The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) is the governing body of foxhunting and represents 176 packs of foxhounds that hunt in England and Wales and a further 10 in Scotland.
The MFHA has strict rules and codes of conduct that have been written to promote standards of best practice in kennels and the field, and to show the accountability of member packs. All Masters of foxhounds packs are members of the MFHA and have to agree to abide by the Association’s rules, codes of conduct and instructions. There are considerable sanctions available to the MFHA which include disqualification of any member hunt or individual.
The MFHA undertakes a rolling programme of kennel visits which are carried out by respected and appointed individuals on a regular cycle in order to ensure that all the rules are adhered to and standards are maintained. It also organises training for new Masters and hunt staff, training days on breeding and judging hounds, registers hunting countries, and produces the annual Foxhound Kennel Stud Book. The MFHA publishes guidance including “Competencies required within a Mastership” and “The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Hounds in Hunt Kennels”, as well as producing the annual MFHA Hand Book.
The MFHA exists to help and advise Masters and its member hunts. It supplies specialist legal advice on all matters concerning hunting, everything from employment to property law and animal-by products regulations, and a 24-hour legal helpline. The MFHA liaises with the Police on a national and local level; negotiates licences to hunt with the Forestry Commission, Ministry of Defence, National Trust, Woodland Trust and other institutional landowners; and liaises with DEFRA and provides advice about collection and disposal of fallen stock. The MFHA administers the sport of Team Chasing and, with the Point-to-Point Board and Horse Racing Authority, Point-to-Point racing.
The MFHA runs the Hunt Staff Registry for hunts looking for staff, and for hunt staff looking for jobs. It also administers the Block Public and Employers Liability Insurance Scheme, the Block Legal Fees Insurance Scheme and the Personal Accident Scheme for Hunt Staff.
Since February 19th 2005 foxhunting has been restricted by the Hunting Act 2004. The MFHA advises its members on hunting within that law, whilst campaigning to have it repealed. To that the MFHA co-ordinates media and PR activities with the Countryside Alliance and commissions and reviews research in order to promote and defend the case for hunting.