In recently leaked documents shared by the group ‘Hunting Leaks’ it has been revealed that Pets at Home had links to three separate fundraisers for the Duke of Buccleuch’s hunt in 2016, 2018, and 2019. As reported by Hunting Leaks“In 2019 they (Duke of Buccleuch’s hunt) managed to get sponsorship of their fund raising dog show from Pets at Home.” Specifically a Lurcher and Terrier show was said to have received‘generous sponsorship’ from the British retailer.

Pets at Home have responded with the following statement:

“Pets at Home has not provided any official sponsorship for this or other similar events and stands firmly against the practice of hunting. Since this matter was brought to our attention we have investigated the claims and found that colleagues were approached locally for small prizes for a local dog show. These items did not represent official sponsorship or affiliation with any such event. We are reminding our colleagues of the processes for supporting local events and will make necessary changes where appropriate.”

Pets at Home continue to be criticised for providing support to the Duke of Buccleuch’s hunt via their fundraising activities.One twitter user commented “You still helped generate funding towards the foxhunts, with profits made from money spent by customers.”

What’s the issue with hound shows and the upcoming ‘Festival of hunting’?

The Festival of Hunting is an event put on to romanticise and glamorise the world of hunting. Hunts from various different packs compete in competitions such as ‘Best couple of entered hounds’ and ‘Best brood bitch’. In 2019 the Festival of Hunting saw entries from hunts across the country such as the North Cotswold Hunt, Old Surrey Burstow, West Kent Hunt and the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt. However, the reality is that the hounds used by hunts are nothing but a tool, trained to kill, and pitted against wild mammals. Events such as the Festival of Hunting try and paint the picture that the hounds are loved and taken care of but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As reported by The Canary, in 2018 a hound belonging to the Fitzwilliam Hunt (the same hunt that was awarded second place in the ‘Best couple of entered hounds contest at the 2019 Festival of Hunting) was killed on a busy A road on 8 December. A public statement by the hunt said it happened while “pursuing legal activities”. But hunt saboteurs present claimed otherwise. The reality is that the hunts couldn’t care less about the hounds that they use for their sordid entertainment.

Hounds are bred and kept for the predominant use of hunting. They are kept in kennels outside in undesirable conditions, and given no sort of affection, love, or even basic respect that most domestic dogs across the country get. The cruelty lies more so in how disposable these hounds are to the hunt. It has been reported that even the smallest of mistakes from a ‘working’ hound can lead to severe discipline that goes beyond any sort of normal dog training.

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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