Two villagers, from Elcombe, near Stroud, to make film about the
trauma of hunts straying onto private land
By Rachel Clare
women who made national headlines after instigating an ASBO on a pack of
hunting dogs which strayed into their gardens are to make a film about the
trauma of hunts straying on to private land. Jeanne Berry and Denise Ward,
from Elcombe in the Slad Valley became the first people to get asbo warnings
issued against huntsmen in 2006 and three warning notices were issued to
three members of the Cotswold Hunt. An exclusion zone was set up around
Elcombe and for the past three years Ms Ward and Mrs Berry have been researching
the effects of continued foxhunting – despite hunting live animals
being banned banned by the Government in 2005. Ms Ward has collated a database
of violent and disruptive incidents on roads and private property, including
the deaths of pet animals and livestock.
“We are no longer a feudal society. Traumatising incidents of disruption,
trespass and violent acts on private property, or dangerous intrusion onto
roads, which are directly caused by a minority pleasure activity, are unacceptable,”
she told the SNJ.
Ms Ward herself saw the hounds invade her and her neighbours' gardens back
in 2006. She still finds it hard to talk about the event, which she says
had a traumatising impact.
"One minute there was peace and quiet and the next thing I knew a pack
of hunting dogs was causing chaos in our gardens," she said.
"It had the impact of a major event like a car crash, where you feel
yourself watching but cannot believe it is happening – it was a moment
of utter chaos."
The second time hounds strayed into Elcombe, Ms Ward saw dogs rushing out
of the private woodland that belongs to Mrs Berry .
"I heard a horrible screaming noise - they were chasing a deer, and
after they had gone I found bloodstains, it was disgusting," she said.
The pair are now working with film makers to expose what they have found
out during the last few years. The project has been taken on by an independent
film company and will be released next year - the film will be called A
Minority Pastime. Ms Ward said: "There are many instances of when an
animal, including cats, a pet terrier, a pet goat, foxes, and deer have
been torn apart in front of members of the public, often being disembowelled.
"In four cases I have recorded these animals being torn apart in front
of young children. "There is no doubt that these events can traumatise
- imagine seeing your pet cat disembowelled in front of you."
Ms Ward and Mrs Berry believe that the 70 incidents they have collected
are only the tip of the iceberg as many go unreported or are not officially
recorded. They believe the incidents show that packs of hounds trained to
hunt live prey, or even scent derived from live prey, cannot be fully controlled.
A trailer of the film will be posted on the internet in October - look out
for the story in the SNJ.
The pair are also looking for help with PR and fundraising. If you would
like to get in touch with Jeanne please call 01452 813168 or email