Posts Tagged ‘Atherstone Hunt’

So, I’m sitting here at my desk at work, it’s Thursday the 22nd and the office is half empty. Anyone with any sense and holiday remaining has either buggered off to do the last of their Christmas shopping or even better stayed in and avoided the crowds. I’ve just finished my last job, the deadline has been met so I’m not going to start anything new. This of course give me time to reflect on the year and of course plan for Boxing Day, the biggest day in the hunting calendar.

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Looking back it would seem not a lot has changed, the Government are still ignoring the science of killing thousands of badgers for no reason at all other than the NFU want it and Defra are fudging the figures in order to claim success. Their success of course has nothing to do with the reduction of TB but just the numbers of badgers killed. They even had to massage the kill numbers down only a couple of weeks before the end of the culls as they knew they wouldn’t hit their own minimum targets. They’ve also stated that farmers will be able to continue killing and create badger free zones around beef and dairy farms. This wildlife eradication program could cause the local extinctions of the species which have been there for thousands of years and will have zero effect on TB rates, but then we all know this has nothing to do with TB. The small numbers who went out there and challenged this did an amazing job in keeping the numbers killed down as low as Defra claimed although to be honest with you I wouldn’t believe anything they published.

Hunts are still hunting illegally.

The change I’ve seen personally and from updates around the country is now they seem to feel even more immune from prosecution and pay only minor lip service to covering their own arses in the form of laying trails (or appearing to). The Government will probably try and sneak through a free vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act in the new year just to fulfil their manifesto pledge however even the most staunch supporter of hunting will recognise there’s very little chance of success. Maybe this is why the hunts are getting more blatant? One can hope that with the failure of a repeal the legislation can be changed, Scotland has just gone through a review and with public pressure perhaps something similar can happen here? Of course while we have loathsome Leadsome as Environment Secretary there would seem to be little chance of that but we can live in hope.

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Speaking of public pressure it’s been heartening to seem what the general public can achieve when they put their minds to it and shown the right course of action. PCC’s and police forces are coming under increased scrutiny regarding the policing of hunts and we are starting to see some positive results. Hunting officers have been outed and their actions called into question (see here and here). The problem however still remains a large one but steps are being made in the right direction and with the use of social media the pressure will always be on the police to be seen to be upholding the laws of the land regardless of the crime.

Speaking of crimes the Fitzwillaim hunt should have been in court by now. The original date for the proceedings was supposed to be the 5th December however further pre-trial hearings were required and now I shall have to wait until April for my day in court. The offence took place almost a year ago now and the time it’s taken is somewhat frustrating however it’s still a major achievement just getting these animal abusers to court regardless of the outcome. I have no doubt they are guilty but as you probably know proving intent can be very difficult indeed. I’ll be sure to update you when the time comes.

As usual I’ll be out on Boxing Day and chucking some sab sized spanners in one of our local hunts attempts at killing foxes. Behind all that pomp and ceremony there is a truly insidious side, something the Countryside Alliance will attempt to hide with a concerted PR campaign. You’ll no doubt see plenty of articles in the media claiming hunting is alive and well with thousands turning out to support the Boxing Day tradition. The simple fact is most of those turning out on Boxing Day won’t see a hunt on any other day. The turn outs we see every week throughout the season are without doubt dropping. Hunts like the Atherston (thanks to great work from West Mids Hunt Sabs) are literally on their knees. the Puckeridge (Tim Boneheads hunt) would appear to have only £767 in the bank and I have no doubt many others are suffering similarly. If you fancy walking off some of the Christmas dinner why not pop along to your local hunt and voice your displeasure. The details can be found here.

Well that’s about it from me. Have a good break and thanks for tagging along.

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It’s been a funny old week.

After the turmoil of the Hunting Act saga last week where Cameron showed his true cowardly colours and was ultimately forced into an embarrassing climb down on his promise to his chums at the Countryside Alliance it seemed perhaps things had quietened down a little and we were, more or less back to the status quo. There were good noises coming from the SNP in Scotland where they now seem to be heading towards a total ban on hunting with dogs which is good news all round.

Then a somewhat sinister turn of events took place.

Two sabs from the West Midland group received a Police Information Notice (PIN) without any evidence of any wrong doing and based purely on unsubstantiated “allegations” made by a member of the Atherstone Hunt. Last season these two sabs regularly attended hunts organised by the Atherstone where they gained footage of illegal hunting, assaults, racist behaviour and blocked badger setts. Currently one of the sabs is a witness in a court case concerning the illegal blocking of badger setts by the hunt. The sab also believes followers of the hunt have been to her home address and committed criminal damage to two vehicles, which the hunt have openly boasted about.

The sabs are accused of goading and harassing members of the hunt but when a legal representative asked the police if the hunt would be receiving a similar notice in relation to their constant law breaking they were told that they would merely be speaking to the hunt regarding their behaviour. All of the allegation made against the two in question are without foundation so the police are showing their colours once again in the unjustified use of a PIN notice. They can base their action on any allegations regardless of whether there is any justification or evidence to support the allegations. The fact that West Mids sabs have video footage of hunt members assaulting sabs seems to hold little sway in these matter and only goes to show that once again the Atherston Hunt have their own police force working for them.

It gets better.

The Accidental Activist

The Accidental Activist

West Mids recently came into the possession of a letter sent to all members of the Atherston Hunt which outlines the levels to which the police had been working with (or for) them. The letter outlines how to deal with sabs and how they should behave and what to do about negative footage posted on social media. It also notes that the police had in fact been undercover with the hunt. Now I may be getting this wrong but I was under the impression that Hunting with dogs was illegal and the police are there to uphold the law, not to facilitate those who wish to openly break it. This is clearly a massive indication that the police are misusing their powers and the money paid by the tax payer. This line from the letter sums it up nicely:

“To continue having good sport, we all have to do our bit to discourage the saboteurs/monitors by following the advice of the police”.

It doesn’t end there.

Shortly after these events a sab from Northants was contacted by the police and asked to come in for an interview regarding an incident which took place last season and, yes, you guessed it, it was connected to the Atherston Hunt. Again the allegations are wholly unjustified and I await the outcome and will report on when I have more information. So, what next?

Well, at 7:00 am on Thursday 23rd there was a knock at my door. My partner answered and was greeted by two uniformed officers wanting to speak to me. I had already left for work (yup, most sabs work contrary to what the hunts will have you believe) so I wasn’t available but they asked to a few questions at which point my partner became very suspicious and after a short exchange they went on their way. Now this of course could be a complete coincidence however it’s not looking that way. Now I’m hardly Pablo Escobar so getting in contact shouldn’t be that hard but at the time of writing the police have yet to return.

I think it’s time this type of blatant, one sided and unlawful policing came to an end. The hunts are openly breaking the law, no other sector of society would be allowed the get away with this behaviour and it is an insult to the laws of the land and all the decent police who do their jobs the best they can. We need to stand up to this, get it out there and make as much noise as possible. Just look at the proposed vote on the Hunting Act, scuppered by pressure from the people, the general public who overwhelmingly support it made the Government think twice about enforcing their twisted views so desired by a tiny minority who enjoy inflicting cruelty.

Add you name to the petition to remove the PIN here.

Supporters Lletter

Supporters Lletter

UPDATE: The MP for Birmingham Hall Green, Robert Godsiff wades in to the issue with a letter to the Chief Constable. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the content. See below:

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I’ve seen some pretty one sided policing. I’ve seen some pretty decent policing as well but when you’re on the Estate of David Cameron’s cousin it’s a sure thing you’ll get no sympathy from the boys in blue who were no doubt under instructions from above. What’s even more concerning is a new tactic they’re employing which seems to have been organised well in advance with the hunts to avoid any interruption from saboteurs and thus allowing them to hunt with impunity. This turn of events has the stink of the Countryside Alliance all over it.

I’m referring to the use of the Section 35 dispersal order. This effectively means anyone to whom the order is applied have to leave a designated area for 24 hours or face arrest. It’s part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 details of which can be found here. Of course this legislation was never designed to be an umbrella for removing saboteurs or monitors from hunts but that’s how it’s being applied and it’s totally unjust, whether it’s actually legal or not remains to be seen and we’re taking advice on the matter. Now it would seem all the hunts have to do is make up a spurious trail map, hand it over to the police and they’ll do the rest. Of course the police aren’t interested or bright enough to figure out that following a trail would never require the services of terrier men on a quad with spades and yet they’re still present, ready to do their dirty work all under that nice, safe police protection.

Sargeant 1964

Sargeant 1964

Last weekend we were subjected to continuous drunken abuse while I and others were physically assaulted and you’ll see all of this in the video. Warwickshire Police have hardly covered themselves in glory and there’s been a significant backlash from the general public on their Facebook page. If you think this type of policing is wrong feel free to voice your opinion and let them know that you don’t approve of a significant amount of your taxes being spent in this way. The Hunt in question, the Atherstone have been seen actively hunting foxes in the last few weeks with some pretty damming footage being supplied by West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs which can be viewed here. The hunt support continue to show themselves for what they really are, violent morons that are desperate to maintain their bloodthirsty way of life.

The war of words from both side is continuing and is as hotly contested as the battles going on in our countryside. Claim and counter claim are being thrown about like the proverbial hot potato but, with just a little intelligence and an ability to read between the lines it would seem that there’s certainly a sense of desperation coming from those who like to kill things for fun. This is highlighted perfectly by a couple of incidents currently doing the rounds on social media.

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Firstly there were the claims that sabs from West Midland Hunt Saboteurs assaulted a 15 year old boy during the Atherstone Hunt on the 21st Feb. Even the boys mother took to social media to complain about the sabs behaviour with photographs of the incident. You’d think that things weren’t looking too good for the West Mids crew however with nothing more than a slightly closer inspection of the photos you’ll notice they actually show, well . . . nothing untoward at all. If the story wasn’t already on shaky ground then the release of a video from the sabs on the day totally undermines the very foundations of the assault claims and shows them for what they really are, a desperate attempt to discredit West Mids with completely unfounded nonsense. If there had been any grounds for complaint then releasing the details on Facebook isn’t exactly going to help your cause but I’ve never really credited these people with an abundance of intelligence anyway and just reading through the text will explain all you need to know about the person on the other side of the keyboard.

The lies.

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The Truth.

Well let’s see how they explain their way out of that one. Video camera’s are an essential part of sab kit and it’s at times like this, with the PR battle raging that it is never more apparent.  It also highlights the depths they’ll sink to. Using obnoxious minors to stir things up seems to be a more common tactic among the hunts at the moment, in the hope they’ll get a reaction from the sabs and then gain the negative press they’re so desperately seeking. But it’s something they’ll have to do without and this is purely down to the restraint and calm shown by those at West Mids Hunt Sabs. Great work guys.

The second incident was again from last weekend. I was out supporting Cambridge, Northants and North East London with Beds & Bucks Sabs on what turned out to be quite a tough day. I’ll not go into those details but report on a single incident which occurred during the afternoon. Our van had been parked next to a wood, waiting to pick a group of us up that had been on foot monitoring the hunt. At this time a hunt support vehicle pulled up close behind the van (a 4×4 transit). Our driver was unaware they had pulled in behind and being so close he was unable to see them in his mirrors. He reversed and made contact with the car causing some very minor damage. No real drama and details were being exchanged when we arrived on the scene.

Shortly after this a number of other hunt supporters arrived and things escalated rather quickly as the support made spurious claims of ramming and became very aggressive. This is fairly typical of their behaviour and not the point I’m going to raise. The issue was with the driver of the support vehicle involved and her reaction. She removed a very young child from the vehicle (she claimed to check for injury) and rather than distance herself and her child from the situation she became more embroiled. Looking in from the outside it would be easy to suggest she was using the fact a youngster was present to inflame the situation further. Whether this was her intention or not is difficult to ascertain, only she knows that but video footage clearly shows a sab telling her calmly to take the child away somewhere quiet, which was promptly met with a four letter response.

After the hit report was posted on Facebook the woman in question contacted Beds & Bucks sabs asking them to change the report as it made her look bad and wasn’t accurate. After some discussion with her and reviewing the video footage some minor accuracy changes were made but the general impression of the report was the same. If you think it’s good parenting to take a small child along to support an illegal activity (no legal hunt has a use for masked terrier men on quads) where sentient mammals are killed for fun then, you really have to suffer the consequences and if the general public take a dim view of you then perhaps it’s about time you reconsidered your stance on the matter.

Draw your own conclusions but I’m fairly confident my impression is accurate.