Instead of having bloodhounds chase down and tear apart a helpless wild fox they chase human runners and receive hugs and treats in the end. It’s a new way to hunt, a ‘humane hunt’ and it is becoming popular in the English countryside.
Queen Legend Brian May in Swansea to support ‘Humane hunt’ where the Three Counties Bloodhounds chase people Whales Online
Queen legend Brian May spent Boxing Day in Swansea to watch people be chased in an alternative type of Boxing Day hunt.
The rock icon and animal rights activist was supporting what The Three Counties Bloodhounds call a “humane hunt”
Instead of chasing a fox, riders on horseback and a team of hounds attempt to catch a group of runners.
Featured image of hounds is not from The Three Counties Bloodhounds ‘Humane hunt.’
It is illegal to hunt foxes with a pack of dogs and most Boxing Day hunts across the UK instead follow a trail – a pre-laid scene such as fox urine.
Anti-hunting campaigners claim these events allow banned practices to continue if trails are laid near to where foxes are likely to be.
The “humane hunt” in Swansea and Carmarthenshire is different as it involves what is called a “clean boot” – with only humans doing the running.
Writing on his Facebook page, fervent anti-fox-hunting campaigner Mr May wrote: “The public doesn’t want to see cruelty as entertainment.
“Savaging a fox, deer or any animal with a pack of hounds can never be acceptable.
“There are hunts that do not support cruelty and in the coming year we will be highlighting them.”
He added, writing on Instagram: “This is the future of hunting in the UK. And no animal will be harmed.
“And they won’t be ‘accidentally’ chasing foxes!”
The Three Counties Bloodhounds annual Boxing Day hunt started in Swansea at around 11am – the third year the event has taken place on Wind Street.
Master of The Three Counties Bloodhounds, Byron John, said the hunt had always been well supported in the city.
Mr John, whose son Bradley sadly died earlier this year, said: “We had 41 riders out and we started at around 11am.
“We had two runners out. It was a good day.”
The warm scenes in Swansea were in stark contrast to Newport where the Tredegar Farmers Hunt clashed with animal rights activists.
However in Swansea, Mr May was full of hope.
He wrote: “Five years ago, this sound would have filled me with dread and loathing – knowing that the end result was going to be an innocent animal being torn alive limb from limb.
“But these doggies are not trained to kill. They are excited to follow a human scent – and happy to accept some food and a cuddle as reward for successfully following the human line. As we shall see. It’s a great game for all involved.”
In terms of selecting the runners, Mr John explained there are two runners who do the short to mid-range hunts.
They then recruit people like marathon runners to do the longer hunts.
He said, realistically, you need to be able to run at least 11 miles and then anything up to around the 20-mile mark to be able to part-take in the longer hunts.
“It’s the third year we have gone from Wind Street and it’s growing in popularity,” he added.
Mr John also released a statement on Mr May’s Facebook page which read: “The role of a Master of Hounds is a very demanding one and a commitment not to be entered into lightly.
“Over the years I have been lucky to have ridden with and met some wonderful characters through the sport of hunting.
“I have also been lucky to have had some great support from friends made on the hunting field and ridden some good horses.
“There is no substitute for the thrill of a chase, the sound of the hounds nor the wonderful diverse scenery and landscape of these three counties then add to this the banter of the characters who make up the field then there is no better place.”