Barlow Hunt confirms fox was killed by hounds
A fox was killed by dogs at a hunt in Derbyshire, it has been confirmed.
Video released by anti-hunt campaigners earlier this week showed the animal being attacked by a pack of hounds.
Barlow Hunt, which officially was trail hunting - a simulated type of hunt - said it happened because saboteurs confused the dogs by blowing a horn.
West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs (WYHS) insisted they only intervened after no effort was made to recall the hounds when they picked up the fox's scent.
It denied confusing the dogs with a hunting horn and accused hunt organisers of "trotting out a standard response" and attempting to "shift the blame off themselves".
The pack cornered the fox in an area of woodland near Matlock, close to Chatsworth House, on Tuesday.
Footage showed saboteurs trying to call off the hounds and then retrieving the fox's body.
In a statement, the hunt said: "The Barlow Hunt operates within the law to comply with the Hunting Act 2004.
"An incident occurred on 17 December which we believe was solely due to the presence of anti-hunting protestors who were distracting and confusing our hounds by blowing a hunting horn.
"The police have been informed and we will fully cooperate with any enquiries regarding this matter."
Fox hunting: What is the law?
- In 2004, it was made a criminal offence in England and Wales to hunt down and kill a wild mammal with dogs
- In order to prosecute, a person must be shown to be intentionally hunting the animal
- It is permitted to simulate hunting by laying a scent for a pack of hounds to follow. This is known as trail hunting
WYHS responded by saying they only used their hunting horn call, intended to recall the hounds, when the hunt failed to do so after the dogs picked up the fox's scent.
The group added that most of the hunt were "nowhere to be seen" and two huntsmen "rode away" from the pack.
A spokesman said: "The hunt have claimed [the horns] confused the pack, yet is exactly what they would have been doing had they made an attempt to stop the kill.
"We didn't enter the woods as we didn't want to risk frightening the fox and sending it back into the woods and towards the hounds until we saw them close the gap and catch it."
Derbyshire Police said it was investigating the matter and has appealed for information.