Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Popular Riding Safari Leader Murdered in Kenya

tristan voorspuy.small.garth thompsonTristan Voorspuy could identify every tree, every bird, and every creature that walked the landscape, and was a force for preservation. / Garth Thompson photo

Tristan Voorspuy, sixty, was ambushed and murdered on his Sosian ranch on March 4, 2017. We report this breaking news because Tristan was well-known and respected by so many foxhunters across North America who traveled to Kenya for his riding safaris.

Tristan led most of the safaris. He could identify every tree, every bird, and every creature that walked the landscape, and had stories to tell about each. His death at the hands of renegade tribal warriors comes as a painful shock to those who remember him as a gifted horseman, pilot, former foxhunter, bold and rugged friend, naturalist, and a force for conservation in Africa. He truly cared about and and worked for the preservation of his natural world.

In fact, in a bizarre way, Tristan’s murder can be directly related to his conservation success. In 2005, Tristan and six investors purchased Sosian, a 24,000-acre ranch that was badly degraded. Tristan turned it into a highly successful wildlife conservation project, one of a number of large ranches that double as wildlife conservancies. Tribal warriors, members of Kenya’s Samburu and Pokot ethnic groups who live in an area denuded by drought and livestock, have recently seized several of these ranches so they may now graze their goats and cows.

Georgia Declares War on Coyote

In an effort to reduce the high population of resident coyotes, the state of Georgia has introduced new incentives for hunters and trappers to target the predator. The Coyote Challenge is a program sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division to reward those who kill coyotes. Monthly drawings for lifetime hunting licenses or credits toward the purchase of licenses are held for those who participate.

The DNR suggests that the best time of year to remove coyotes and reduce their impact on native wildlife is during the spring or summer. The season on coyotes is open year-round because the species is non-native to the state, yet found in every county.

While there is no legal limit on coyotes, hunters and trappers may bring up to five carcasses a month to DNR offices, each carcass earning one entry in the monthly drawing.

Click for Tom Spigolon’s complete article in West Georgia Neighbor.

Posted February 27, 2017

Scotland’s SNP Would Alter Hunting Ban; Trample Ancient Codes of Law

Scottish National Party (SNP) Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham proposes to tighten the screws on foxhunters in that country. Scotland was the first nation in the UK to pass a hunting act affecting foxhunting. Now the SNP wants to tighten the act with measures that border on the oppressive, if not the actual contravention of basic human rights.

Cunningham proposes two measures that, if passed, could spell the demise in Scotland of any sporting activity that even remotely resembles foxhunting: (1) Make the landowner criminally liable for any offences that may occur on his/her property, and (2) reverse the burden of proof to the defendant rather than the prosecutor, so that the accused hunt club would have the burden to prove that it complied with the law.

A reversal of the burden of proof not only contravenes Article 11 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, it flies in the face of legal principles followed since the sixth century’s Justinian Code, and the twelfth century’s English Common Law.

Notwithstanding these recommended breaches of basic human rights, pro-hunting organizations and animal rights organizations alike have welcomed the opportunity to clarify the present Hunting Act. The Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomed the chance to work with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland on the new code; and the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland also welcomed the chance to make the law “clearer and more suited to its intended purpose.”

Apparently both sides believe they have something to gain by negotiating the proposals. As this writer sees it, the downside is considerably more terminal for foxhunters in light of national polls.

For more details, click for Simon Johnson’s complete article in The Telegraph.

Posted February 6, 2017

MFHA Elects Tony Leahy President; Promises Season of Celebration

tony leahyMFHA President Tony LeahyTony Leahy, MFH of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), was elected to a three-year term as President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association at the Annual Meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2017 in New York. Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH, Mooreland Hunt (AL) was elected First Vice President and Penny Denegre, MFH, Middleburg Hunt (VA) was elected Second Vice President. Also, David Twiggs was officially confirmed as the MFHA’s new Executive Director.

Retiring Executive Director Dennis Foster will remain at the office for another two months to complete David’s training. Upon his official retirement, Dennis will continue to assist the MFHA in animal rights and other areas, on a consulting basis.

I had the distinct honor of addressing the Annual Meeting crowd, the largest crowd I have ever seen, to relate how special David and his family are, and to explain President Leahy’s vision for an upcoming season of celebration. It was literally standing room only.

NYC Carriage Drivers Take the Offensive

carriage driver posterMayor de Blasio, have you no romance? (c.1960 original vintage poster by Stan Galli and other antique horse-related posters are availabe from Chisholm Gallery.)Just three weeks after embattled New York City horse carriage drivers filed a lawsuit against NYCLASS, three leaders of that animal rights group—the Executive Director and two organizers—have resigned.

During his 2013 mayoral campaign, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to remove the iconic horse-drawn carriages from the city’s streets. The FBI has been investigating that campaign pledge as it relates to donations made to NYCLASS by top de Blasio supporters; donations from NYCLASS to deBlasio’s mayoral campaign; how those donations related to de Blasio’s pledge to wipe out the horse carriage industry; and threats made by NYCLASS in 2013 to de Blasio’s chief rival in the mayoral race, Christine Quinn.