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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Hunt masters suspended
A still from the IFAW video
Members of the hunt are alleged to have moved cubs
Four joint hunt masters and two workers have been suspended over allegations a vixen and two cubs were moved from an earth in breach of hunting rules.

An investigation has been launched into allegations of misconduct at the Cottesmore Hunt after pictures were taken by an animal welfare group.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said its investigators filmed a member of the hunt placing two cubs in an artificial earth at Cheseldyne Spinney, Leicestershire.

Investigation underway

The allegations come as the anti-hunt campaign tries to amend the Hunting Bill to introduce a total ban.

A spokesman for the Cottesmore Hunt said the alleged incident had taken place in March, but IFAW had held back the complaint until now.

He confirmed that four joint masters and two members of staff had been suspended while an investigation was carried out.

Formal hearing

He also said the masters were totally unaware of the alleged breach of the rules of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA).

Dean Jones, who carries out general labouring duties for the hunt, and his manager, Neil Coleman, were suspended.

The four suspended joint masters are businessmen David Manning and Nicholas Wright, bloodstock agent Charles Gordon Watson and farmer Roger Dungworth.

They will appear before a formal hearing of the MFHA next Wednesday in London.

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