15:47, 7 MAR 2017
A fox hunt which counts the Tory Animal Welfare Minister among its members has killed up to 25 hounds following a suspected bovine TB outbreak.
The Kimblewick Hunt, to which Lord Gardiner of Kimble belongs, culled the dogs and implemented biosecurity measures to prevent the disease spreading.
Hunt officials said “it is most likely that the hounds contracted it from eating meat from a contaminated bovine”.
Another 120 hounds are being monitored for symptoms.
It is thought to be the biggest ever potential outbreak of bTB among dogs in Britain.
Kimblewick, which has its kennels in Aylesbury, Bucks., has abandoned hunting with its own dogs for the rest of the season.
But it has been carrying on legal hunting activities with hounds from other hunts.
League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Goncalves said: “The implications of this outbreak are huge. It would be a farce if hunting was allowed to continue while bovine TB is rife.
“All hunting with dogs must be suspended with immediate effect in the bTB epidemic zone.”