Moving to the country? Ask your estate agent about fox hunt crime.
If there’s anything from an infestation of pests to structural issues, subsidence, planning limitations or shared rights of way, your estate agent will let you know. The same goes when the property is on a flight path or in view of a motorway, and when a neighbour has an ASBO or a reputation for loud late nights. When there’s been a violent death in the property, you’ll be told. The list goes on. But if there are high levels of crime in the area, will your estate agent always let you know? If it’s fox hunt crime, probably not!
Is there fox hunt crime where you want to live?
Your estate agent should tell you about a long list of things that might affect your decision to buy a particular property. High crime levels in the area are obviously something buyers deserve to know about. But all over the UK people are not being told about one of the greatest crimewaves of the past two decades: fox hunt crime.
If you’ve already moved to a rural area and been shocked because you thought hunting ended back in 2004, you’ll understand why it is so important for home buyers to know about fox hunting. There are around 200 fox hunts in the UK and almost all of them are still hunting foxes, thanks to the loophole-filled Hunting Act 2004.
In 2024 it will have been illegal to hunt wild mammals with a pack of dogs for two decades, but the slaughter continues. Our precious wildlife is declining faster than ever. Hunt trespass is an everyday thing for thousands of people living in areas infested with fox hunts. Beloved pets are being torn apart by excited hounds. Hunters and their supporters are known for being belligerent. Their followers are frequently filmed being threatening and violent. They block the roads, they trespass where they’re not allowed, they bully ordinary people who object to their wildlife crimes.
How would you feel about all this going on around your rural home, twice a week for half the year? And how would you feel if nobody told you about it before you completed your purchase?
As a potential homeowner in an agricultural, rural or countryside area, you deserve to know about hunt crime around the properties you like the look of, ideally before you view them. Yet how many rural estate agents mention fox hunting to clients? As far as we can tell, none… which leads us neatly on to this, an article published in Estate Agent Today magazine during October 2022.
Some rural estate agents actively support local hunts, others ride with them. So what can you do to steer clear of these hunt-friendly estate agencies? To avoid supporting them with your hard-earned money, find an estate agency without fox hunting links.
How to identify estate agents with hunting links
You might want to try a Google search first. Google can turn up information like the search result below, as well as useful insight into the hunt affiliations of the agents themselves.
Facebook is another good source of information, including estate agents’ Facebook pages. Can you see any hunt related content on their pages? Take a look at local Hunt Saboteur and Hunt Monitor Facebook pages, too. They report on local hunt activity, and some are beginning to ‘out’ hunt-supporting businesses and business owners who hunt. This is the kind of thing you might come across, in this case shared with a protest page by a member of the public:
Alternatively ask the estate agency’s Manager outright. In line with the 85%+ of people who want fox hunting banned properly, there are plenty of rural estate agents who hate hunting and are happy to admit it.
If you are moving out of town, put fox hunt investigation on your personal due diligence list. Look for local hunt protest pages in the area you’re moving to, run by people in the area who are fed up with hunt crime and trespass. Message them to know more. Ask the neighbours. Ask in the pub. The more you can find out, the less likely you’ll be to find yourself invaded by hunters, hounds or both, with terrified pets, stressed livestock, damaged land and a long-term battle on your hands.
These people have been breaking the law for almost twenty years. They are unlikely to stop until they are forced to by tighter laws, or there’s a change of government. One day the estate agency sector might wake up and add fox hunt crime to the list of things they must tell buyers. Until they do, it’s down to you.