Hunt Pubs – Why it’s time to clean up your act

A Facebook post by the Culm Valley Inn, Cullompton

We all want to spend our money wisely. For increasing numbers of us, sustainability and good environmental credentials make a big difference. Read on to find out why it’s time for hunt pubs to change tack – and do it now.

So what is a hunt pub? Hunt pubs support fox hunting. They attract groups of hunt supporters, hold hunt events like fundraisers and end of season balls, let hunts meet on the premises, and host town centre Boxing Day fox hunt meets.

Fox hunts slaughter our wildlife. They maltreat entire packs of hounds, dig up badger setts, and keep foxes and fox cubs in bags to throw to the dogs. Hunts cause a hazard on the roads, flout council regulations and requirements, and ignore health and safety. They invade property without permission, trespass wildlife sanctuaries and let their dogs crap everywhere. Foxhounds kill people’s pets and worry livestock. People who hunt bully those who object. Hunt members and followers are often violent. Hunters bring their children up to hunt, supported by the Pony Club. By breaking the law they put landowners at risk of prosecution. They take the piss out of the public, insurance companies, the law and the police, and they lie about it all. It is not a good look. Nor is it good for business.

If you run a hunt pub, have you done the numbers? By pleasing the 10% who want hunting to continue, you put off the 80% who hate it. If you think the hunt-hating 80% will come to your pub once they know you’re involved in the nation’s biggest ongoing crimewave, you’re a triple shot short of a bottle. They’ll visit a competing pub without hunt connections instead, and they will tell their friends and family to do the same.

Many hunt pubs have got away with it because most local people and holidaymakers don’t know which pubs support hunts. But things are changing fast. As the @huntpubs group on Twitter grows, so does its audience – and so does hunt pubs’ likelihood of potential customers finding out. More of us every day are using online resources like @huntpubs to make informed decisions about where to spend our money.

Because 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of the Hunting Act, which made it a crime to hunt wild mammals with a pack of dogs, the hunt crime story is going to be hotter news than ever next season, roughly from August 2023 to April 2024. Once Labour gets into government in 2024, which is likely, they’ll seal the Hunting Act up tight like Scotland has. As a business, you won’t want to be supporting organised wildlife criminals for much longer.

The end of the fox hunting season is approaching. This is hunt pub owners’ chance to take a breath, re-think their business priorities for next season, make a clean break from fox hunting once and for all, and by doing so bring more custom their way.

PS. If you hate hunts and know a local hunt pub, please shop them to @huntpubs on Twitter.

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