A TETBURY man is spearheading a new campaign which he hopes will stop foxes being killed by hunting hounds.

Peter Martin was inspired to set up the campaign after a fox was torn to pieces in front of shocked residents in Chesterton, Cirencester, earlier this month, which he described as “repellent”.

Mr Martin said he hoped to work with hunts to introduce measures to reduce repeated incidents, including muzzling hounds from hunts and preventing hunts from going within 500 metres of towns and villages.

But hunt members have dismissed his proposals, claiming they are impractical and unnecessary.

Mr Martin said: “The repeated claims by hunts that they are trail hunting and that these horrific incidents are accidental are scarcely credible given the evidence of their activities and the all too clear results.

“It’s no longer acceptable for these people merely to apologise for their actions, but then continue doing the same, week-in, week-out.

“All hounds should be muzzled when out with the hunt. This point is essential as the public need to know that should the hunt have another accident, then at least no blood is shed.”

He also wants hunt packs limited to 12 and for pups to be trained for drag hunting as an alternative to fox scent.

Guy Dibble, of the Vale of the White Horse Hunt, dismissed the proposals as impractical, saying: “If they wear a muzzle and end up hunting a fox they corner, it could end up being bruised to death.

“We do not come into towns intentionally. If the hounds see something moving, they are going to go for it. Who is going to stop them?”

Mr Martin says he hopes to start his project by working with the Beaufort Hunt, based near Tetbury.

But Jo Aldridge of the Beaufort Hunt said: “There is absolutely no need for Mr Martin’s suggestions. The Hunting Act is confusing enough in itself without yet more voluntary codes.

“Hunting in Gloucestershire and indeed throughout the country has the most amazing support from our local communities and followers. From an estimated 18,000 days’ legal hunting per annum from the 186 registered packs of foxhounds, incidents if they ever occur are rare in the extreme.”

Charlotte Cooper, of the Countryside Alliance, said extra regulations were unnecessary as foxes are accidentally killed infrequently.

To find out more about Mr Martin’s campaign, e-mail tetburyprotocol@yahoo.co.uk