An updated guide on hound husbandry has been published by the Council of Hunting Association (CHA).

The handbook, The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Hounds in Hunt Kennels, was first published in 2006, but has now been updated in line with the Animal Welfare Act (2006).

CHA consultant and handbook author Brian Fanshawe said: “It is simple advice to kennel huntsmen on general care, diet, exercise, accommodation and breeding of hounds.

“It explains what the kennel huntsman can do legally, and what he should refer to the vet. It is solid advice that should prevent unnecessary prosecutions.”

The Animal Welfare Act became law in March 2007 and places a new “duty of care” on people to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible are met. It allows police and welfare bodies to take action to protect animals much earlier, and creates a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal.

The first edition was produced in consultation with the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management. To write the latest book, Mr Fanshawe took advice from the Duke of Beaufort’s hunt vet Brian Hildick-Smith, kennel huntsman Tony Holdsworth, and VWH huntsman Philip Hague.

The handbook is free and has been distributed to every master and huntsman. The CHA will inspect hunts on a rotational basis every three years, and spot check packs where concerns arise.

For more information tel: 01285 653001.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (6 March, ’08)