Police are investigating after a man appeared to use a dead fox to attack a vehicle containing anti-hunting activists.
As dozens of hunts took place across the UK on Boxing Day, a man alleged to be a supporter of a hunt in North Yorkshire was filmed hitting the window of a van with the animal’s body.
Blood and hair were left smeared across the glass and a group from the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), activists who monitor and disrupt purported illegal hunting, claimed the vehicle was damaged.
The apparent attack occurred at midday on Thursday when a group of people approached the activists before a man was seen sprinting towards the van attempting to hide his face and brandishing the dead fox, which he then used as a weapon.
Several others who appeared to be his associates also recorded the incident on their mobile phones. It is believed the fox was not killed by hounds.
The Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs said on Facebook that hunt supporters “were clearly unhappy not to see some actual hunting, so decide to be aggressive and block vehicles in and smash our window with a roadkill fox whilst also smashing bits off our vehicle”.
Nearby, the Badsworth hunt – which amalgamated with another group in 2002 but is said to hold its own Boxing Day meet – continued its activities.
Neither the man nor his apparent associates were connected to the hunt, according to the pro-hunting campaign group the Countryside Alliance.
A spokesperson said: “We condemn this utterly despicable behaviour by this group of individuals whom we are told are not connected to the hunt in any way.
“We understand these were local people whose appalling actions have brought hunting into disrepute and we sincerely hope they will be held to account.”
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire police said: “Police are investigating an incident in the Kirk Smeaton area that occurred at about 12pm on 26 December 2019. Inquiries are at an early stage.”
Meanwhile, in Chiddingstone, Kent, protesters confronted the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, as he supported a hunt.
“All these packs are trail hunting,” Farage said, referring to the pursuit by hounds of an artificial pre-laid scent, according to the BBC. “It’s a day out with the horses and the dogs. Who could possibly object to that?
“How many foxes get killed on the road every day – shall we stop that too?”
Cee Wetton, of the HSA, later told the BBC: “They use it as a backstop, in case a fox gets killed and they say: ‘Oh we were following the trail, but the hounds got away from us and accidentally killed a fox.’ Well, it’s not good enough.”