We’re into that time of year again when the hunts once more ride out to do their cruel deeds. My Facebook feed was full of reports from the various sab groups throughout the country as they took on the hunts in their various areas on what was opening day for many. I was pleased to see that there were no kills, this was probably due to a combination of poor scenting conditions (the day was very mild and bright) and the proactive actions of sabs. My group joined up with our good friends at Berkshire Hunts Sabs and we irritated the hell out of the Old Berkshire Beagles (full report here).

Hound exercise. Yeah, OK.

Hound exercise. Yeah, OK.

As is the norm we faced the usual hostility from all those on the other side but it’s water off a ducks back to us and it’s always a good indication of your success. Whilst trying to locate the pack we happened upon a group of support, all eager of course to watch something get killed. Their reaction to us was instant and aggressive, the land owner attempted to run me over with his pickup and then tried to assault one of our female sabs, all the time hurling a torrent of four letter abuse. This was matched but another female supporter who clearly had confused moral standings and somewhat lacking in compassion (plus a few other things as well no doubt), calling me sad for not being able to read a map. Of course I knew exactly where we were and pointed out to her that the definition of sad was gaining pleasure from watching a sentient mammal being hunted to exhaustion and killed. Their reaction was exactly what we wanted, it proved we were on the right tracks and they were desperate to stop us. And sure enough we located the hunt moments later and they were forced to move off.

Careful deary you;ll blow a blood vessel.

Careful deary you’ll blow a blood vessel.

Unlike fox hunting, beagling is very difficult to cover up. Beagles aren’t really scent followers to the extent that fox hounds are and due to the smaller areas and the way the quarry (the Brown Hare) responds it’s blatantly obvious that they’re breaking the law. To counter this they are very secretive and try to hunt on private land with very little public access however we’ve never regarded such restrictions as a big issue to circumnavigate. Trespass is a civil offence and you can gain access to private property to stop a criminal offence taking place. In this instance the hunts claims of “hound exercise” were completely laughable. Why dress up in your best hunting regalia (green jackets, white plus fours and green socks) and have a number of foot supporters watching if you’re only taking the hounds for a walk? Another point to briefly note is the general age of the followers. If this is a reflection of the activity as a whole then it should die out fairly shortly.

Look at that face, years of pent up anger have left it's mark.

Look at that face, years of pent up anger have left it’s mark.

In due course the police arrived and questioned us on our activities. For once they were even handed and when they realised we weren’t terrorists and were only armed with various vegan cakes and savouries they were happy to keep an eye on things and one officer, a dog handler (3124 from Thames Valley) seemed quite keen to find the hunt and equire as to what they were up to. Here was a guy who’d worked with dogs for all of his working life and knew exactly how the breeds behaved and saw through the lies the hunt were spreading. It was just a shame he didn’t arrive earlier as by this time the hunt had pretty much called it a day and packed up. It really does make a change to be able to be reporting on decent policing, let’s hope in the coming season I can report on it more often. For our own side we’ve been making efforts to educate the police and indeed work with them so they understand who we are and what we do. I’ve had a meeting with our local Police and Crime Commissioner and a senior inspector and will next week be meeting with a wildlife crime officer from an adjoining force.

As an organisation we’re fighting a PR war as well as the direct action in the fields and part of that is dispelling the myths perpetrated by the hunts which clearly affect the judgment of the police. Now I’m fully aware that some senior officers and judicial personnel are pro-hunt and probably even ride out so I’m not expecting miracles however we’ve made a start and hopefully that will reflect on the action the police take in regards to our operations.

So from now on it’ll be a busy old time. If you feel like standing up for our wildlife now’s the time to get involved.



  1. llj203 says:

    I love the fact you were armed with vegan cakes! Keep up the good work you guys do x

  2. Sally says:

    Thanks for what you are doing. I do hope you can educate more police.

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