Posts Tagged ‘Cubbing’

As you’ve probably guessed by now I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. I’ll get to that in a moment as it applies to what I’m going to quickly report on next.

So, the other morning I got a call from Suffolk Police. They explained that I had been positively identified and named at an incident which I can only assume involved a hunt in the Suffolk area and that I had been acting in an abusive manner and calling people paedophiles (this is somewhat ironic considering hunt types like to throw this kind of abuse at sabs all the time). The officer who spoke to me believed this information to be questionable as he’d spoken to me many times in the past and didn’t consider this something I would be guilty of, hence the direct phone call.

Now as far as alibi’s go I had a pretty good one. At the time of the call I was located in a small hamlet just to the north of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. That’s a little under 7,600 km from darkest Suffolk.

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Needless to sat the officer was satisfied with my response and we had a laugh at the ridiculousness of it all however it highlights that there is perhaps a more insidious purpose to the claims made against me. It’s fairly clear to me the purpose of this claim was the first attempt to discredit me as a witness prior to the prosecution trail of Chris Amatt and Archie Clifton-Brown, the huntsman and whipper inn respectively of the Thurlow Hunt based in Suffolk. Except of course they have now completely shot themselves in the foot as any further claims are likely to be treated with the contempt they deserve by the police. You would think that if you are going to try and stitch someone up you would at least make sure they were on the same continent first.

No doubt this will be the first shot in a dirty tricks campaign, something the Countryside Alliance are well known for and with a case they may not be confident in winning they will resort of less scrupulous tactics in order to get the result they desire.

In other news the never ending saga of the Fitzwilliam case rumbles on. The appeal by George Adams against his conviction earlier this year has been delayed again however this is just fine by me. It’s looking highly likely that by the time it goes to court the upcoming fox hunting season will be more or less over so it means we get to call them convicted criminals for a whole season.

Finally this time of year has to be the busiest in the wildlife protection calendar. Most hunts are now cubbing and the cruel and pointless badger cull has been extended even further, 150,000 badgers could be killed, leaving parts of the country devoid of this iconic species where they have existed for centuries just because the NFU want it that way. If you’ve even considered getting involved now would be the time, contact your local sab group for more information.

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I haven’t written very much lately, but then if you’re a regular of this blog you’ll already know that. Thing is I just haven’t had the time. Although the main hunting season has yet to start this is probably the busiest time of year for anyone involved in wildlife protection. We’re well into the the badger cull now and sabs all over the country are travelling many miles to protect our stripey nighttime wildlife from those who wish to do them harm. Cubbing season for the hunts is also in full swing so those sabs remaining at home are getting up early in the morning to find and stop these hunts. Some are doing both and it’s draining, physically, emotionally and financially.

I’d have hoped to bring you more news of the Fitzwilliam case as well by now but there are more delays. I’m beginning to wonder if this will ever get to court. It’s incredibly important that the case is heard as it’s the first time the Bird of Prey Exemption in the Hunting Act has been challenged in court. Winning this case will be pivotal in future prosecutions and could render the exemption useless to those who claim to hunt with it. The latest news I have is that we’re again waiting for a date when a non-biased judge can be found to hear the case and that our expert witness is also available. By the time this gets to court it will be likely that the offence occurred 2 years past. The Fitzwilliam are still using the BoP exemption and are still killing foxes. John Mease, their bird man (and co-defendant) is still riding around with an Eagle on his arm doing absolutely nothing in terms of making the hunting exempt.

I shall be heading out shortly for the long drive to Wiltshire for another night shift searching for badger shooters. I’ll be doing the same for the next two nights and no doubt fitting in some anti cubbing operations as well. We’ve had people staying down there full time. My work commitments mean I have to juggle my efforts and do what I can when I can but this doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for anything else although we did manage to organise a training session for new sabs recently which proved a huge success. The Godfather of sabbing Mike Huskisson came along and did a fantastic talk and we did a talk on what is expected of new sabs and what they are likely to face in the fields both from the other side and the police. It was heartwarming to see so many new people wanting to get involved and if this is a reflection on things to come then the hunts are going to be facing a very tough time indeed.

When I started this blog I had no real idea of what I wanted to do our where I wanted to take it but everything soon fell into place and turned into something I hadn’t really expected. However I’m now considering the future of this blog and the next step. I could carry on as before but time isn’t allowing me to put the effort in it deserves. This may change of course but as it stands I’m tempted to call it day at the end of this year when my hosting contract will need renewing and I can focus on the running of our sab group now that it is expanding.

Let me know your thoughts.

AA

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During a quiet moment the other day I decided to have a snoop on-line and see what our local hunt (the Oakley Hounds) had been up to. There’s been big changes there recently, the huntsman (Bill Bishop) left to go to the West Norfolk Foxhounds, the Whipper-in (Aiden Beaney) disappeared into thin air (or maybe up his own arse) and there was a new batch of Masters. Guy Napier with whom I spoke with last season (see here) is no longer a master, so alongside the constant gruesome twosome of Lydia Thompson and Caroline Evans we have new masters, Nikki Lightfoot and Steve Harris.

We have our suspicions as to why there have been these musical chairs within the organisation and no doubt more will come to light in due course however we’re fairly certain that all is not particularly well at the Oakley, so we’re obviously quite happy about that. However that’s not the point of this blog entry.

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Pre-hunt tipple.

I decided to check out the new masters and my first port of call was this Steve Harris character as he was the only male in the group. A quick search led me to his Facebook profile. Now Facebook is a resource which just keeps on giving, no doubt the authorities use it in much the same manner as all sorts of interesting information can be gleaned from someone’s profile. He’s a face we recognise as a regular on hunt days so no real surprises there and his photo’s show the standard hunting pictures, action shots proclaiming their horsemanship and prowess in the saddle, you know the standard thing these types all like to show. But hello, whats all this then?

Yup, here is a picture of Steve in all his . . . police riding regalia.

steve harris hunting

Lets have a bit more of a dig I thought. Another search reveals he was part of the Bedfordshire Police Equine team back in 2012 where he is described as a ‘Detention Officer’. They did quite well in the competition they entered apparently, although one comment below the story suggested the police would do better spending their money on catching criminals as opposed to jollies  on horses, anyway I digress.

beds police equine team.jpg

Back to Facebook and another interesting update on his timeline. Here we have a serving (at the time) police officer, quite openly admitting to cubbing* and wearing the prefferred cub hunting dress of a ‘ratcatcher’ jacket (see below). I’ve covered similar incidents before (see here) but to be so blatant just goes to  show the level of arrogance of these people. Steve seems to think that him being the law means he’s above it, except of course he isn’t. Next to the picture of him in his police uniform he comments; ” . . . lots of hunting, just like the good old days”.  Would that be the old days when it was legal to kill foxes with hounds for fun then? The ban had been in place for over 7 years when he wrote that so once again he’s admitting to committing a crime or at the very least being an accessory.

steve harris cubbing.jpg

I have a meeting in a couple of weeks with our local law enforcement people and it’ll be something I shall raise in the conversation. Perhaps Steve’s influence may have been a factor in the type of biased response the hunts would get when they called the police? So far the meetings I’ve had have been quite cordial and beneficial to all parties and I hope headway is being made with regards to the improvement in policing of hunting but as I’ve said before I would be very interested to know how many serving officers are members of the Countryside Alliance or hunters themselves. There could be a clear conflict of interest if these officers were responding to claims of illegal hunting. I believe Steve Harris in no longer a serving officer, he’s now listed as a director of FAS Paper Bedding but the fact still remains he was a police officer openly taking part in an illegal activity and bragging about it and that is simply not acceptable.

Additional: It has been pointed out that Detention Officers are support staff and not regular police officers, which further begs the question, why is he appearing to be in public wearing a police uniform?

*Cubbing or Autumn hunting is where the hunts train their new hounds to kill by holding up (surrounding) coverts and blocking the escape of young foxes and then sending in the hounds to kill them so they get the taste for fox and learn what they are supposed to do. Hounds which show no desire to kill or make the wrong noises are destroyed.