A Dorset hunt has been suspended by the British Hound Sports Association over allegations of illegal fox hunting.

North Dorset-based The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt was suspended after video footage showed a fox being killed by dogs during a trail hunt.

Traditional fox hunting has been illegal in the UK since 2004.

Trail hunting is still practised by hunt groups as a legal way of mimicking traditional hunting by following a scent trail made by animal urine.

In a report by Channel 4 News, during a trail hunt, the dogs encountered a live fox and chased it until it was then mauled to death.

The hunt was subsequently banned by the British Hound Sports Association - the sporting body which governs hunt groups.

Six men were interviewed by police under caution and were all released under investigation; no arrests have been made.

A spokesperson from the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt said: “The BHSA was made aware of the content of footage taken on December 4, 2023, prior to it being aired on Channel 4 News on January 25.

"As a consequence, the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt and all BHSA members within the Hunt were suspended from all hunting activities on January 24, pending further investigation.

"The incident has been referred to the Hound Sports Regulatory Authority which will open a disciplinary inquiry.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "Dorset Police received a report at around 2pm on Monday, December 4, 2023, in relation to an illegal fox hunt in the area of Buckhorn Weston near Gillingham.

"It was reported that the hunt occurred on the same day and a fox was killed.

"Officers attended the scene.

"Six men were interviewed under caution in relation to the incident.

"They have been released under investigation.

"Officers are currently following several active lines of enquiry.

"No arrests have yet been made."

A charity which opposes fox-hunting, The League Against Cruel Sports, has called for a fundraiser for the hunt next month to be cancelled.

Emma Smith, director of operations at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “The hard-hitting expose of the disgraced Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt revealed sickening animal cruelty which will appal the vast majority of the public.

“We’re calling on the organisers of their fundraiser to distance themselves from the sordid and savage behaviour of the hunt and to cancel the event.”

The League has also written to the organisers of the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show which takes place in August urging them to not to repeat last year’s invitation to the hunt to attend.

Emma Smith added: “It’s time for change. We’ll be pushing the next government to strengthen hunting laws to end fox hunting once and for all and we’ll be calling on ethical businesses to back us.”