It is believed to be the first time that photographic evidence has been obtained of the alleged practice of capturing foxes to be used for hunting. Animal rights activists say this undermines the argument of blood-sport supporters that hunting is essentially a form of pest control.
The pair of three-month-old cubs were found in a muddy trap on land owned by the Sinnington Hunt on the fringe of the North Yorkshire Moors after an undercover operation by the League Against Cruel Sports.
Carcasses of a chicken and a lamb were found nearby. Animal activists say the plan was to use the foxes for hunting when the cubbing season began in the autumn.
Two employees of the hunt, a kennel huntsman and a terrier man were taken by police to the site of the trap yesterday morning.
Animal welfare activists described the discovery of the trap as a serious blow against blood sports.
They claim further investigations will reveal that this was not an isolated example, and that capturing and then using foxes for "spontaneous hunting" was widespread.
Last night, neither Adam Waugh nor Andrew Osborne, the present masters, were available for comment.
Michael Foster, the Labour MP for Worcester whose Private Member's Bill on hunting with dogs reignited the debate over field sports, said last night: "This is evidence that foxhunting is about sport, human beings gaining pleasure from cruelty to animals. It is not about pest control."Reuse content