Muddy, abused and broken kit

Posted: January 18, 2014 in Environmental
Tags: ,

Bit of a tricky one this. Due to potential legal proceedings (we’re currently taking advice) I can’t be specific about the events that transpired on the 17th. But I’ll give you a general overview of my first day out sabbing with Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs.

Of course if the authorities were interested in the blatant flouting of the hunting with dogs law then this post in my blog wouldn’t be written in the first place and the Hunt Sabs wouldn’t need to be out there. However the laws are being openly broken with little chance of prosecution and the Sabs around the country are doing their best to minimise the killing and gain evidence for convictions.

However back to the subject at hand . . . there were four of us today, let’s call them Daphne, Davina and Dave plus myself. We found the hunt and their supporters relatively easily and stayed with them the whole day, much to the annoyance of all involved with the hunt. The interaction between us ranged from light hearted banter with an irritated undertone to full on threats of extreme violence. We’re not there to fight, we’re there to save foxes lives and confrontation is generally avoided however at some point a line has to be drawn.

I would call our day successful on the whole and it’s opened my eyes to how the hunts work along with the supporters.  The supporters seem a strange lot to me. I’m not one to pigeonhole on types where people are concerned but let’s say 99% were over 40, had a penchant for wearing tweed, the men braces and liked to drive 4×4’s . . . most seemed to like to eat and drink quite a lot as well judging by their waist lines. I couldn’t really see what they got out of it if I’m honest. They rarely actually see the hounds unless they’re tearing about in open ground or crossing the roads and causing havoc with the traffic. The same could be said for the main field on horseback.  I was told one hunt rider had been doing it for 20 years and not seen a kill. Why can’t they just go for a gallop round the countryside if they like doing that, no need to dress up in posh jackets and chase innocent wild animals to their bloody doom.

With regards to other road users it was clear most of the supporters seem to regard the roads as their personal property. I witness some road users getting very agitated and annoyed with the supporters blocking the roads and I can understand their frustration. Going about your daily business on those country lanes can be seriously hampered. The driving from the supporters and in particular the “Terrier Men” on quad bikes (no plates or tax disks) was quite frankly shocking and I’m surprised no-one was seriously hurt. Hounds were also in danger from being hit by vehicles.

We did what we had to do, we stayed within the law and were happy with ours day’s work although very muddy and tired. I must have run 20 miles across roads, fields and ditches, although I’m pretty fit I’m pleased I didn’t lag behind which isn’t bad for a 40 something. The final confrontation came at the end of the day just as we were making sure the hunt was packing up for the day. Dave mentioned to me earlier to be on my guard at the end as it’s usually when things have a habit of kicking off and he was right. Davina was filming the last of the proceedings when things got unpleasant. A well-known supporter, I’m going to call him Catweasle (a very large gentleman it has to be said) and a shorter chum started to manhandle Davina in a thoroughly unnecessary and unpleasant manner. Well Dave and I weren’t going to have any of that so went over to add our support and explain that their behaviour wasn’t very polite. It was then Catweasle and chum became very threatening. My video camera was broken as he tried to snatch it from Davina and he was very keen to get physical with myself (I’m 10 stone soaking wet) and Dave (who is a biggish lad himself). We didn’t back down but offered no justification for him. Daphne had all this on video from further back. The footage should be interesting. Davina suggested we back off a bit and let things settle. It has to be said she is a force of nature, absolutely relentless. She can run all day and will never back away from a challenge. Dave is quieter and able to assess a situation and react in a calming manner, Daphne a font of sabbing knowledge and tactics. I thought we had a pretty good team.

To sum up all I’ll say is if the general public saw more of what I did then hunting with dogs would be finished fairly quickly. If the authorities paid more interest then the outcome would be the same. I hope once this generation of hunters are too old for the field then it’ll die it’s own natural death. I’ll definitely be back out there again soon. In the meantime if you want to help and get involved drop me a line or if you see one of those funding links on Facebook think about clicking on it and bunging your local sab group a few quid to help fill their vehicles with fuel.

  1. Hilary Anderson says:

    Thanks for yesterday. Glad you’re doing it.

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