Undercover footage shows Beaufort Hunt dogs being shot dead at kennels

Undercover footage has captured hunting dogs from the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, who was shot dead at a kennel before being pushed into a wheelbarrow and taken away.

The clip, secretly filmed by the anti-hunting campaigns Keep the Ban and the Hunt Investigation Team, shows bullets being fired at the heads of four hunting dogs that are no longer considered suitable for hunting in Badminton, Gloucestershire.

Two of the hunting dogs that appear to be showing signs of life are shot twice by members of the prestigious fox hunting group before being ‘thrown away as rubbish’ in the video, which was shared with ITV News.

Up to 3,000 hunting dogs are killed each year, according to the Countryside Alliance, although Keep the Ban estimates that number is closer to 7,000.

Practice is not illegal and can be performed for a variety of reasons, including illness, injury, or old age.

In response to the video, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said its hunting dogs are ‘humanly killed’ if they cannot be resettled.

The shocking clip comes amid calls from anti-hunting groups to end track hunting – where dogs or beagles follow a scent along a predetermined route without foxes being hunted, wounded or killed – on National Trust land.

Warning: Disturbing Content

The clip, secretly filmed by the anti-hunting campaigns Keep the Ban and the Hunt Investigation Team, shows bullets being fired at the heads of four hunting dogs that are no longer considered suitable for hunting in Badminton, Gloucestershire.

The clip, secretly filmed by the anti-hunting campaigns Keep the Ban and the Hunt Investigation Team, shows bullets being fired at the heads of four hunting dogs that are no longer considered suitable for hunting in Badminton, Gloucestershire.

What is the Duke of Beaufort Hunting?

The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, also known as the Beaufort Hunt, is one of the oldest fox hunting packs in England, dating back to 1640.

Since then, dogs have been systematically bred in Badminton for the sole purpose of hunting foxes.

All puppies bred at the hunt are put out to go on farms from as young as six weeks old.

The hunt for deer and foxes was first led by the Marquess of Worcester during the 1600s, but in 1762 Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, decided to focus on fox hunting after a failed day hunt for deer.

From this time on, the Dukes of Beaufort have continued the tradition of hunting for land between Cirencester and Bath.

During the hunting season, the hunt goes out four days a week.

The current champion is the 11th Duke, also called Henry Somerset.

The footage, taken several times between April and September, is the first time a hunting camera has been caught shooting their hunting dogs.

A spokesman for Keep the Ban said: ‘If evidence of hunting and killing wildlife was not enough, we are now confronted with sick footage from a previously licensed hunt that puts bullets in their hunting dogs and drives them away as if they were rubbish.

‘Two of the hunting dogs can still be seen moving after the first shot and are then shot again for a good deal. That is not correct. This is not normal.

‘This is not the kind of behavior that the National Trust should approve.’

The charity is due to vote later this month on whether to ban trail hunting on its land in the next hunting season.

Politicians and celebrities reacted to the footage, describing it as ‘insane’ and ‘absolutely heartbreaking’.

Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, said: ‘I do not understand why a dog … should be killed this way and I’m sure there are much more compassionate ways to put a dog asleep. ‘

Animal rights advocate Ricky Gervais added: ‘It is so deeply disturbing that fox dogs are trained against their natural instinct to hunt foxes, and when they catch them, they must be torn to pieces!

‘Then they are killed, usually by a shot to the head, by … someone who loves to hunt and kill innocent animals. Both the dog and the fox fall victim to this cruelty. It’s insane, do you think? ‘

Mike Jessop, a fellow at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, called for the procedure to be performed in a more humane way, e.g. Using a lethal injection and by a veterinarian.

He also questioned whether one of the hunting dogs was still able to feel pain, saying the tail was seen swinging even after it was loaded into the wheelbarrow.

Up to 3,000 hunting dogs are killed each year, according to the Countryside Alliance, although Keep the Ban estimates this number to be closer to 7,000

Up to 3,000 hunting dogs are killed each year, according to the Countryside Alliance, although Keep the Ban estimates this number to be closer to 7,000

In response to the video, the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt said its dogs are 'humanly killed' if they cannot be re-bred.

In response to the video, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said its dogs are ‘humanly killed’ if they cannot be re-bred.

The shocking clip comes amid calls from anti-hunting groups to end trail hunting - where dogs or beagles follow a scent along a predetermined route without foxes being hunted, wounded or killed - on National Trust land

The shocking clip comes amid calls from anti-hunting groups to end trail hunting – where dogs or beagles follow a scent along a predetermined route without foxes being hunted, wounded or killed – on National Trust land

What is the law on fox hunting?

Fox hunting with dogs was banned in 2004 amid growing complaints from animal rights activists who claimed it caused unnecessary suffering to wildlife.

This meant that groups in England and Wales could no longer hunt and kill mammals with dogs.

But many hunts now simulate the hunt by adding a scent for the dogs to follow instead of using an actual fox – this is known as trail hunting.

Dogs can also still be used to ‘flush’ foxes out of hiding if it causes damage to property or the environment.

Source: www.gov.uk

The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, also known as the Beaufort Hunt, is one of the oldest fox hunting packs in England, dating back to 1640.

Since then, dogs have been systematically bred in Badminton for the sole purpose of hunting foxes.

All puppies bred at the hunt are put out to go on farms from as young as six weeks old.

The hunt for deer and foxes was first led by the Marquess of Worcester during the 1600s, but in 1762 Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, decided to focus on fox hunting after a failed day hunt for deer.

From this time on, the Dukes of Beaufort have continued the tradition of hunting for land between Cirencester and Bath.

During the hunting season, the hunt goes out four days a week. The current champion is the 11th Duke, also called Henry Somerset.

In a statement, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said: ‘A number of options are being considered for each hunting dog before deciding on their future, whether it is retirement or return, either to a home environment or to another kennel where their country can be considered more suitable for the individual hunting dog.

‘Sometimes dogs are successfully retired as pets, but they are not house trained and have only been used to living in a pack environment, so most are unfortunately unsuitable for re-living.

‘Where other options are not available, dogs are killed humanely. This is done by trained professionals using legal and approved methods. ‘

Animal advocate and comedian Ricky Gervais said: 'Both the dog and the fox fall victim to this cruelty.  It's insane, do you think?  '

Animal advocate and comedian Ricky Gervais said: ‘Both the dog and the fox fall victim to this cruelty. It’s insane, do you think? ‘

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