A group called the ‘Kent Hunt Saboteurs’ is planning a demonstration against the Ashford Valley Hunt over Christmas.
The Ashford Valley Hunt are planning their illegal annual fox hunt on 27th December, starting in Tenterden High Street at 10.30 am.
The group are hoping that Kent County Council will not want to be associated with any sort of hunt in the county and will ban any hunt event.
Fox hunting is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales after it was banned by the Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales, and the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 in Scotland.
Although the act of hunting is illegal, the Hunting Act it lists a total of nine reasons why a hunt group may flout the ban. One of the more commonly invoked exemptions maintains that it is legal to hunt foxes if they pose a danger to livestock, game, crops or fisheries.
There is also the dubious practise of “manufactured” trail hunting in which hounds are supposed to follow an artificial scent trail with no animal chased or killed. In reality, hunt organisers use actual fox scent and lay routes deliberately close to where foxes are known to live, meaning they quickly become the subject of a hunt.
The inadequate Hunting Act and the nefarious practises of hunt organisers mean fox hunting endures in England and Wales
The hunt was formed in 1873 from the combination of four private harrier packs, which amalgamated under a single master as the Ashford Valley Harriers, hunting predominantly hares but also occasional foxes.
After the First World War, the pack began to hunt foxes only and renamed itself the Ashford Valley Foxhounds. The pack will become the Ashford Valley Tickham Hunt at the end of the 2012-2013 hunting season, after the West Street Tickham Hunt disbanded. The hunt country is now split between the East Kent and the Ashford Valley.
The hunt country lies in the West of Kent, adjacent to other packs such as the Southdown and Eridge Hunt, East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt and the West Street Tickham Hunt. Major meeting points include the Boxing Day meet in Tenterden, and Tunbridge Wells.