The League Against Cruel Sports has welcomed the convictions of two men associated with the Kimblewick Hunt after they were sentenced today at Oxford Magistrates Court for animal cruelty offences.
Ian Parkinson and Mark Vincent were filmed brutally dragging out a fox trapped in an artificial earth, before releasing it in front of baying hounds to provide ‘sport’ for the hunt on New Year’s Day.
Both men were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act, and were today given a twelve week custodial sentence, suspended for twelve months. They were also ordered to undertake fifteen days rehabilitation activity and 120 hours unpaid work. Full costs of £960 were ordered to be paid by both men and both were ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.
The League is campaigning for stronger hunting laws, as well as lobbying for minimum animal welfare sentences to be increased.
Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports and former head of the police’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, welcomed the sentence.
He said: “These two men associated with the disgraced Kimblewick Hunt were clearly flouting animal protection laws by dragging the fox out and then releasing it in front of a pack of hunting hounds which would then chase it and potentially tear it apart.
"Not only does it show hunting still takes place, fourteen years after the ban came in, but with a general election in full swing and with law and order an important issue, it’s time political parties were united against hunting and pledge to strengthen the Hunting Act.”
The judge said the offence was so severe that only a custodial sentence was justified. This is because it involved the use of a weapon, it was to assist in an illegal activity, and there was risk of further suffering to the fox.
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from the League Against Cruel Sports.