Posts Tagged ‘Boxing Day’

So I was kind of hoping to be reporting on the outcome of the Thurlow case as it was scheduled to be heard at Ipswich Magistrates Court last week (28th Jan). We had all arrived at the court as requested and were having our preliminary discussion with the prosecution barrister when he was called away. After waiting for some time he returned with some slightly irritating news – the case was to be delayed.

Of course we all feared some Countryside Alliance skulduggery was afoot but it actually transpired the judge was sick and couldn’t hear the case. Once again a district judge was due to hear the case and not just a magistrate so finding another judge at short notice was simply not possible. Of course it was somewhat annoying to get all suited and booted and then drive 2 hours to Ipswich for no reason but on the upside we all went and had a vegan brunch in a local hostelry and had a more relaxed drive home avoiding the rush hour.

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The fox killed by the Thurlow hunt on Boxing Day 2017

The case itself has now been penciled in for the 11th March so fingers crossed we get the go ahead for that and the accused can hopefully receive some justice. In case you don’t remember this is in relation to a fox which was killed on Boxing Day 2017. Chris Amatt (the Huntsman) and Archie Clifton-Brown (Whipper In) are both facing charges of Common Assault, Assault by Beating and contravention of Section 1 of the Hunting Act.

This may seem like a long time in getting to court but the British legal system moves at a glacial pace at best, this case will have to be delayed several time more to get anywhere near that of the Fitzwilliam, which is still staggering on over 3 years after the original offence. In the mean time the accused get to sweat for a little longer.

Just as a source of amusement and to put into context the sort of people we deal with on regular intervals, Google Archie Clifton-Brown and watch the Vimeo video which pops up in the results . You couldn’t make it up!

So here we are and another start of a new year.

For a change my own festive period was relatively quiet compared to previous years and for that at least I’m thankful. While this was not necessarily the case country wide discussions in our sab wagon certainly seemed to conclude that many hunts in our area at least were keen to avoid any unnecessary and negative press by being caught killing wildlife. Many of the hunts which traditionally take place on Boxing Day and New Years Day were met with demonstrations and this is of course great news. While demo’s won’t save lives in the fields they are important in showing the real feeling among the general public and they have, overwhelmingly, had enough. Hunters and their supporters live in a bubble of their own propaganda and self justification, having middle England turn out on a cold and miserable day waving placards and shouting at them goes some way in bursting that bubble. It also shows the supporters of hunting for what they really are as they resort to abuse and violence in response – they know no other way.

While Timmy and his cronies at the so-called Countryside Alliance were on overtime and once again claiming record turn outs in support of these hunt meets it was abundantly clear, more so than ever, that hunting really is on the decline.

Not so long ago hunts would have had large turnouts in both riders and foot support for these events. They would have hunted on regardless of monitor or sab activity but now that’s simply not the case. Some hunts just chose to parade, the Cambridge with Enfield Chace haven’t hunted for the last few years at their Eltisley Boxing Day meet after they were embarrassingly sent home by the police after killing fox in 2016. The road & green used to be chock-a-block with cars and 4×4’s and getting a drink in the pub would be impossible. As far as I’m aware the pub is no longer hosting the meet and they just now meet on the village green. Just look at this aerial shot we took, the turnout is, to be frank, utterly pathetic.

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Pathetic for a Boxing Day meet.

One has to wonder why they even bothered. Surely its embarrassing to see such a crappy turnout and pointless to get all dressed up with nowhere to go.

The Fitzwilliam faced concerted opposition on New Year’s Day meet at Wansford. Around 50 people turned out to voice their disapproval and there was also some humour thrown in for good measure.

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We agree.

Fitzwilliam Master Philip Baker seemed a bit riled by the anti-hunt sentiment in the crowd and this photo speaks volumes.

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Philip Baker looking a bit concerned, or constipated, could be either.

Another amusing part of that day for us was watching the hunt trotting up the road with a police escort to where all their horse boxes were parked, turning in and all the support parking their vehicles further on at the side of the road, getting out with their binoculars expecting to see the hunt carry on out that back of the farm and start hunting. What they actually saw was some empty Cambridgeshire fields with a few sad looking cows and nothing more. The Hunt had clearly neglected to tell their support that they’d got out of bed for nothing as they put their horses away and buggered off with their tales between their legs.

We had this all confirmed by the police as we chatted with them while they left. While some forces and officers are clearly pro hunt and biased this particular officer we know from the past and was the same one which sent the Cambridge and Enfield Chace home a few years earlier.

Some demo’s got a little bit tasty as drunken hunt support tried to take control of the proceedings and the police had to intervene. A member of East Kent Sabs sustained a nasty injury as he was attacked by hunt hooligans at a meet of East Kent with West Street Hunt and the Atherstone Hunt supporters were predictably aggressive.

What these morons fail to comprehend is that this type of behaviour only strengthens our claims that the hunts are nothing more than organised crime organisations followed by low life thugs and hooligans. The chocolate box image they try and portray has now long gone, the Great British public see them for what they really are and are now finding their voices an making their feelings known.

Finally I’d like to say hi to this chap, Matthew Higgs:

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He was following of the Old Berkeley Beagles who’ve been sabbed a couple of times recently but better known for his connection to the Trinity Foot Beagles and also an avid reader of my blog. Thanks for increasing my viewing figures Matthew but if you really must quote me please get your facts right first, it just makes you look a bit daft.

Happy New Year.

First off apologies for the lack of updates, this time of year is stupidly busy as the hunting season reaches it’s zenith over the holiday period. Most people who take an interest in our activities will have no doubt heard the story of the Fitzwilliam hound tragically killed on the A14 recently (full story here) and I’m not going to go over it all again but instead perhaps offer what could be an explanation as to why it happened in the first place.

Now after the incident the pro hunt side were very quick in going into damage limitation mode and discredit the images and video supplied by those that were there. These ranged from the daft to the downright ridiculous. The most common claim was that the hound in the picture was in fact a Labrador and even one said it was a giant Corgi, seriously, I kid you not. There were also claims the fox (which was clear to see by all but the most myopic) was a pheasant and as expected that it was the fault of sabs for calling the hounds on to the road.

At this point I feel the need to dispel any of the pro hunt myths that this is something any sab would consider. The harming of any animal is so contrary to the very basis of our ideology that it is utterly laughable. We know that both hounds and horses are also victims of the hunting business and not just the wildlife that is hunted and killed.

Moving on tt’s pretty clear in the video that if it wasn’t for the actions of the sabs present then the incident could have been a significantly worse and it was only down to their actions that not more hounds and indeed people that were killed on a very fast bit of dual carriageway.

So lets put a bit of context to how the Fitzwilliam were hunting on that day.

As is usual they were claiming to follow a trail but also had resident budgie trainer John Mease skulking about with his Eagle although some distance from the hounds. This dual lie is of course complete nonsense and not legal in any sense but just to add a little extra to the pot lets have a look at the land on which they were hunting.

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OS map of the location

The A14 is the large green road showing diagonally across the map above. The wind was very blustery and blowing from the north. Now you could quite easily suggest that even being that close to the A14 with a loose pack of hounds to be highly questionable at best, and at worst, just completely reckless. Lets take a look closer from Google.

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Close up of the incident area

There’s a small covert called George’s Thorns in the bottom right corner of the photo (the one shown in full). Let’s take a guess who owns that . . .

The Milton Estate, or in simpler terms, the Fitzwilliam Hunt.

The other day I was sent a couple of photos and a short explanation of what they were showing by an anonymous supporter. They pointed out that in that covert is a badger sett. A badger sett which had very recently been interfered with which is of course illegal in itself. It looked like it had been dug out and refilled. We all know the role of terrier men within the hunt. Their sole purpose has nothing to do with mending fences but to dig out or bolt foxes when they seek sanctuary underground.

Here are the pictures.

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This area has clearly been created by human activity. You can see spade marks in the earth and the area has been cleared of growth and the usual detritus one would assume on the edge of a wood. It’s then obviously been back filled after whatever activity had been completed.

Now consider that a fox was seen and filmed fleeing the hounds from the direction of the covert in question. Had the Fitzwilliam hunted a fox to ground and then dug it out prior to the hound being killed on the road? They were certainly unaware of the presence of sabs at that location as they were on a footpath a short distance away but hidden from view by a hedge and reports from the day suggest hounds had been speaking prior to the incident. If they believed they were away from prying eyes they may have been empowered enough to commit these acts of criminality.

If they did indeed dig out the fox it would only go further in suggesting they were desperate for a kill, underestimated (or simply didn’t care about) the wind direction which blew the scent of the fox over the A14 and are thus even more implicit in the death of one of their own hounds, if that’s possible!

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I’ve added some annotations and graphics to the Google image to explain. Let’s go over the facts.

1 – The Fitzwilliam Hunt own George’s Thorn covert.

2 – Coverts are traditionally kept for hunting purposes.

3 – There is a badger sett in George’s Thorn covert which has been dug out very recently.

4 – A fox was observed and filmed running from the direction of the covert with the hounds in pursuit on the day in question.

5 – The riding field were in an ideal position to view all the action and obviously placed there by the field master.

6 – The wind was blowing from the North.

7 – The fox escaped in the drainage ditch next to the A14.

8 – John Mease was a significant distance away.

9 – A hound was killed on the A14, possibly following the scent of the fox as it blew over the dual carriageway.

10 – The Huntsman (Simon Hunter) was nowhere to be seen and left it to Whipper In Shaun Parish to deal with the mess.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Finally I hope all my readers have a great holiday break. Why not walk off some of that Christmas dinner and visit your local hunt, there are several demo’s taking place so pop along and show these wildlife abusers what the Great British public really think about their sordid little minority pastime. There’s a list of demos on the HSA Facebook page.

 

It’s been a hectic few days.

With Christmas day out the way my attention was obviously turned to the Boxing Day hunts. This is a big thing for the hunting community. A day when they get to put on the facade of respectability and parade through the towns and villages that will still accommodate them. The Countryside Alliance and old dim Tim Bonner will be shouting as loud as they can that hunting is alive and well and growing but, the simple and very obvious fact to those who witness it, is that this is nothing more than desperate propaganda.

The number of hunts in the UK has fallen. The numbers turning out to support those hunts is dropping year on year and the support for a complete ban on hunting with hounds is at an all time high. Even Cruella DeMay has finally realised this and knows any support for hunting is a sure fire vote loser and political suicide.

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Young fox killed by the Thurlow on Boxing Day

What hasn’t changed is that hunts are still killing illegally.

Despite claims of following trails (that don’t exist) foxes, hares and stags are being killed. Last Boxing Day alone there were at least 4 recorded kills (1 I personally witnessed), imagine how many more kills were made with no sabs or monitors present? The wildlife isn’t the only thing that suffers. One horse died while being pushed too hard by it’s rider and a hound killed when it was hit by a car. These kind of incidents simply can’t continue and the British public recognize this.

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Hound killed after being hit by a car.

From my own point of view I was, with my colleagues from Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs, in the thick of the action. We made sure the Cambridge and Enfield Chace could do no hunting (a rather pathetic and embarrassing showing I must say) before heading further east to hit the Thurlow. Their kill has made TV and national media and despite what the hunt claim we know the truth and have excellent video footage of the whole incident. Suffolk police have so far acted in a professional manner and we believe we have enough evidence to secure a conviction. I’ll keep you up to date but can say no more at this time, hunting prosecutions are hard enough to achieve as it is so I’ll not risk this one by saying too much.

All in all it’s been a PR disaster for the hunts over the festive period.

 

Finally I have to report on the sad passing of a wonderful wildlife warrior who I had the pleasure of working with on many occasions. Best known as Auntie Sue she was the definitive version of a compassionate human being. Brave to the last with a wit and humor she wielded like a rapier, many a hunt supporter has been on the end of one of her imaginative put downs. She will be sorely missed and so will her sausage rolls.

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Auntie Sue – Hero of Alston Hare Week