The rural sport of hunting is in “trouble…… running out of money….” with some in charge “unfit” to take control of the pastime.
The stark revelation from those at the heart of the countryside sport is revealed in documents seen by ITV News.
The minutes from a top-level gathering of those running the sport also record an accusation that the Chairman of the Countryside Alliance and former Conservative Government minister, Lord Nick Herbert, tells people what they want hear about a political strategy for hunting but he “never comes up with it”.
The bleak picture of this rural pursuit is laid bare in the draft minutes of a meeting in September 2020 chaired by Conservative hereditary peer Lord Benjamin Mancroft. The meeting of the Masters of Fox Hounds Association (MFHA) lists a catalogue of concerns about numerous hunts.
The meeting was told how a hunt in Kent “should have been put into special measures” and is still employing “unsuitable” Masters.
Another group was led by people who were “unfit to run a hunt” and the minutes record that “it is clear that some hunts around the country are getting into trouble. For example running out of country (to hunt in), money etc.”
Outwardly hunting usually portrays itself as a successful and vibrant countryside sport but the minutes cast doubt on that claim with questions over the viability of some hunts and the ability of their staff to carry out their responsibilities.
Lord Mancroft is recorded as saying the sport of Point to Point racing is the “worst organised and managed sport”. His damning comment came after the meeting heard that the Point to Point Authority (PPA) had “completely disregarded” a request from the Masters of Fox Hounds Association over documentation.
None of the organisations or individuals mentioned in the minutes and approached by ITV News for interview chose to comment.
The Hunt Sabateurs Association spokesperson Lee Moon told ITV News: “This is them being honest. They are in deep trouble. A lot of the minutes are about different hunts that for one reason or another, are in bother. They're clearly feeling abandoned by the Conservative Party.
"As I said, hunting became a toxic issue for the Conservative Party. They've got a lack of money, lack of people, lack of influential supporters anymore.”