep The Ban released disturbing follow up footage of the same hunt violently hitting their hounds.

As if these incidents weren’t shocking enough, more video footage emerged of a huntsman from the Flint & Denbigh Hunt hitting and swearing at his horse. The incident was filmed by North Wales Hunt Saboteurs and took place during a hunt in Tre-Mostyn on Saturday November 6th after the rider “hit his horse on the head calling it a f****** c*** after it failed to make a jump”.

This behaviour is appalling and reflects the way in which hunts have absolutely no regard for the wellbeing of the animals in their care. One can only imagine what must happen behind closed doors.


Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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