Scotland’s oldest fox hunt forced to pull out of show after “threats”


SCOTLAND’S oldest fox hunt have pulled out of an agricultural show after a backlash and “threats” on social media.

The Berwickshire Hunt were set to attend the Haddington Show in East Fortune, East Lothian, on June 30 but have now pulled out.

When the hunt’s presence at the Haddington Show was announced, the show’s Facebook page was flooded with complaints from furious locals.

And now, the hunt, which dates back to 1740, claim that due to “threats” on social media they will not be attending the agricultural show.

Berwickshire Hunt

Some social media users celebrated the news, while others said they were “embarrassed” that the hunt could not attend a country show – as it is part of country living.

Fox hunting with dogs has been banned in the UK since 2004, however hunts have been known to use loopholes in the law – i.e. using dogs to “flush” out the fox so it can be caught by birds of prey.

Simon Winpenny, the hunt’s secretary, today (fri) said: “It’s the usual kind

of threats, from animal right’s activists and hunt saboteur’s.

“It’s not just on Facebook, but different parts of social media, so we had to make the difficult decision to pull out of the show.

“We don’t want to put anyone at risk in a public space, these sort of people come out and case trouble when it’s just us. It’s something we have to deal with when we are out on our own, and it’s on us to make the decision.

“We just don’t know what’s going to happen.

“It was the first time we were set to go to the Haddington Show, as far as I’m aware. It’s difficult for us because although there were people who didn’t want to see us, there were people that did.”

The saga kicked off on May 24 when the Haddington Show took to Facebook to announce the hunt’s attendance at the show – which has been running since 1804.

Haddington Show originally posted a photograph of a group of riders, one wearing a red jacket, followed by a pack of hounds.

They added the caption: “We are delighted that Berwickshire Hunt will be joining us at Haddington Show with a parade of hounds. Come and see them and their smart red coats in the main ring on show day.”

The show removed the post after it was flooded with messages from furious locals threatening a boycott.

And now, locals seem pleased that the hunt has pulled out.

Kerry Kirk said: “Good. Bunch of sick b******s. Not so brave when it’s them that’s under threat.”

Gill Mcgrath added: “They should never have been invited in the first place.”

Isabél Combe wrote: “Never have I seen any posts of threats. Only people saying they would not be going. I think the fact that so many said they would not go was going to have a huge impact on the financial side. Great decision.”

Karen Forbes commented: “Threats my backside. I’m thinking as soon as it became apparent that this was going to affect revenue the Haddington Show cancelled on them. What on earth were they thinking? Absolutely appalling to be promoting bloodsports even indirectly, in this day and age.”

Mathew Bond added: “Threats? They’ve been threatened? I bet the fear they felt is nothing in comparison to the threat a fox feels as these sick bastards top the brow of a hillside.”

While others were disheartened by the news.

James Nisbet said: “That’s a shame, I was looking forward to seeing them.”

Chris Reid commented: “Disgraceful. An agricultural show that a hunt can’t attend because of braindead opinions of people with no idea of what actually goes on.”

Sean Hall added: “Find this rather f****** embarrassing. The fact that a hunt can’t attend a country fair. As it’s a part of Country life and living. Absolute bonkers.”

A spokeswoman for the Haddington Show said: “The Berwickshire Hunt are not coming to the show and we have no further comment to make at this time.”