Monty Don took to Twitter today to clarify his stance on fox hunting. It comes after his Gardeners’ World colleague Adam Frost, 52, was pictured leaving the Cottesmore Hunt earlier this month.
Some social media users had taken issue with Monty, amid claims the hunt is practised under the “guise of trail hunting”.
This activity involves people on foot or horseback following a scent along a pre-determined route with hounds.
It effectively replicates a traditional hunt but without a fox being chased, injured or killed.
Monty, 66, took the opportunity to address the backlash online after coming to Adam’s defence.
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Twitter user, Dr Iain McGill, wrote: “@TheMontyDon could you please clarify whether you just support your colleague Adam, or whether you also support fox hunting? Many claim that the @CottesmoreHunt have killed foxes under guise of the disgraced practice of ‘trail hunting.'”
The person in question shared the BBC presenter’s tweet from last week supporting Adam’s choice to attend the Cottesmore Hunt after another user, Julie West, said she was “disappointed” in his colleague.
Monty said at the time: “I am sorry that you are disappointed but perhaps you might feel better if you stopped casting judgement from your moral high ground on decent folk who happen not share your views.”
He has now taken the opportunity to address his views on animal cruelty, saying he’s against the illegal practise.
The Gardeners’ World host wrote back: “Sure – so easy for people to leap to Twitter conclusions! I lay this out in detail in ‘My Garden World’ but my tweet was entirely in support of Adam going about his private and lawful business without people rushing to judgement.”
“I am against all cruelty to animals in any shape or form and have no desire to hunt, fish or shoot. But good intentions can have many unintended consequences. For instance since the hunting ban foxes have been almost wiped out in the countryside by shooting,” Monty said in a follow-up tweet.
The BBC favourite’s response sparked a flurry of criticism online, as social media users took issue with his comment.
Emma Alexander questioned: “Well then why not be against shooting foxes as well as hunting them with dogs? I really don’t understand your logic here I’m sorry.”
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Monty clarified: “Of course I am against shooting foxes and have no desire to hunt them – but unfortunately the hunting ban had that unintended consequence. The irony is that the hunting ban caused foxes to be decimated.”
His previous tweet defending Adam sparked a huge divide, as people took aim at the BBC host.
Paul Andrews tweeted: “Please Monty. So much understanding or misunderstanding could be sorted if you would clarify your stance on fox hunting. It may – or may not be – what I and your other viewers want to hear, but it might put this flood of tweets to rest.”
Roberta Linton commented: “Monty are you for real? I’m really surprised at you.”
“I don’t think anyone who enjoys participating in seeing a beautiful animal torn to pieces, in agony, has any moral high ground. Nor are they decent,” Lynne de Frettes remarked.
Others defended Monty, as @CanaryMary commented: “Don’t know what’s going on here Monty. But best to just ignore my gardening friend. Stick to gardening. As you said this week on #GardenersWorld. Gardens are for inner peace.”
Lee Russell agreed: “Thank you @TheMontyDon for supporting your friend Adam, we are all perfectly entitled to sit in our car and watch whatever we like, if he is pro or anti hunting its nobody’s business but his, and as I understand it was a fun ride, people just need to keep their noses out.”
It comes after Adam could be seen pictured in his car while leaving the event.
The snap was taken by a group called the Northants Hunt Saboteurs – a campaign group who use non violent action to prevent illegal hunting.
It is claimed that Adam had attended a “fun ride” at the Cottesmore Hunt – which gives people an opportunity to enjoy a horse ride – at the weekend.
The Cottesmore Hunt is a group that hunts within the law in Rutland, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
Express.co.uk has contacted representatives for Adam Frost and Cottesmore Hunt for comment.