A huntsman has refused to apologise after being filmed feeding a dead fox to a pack of hounds in front of horrified animal rights campaigners.
Conrad Jones sparked fury when he tossed a freshly-killed fox carcass to dogs at a hunt in Howwood, Renfrewshire, on Saturday, and encouraged them to tear it to pieces in a sickening video clip.
The smug 24-year-old then asks a stunned saboteur who had tried to protect the animal: “Do you want me to hold it up for you?”
When the Record contacted Jones, he told us he “probably shouldn’t have done it” but declined to apologise and moaned that he had been the victim of death threats since the clip emerged online.
Meanwhile his employer told us the hunt was entirely legal and defended Jones’ behaviour, saying “everybody makes mistakes”.
Although fox hunting with dogs was banned in Scotland in 2002, an unlimited number of dogs are still allowed to chase foxes from cover so they can be shot.
Glasgow Hunt Sabs told how members watched a fox being driven towards a line of guns and shot dead during the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt.
The group claimed they watched a “legal kill facilitated by illegal actions”, saying hunting legislation was breached when the animal was chased by hounds over open ground.
But the case has not been referred to Police Scotland because members fear the footage captured is not enough to spark a criminal investigation.
In the video, Jones, who works for the hunt organisers, is seen throwing the fox to the hounds to chase and devour, before shouting “good boys and girls”.
The saboteur who captured the moment on film asks Jones “are you proud?” before saying: “You’re foaming at the mouth.”
Jones, who is originally from Northern Ireland but told us he has been working in Scotland since May, said: “I’ve been getting deaths threats and people threatening me. I just ignore it.”
When asked if he stood by his actions, he said “maybe I shouldn’t have done it in front of them” but declined to say sorry and referred us to his “huntmaster”.
He said claims of illegal behaviour were “misleading”, saying: “The fox was shot within the law, everything was done within the law.
“If it was illegal I’m sure the police would have been here by now, but everything was above the law and that’s what’s annoying them more.”
A spokesman for the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt said the incident had caused Jones “a lot of upset”.
He said: “There’s nothing illegal about it.
“Part of the problem was on Saturday, the saboteur got in line with the guns and the guns had to move so it was actually their fault the fox was chased over open ground.
“If they had stayed out the road it would have been dealt with and there would have been no problem whatsoever.
“They disrupted a legal activity.”
We asked if it was normal for a fox to be thrown to the hounds after the kill as seen in the video.
He replied: “No.”
When asked if he condoned Jones’ actions in the video he said: “Probably looking back he shouldn’t have done it, but that’s it.
“Nothing illegal went on that day. The police knew we were there and how we conduct ourselves.
“I don’t see the point in putting out the video that has been shown. It’s clearly going to cause a lot of distress to his family.
“He’s a young man. Everybody does silly things and regrets it but you’ve got to have a bit of humanity as well.
“If you publish that video online he could get more threats and animal extremists getting involved.
“Everybody makes mistakes.”
But a member of the Glasgow Hunt Sabs, who witnessed the incident, said Jones did not deserve pity.
She said: “I try and remain composure on a hunt and not to let them see you’re upset because it’s what they want, but it was horrible. It has stayed with a few of us.
“The way I read the situation was that he had done it in front of us to taunt us. He was enjoying it.
“We didn’t goad him in any way, he just chose to do that.
“If it’s not illegal it’s morally disgusting. Surely this isn’t pest control. The fact he fed the fox to the hounds is a precursor to training hounds to kill.
“The hounds devoured the body.”
The saboteur said claims the group got in the way of the guns during the shoot were “untrue”.
In April the Scottish Greens called for a total ban on fox hunting, saying loopholes must be closed to put a stop to all “cruel” killings by hunts with dogs.
The Scottish Government has released a public consultation in recent days on proposals to strengthen the law relating to the use of dogs to hunt and flush foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland.
This article by Sally Hind was first published by The Daily Record on 18 November 2021. Lead Image: Conrad Jones taunted saboteurs as he fed a dead fox to hounds at the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt on Saturday.
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