Going back to October 2018, Hurworth Hunt AGM document makes some interesting reading:
“Some exciting news is that we now have the Northern Counties Hunt mink hounds at our kennels. Their committee were not happy with where they were for various reasons and Matthew was up for it as we have the capacity to lodge them and a little bit of extra income doesn’t go amiss.“
Why would a hunt that is supposed to be trail hunting take on a mink hunt into their kennels? Mink hunting along rivers is never done using trails but, as they point out, it’s a nice little earner. The AGM document goes on to explain the Hurworth like many hunts across the country are losing money year on year:
“Looking at the income side of the accounts – subscriptions are down by nearly £5,500 to £18.675, donations up but field money down by £3400, as is the six day tickets. There has been a large increase in offal, due to other hunts taking it, reducing the high disposal costs.
On the expenditure side, generally the same as last year, although the rates have gone back up due to the rebate we had last year. This leaves a deficit for the year of £3296.20.
The main loss is with the subscriptions and field money, which has been the trend for the last three years.”
Moving on to May 2019 meeting minutes, a very important point is raised:
“Jane, Steph, Carol C and Carol P had been on a social media awareness course last Sunday at Wetherby – compared to other hunts the Hurworth is quite media savvy, however it was noted that we should have a list of procedures to follow if the worst happens, such as hounds being killed on roads, dealing with antis and that we take care how the public see it or it is portrayed on social media.”
You have to wonder how hounds can ever be killed on a road, given that hunts have supposed to have been following trails for the last 15+ years. The next set of Hurworth meeting minutes from March 2020 explains how that is possible:
“Hounds only started to run well towards the end of the season, and thanks must go to Carl Whitaker who saved the day on one of the best runs of the season, stopping hounds 15 yards off the A19.”
For anyone not acquainted with the A19, it is one of the busiest roads in the North East of England. A hunt choosing to lay a trail within 50 feet of this road is impossible to believe. Not only would hounds lives be obviously at risk but such an accident on such a busy road could easily cause a multiple car crash with human fatalities.
And it’s the tax payer that funds this reckless behaviour as the April 2020 minutes reveal, this is another hunt that has done well out of the coronavirus pandemic, with a £10,000 grant:
“Many of you will already have heard of the result of our very astute treasurer in securing a small business grant from the government. £10k now resting in the Hunt’s bank account. Well done Pat.”
And on the subject of reckless in March 2020 an email was circulated amongst the hunt which outlined how the hunt staff, whips and masters are all involved in drink driving and that if the police breathalized them they’d lose their driving licence and job!
Finally, a comprehensive list of the landowners who allow hunting, the subscribers and the supporters, all on one handy database. You can download it here.