Press Release: Queen Legend Brian May to join Swansea ‘clean boot’ bloodhound hunt


Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26.

Set off 11:00am

Byron John and Brian May - Clean Boot Hunt
Brian with Byron John, Master of the Clean Boot Hunt (Credit unknown}

Monday, December 23, 2019

Queen legend Brian May is to spend this Thursday, Boxing Day, in Swansea, South Wales to join a “humane hunt”. May is returning again this year to once more support the Three Counties Bloodhounds for its annual Boxing Day hunt – the fourth year the event takes place on Wind Street – to again witness first-hand the legal and cruelty free side of recreational hunting.

A leading animal rights campaigner, May founded the Save Me Trust in 2010 and among its missions since has campaigned against Government attempts to repeal or disempower The Hunting Act of 2004.

Now a regular presence at the Boxing Day event, May and Save Me CEO Anne Brummer will be returning to join Byron John, Master of this Clean Boot Hunt. Ex master of the Carmarthenshire Hunt, John changed to the clean boot when fox hunting was made unlawful in February 2005.

Instead of chasing a fox, riders on horseback and a team of hounds chase a human runner over a predetermined route. Apart from the thrill and excitement of the chase, more importantly the clean boot hunt is legal and totally cruelty-free and seen as the legitimate future of hunting.

The hunt will assemble at the No Sign Wine Bar in Swansea town centre to set off at 11:00am. Joint Master, Kate Pickard has been hunting for many years with the Belvoir and Quorn hunts in Leicestershire before relocating to South Wales. Kate has worked for various hunting yards including York, Melton Mowbray and Carmarthenshire. She is also now fully committed to the Clean Boot.

In Clean Boot, or Drag hunting, the Bloodhounds follow a pre-set trail left by a human runner; the scents are not animal-based so the hounds have no interest in following wild animals. ‘Clean booters’ often ride longer, further and harder than their ‘blood sport’ cousins, developing higher levels of horse and rider skills.

Brian May said: “We’re there to learn, and to give these good people some support. It takes a deal of courage to be a “clean boot” hunter – they are in a difficult position. They are often abused by sections of the public who don’t understand that this is a purely humane activity, and of course they are routinely abused by the Foxhunting set, including the Master of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), who see them as a threat. For us it’s an opportunity to highlight the fact that it IS possible to enjoy the exhilaration of riding in pursuit, but without any cruelty to man or beast. Most of the hunt members who will enjoy this activity with Byron are compassionate riders; they would not be present if there was any chance of killing a wild animal ‘by accident’. And of course, it’s legal – there is no dishonesty, a fact which is helping to attract more and more country folk to this sport.”

Save Me Trust CEO Anne Brummer says: “More and more hunters are finding that clean boot offers them so much more than fox hunts – and of course, it is on the right side of the law. So many of those who attend would not be present if there was chance of a kill, including us. It is great to see so many ex masters of blood hunts embracing the ban and enjoying a legal pastime.”

The Three Counties Bloodhounds Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26, sets off at 11am from No Sign Wine Bar, 56 Wind Street, Swansea, SA1 1EG