Just under a month ago, Grand National Winning jockey Ryan Mania made the headlines when his hysterical outburst at hunt saboteurs and activists was caught on camera.
During his rant, he screamed obscenities at campaigners, calling them ‘a bunch of f***ing retards’; he is also alleged to have used his horse to crush two hunt saboteurs against a motor. You can read coverage on the incident in full here.
Police Investigation into Berwickshire Hunt – Scotland’s Oldest Hunt
Now Ryan Mania, master of the Berwickshire Hunt near Duns has made the headlines again for all the wrong reasons; this time coming under police investigation following accusations of illegal hunting.
Mania won the Grand National at Aintree in 2013 on outsider Auroras Encore, he retired following alleged weight gain and lack of passion for the activity anymore.
Following his retirement, he came the master of the historic Berwickshire Hunt, believed to be one of the oldest in Scotland.
Undercover Footage from League Against Cruel Sports
The probe was launched into the activities of four hunts including the Berwickshire hunt following incriminating footage being released. The footage was filmed secretly by undercover animal welfare investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports.
An investigator who helped capture the footage said of the incident:
“Our team continues to see dogs being sent into cover to search for foxes and there have been no people in position to shoot any foxes that may be flushed from cover. We continue to see foxes running from dogs and see dogs running across fields on a scent and in pursuit of foxes.
“Sadly, also we continue to see livestock being frightened by hunts going through fields. In addition, terrier dogs continue to be pushed down holes to battle against foxes which have attempted to seek refuge from the hunting dogs above.
“What is most concerning is we are now seeing many of the hunts that we watch claiming that their dogs are hunting a wounded fox. Incredibly, there is an enormous loophole in the law which allows a pack of dogs to hunt a fox and kill it if that fox is believed to be wounded.”
2 convictions have already been made against men from the Duke of Buccleuch’s Hunt and footage of Ryan Mania’s hunt is still under review, despite evidence suggesting otherwise, Ryan insists he “always” acts within the law.
Below you can see a video from the League Against Cruel Sports showing some of the video evidence they have collected against Scottish hunts; note that this is not the footage associated with this case.
How Are Hunting Laws Different In Scotland?
The Scottish ban on hunting with dogs is known as the Protection of Wild Mammals Act, and was implemented in 2002, 3 years before the Hunting Act came into place.
Unfortunately, the Protection of Wild Mammals act has one key difference which hunts regularly take advantage of – under this legislation, hunts are allowed the flush foxes to guns using an unlimited number of hounds.
Because of this, hunts can effectively hunt as they would before the ban, simply claiming they were flushing foxes out if challenged, despite being filmed and observed countless times hunting with no trained marksman present to carry out the kill.
Are The Scottish People Against Hunting?
Yes, and significantly so, the most recent round of polling showed a further increase in the number of Scottish people against fox hunting.
March 2002 – 72% of the Scottish public are against fox hunting.
How Can I Prevent Illegal Fox Hunting In Scotland?
The pressure is on the Scottish government to tighten up fox hunting laws in the country, with celebrities coming out in favour of a ‘total ban’ on fox hunting. There are also things you can do to help prevent hunting in your area:
- Write to your MP asking them to commit to a strengthening of the current law.
- Report anything you witness to the police, try to collect video evidence if possible.
- Get involved on social media– never underestimate the power you hold online.
- Join your local hunt saboteur group
What are your thoughts on the latest turn of events for Scottish hunting? We’d love to know. Drop us a message on Facebook or fill out a contact form below and we’ll get back to you.