'Illegal fox hunt' scare in Milton Keynes explained

An “illegal fox hunt” in Milton Keynes today turned out to be a drag hunt, where the hounds are tracking a piece of CLOTH dipped in chemical scent.

Animal lovers were horrified when they saw riders and hounds heading through Newport Pagnell to Bury Field.

Hunt editorial image

Hunt editorial image

Hunting wild animals with dogs is banned under the Hunting Act of 2004 after complaints that it caused suffering.

But the ban did not end traditional hunts, which turned to drag or trail hunting instead.

In a drag hunt a member uses a cloth dipped in special chemicals to lay a scent before the hunt starts.

The dogs follow the scent of the cloth and people can follow either on horseback or on foot.

However, if during the course of a drag hunt, a hound picks up the scent of a nearby fox and kills it, the huntsman can argue they are not breaking the law - because they did not instruct the dogs to kill.

Details of today's hunt were posted on Facebook and dog walkers were advised to avoid the area.

One member of the public posted: "I wish no harm to any of the dogs or horses, but would laugh heartily at any of the riders falling off into a pile of cow muck.”

Another said: !I love watching the hounds do what they are meant to be used for and love the sound they make.”