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Rebel foxhound packs give us a bad name, says master

Unregistered or “pirate” foxhound packs are giving law-abiding hunts a bad name, says the retiring master of the Carmarthenshire.

Hounds caught and killed a fox on the A40 between Abergwili and Whitemill in Wales on 16 February, witnessed by the passengers of a bus.

One of the hounds was hit and killed by a passing car, local press has reported.
Footage from CCTV mounted on the front of the bus is being reviewed by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Carmarthenshire master Mike Watts said his hunt had been the public’s first suspect, but they were hunting 20 miles away, in Pendine.

“We believe it was a rebel pack or a gun pack [who use hounds to flush a fox to guns] — there are a couple in the area and they are causing us a lot of trouble,” said Mr Watts, who is leaving the mastership due to ill-health.

“It’s a growing problem in the area. Most [unregulated packs] don’t last long, but it’s giving us a bad name.

Registered packs are regulated by the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), but pirate packs are not accountable.

A 2003 Welsh Assembly report on pre-ban hunting put the number of unregistered packs in Wales at three times the number of registered packs, of which there are 56.

The MFHA said it did not wish to comment on the issue at this stage.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (28 February 2013)

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