Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge & Enfield Chace’

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.

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

 

This time last year it was my unfortunate duty to report on a rather grim festive season (see here). This year however I’m pleased to report that things were significantly different. Both hunts I attended were the same as previous years but the difference this time round was the lack of any attempt by the hunts in question (the Cambridge with Enfield Chace and the Fitzwilliam) to actually hunt. Considering Boxing Day and the first New Years hunt are traditionally the biggest days in the hunting calendar this would appear to seem a little odd. Of course they still paraded in all their finery around the local villages and soaked  up the adulation from the hardcore sychophants and hangers on but while they may have talked a big show the reality was significantly different. Judging by information received from other hunts it would seem these weren’t isolated incidents either. So  lets ask ourselves, what was the cause of these changes of plan?

Media attention and public scrutiny.

It has been widely reported recently both on social media and the mainstream press that hunts continue to openly flout the ban. I’ve reported on this blog several times (see here and here) about hunts that have been caught pretty much red handed and yet there is often little or no police action over the incidents. However a very recent poll suggested that support for the ban was in fact at its highest level since its introduction and while these reports can no longer be swept under the carpet, regardless of police inaction the general public will still be made aware of what is really happening and react accordingly. With technology making the recording of high quality video and photographs freely available to all its no surprise that these incidents are captured and they will continue to as long as someone is there to witness it.

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The Cambridge with Enfield Chace just going for a ride on Boxing Day

The growth in numbers of Sabs and Monitors.

Despite the claims to the contrary by Dim Tim Bonner and the CA the membership of the HSA has soared over the last few years. The initial main reason for this was the badger cull where those making their first step in activism came into contact with sabs and they realised it was something they could get on board with, realising that sabs were just normal people and not the urban terrorists some sections of the media made them out to be. Again social media is being well used by sab groups and monitors and the public are seeing the injustices that are taking place and they are understandably getting angry and joining up. This in turn has increased the pressure on the hunts as more sabs and monitors are available to keep an eye on what is going on and step in if necessary. Even a small number of sabs can have a huge impact on a hunting day, even more can stop one completely. Hunts have little option but to run or stick within the law when faced with lots of sabs on their hunting territory.

Has the Countryside Alliance told them to no get caught on the big days out?

Getting busted for hunting illegally is a real pain in the backside for the PR people at the CA. They love to claim there has been so few convictions under the hunting act (although this is more to do with the poor legislation and lack of police interest that actual laws broken) but when their big days come about they’ll wheel out the same sorry old stories about record crowds etc. These are of course complete hogwash. Even if the CA’s own figures of 250,000 are to be believed (they’re not) then that’s still only a tiny percentage of the population (0.003%). The last thing they need is for the chocolate box image of the traditional winter hunt being shown for what it truly is, a bunch of blood junkies on horses with their associated serfs and hangers on ripping sentient mammals to pieces for fun. Did the CA put the word out to the hunts to just put on a show and go for a ride on their big day? Of course we have no solid information on this but the fact many hunts stayed within the law must suggest there had been some sort of internal memo and while it probably didn’t tell them to not to hunt it probably suggested they take all reasonable steps to not get caught.

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The Fitzwilliam on Bank Holiday Monday

Are the police finally taking action?

Not really. While some forces are taking steps to properly uphold the law others are a complete disgrace. Personally speaking and in terms of the hunting act I’ve reported on Bedfordshire Police’s efforts and Cambs seem to have much more of an understanding as well although it seems they are overloaded just chasing chasing hare coursers for which the wide open spaces of Cambs are ideal. It would also seem that Leicestershire Police who I’ve been highly critical of in the past are now starting to act properly and this may have had something to do with the PCC witnessing first hand what the hunts in the area get up to (see here), but having said that certain forces openly continue to either turn a blind eye to blatant hunting or are even facilitating it by persecuting monitors and sabs, it seems especially bad in Suffolk and Surrey.

Whatever the reasons behind the lack of hunting on these big calendar days, and I suspect it is a combination of all of the above and we should be grateful that no wildlife was abused in these instances. I’ve no doubt once the spotlight is shining elsewhere they’ll go back to their killing ways but right now I’m personally glad I don’t have the images of hounds pulling a terrified animal apart in front of me.

Our operation last weekend against our favourite hunt (the Oakley) was hugely successful and more importantly a huge embarrassment for them as they were hosting the Cambridge & Enfield Chace. They stubbornly rode around the countryside trying to hunt but were completely thwarted, they packed up well before their normal time at 2:15pm. The real interest here was once again the deployment of the police helicopter as well as ground units.

The air unit was on the scene for a significant amount of time and was of course there to monitor the saboteurs and not the attempted illegal hunting going on in full view. I’ve had meetings with the PCC for Bedfordshire, Olly Martens and a senior inspector and they informed me in no uncertain terms that they would never authorise the use of the air asset for such an incident. They simply cannot afford to do so. The financial restrictions on the police in Bedfordshire are significant and this is affecting their capabilities. Olly also confirmed his support for the hunting ban which was good to know.

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Happy your taxes are paying for this?

As several counties share the use of the helicopter we can deduce that a bordering force was responsible for the deployment of such an expensive asset. The operation was on the border with Cambridgeshire so we can safely assume it came from them. I’ve mentioned previously that vocal hunt supporters have claimed someone senior within the Cambridgeshire force rides, or has strong connections with the hunt and every time we turn up to oppose them, resources are put into play as if money was no object.

I’m pretty sure most tax payers, regardless of their thoughts on hunting would be annoyed that vast sums of money were being squandered in support a minority pass time that was banned in 2004. Is monitoring saboteurs what the police helicopter is really there for? I’ve sent a FOI request asking for the costs and who authorised it. I know the police read this blog (hi guys) so if any of you feel the need to comment then please do so. If and when we find out the name of the person with the authority to order a police response like this then it will be published which could make things very difficult for them. First and foremost the police should remain impartial, any proven deviation from this and the misuse of public money is nothing more than gross misconduct and they should face the consequences.

UPDATE: I just had the response from Cambridgeshire Police to my FIO request. It would seem they have no record of the incident and are claiming the jurisdiction falls under Bedfordshire Police. Now either they’re lying or our person with contacts is part of the Bedfordshire establishment and not Cambridge. If the PCC is unaware of this then there could be further ramifications. Clearly more digging is required.