with Horse and Hound

Fitzwilliam Ex-Huntsman Convicted; Falconer Cleared

fitzwilliam.barclayFitzwilliam huntsman George Adams and hounds with falconer John Mease at the kennel meet, Milton Park, 2015 / James Barclay photoIn 2015, when James Barclay, ex-MFH took the photo above, hopes were still high for eventually reversing the Hunting Act of 2004 in Britain. Barclay wrote, “Hunting with the Fitzwilliam [UK] is always a treat, especially as my family and I spent twelve very happy seasons there. Although Peterborough is on the doorstep, the Park is beautifully laid out for hunting and many good days are enjoyed there. The kennels are situated on the eastern side of the Park and have a history going well back into the 1700s.

“The combination of these hounds hunting with an eagle—[The Hunting Act allows a pack of hounds to flush a fox to a bird of prey]—in close proximity to the action is something we are seeing in all but a few places now and is very much a sign of the times. George Adams has hunted these hounds for over thirty years and is certainly one of the most popular men in his profession. This particular morning was when one realises just how lucky we are. On our side of the Park wall was a great gathering of like-minded  people enjoying something that has taken place here for generations. On the other side is four miles plus of new houses, factories, roads and the roar of urban noise. Is it therefore, not up to us—those who love our countryside and its activities—to encourage and involve those who may never have come across us before? Our worlds may be far apart in one sense, but they are not in another. There may be just a wall between us in this case, but it should never be looked upon us as a barrier.”

Barclay and other sportsmen and women have continued to try to find ways in which to appeal to reasonable minds in Britain, yet the majority of the British population continues to insist on their right to dictate on the cookie-cutter manner in which every citizen must live their lives. Sadly, Barclay’s Park wall continues to represent a barrier.

After more than thirty years as huntsman of the Fitzwilliam, George Adams was convicted of using hounds to kill a fox on January 1, 2016. The falconer, John Mease, also accused, was found not guilty. The decisions were handed down after two days of testimony in a Peterborough Magistrates Court filled with both hunt supporters and hunt saboteurs.

Prosecution witnesses testified that they did not hear Adams calling hounds off the fox, and that Mease’s golden eagle was not released. Adams denied that he intended to kill a fox with hounds, and Mease told the court there was no chance for him to release the eagle because saboteurs were in the field.

District Judge John Woollard said he had heard no evidence the hunt had made any changes to their activities—other than using the falconer—since the Hunting Act was introduced in 2005, and he was persuaded that Adams had no control over the hounds during the hunt. Adams was fined £1,000, ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge, and an additional £930 in court costs, according to The Telegraph.

Posted April 20, 2018