International Union of Hunting with Hounds: Annual Meeting

Union representatives from 7 countries gathered in Virginia, USA on 27 September at the heart of the American fox-hunting country.

The meeting was hosted by the American MFHA (Masters of Foxhounds Association: and covered a great deal of issues, from national reports on the status’ of hunting with hounds to a major focus on future developments for the Union, particularly regarding the creation of a web presence. FACE’s Communications Manager Marilise Saghbini attended, and provided advice from a pan-European perspective on animal welfare and communications development, ensuring that the message of hunting with hounds is as aligned as possible with the wider European hunting messages put forward by FACE.

Following detailed national reports from all Members, the Union’s meeting also provided useful insights into animal welfare arguments, with many experts on the subject present.

Excellent guest presentations were made by the President and CEO (Mr. Pidgeon) of the United States’ Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) as well as from Patricia Strand, Executive Director of the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA). NAIA presents itself as a true animal welfare organisation, focusing on the protection of the human-animal bond, working at a grass-roots level to campaign and bring forward purposeful initiatives whilst gaining insights into the overall discourse and strategy of animal rights’ groups.

The wealth of knowledge of animal welfare (particularly that of horses and hounds) encompassed within this group demonstrates the role of hunters in animal welfare in a broader sense. Hunting with hounds remains a prominent point of focus for the animal rights’ agenda – and it is mutually beneficial for FACE to be kept abreast of developments within this highly profiled hunting method as well as providing information on relevant EU developments such as the Simplified EU legislative framework for animal welfare that is currently being developed.