A fox hunting

THE REGULATION AND SUPERVISION OF FOX-HUNTING

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The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) regulates FOX-HUNTING under the supervision of The Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting (ISAH). They set rules and issue a code of conduct to all who follow hounds; mounted, in cars or on foot. There have been cases of the rules being broken, which have been followed by the culprits being suspended from official positions in their Hunt and/or banned from hunting for a year. Those who flagantly ignore the code of conduct are sent home by the Field Master. Repeated offences lead to persons being told that they are no longer welcome in the Hunting Field; that is, they are discouraged from continuing to follow Hounds.

The Rules

The rules govern the ways in which every day of FOX-HUNTING must be carried out, prepared for and followed up. The Masters are responsible for ensuring that they are obeyed. The rules are too numerous and detailed to quote all here. Three "golden rules" are:

  • 1.FOX-HUNTING as a sport is the hunting of the fox in his wild and natural state with a pack of hounds. Nothing must be done which in any way compromises this rule. The MFHA have laid down detailed rules for Masters of Foxhounds to observe, the most important of which are:
  •  (i) If, when a fox is run to ground, the decision is that the fox be killed, it must be humanely destroyed; ( note this is normally decided to accord with the wishes of the landowner or tenant);
  •   (ii) When a hunted fox is run to ground there shall he no digging other than for the purpose of humanely destroying the fox;
  •   (iii) A fox which has had to he handled by a terrierman or his assistant must either be freed  or humanely destroyed immediately; under no circumstances may it be hunted.
  • 2.Hunting flourishes entirely because of the goodwill of landowners and farmers. No one who goes hunting should do anything to jeopardise this goodwill. It should always be borne in mind that for much of any hunting day, you are a guest on someone else's land.
  • 3.Masters of Foxhounds or their appointed deputies are solely responsible for conducting the day's hunting and are bound by the strict rules and instructions of the MFHA.Their authority is absolute and their instructions must always be cheerfully obeyed.

The code of conduct

The MFHA's "Code of Good Hunting Practice" is also too long and detailed to quote in full, however, the following extract gives an idea of its content:

    Because the Hunt meets by arrangement and is recognisable and therefore accountable, mounted followers enjoy access to large areas of countryside denied to other people. When you follow hounds mounted, you must:
  • 1. Conform to local standards of behaviour. These are many and various. For example, in some countries it may be permissible to jump fences which elsewhere should not be attempted because of lack of fence-mending facilities. Find out what the local conventions are and observe them strictly.
  • 2. Do not block roads.
  • 3.Refrain from causing damage. If you break a fence or cause or notice damage of any kind, report it immediately to the Master or Secretary.
  • 4. Close all gates.
  • 5. Refrain from disturbing livestock.
  • 6. Refrain from parking your horsebox or trailer so as to cause an obstruction. Obtain permission before parking on private land.
  • 7. Above all, always obey the Field Master.

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