The Alternative Universe of Illegal Hunting

Posted: August 5, 2019 in Comment
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We have a guest blog this week, an opinion piece written by someone only known as Scorpiovulpes, a monitor with a vast experience of hunting in England and the often pathetic response of the police and CPS in dealing with this illegal minority pastime. It’s a good read so grab a cuppa and settle in.

I have monitored hunts for twenty five years, and I can honestly say my shock and disgust have not abated one bit during all that time. It seems that the world of hunting is a strange alternative universe existing here among us. All the rules are reversed, all the standard codes are turned on their head.  Accepted norms of behaviour are ignored, and punishment is meted out to the innocent, not the guilty.

The most innocent of the victims of this sinister world are the hunted animals.  There are laws in place in England,  Wales and Scotland which purport to ban hunting and thus protect the hunted animal.  Do they?  Of course they don’t!

These weak laws were drawn up by people who did not understand the true nature of the hunter.  They failed to listen to the people who had the measure of hunters – i.e. the monitors and the sabs.  They totally underestimated the ruthlessness of the hunters, and failed to grasp how determinedly they would continue their cruel pastime no matter what the law said.  They failed to understand that hunters fundamentally believe they are above the law and they can do as they please, that they believe nobody – nobody – can tell them what they may and may not do.

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Openly flouting the law.

And so we have a situation, 14 years after the ban was instituted in England and Wales, where hunting continues unabated, covered by the smokescreen of “trail” hunting.  I will state without hesitation my opinion that trail hunting does not exist, and never has.

It is an illusion – well, basically, it’s a con.

So the monitors still have to go out to hunts and do the best they can to film what is really happening, collecting evidence which, in very rare cases, will actually get to court, but more realistically will form part of the library of shocking evidence which will lead to the strengthening of the Hunting Act and the creation of a real ban on hunting, a true death knell for this vile and barbaric practice.  The sabs still go and risk their safety in order to protect the hunted animals and save the lives of as many as they can.

The hunts are absolutely infuriated by the presence of sabs or monitors, whose safety is at real risk every time they go out.  It is common practice for hunts to call in so called “hunt stewards” – typically a particularly nasty species of inadequate and thuggish person who, given a baseball cap with “hunt steward” on the front, think they’re somebody and start throwing their weight around.  They behave in an unbelievably obnoxious way.  They constantly harass and impede the monitors, surrounding them, continuously trying in every possibly way to wind up the monitor they are victimising (usually a female and/or elderly person) to try and make them lose their cool.  I could write a whole book on this subject, but instead I suggest you view the film of this type of behaviour that you will find on all the monitor and sab Facebook pages, and also on You Tube.  These films speak for themselves, and make grim viewing.

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Hunt Steward hat but dead behind the eyes and delusions of adequacy.

So we have an orchestrated conspiracy to hunt illegally being conducted between the hunts and their lackeys, the whole scenario being  protected from scrutiny by obstructive, menacing and threatening behaviour .

Well, you might say, the police must be very concerned about this.  They must be shocked to see the film.  The CPS must be very willing to act on the clear filmed evidence presented to them.  This is where you need to grasp the extent of the alternative universe we are talking about,  as the very opposite is the case.  Police scrutinise the film to try to pin something on the innocent monitors (or sabs),  They downplay the seriousness of the behaviour of the stewards.  They churn out the old chestnut “six of one and half a dozen of the other” when it would be obvious to a five year old that this is categorically not the case.

Time and again the monitors and sabs are left shocked and disgusted by the lack of action by the law enforcement agencies over the whole scandal of illegal hunting and its attendant intimidation and violence.

So they turn to Facebook.  For all its faults, Facebook has provided a lifeline for campaigners, and has led to a turning point in the general public’s understanding of the sheer and utter horror of illegal hunting, the cruelty, the deviousness, the thuggery  –  the lengths gone to to protect this abomination from scrutiny.  Sometimes when the absolutely disgusting behaviour of a hunt steward is exposed on Facebook or another arena, the subject of the film uses devious means to have the film taken down.  Fortunately this only works short term as their reasons are bogus and the films are usually reinstated.  But this again shows how secretive and how absolutely without morals are the people involved in hunting.

It is not  only the stewards who behave in a revolting way.  People who no doubt consider themselves to be the cream of society will barge you with their horses, swear at you, persistently drive at very low speeds in front  of you to prevent you keeping up with the hunt, even assault you.

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Terrier men – Lowest of the low. What purpose do they have on a “trail” hunt?

So there you have the alternative universe of illegal hunting for your edification.  The hunters throw a threadbare cloak of respectability over themselves with a claim of “trail hunting”.  They lie.  They bully.  They abuse.  They bring in their hunt thugs to protect themselves from scrutiny.  The law enforcers of the land, who are paid by the taxpayer and whom we are told to respect, more often than not support them, sometimes hunt with them.  I have seen a high court judge out hunting, a meet held at a magistrate’s house, ex police officers hunting, uniformed police officers laughing and joking with obnoxious hunt heavies, while a woman monitor was held captive in her car and the police refused to help her.  I have heard a female police officer tell a hunt master she would try and get me to leave the hunt so the hunt could carry on as they wished.  The list goes on and on and on.  You may think that, if the police fail in their duty, there is a robust police complaints system.  All I can say to that is, you try it – and good luck.  Very recently a District Judge found a hunt not guilty of illegal hunting, giving one of the reasons for his decision that he did not believe a hunt master would lie and perjure himself.  This kind of thing leaves those of us at the sharp end of this situation in absolute despair.

I have given you my opinion as a seasoned and long term hunt monitor.  You are free to disbelieve me if you choose, but if so, I ask you to look at the plethora of filmed evidence that unequivocally illuminates the situation.  And ask yourself why all these people would go to such lengths to stop a non-violent individual from legally filming their activities.

We know the public are overwhelmingly against hunting. We know they are absolutely shocked when they see the evidence of what is happening in our countryside on a daily basis during the hunting season.  Between us all we can drag this alternative universe out of the dark ages and expose it to the light.  That way we will see it finally abolished.

That day cannot come soon enough.

 

Comments
  1. Laura Walton-Banks says:

    Thank you for stating the truth so clearly. The justice system seems to openly side with these criminals, who as you point out appear to consider themselves above the law. Where so called ‘field sports’ are concerned we are still in the 18th century, they would love to bring back man traps if they could get away with it! They have nothing but contempt for the majority of the general public who oppose their bloodthirsty pursuits, and who democratically voted for fox hunting to be banned. What a farce.

  2. Alan Johnson says:

    A timely reminder of what yet again lies in wait for us this coming season. Thankfully the advances in modern camera technology afford more protection and increase the chances of obtaining some form of justice. Despite their arrogant disregard for the inadequate law, our actions and indeed mere presence will always have some moderating effect. So keep on monitoring. Keep on sabbing. And keep on lobbying for stronger laws.

  3. Lalla Bart-Greene says:

    An excellent piece of writing that really gives a flavour of what it is like to monitor hunts. We often say it is a parallel universe. People go about their daily business oblivious of a few red coats – yet as soon as we are off a main road and into the monied but strangely dead world of an English village (many of which are owned by large estates or in thrawl to them) it is as though we have stepped back in time and lost all rights or protection. Here the normal standards of decency and compassion are entirely absent. To someone who has not sabbed, it is impossible to convey this strange world where the most extreme cruelty against the defenceless provides pleasure to those who have everything this world can offer in the way of material wealth and power. Sabbing is acutely harrowing but I could not stop. Once you have seen a hunted fox (disorientated, traumatised, collapsed, exhausted) you have to do all you can to try and end this terrible barbarity. That the police and judiciary are so partisan makes one despair of anything ever changing. No matter what evidenced is gained nothing seems to stop it. And here we are again. Beautiful fox cubs about to have to pay with a terrible death for their brief summer of life.

  4. Diane Campbell says:

    It never ceases to upset me that this barbaric “sport” continues in spite of the Hunting Act and the fact that the majority of the general public are against it. The hunters and “country folk” look on us “townies” as not knowing what we are talking about, that foxes kill livestock and are vermin, badgers spread TB etc – we’ve all heard the excuses for bringing the most cruel deaths on these defenceless creatures. This wanton disregards of the law by the hunters is just another illustration of the class war – a them and us – how dare we working class types question the behaviour of the privileged “upper class” ? Isn’t it about time, now that we are no longer in the 17th Century when we all doffed our caps to the lord of the manor, that these people are brought to book, the law enforcers made to enforce the law, or face the consequences, and the dwindling numbers of wild animals left to live their lives in peace.

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