A DEAD fox has been dumped outside the New Forest home of TV naturalist Chris Packham in apparent retaliation against his campaign to end hunting.
Yesterday (Monday) the outspoken presenter tweeted a film of the animal which he concluded had probably been killed with a snare, and said he had alerted the police.
Mr Packham tweeted: “It appears that if you oppose the cruelty and illegality of fox hunting and those who club them to death you don’t just get social media abuse. The body of a fox has been dumped at my house.”
It appears that if you oppose the cruelty and illegality of fox hunting and those who club them to death you don’t just get social media abuse . The body of a fox has been dumped at my house . . . @LeagueACS @RSPCA_official The police have been informed pic.twitter.com/z1G8GqFvu3
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) December 30, 2019
The action was quickly condemned by the New Forest Hounds, which has been active in the district since 1781.
It recently held its showpiece hunt on Boxing Day in Lyndhurst which, since foxhunting was outlawed in 2004, now follows pre-laid scents.
As a fresh trail-hunt was being prepared today, hunt master Graham Ferris told the A&T he condemned the targeting of Mr Packham.
Mr Ferris said: “We are aware from the media that this had happened. We believe that this is a completely wrong thing to have happened and disassociate ourselves from it entirely. None of our supporters would have dreamt of doing a thing like that.
“New Forest Hounds hunt within the law which means that we lay trails. We absolutely condemn this action.”
A long-time anti-hunt campaigner, last year Mr Packham tweeted a video of himself at the New Forest Boxing Day hunt, criticising the tradition and calling for it to be banned completely.
Mr Packham’s home near Marchwood has been targeted before. In April dead crows were tied to his gate in retaliation against legal action launched by his campaign group, Wild Justice, which prompted a tightening-up of bird shooting laws.
And in May death threats and warnings of protests also caused him to pull out of appearing at the dog-themed Dogstival event at Pylewell Park, near Lymington.
In his Twitter video Mr Packham claimed that Boxing Day hunts led to “foxes being killed left, right and centre”.
He said: “Wouldn’t it be a good thing if we could stop this fox hunting once and for all? It’s illegal but it still carries on and when you campaign against it unpleasant things like this happen.
“Surely it’s time to put the whole thing to bed and move on, move on to a more civilised society in this 21st century that we are living in. That would be good.”
He highlighted high-profile barrister Jolyon Maugham admitting on Twitter to beating a fox to death with a baseball bat on Boxing Day after it got trapped in his London garden where he keeps chickens.
Mr Packham also pointed to a video which emerged on social media apparently showing a hunt supporter elsewhere in the country beating the side of an anti-hunt activist’s car with a dead fox.
He found support from Hordle councillor Fran Carpenter, who tweeted: “Don’t anyone ever tell me foxes are vermin. No animal deserves this. I wish very bad things upon the person or people that did it.”
Mr Packham tweeted to say he had reported it to Hampshire police and his home’s CCTV was being reviewed to try to identify the culprits.
He also acknowledge his supporters, saying: “Thank you for all your kind and compassionate comments – much appreciated.”