Countryside Alliance’s new Executive Director, Alice Bernard writes the following:
You may already have heard the disappointing result of a trial of the huntsman and terrierman of the Fernie Hunt. Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Keith Allen were yesterday convicted at Market Harborough Magistrates Court of offences under the Hunting Act and the Badger Act. This result marks the third conviction of a registered fox hunt since the Hunting Act came into force in February 2005.
The case, which was heard over seven days (four before Christmas, three after) raises many questions but, whilst unpleasant for those personally involved, it should not be a blow to the hunting community’s morale. The case is another example of two men who genuinely thought they were operating within the law, but were found to be outside it. The Fernie has our support if it appeals the judgment, as we hope it does. However, this does not make life any more comfortable for hunt staff up and down the country who struggle daily to comply with an unclear Hunting Act.