A new assessment and accreditation process for hunts is expected to start this year, as plans for the hunting governance restructure take shape.
Master of Foxhounds Association chairman Andrew Osborne recently announced plans to have two separate organisations – a governing body, and a separate regulatory body (news, 17 March). This follows the ongoing review on hunting governance, announced at the end of last year (news, 16 December).
Mr Osborne’s latest update, released this month, gives further details on proposed changes and what the revised structure means for hunts.
“A new governing body will be responsible for setting the standards and rules to which all members and member hunts must adhere,” said Mr Osborne. “In addition, a separate regulatory authority will administer all regulation and disciplinary matters for members and member hunts, in accordance with the rules set by the governing body.”
The development and delivery of this new governing body continues, and the roles of managing director, office director and assistant director are being advertised.
“The restructure aims to ensure that hunting can be open and positive about its activities and provide consistency across all hunts while offering reassurance to other stakeholders, such as institutional landowners,” said Mr Osborne.
“It will be possible to openly demonstrate how hunting can adapt to meet the changing demands of modern society and correcting the misconceptions that exist surrounding our lawful activities.
“Hunting’s reputation relies on every one of us upholding high standards and, with this in mind, the new governing body will be initiating a program of accreditation for hunts wishing to be registered with the organisation. This is not a new concept in the workplace, professional or any sporting spheres and will ensure members and registered hunts are operating to appropriate levels.
“The new accreditation system will be introduced to validate the high standards of hunting activities in the field and animal welfare in hunt kennels, while individuals will have to show competency and professional conduct, undertaking training as required.”
He added that the accreditation process will work to specific criteria and standards, with the differences in size, structure and type of each hunt taken into consideration.
The focus will be on each hunt’s viability, leadership and sustainability, and assessment will be done through kennel visits, meetings with hunt staff and officials, and field visits to observe hunting operations.
“Only those operating to the appropriate high standards will be accredited, upholding our mantra that ‘nothing less than excellent is acceptable’ at all times,” said Mr Osborne.
“Initially this may seem somewhat daunting and intrusive, however, the implementation of accreditation standards is a constructive step forward for hunting; it is not to trip up any hunts or catch anyone out but is purely to uphold the highest standards and ensure the sport can move forward effectively and positively.”
More information about the practicalities of the process is expected in coming weeks.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.