The Hunting Office is refuting claims that training webinars were organised for the purposes of covering up unlawful hunting.
ITV news reported this week that the police and the Crime Prosecution Service (CPS) are investigating the claims, which have arisen from an edited film comprising short clips from two webinars run this summer obtained by anti-hunting factions.
A spokesman for the Hunting Office said: “The truth is that two, hour-long, Hunting Office webinars [run during August] clearly dealt with the operation and promotion of legal trail-hunting and managing animal rights activism.
“Viewed objectively, the purpose of the webinars is very clear and the allegation that they were organised to discuss covering up unlawful activities is totally incorrect and can only be made by taking a few individual short comments completely out of context.
“Hunts face almost daily spurious allegations of illegal activity from anti-hunt saboteurs and professional activists, and therefore not only have to operate within the law, but also have to be able overtly to demonstrate that they are doing so at any time. It was how best to do this that was discussed in the webinars.”
National Police Chief Council hunting lead DCC Paul Netherton said: “Police are currently investigating and examining video content from two webinars on the theme of hunting which have recently come to our attention .
The Countryside Alliance sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all police forces in England and Wales
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“We are working in conjunction with the CPS to see if any criminal offences have been committed.
“As these events were online and there are no specific geographical areas for one force to investigate, Devon and Cornwall Police is leading the investigation on behalf of all UK forces.
“We understand this is a contentious issue, but at this time this is a live and active investigation which we cannot comment further on.”
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