#TheList huntsman George R Adams, born c. 1951, of 2 Ramshill Cottages, Stamford Road, Peterborough PE6 7EZ – used a pack of hounds to kill a fox
Adams, a huntsman with the Fitzwilliam Hunt, was in charge of the pack of hounds when it killed a fox on January 1, 2016.
The court heard that the hunt started in Wansford, Cambridgeshire and that the fox was eventually killed near Elton by the pack of hounds.
Adams’ co-defendant John Mease, of 3 Kennels Cottages, Milton Park, Peterborough PE6 7AB, who was present at the hunt with a golden eagle, was found not guilty after a court heard he used the bird of prey to catch animals, rather than a pack of dogs.
Mease was further cleared of causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal despite ‘dispatching’ another fox by driving a KNIFE through its eye after it was caught by his raptor in 2013.
The court heard from saboteurs Ruth Nichols and Stephen Milton, who had tracked the hunt.
Video footage shown to the court taken by Mr Milton, which involved around 40 hounds – with the sound of a hunting horn clearly heard.
Mr Milton said he had seen the hunt tracking the fox, and had not heard any calls to ward the dogs off from the fox.
Adams, who joined the Fitzwilliam Hunt in 1981 and became a huntsman in 1984, told the court he had not seen the fox before it was killed.
When asked if it was his intention to kill the fox with hounds, he said: ‘Absolutely not. We wanted to flush it out for the bird of prey.’
Mr Mease told the court there was no chance for him to release his golden eagle to catch the fox because the saboteurs were in the field, which would provide a risk to the bird.
He was asked why he never radioed Adams to call the hunt off.
He said: ‘A hunt is a fluid thing. It was changing minute by minute. It was the heat of the moment and it was the first time I had come across saboteurs in my 11 years.’
He told the court he was in charge of the bird but had no control over the pack of hounds, which was Adams’ responsibility.
Speaking after the trial, Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Lee Moon said: ‘To anyone who witnessed the events on the day in question it was abundantly clear that a wild mammal was hunted and killed illegally, in a most gruesome manner.
‘Although a fox had to suffer and die due to the blatant and remorseless actions of the defendants we are pleased that hunt saboteurs were able to bring at least one of them to justice.
‘We would like to thank Cambridgeshire police who conducted a robust and unbiased investigation.
‘The loopholes and exemptions in the current act have always been cynically exploited by hunts in order to operate much as they would have done prior to the ban.
‘The guilty verdict proves that hunting with a full pack of hounds is not the same as Falconry and the judge in summing up confirmed as much.
‘The outcome will of course have wider reaching implications for all those hunts around the country who claim to use this exemption.
‘We will continue to vigorously oppose those who gain enjoyment from the torture and killing of our wildlife and will use all the tools at our disposal to those ends.
‘We have the overwhelming support of the general public who wish to see an end to the barbaric minority pastime.’
Sentencing: fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £950 costs.