Plane tows banner reading “Barlow Hunt kills foxes” above hunt kennel fundraiser

A plane towed a banner reading “the Barlow Hunt kills foxes” soared above Dronfield today as activists gathered in protest at an equestrian event they say funds “illegal foxhunting”.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 9:59 am

The small aircraft appeared as demonstrators gathered below outside Barlow Hunt’s kennels - where the “Challenge Smeekley” event was being held.

Locals Against The Barlow Hunt and other wildlife supporters say the jumping competition is being used to fund “killing foxes with hounds”.

A member of Locals Against The Barlow Hunt told Derbyshire Times the fundraiser - where equestrians jump hurdles in nearby Smeekley Woods - supports illegal hunting”.

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The woman - who did not want to be named - said leaked minutes from a Barlow Hunt committee meeting showed the fundraiser was “deliberate attempt to deceive the public”.

Outside the kennels this morning opponents of the illegal sport gathered bearing banners reading “stop illegal foxhunting”.

While a photo shows a demonstrator dressed in a fox suit next to a huge sign showing a fox being savaged by hounds reading: “This is the truth about trail hunting”.

As the plane flew over with its banner protesters could be heard cheering while a photo shows a large group of sabs gathered on Owler Bar roundabout.

Photo: Locals Against The Barlow Hunt
Photo: Locals Against The Barlow Hunt

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A member of Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs told Derbyshire Times he arrived at the kennels just as the plane appeared high above.

He said: “I think they were pretty shocked to see a plane overhead with the slogan “Barlow Hunt Kills Foxes”.

“It was definitely a funny thing to see - especially over the kennels and the area where they hunt.

A demonstrator dressed in a fox suit post next to a banner showing a fox being savaged by hounds. Image: Locals Against The Barlow Hunt

“It was quite well-supported - I think people are appalled that Challenge Smeekley is being used as a front to fund illegal hunting.”

Fox hunting was banned in 2005 however the Hunting Act allows “trail hunting” - where riders follow a scent along a predetermined route.

Barlow Hunt say its trail hunting activities “comply with the Hunting Act” and the Challenge Smeekley ride funds “the highest levels of animal welfare in our kennels”.

A spokeswoman said: “The Barlow Hunt operates within the law, conducting trail hunting activities which comply with the Hunting Act.

Activists gathered at Owler Bar roundabout. Image: Locals Against The Barlow Hunt

"Hunts, including ours, are regularly subjected to spurious and vindictive allegations made by deeply prejudiced activists.”

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor: In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper.