A hunter who fed live fox cubs to his hounds has been spared jail time, leading to outrage from animal rights groups and calls for tougher laws.
Paul Oliver was given a 16-week suspended jail term for allowing the ‘terrible, terrifying’ deaths of four fox cubs which after he let his hounds eat them alive.
His actions were exposed by the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT), who used covert cameras and a tracking device.
Activists say the case makes a mockery of animal rights laws in the UK, and the shadow environment secretary has demanded plans for more serious punishments to be introduced immediately.
Oliver had previously held positions as master of hounds with the South Herefordshire Hunt and a senior member of Cornwall’s Western Hunt.
Shockingly, the judge did not ban him from keeping animals as it would have forced him out of his job at a stud yard.
A trial heard how the cubs were used to teach the hounds to kill foxes, according to The Independent.
The district judge at Birmingham magistrates’ court said: “The fox cubs suffered a painful, terrifying death.”
The judge explained that no prison time was enforced as she did not see a risk of the offence recurring.
“I also take into account that to disqualify them from being in control of animals would cause them to lose their current employment and any hope of future work, as this is their livelihood,” she said.
In a recent case in which a live fox was put inside a cage containing dogs, the suspects were jailed and banned from keeping animals.
Biologist and vet scientist Andrew Cooke tweeted: “I can’t begin to get my head around how shockingly lenient that is. No served time, no ban on keeping animals, no deterrent.
“I can’t fathom why lengthy or lifetime bans aren’t more commonplace.”
What do you think of the judge’s decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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