THE SIGHT of ripped deer carcasses strapped to quad bikes has left a 12-year-old girl “very upset” as her school’s cross country event crossed paths with a hunt on Exmoor.
Richard Holloway, from George Nympton near South Molton, contacted the Journal to explain how his daughter Heather was forced to witness the bloody scenes on Thursday, March 27.
Mr Holloway, whose daughter Heather attends independent West Buckland School, said his daughter was taking part in a school cross country event when her and other pupils came across the hunt.
He said: “They were charging around with their vehicles and the children saw deer bodies being hauled away on the back of quad bikes.
“It was in front of everybody, the kids could see everything. My daughter came home very upset.
“They didn’t care about the children’s safety. The bodies were shredded and ripped.
“I am totally against blood sports. I am not a campaigner or a hunt saboteur I just think it is cruel.”
The school’s headmaster, John Vick, wrote to staff and parents in his Easter end-of-term letter.
In it he said: “I was very disturbed to learn that many of our runners, staff and spectators were alarmed by riders on quad bikes and horseback, as well as by some vehicles attached to the hunt.
“I am told there appeared to be little regard by some individuals following the hunt for the safety of the children.
“A small number appear to have ignored the efforts of teachers to alert them to the fact they were operating close to children.
“I have spoken to the hunt chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Mr Guy Thomas-Everard, who has expressed his apologies to the school community.”
In a statement to the Journal, Mr Vick added: “It was deeply unfortunate and regrettable the events clashed.
“This is the first time this has occurred and while no one came to any harm, we are working with Devon and Somerset Staghounds to understand how this happened and avoid it in future.”
Mr Thomas-Everard apologised for the incident but said hunt followers – who ride the quad bikes – do not actually work for the hunt.
He said: “If there was an incident at the school with parents speeding through the village, the headmaster would ask them to be more careful, and I will be doing the same with the hunt followers.
“We are sorry we ran into the event. We will take steps to stop it happening again.”