The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and Countryside Alliance (CA) has dismissed as “second-class, emotional journalism” a BBC investigation that followed monitors trailing the Heythrop hunt.

BBC’s Inside Out programme on Good Friday followed Penny Little and Judy Gilbert while they “monitored” the Heythrop over four weekends last month.

MFHA chairman Stephen Lambert told H&H: “At one point, a fox was pictured running towards hounds, with the monitors trying to allege that hunting with intent was taking place. How you can hunt a fox when it’s running towards hounds, I don’t know.”

CA spokesman Tim Bonner said the BBC showed the hunt laying and following a trail, and an emotional outburst by monitors.

He said: “There’s no evidence to support any allegations — which the Heythrop deny.”

Gloucestershire police could not confirm that an investigation was taking place, despite reports in local papers that it was.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (27 March, ’08)