The hunting community is starting to count the cost of the latest foot-and-mouth outbreak. With autumn hunting currently on hold, some hunts are looking at other ways to raise money.

“Most people have not yet paid their subscriptions, and inevitably there will be fallout from those who decide not to hunt this year,” said Stephen Lambert, chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and of the Heythrop. “Autumn hunting produces good income, as well as a chance to collect subs.

“Masters and chairmen have to be imaginative in controlling costs and generating income.

“The Heythrop is looking for extra work for kennel staff — among numerous skills, we offer fencing, carpentry, metalwork and gardening. During the 2000 FMD outbreak, we saved a considerable amount this way.”

The Surrey Union was at the centre of last month’s outbreak, and delayed sending out subs forms as a result. Senior master Mark Sprake said people need to show “moral compunction”.

“Anyone not planning to subscribe who normally would, should be embarrassed,” said Mr Sprake. “Hunts incur costs if they’re going out or not.”

Read this news report in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (20 September, ’07)