Despite the controversy surrounding its conduct, the Kimblewick Hunt Boxing Day parade is set to go ahead at Cholesbury Common in Bucks today. 

The League Against Cruel Sports, an animal welfare charity, has slated these plans, criticising the parade as a diversion from the alleged brutal practices of the hunt.

In previous years, the Kimblewick Hunt has come under fire for a string of incriminating incidents.

Back in 2019, two men employed by the hunt were found guilty for causing unnecessary suffering to a fox, fuelling allegations that the hunting ban was under threat.

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Video evidence reportedly showed the men using a rod to prompt a fox out of an artificial earth, allowing the Kimblewick hounds to partake in the 'sport'.

Notably in November 2022, Highmoor's Ben Hall reported that 25 hounds from the hunt dashed across his property, hunting two foxes.

Mr Hall disclosed to the Henley Standard: "All the dogs were out of control.

"This whole garden was just a sea of dogs sniffing with me shouting at them.

"Imagine if we’d had a couple of kids out here, or a cat, or another dog."

These incidents raised questions about whether the hunt was following a pre-laid trail, as claimed.

Emma Judd, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, did not mince words regarding the matter.

Ms Judd stated: "The Kimblewick Hunt Boxing Day parade is nothing but a lame public relations exercise designed to cover up the reality of the harm they cause to wildlife and rural communities.

"They are attempting to mask that brutal reality, but their masks are slipping."

She further questioned the legitimacy of trail hunting, considered a loophole used by fox hunts post the hunting ban.

It's not just animal welfare activists demanding reform.

Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on fox hunting crime, has also put it on record as a "smokescreen for continuing illegal hunting".

Ms Judd pressed for change stating: "No one really believes the hunts’ claims anymore that they are following trails when all the evidence points towards foxes being chased and killed.

"It’s time for change.

"It’s time for hunting laws to be strengthened in the UK so that the barbaric and sordid world of fox hunting is finally consigned to the history books."

Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for the Kimblewick Hunt said: "The Kimblewick Hunt is looking forward to meeting on Boxing Day at the Full Moon in Cholesbury.

"As usual, the hunt will be trail hunting which is a lawful hunting activity that complies with the Hunting Act.

"Trail hunting involves the hounds searching for and following a scent which has been laid across the country on a rag or old sock and does not involve the pursuit of wild mammals."

The Countryside Alliance, on the other hand, dismissed the animal welfare group's claims.

A spokesperson revealed: “Despite the best efforts of a small number of kill-joy, anti-hunting bores to prevent them, hundreds of festive Boxing Day meets – including the Kimblewick’s - will be taking place again this year as they always have done, bringing thousands of people together from all walks of life across towns, villages and other rural areas.

"At a time when many high streets are struggling, such meets inject energy and life and offer many local businesses, including pubs, cafes and shops, a much-needed economic boost at a crucial time of year. This is something to celebrate and long may it continue.”