New governance is planned for hunting

  • A new system of governance is planned for hunting, with the mantra: “Nothing less than excellent is acceptable”.

    Master of Foxhounds Association chairman Andrew Osborne has updated members of the hunting community on the ongoing review on the sport’s governance, which was announced at the end of last year.

    H&H reported that the review would look at the potential for a new governing body, so the community can “move forward to preserve, promote and protect the sport we all love” (news, 16 December).

    In his update, Mr Osborne said three main areas of focus have been established so far.

    “It has been suggested and widely accepted that the hunting associations should step back from the overall governance and supervision of hunting; instead, we are aiming to have two separate organisations,” he said.

    These will be a governing body, responsible for governance of all hunting activities, and setting rules and standards, and a separate regulatory body to administer regulation and deal with any disciplinary matters.

    The hunting associations will remain, but play no role in governance; there is “no expectation that hunts or individual members will have to pay additional fees overall”.

    All hunts will be invited to join the governing body, which will be “inclusive and representative of the whole community”. Huntsmen and kennel-huntsmen will be members, as well as hunt officials, and hunts will be assessed and accredited to “validate the high standards of hunting activities in the field and animal welfare in hunt kennels”.

    “We are focusing resources on more proactive and promotional public relations,” Mr Osborne said. Hunting activities, work in hunt kennels and the work of the hunting community should be communicated openly and clearly to the public and we are working on mechanisms to highlight all the environmental good hunts do and the positive impact they have in the countryside.

    “Our mantra will continue to be ‘nothing less than excellent is acceptable’. With this in mind, our goal will be the protection, promotion and preservation of our core values, so we can continue to enjoy the sport we all love for many years to come.”

    More details will be circulated in the near future, and the aim is to take the ideas to hunting association AGMs this summer so plans are in place for the start of next season.

    Mr Osborne added: “If we get this right, the masters and huntsmen of today will be paving the way for a new generation to carry hunting on into a new era, hunting will continue to be an intrinsic part of the modern countryside and hounds will still be the glue that binds together so many rural communities.”

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