SHOCKING footage shows hunting dogs being shot dead and “thrown away like garbage” at hunt kennels.
The vile video – captured at the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt in Badminton, Gloucs – shows bullets being fired into the heads of four hounds.
Shocking footage shows a hunting hound being shot dead[/caption]
The “heartbreaking” practice is not illegal and is usually carried out when a dog is deemed “unfit for purpose” as it is old or injured.
According to official figures, 3,000 hounds are killed each year but Keep the Ban estimates the number to be closer to 7,000.
The anti-hunting group filmed the undercover footage along with the Hunt Investigation Team between April and September, ITV News reports.
It shows a huntsman putting a gun to the head of a dog and killing it on two separate occasions.
In one clip, a hound, which appears to be unwell, is carried to grass before being shot.
And a third shows a dog being shot twice just three minutes apart.
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Rob Pownall, Keep The Ban founder, said: “It’s some pretty upsetting footage but this is commonplace for hunts across the country.
“This is not an acceptable way to end an animal’s life. These hounds suffered immense pain.
“The activities shown in the video aren’t actually illegal, but there’s no moral defence for what’s shown.”
In response, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said the dogs are “humanely euthanised” if they cannot be rehomed.
But the videos – the first time a hunt has been captured shooting their hounds – have been condemned by celebrities and MPs.
Animal rights vocalist Ricky Gervais said: “It is so deeply upsetting that foxhounds are trained against their natural instinct to hunt foxes and when they catch them, rip them to pieces!
“Then they are killed, usually by a shot to the head, by… someone who loves to chase and kill innocent animals. Both the hound and the fox become the victim of this cruelty. It’s insane, don’t you think?”
Tracey Crouch, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said: “I don’t understand why a dog…needs to be euthanised in this way and I am sure there are much more compassionate ways of putting a dog to sleep.”
While Mike Jessop, a fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, said he didn’t believe the huntsmen were professionally trained to put animals down.
He added: “The evidence from the video doesn’t show any illegal activity. My concern is whether there is any suffering after the shot, because nobody is being careful enough in checking the dogs are truly dead.
“In one of the videos, the [hound’s] tail was still waggling very vigorously for quite some time, even when the dog was being loaded in the wheelbarrow.
“I would question, and be concerned, that that dog was still sentient, and therefore had the ability to feel pain.”
It comes ahead of a vote later this month by the National Trust to decide to ban trail hunting on its land during the next hunting season.
The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, also known at the Beaufort Hunt, is one of the oldest in England and dates back to 1640.
In a statement, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt said: “A number of options are considered for every hound before any decision is made regarding their future, whether that is retirement or rehoming, either to a domestic environment or to another kennels where their country may be deemed more suitable for that individual hound.
“Occasionally hounds are successfully retired as domestic pets, but they are not house-trained and have only ever been used to living in a pack environment so the majority are unfortunately unsuitable for rehoming.
“Where other options are not available, hounds are humanely euthanised. This is done by trained professionals using lawful and approved methods.”