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Hunt Saboteurs Assoc.
Hare hunting with packs of dogs may be done on foot or on horseback.
Mounted packs are called Harriers and the hounds used are similar to
foxhounds (some harrier packs also hunt foxes). Foot packs use smaller, slightly
slower hounds, either Basset or Beagle hounds. (Disgracefully, several beagle
packs are attached to public schools and colleges, such as Eton College,
Cambridge University and Marlborough College.) In Britain there are 150 packs of
Harrier, Beagle and Basset hounds, hunting hares at least once a week during the
season, which is between September and April each year. Even on a very poor day,
each pack can kill 2 or 3 hares; with good scenting conditions and at the right
time of year the death toll of one of Britain's rarest animals can be many times
Typically, the huntsman takes his hounds into a field where he thinks they
will be able to find hares and casts them over the field until one or more of
the hounds catch the scent of a hare. However, hares are often reluctant to
move, and they may not start running until the hounds are almost on top of them.
Although a hare is initially much faster than a hound, the hounds are bred
for stamina and can wear down the hare, catch it and kill it. Once the hounds
are on to a hare�s scent it is very difficult for the hunted animal to escape.
Hares are reluctant to leave their home territory, and will run in ever
decreasing circles as they tire. Due to the sheer speed of the chase, followers
and hunt staff are often left behind. A kill may therefore take place out of
sight and sometimes the remains of the hare will never be found. A caught hare
is invariably torn apart by the hounds - it never experiences a "humane" death
AND HOW TO STOP IT...
As with all bloodsports, the best way to stop a hunt from killing wildlife is
to intervene directly - by sabotaging the hunt in person! Every week, hare hunts
of all kinds are attended by people like you, who recognise that every
individual animal has a right to be protected and saved from an awful and
unnecessary death. The tactics hunt saboteurs use to prevent this slaughter are
simple, harmless and most importantly very effective.
Simply talking to (and thereby distracting) the huntsman when he is casting
the pack into the hunting field or making any noise that causes the hounds to
raise their heads up off the ground and away from any scent, can save a hare�s
life. If hounds do catch the scent of a hare, sabs can call them away using
hunting horns, and/or attempt to cover the scent with citronella spray. These
tactics can be also be adapted to sabotage mounted packs.
Hunt saboteurs save thousands of animals a year using these methods. In fact,
they have been so successful that most foot packs no longer advertise their
meets in an attempt to keep saboteurs away. Unfortunately for them, this
also means that they lose most of their followers - forcing many packs to the
verge of bankruptcy.
SOME ARGUMENTS AGAINST HARE HUNTING:
- The brown hare is in serious decline in Britain. Hares live and breed
above ground, making them vulnerable to disturbance caused by modern farming
chemicals and machinery. Hares lucky enough to escape direct contact with
toxins sprayed on farmland, are likely to ingest them through contaminated
food supplies. Despite dwindling numbers of hares, Britain�s hare hunts
continue to kill hares, week after week, year after year.
- The European Commission decided against adding the hare to the Protected
Species list, after the European Federation of Hunters Association argued that
the EC report contained incomplete explanatory clauses. A few words out of
place meant the hare was been denied the urgent protection it needs.
- An article in the Shooting Times (22/3/90) claimed that there was an
abundance of hares, especially in areas where shooting, hunting and coursing
took place. However, in Bailey�s Hunting Directory 1989-1990 the Axe Vale Fox
Hunt, (previously a hare hunt) said they no longer hunted hares because of
their scarcity !
- In the wild hares rely on short bursts of high speed to escape predators..
Once a hare is up and running natural predators will give up the chase as too
much vital energy would used to pursue it. Thus when a hare is chased by a
pack of hounds it is in a prolonged state of physiological fear wholly
unnatural to it. But to the hare hunters - the longer a hunt is, the more
"sport" is obtained.
- During a "good" hunt of up to 90 minutes the hare is continually on the
run, since hares do not go to ground to escape their pursuers.
- Hunts claim that hares are killed by a "quick nip to the back of the
neck". But the running action of the pursued hare makes this virtually
impossible; hounds usually bowl the hare over and snap at its belly. A caught
hare will literally scream in pain and terror as it is ripped apart by the