A new committee tasked with developing a strategy to ensure the long-term future of hunting with hounds has been formed by representatives from the hunting associations and the Countryside Alliance.
The Hunting Joint Committee (HJC), being chaired by Nick Herbert, chairman of the Countryside Alliance, is using a framework based on the three principles of science, standards and social licence. The strategy will be supported and implemented by all of hunting's leading organisations while further developing the longstanding relationship between the Hunting Office and the Countryside Alliance.
"It is vital that the hunting authorities and the Countryside Alliance work in harmony," emphasised Nick Herbert. "Together, we are the leaders of the sport which we love and we owe it to our supporters to ensure that hunting is placed on the soundest possible footing and endures as the wonderful, irreplaceable 'golden thread running through the history of the countryside' - in Lord Willoughby de Broke's words - for successive generations to enjoy."
“The defence and promotion of hunting always has been, and will continue to be, absolutely core to the mission of the Countryside Alliance,” he continued.
Former Master and huntsman Andrew Osborne, currently vice chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and due to become the association's chairman with effect from May 2021, is one of the representatives from the hunting authorities.
"These are challenging times for us all however the hunting associations are hugely positive that we can - and will - secure a viable and sustainable future for hunting in the modern world," explained Andrew. "Whilst having a huge regard for the past, it is time to look to the future for the next generations of hunting participants.
"The ongoing and yet further improved clear and constructive relationship between the hunting authorities and the Countryside Alliance is crucial to this future. Therefore, we look forward to a revitalised spirit of partnership through the Hunting Joint Committee."
Countryside Alliance board member and Master of the Cotley Harriers, Mary Perry MH, is joined on the HJC by fellow board members Karen Silcock, secretary of the Fitzwilliam Hunt and a former partner of Deloitte LLP, chartered accountant Andrew Ogg and Paul Dunn, former Master of the High Peak Harriers.
Matthew Higgs MH, chairman of the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles (AMHB), Jessica Leigh-Pemberton (honorary treasurer of the Hunting Office) and Richard Gurney, a former Master and huntsman who represents the South East region on the MFHA committee are the other representatives for the hunting authorities on the committee.
The HJC meetings are also attended by personnel from the hunting organisations and from the Alliance to ensure any strategy can be effectively implemented.
You can visit the Hunting Office website here.