Posts Tagged ‘Cottesmore Hunt’

Well after a brief break from blogging and another trip north of the border in what had to be the coldest week of the summer (it barely got above 13-14°C for the whole week) I’m back to catch up with whats been going on.

One story which obviously came to my attention was the death of 10 hounds and the injury to a cyclist after the collision with a car. The hounds in question belonged to the Cottesmore Hunt, you may remember them from a season ago when their terrier men assaulted sabs and one of their supporters brandished a heavy chain, swinging it wildly like a maniac which could have caused serious injury had it connected with its intended target  (incidentally no charges were forthcoming from Leicestershire Police, surprise surprise).

Obviously no-one from either side of the hunting debate would wish a tragic event like this but one has to question the reality of the situation and the reaction from supporters of hunting. While I don’t know the full details the hunt supporters were very quick to apportion blame, both on the driver of the vehicle and, you guessed it – sabs.

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Where the incident happened

It’s very easy to jump to conclusion without knowing the full facts however having observed hounds being exercised and transferred along country roads you have to question the sense and logic behind how this takes place. Having a kennel man on a bicycle with a whip on what is likely to be a bendy country road with a full pack of hounds (probably at least 15 couple) is obviously a recipe for disaster. Dogs do not have any idea of road safety and that many hounds could easily fill a narrow country lane and with these on a blind bend then the outcome is hardly surprising. This isn’t the first time hounds have been killed while being exercised (see here ) and I have no doubt it won’t be the last. Was the driver speeding as the hunt supporters claim or were they merely an innocent party going about their business who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

What was even more laughable were the claims that this was actually the work of sabs. Just think about that for a moment. A sab intentionally drove their vehicle at speed into a pack of hounds.

To say it’s utterly ridiculous is an understatement.

First off most sabs are vegans. Harming any animal goes against the very ethos of veganism and the ideal by which we live. We believe hounds are as big a victim of hunting as the animals they are trained and forced to hunt. Even ignoring this the legal ramifications of potentially losing ones license make the stupidity of those actions only bettered by the morons who suggested it in the first place. Here are a few of those comments posted on a pro hunting Facebook group.

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Aren’t they all just wonderful? One has to question where and how this rumour started? The same old tired and jaded stereotypical opinions such as claims of being hypocrits and their usual favourite (terrorists) are being wheeled out once more without any shred of evidence to support the claims but then this is of course nothing new and hardly unexpected.

As it turns out this proved to be somewhat of an embarrassment for that particular group and it had to delete all the comments blaming sabs and publish a post contradicting all those slathering hunt supporters looking to blame.

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Well at least that’s cleared up then but was the driver really out of control? It should also be noted that the driver of the vehicle hasn’t been charged with any traffic offences so the police clearly believe none had taken place which would suggest the claims by the hunt that they were out of control are also innacurate. Regardless of that what are the necessary requirement for exercising a large number of hound on a public road? I’m fairly sure Joe public would’t be allowed to walk a large number of dogs who weren’t controlled by a lead on a public highway. As hunting hounds come under the classification of working dogs the same laws don’t apply – perhaps they should.

Finally the longest hunting case in history (I made that up but it certainly feels like it) will be resolved on the 14th January 2019, a full 3 years after the offence took place. This will be the appeal of convicted Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams. Let’s hope we can get this written into case law at the crown court and finally the ridiculous Bird of Prey Exemption can be written into history.

 

It’s been quite an intense few days.

As the Oakley are such an embarrassingly bad hunt we decided our efforts would be better spent elsewhere so decided to join our comrades from the North & South Cambs groups. The full report of the day can be found on our Facebook page. What we didn’t know of course at the time was the impact that days sabbing would have.

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The incident regarding the nutter with the chain made several national news outlets including the Fail Online (which of course got some details wrong) and the Mirror who’s coverage was more complete. We’ve also been contacted by the BBC’s regional news team so expect they will be covering the story as well. I’ve been in contact with the press fairly constantly over the last few days but the PR is priceless so worth the effort.

Of course there is nothing new in these types of incident. I’ve been reporting on them all season but once again the hunts and their supporters are being shown up for what they really are, violent thugs who can only use threats, abuse and violence to justify their ends. As we arrived at the location to offer assistance to those under attack the terrier men responsible for the assaults on the sabs fled the scene when the odds weren’t so heavily stacked in their favour and this is typical of the mindset of these people. Although they were masked at the time we did catch footage of them unmasked and these will be sent to the police.

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Can you identify these men?

It would be very easy for the hunt to pass on their details to the police as they are no doubt paid employees of the Cottesmore but considering the hunt master, Nicholas Leeming wouldn’t even condemn their actions when challenged and could only mutter some nonsense counter claims before riding off speaks volumes. They need these cap doffing low lives to do their dirty work and if things get a little too close to home they can always disown them.

These weren’t the only crimes committed that day even if you ignore the blatantly illegal hunting and foxes aren’t the only animals to suffer. As we tracked the hunt across the Leicestershire countryside we counted around 5 large badger setts which had been completely trashed where spade marks were clearly visible. The terrier men do this in the morning before the hunt to prevent any foxes escaping underground. Even if your twisted view of hunting defines it as a sport, this is certainly not very sporting and also completely illegal. Interfering with a badger sett is covered by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The local wildlife groups have been informed and we returned to open up some of the wholes where we could to allow the badgers access to above ground. With all this in mind you’d think it would be a no brainer for Rutland County Council to withdraw from hosting the hunt on Boxing day but just in case there is a petition to remind them about the issue.

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Trashed sett entrance with clear spade marks.

It was the 12th anniversary of the Hunting Act last weekend and you have to ask yourself what has changed? If I’m honest not a lot, the hunts are still hunting foxes, hares and stags and people like me are still out there stopping them but the tide is definitely turning. They’re no longer having things all their own way and public opinion against hunting is stronger than ever. In some parts of the country the police are no longer servants of the hunt and the mountains of media coverage is making life very uncomfortable. Ultimately there is only one outcome. We will win, it’s just a matter of time.

That was a comment from the former Mayor of Oakham on the 1st September 2016.

While I’m busy tied up putting sab sized spanners in the works of the Badger Cull in North Cots and making sure the Oakley Hunt aren’t able to successfully go cubbing I’m handing this blog entry over to Leicesters Animals Rights and their campaign to ban the Cottesmore Hunt from Rutland County Council land on Boxing day.

Oakham Town Council had a meeting on 25th November last year, and voted down The Cottesmore Hunt’s request to use a site on Boxing Day that they had been using for decades. Surprised? So were we, but perhaps not if you consider the fact that The Cottesmore Hunt’s terrierman was convicted just a couple of months before (17th September) for blocking a badger sett, illegal under Section 3 of The Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The Cottesmore Hunt set up a petition demanding the decision be reversed by Oakham Town Council; this gained 2,919 signatures, although some of them were reportedly fraudulent (for example, Basil Brush appears to have signed it… http://tinyurl.com/gksjtm5). We don’t know how the petition would have been received, as it closed on 23rd December, 11 days after Rutland County Council said they would host The Cottesmore Hunt in their office car park, and Oakham Town Council’s website appears to have shut down rendering the minutes inaccessible.

We do know, though, that Oakham Town Council rejected the request partly because of concerns over wildlife crime & animal abuse. Have Rutland County Council or The Cottesmore Hunt addressed this? Apparently not; it seems that so far they’ve pretended that Oakham Town Council never mentioned these problems at all. The Cottesmore Hunt went one further, and concluded their petition with a statement saying the main concern was the safety of children. This wasn’t actually mentioned, so we don’t know if they’ve even bothered watching the video of the meeting. Don’t believe us? Watch it here…

Perhaps we should clarify, for those not in the know, that blocking badger setts is something done by fox hunts to prevent foxes entering them for refuge when they’re being pursued by hounds. It cannot be argued to be a harmless act; it helps ensure the death of the fox, and can potentially be fatal for badgers too (see Appendix 7 of a 2002 report on the damage that fox hunts do to badger setts to see how this can & does happen: http://tinyurl.com/hblusam). Neither cannot it be argued to be an accident; in fact, when two employees of The Fernie Hunt were prosecuted in 2011 at Leicester Magistrates Court, the breach of The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 was declared evidence of intent to breach The Hunting Act 2004 i.e. pre-meditated criminal pursuit of the red fox. Is the same true of The Cottesmore Hunt? We’ll let you decide; the footage of The Cottesmore Hunt’s terrierman blocking a badger sett can be seen here…

Rutland County Council have no policies on animal welfare, or biodiversity, or the environment, so they may not be aware that a) badger persecution is a priority of The National Wildlife Crime Unit (http://tinyurl.com/ozyhu65) & b) as of 2014 the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) population is 29% lower than in 1995 according to a long-standing national survey (the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) from The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO); http://tinyurl.com/hy36dpa).

Because of these facts, we think perhaps it’s time that more was done so what we’re now asking of Rutland County Council is simple; acknowledge the concerns of the public, and act on it. What we’re asking of the public is simple too; sign our petition (see here http://tinyurl.com/gpx397f) and join the event on 30th September to fill Rutland County Council’s twitter feed with opposition to bloodsports (see here http://tinyurl.com/zk3n7fl).

Notes

The Rutland County Council statement dated 9th December in which they declared their support for The Cottesmore Hunt can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/hdpjjwx

The now closed petition in support of The Cottesmore Hunt can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/jqjd7ov

Saturday was glorious. It was one of those clear and crisp winter days that invigorate the soul with the icy clean air filling your lungs while the watery winter sun shines low on the horizon. The frost under foot gave everything a Christmassy feel although it would seem goodwill to all men was definitely lacking somewhat. I wonder what the percentage of hunters follow the Christian faith? Do you think they justify their actions by the text in Genesis 1:26 or are they just a bunch of bloodthirsty junkies obsessed with killing wild animals?

I joined up with sabs from Northants, Notts and Derby to see what the Cottesmore Hunt were up to. It’s a pretty big hunt and also one of the oldest and after Saturday I can confirm one with some of the most arrogant riders. Lots of youngsters out with them as well. I always considered encouraging children to commit a crime as some sort of child abuse but I guess they have to indoctrinate the next generation of killers somehow. They’ve certainly got the rudeness off pat. Even the youngsters were pulling faces and shouting abuse. Charmers one and all and it’s easy to see how their superiority complexes develop.

It's not a car it's a chocolate tea pot

It’s not a car it’s a chocolate tea pot

The Cottesmore use the loophole in the Hunting Act of flushing to a bird of prey, in this case a Golden Eagle. However said Golden Eagle and handler were usually miles from any hounds and certainly not ready to engage in any hunting activity of it’s own. The hood never came off and it spent most of it’s time either in the box or precariously trying to stay on it’s handlers fist as he drove a quad bike erratically one handed. Not a great example of falconry and I’m pretty sure something you’re not supposed to do on the public roads. Birds of prey will only hunt if they’re the right weight and hungry. I’d wager this bird was well fed and unlikely to fly after anything. Eagles need big open spaces so hunting the hounds through woods is clearly in breach of the act.

For my own part I ran miles, got very muddy and had lots of lovely cuddles with the hounds who are always pleased to see us (it’s the only affection they ever see) and managed to save some wildlife. I was also hit by a horse and the local Gamekeeper tried to kill me with his Landrover. Shame I didn’t get it on video but I was diving out the way at the time and doing my best not to end up under his wheels. The police were their usual pointless selves, their local Wildlife Crime Officer (PC Draper 1350) happy to sit in her car or mingle with the support. Later on she ever denied she was the WCO and they were just using that particular vehicle. Yeah sure, we believe you.

Quote of the day came from the Huntsman: “I’ve never killed a fox in my life”. Needless to say we treated that with the contempt it deserved. Anyway, enjoy the video and feel free to share.