A HUNT has been suspended after claims that a fox was buried alive in a bag.

The British Hound Sports Association has suspended the Cotswold Hunt, whose kennels are based at Ossage Farm near Cheltenham, for allegedly participating in illegal activity at the Miserden Estate near Stroud.

It is alleged that footage broadcast by Channel 4 News last Tuesday, March 28 shows an illegal hunting practice known as ‘fox bagging’.

This involves a fox being kept in a bag and released during a hunt.  The footage filmed by Cirencester Illegal Hunt allegedly show a fox being found alive in a bag underground in a man-made den.

Wildlife rescue experts said the rescued fox was a female, possibly lactating, adding that the bag was ‘sodden’ with urine after it was trapped for many hours and possibly days.

The footage was captured by hunt saboteurs.

The SNJ was unable to contact the hunt for comment.

Gloucestershire police have confirmed they received a report of illegal fox hunting on Saturday, March 18.

Rural crime team leader Inspector Simon Ellson said: “We take all reports of illegal fox hunting very seriously.

“Our rural crime officers have gathered evidence in relation to this case and will pursue any offenders.”

In a statement to Channel 4 News, the British Hound Sport Association said: “The BHSA has launched an immediate investigation following allegations being made against one of its member hunts.  “Although spurious allegations are regularly made about hunts’ activities by anti-hunting activists and foul play cannot be ruled out at this stage, the seriousness of these allegations has resulted in the Cotswold Hunt being suspended from the BHSA whilst an investigation is conducted.  “If there is any evidence of illegal activity or a breach of the BHSA’s core principles, the matter will be referred to the Hound Sports Regulatory Authority to consider appropriate disciplinary measures.  “In the meantime, should there be any police investigation into these allegations the Cotswold Hunt will fully assist with any enquiries.”

Landowner of the Miserden Estate Nicholas Wills said: “The Cotswold Hunt were allowed onto the estate with the strictest understanding that they hunt within the law.  “We will assist with any subsequent investigation and if found guilty the hunt will no longer be welcome on the estate.”