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The RSPCA has rejected claims that its successful prosecution of a hunt and two of its members for contravening the Hunting Act was politically motivated.

All three defendants in the case — Heythrop Hunt Ltd, huntsman Julian Barnfield and master Richard Sumner — were fined last month after admitting four charges of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs.

However, the fact that Prime Minister David Cameron has ridden with the hunt, and has promised a free vote in the Commons on a repeal of the Act, has led to claims of an ulterior motive behind the prosecution.

After the case at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, Julian Barnfield said: “They could have picked on any other hunt, but they picked on Heythrop because we are in David Cameron’s constituency.”

The rest of this article appears in the 2nd January issue of Shooting Times.

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