If I’m honest, at the start I still hadn’t completely got my head around what had happened and how HIT had ended up secretly filming at the SHH kennels. But here it is…
HIT had received information that live foxes were being kept on site at the kennels. They also had information that a Terrier Man, Nathan Parry was releasing live foxes during the hunts and that he kept foxes in captivity in cages for this purpose. HIT established where Parry lived and what vehicle he drove. One night Operatives of HIT attended Parry’s address and secretly placed a GPS tracking device on his vehicle. The hunting season had finished but HIT were aware that this period was used by hunt staff and followers that were willing to flout the hunting law, to repopulate hunting areas with foxes that could then be used to be hunted during the following season.
Parry’s vehicle was then tracked by HIT, to gather evidence of offences being committed.
On the morning of Saturday 14th May 2016 Parry’s vehicle was shown to attend a house on a shooting estate near Kilpeck, Herefordshire. (It was later established that this was the Game Keeper’s house). An hour later the vehicle left the house and half an hour after this the vehicle stopped at another location within the estate. (Lets say GPS grid ref 123 456). Nearly two hours after this Parry’s vehicle left the estate and drove directly to the South Hereford Hunt Kennels where it arrived 15 minutes later. The vehicle then left the kennels 20 minutes later. (Pretty clever stuff tracking so accurately).
At around dusk on this day HIT Operatives attended GPS grid ref 123 456. It was a secluded location where there was a badger sett which was now inhabited by foxes. They found evidence of foxes being fed in that there were pheasant or chicken carcasses/ wings/feet around the site and in the entrances to the earth. There were also signs of the ground having been cleared and levelled indicating that the earth had either been dug or that traps had been set. The HIT Operatives thought that given the previous information and the evidence from the tracker, that live foxes may have been taken from the location to the hunt kennels.
They then went to the SHH kennels in darkness and covertly looked around to see what they could find. In the rear of an open back trailer within the grounds of the kennels they found a metal cage containing a live fox cub.
HIT had not initially gone to the kennels with the intention of filming anything but having seen the fox cub caged in the middle of the hunt kennel premises they were then sure that criminal activity was taking place.
A covert camera was then placed at the kennels, looking at the trailer containing the fox cub.
It is fair to say that both with the GPS tracking deice and the covert camera HIT stated they had considered the intrusion aspect of what they were doing but felt it was justified as it was the only way anyone would be able to investigate this animal cruelty.
HIT continued to monitor the tracking device on Parry’s vehicle. On the afternoon of Sunday 15th May 2016 Parry’s vehicle attended the hunt kennels. It then left five minutes later and ten minutes after this it stopped on a shooting estate in Pencoyd, Herefordshire.(Lets say GPS ref 789 123). It remains for about an hour and a half and then goes back to the hunt kennels. The vehicle leaves the kennels just over an hour later.
HIT Operatives then attended GPS ref 789123 where they found an old badger set which looked to be populated by foxes. Again there was evidence of the land being disturbed. At about 0400 on Monday 16th May 2016 HIT Operatives returned to the grounds of the hunt kennels. Again there was a live fox cub in the same cage in the back of the open backed trailer.
The HIT Operatives replaced the SD card from the covert camera and went to view what had been recorded. The recording showed that at 0811 hours on Sunday 15th May, (the day before), The Master Huntsman, Paul Oliver goes to the cage containing the first fox cub. At 0839 hours he returns to the cage holding a pole with a wire loop at one end. Oliver uses this noose to pull the fox cub out of the cage. The cub can be heard screaming in distress and it is struggling. Hannah Rose then appears at the back of the trailer watching what goes on. Oliver puts the fox cub on the floor of the trailer and looks as though he places his foot on it to keep it still. He then reaches down and tries to pick the cub up but it looks like he gets bitten. He then manages to pick up the cub by it’s scruff. Oliver goes out of camera shot and within 30 seconds the kennel hounds can be heard barking, which they were not previously.
At 1643 hours on the same day the video evidence shows a fox cub being brought to the kennels. (Directly corresponding with the time the tracker shows Parry’s vehicle returning from the shooting estate at Pencoyd)………so the cubs seen on consecutive nights by the HIT team were different cubs. (I hope you’re keeping up)!
There was no further relevant GPS tracker activity from 16th May 2016 and the HIT team assumed that the tracker had been discovered. (Which it had)!
Overnight on 16th/17th May 2016 HIT returned to the kennels and the cage which had contained the fox cubs was empty. On checking the video evidence from the covert cameras the HIT team saw that on the afternoon of 16th May Paul Oliver and Hannah Rose again go to the trailer containing the cage. Oliver is seen taking a fox cub, again hanging by the noose and he walks towards the direction of the kennels. Rose follows him. Again, a short time later, the hounds can be heard in cry.
HIT operatives then visited the kennels each night between the 17th and 24th May but found no other fox cubs in the cage during this time.
On the evening of Wednesday 25th May 2016 two live fox cubs were filmed being brought to the kennels and placed in the cage.
Overnight into 26th May HIT team attended the kennels and found the two fox cubs in the cage. They then moved the covert cameras and so one camera was pointed towards the kennels.
They returned overnight on 26th/ 27th and the cubs were still in the cage.
On the morning of Friday 27th May 2016 the cameras recorded Paul Oliver carrying the two fox cubs, one at a time into the kennel building. He takes them into the building alive and then brings them out a short time later dead. He throws both dead fox cubs into a large wheelie bin. While in the kennels with the fox cubs the sound of a male making a whooping sound can be heard. The HIT team believes this was Oliver trying to excite the hounds, encouraging them to attack the live cubs.
On returning to the kennels on the evening of Friday 27th May The HIT team saw that the fox cubs were gone from the cage. On reviewing the video evidence from the covert cameras, they then realised what had taken place. They returned to the kennels and recovered the bodies of the two dead fox cubs. (which were subsequently handed to me on the following day).
The HIT team were devastated. Instead of capturing evidence of fox cubs being relocated they captured something even more truly shocking. This was just horrific. However, what they had captured on video would surely be the end of any hope of a repeal in the hunting act.
Now, I don’t know about you and I consider myself to be a very fair and reasonable person, but please don’t tell me this was just a ‘one off’!! What would be the chances of the HIT managing to capture on video the ONLY four fox cubs ever brought to the South Hereford Hunt kennels to be tortured and killed in this hideously barbaric way? How many other cubs over this and all the years before met the same fate? SPORT?