Posts Tagged ‘Daily Mirror’

A slight lack of updates recently but the hunt season is now in full swing and I’ve been committed to saving lives in the field to which we’ve been very successful, which leads me nicely to the point of this blog post.

I’ve produced and published many videos over social media and YouTube over the last few years and many have had several thousand views and generally been well received. They got the point across and some of the footage was both revealing and damning at the same time. However the latest one has, for the first time gone completely viral, which is a first for me and out group. While the incident recorded is nothing particularly new there was one part which really stood out and made it interesting. If you haven’t seen it already check it out below.

I, for once wasn’t actually there, the scenes were shot by 2 colleagues who were travelling in a different vehicle. I was on driver duty that day and while this footage was being shot I was attempting to get to the scene with more sabs as quickly as I could without endangering both animals and other road users.

The video also made both local and national news (Mirror) although the video was edited down which of course was to be expected but in doing so missed out some of the wider context. The big talking point was the reaction from the local people in the rural Cambridgeshire village of  Upwood. The so-called Countryside Alliance will often claim they are the voice of the countryside but, as the video clearly shows these rural people were far from happy to have their village invaded by the hunt in pursuit of a fox. They made their feelings know in no uncertain terms and of course this kind of a reaction is pure gold for the anti-hunt side and dispels all of the myths perpetuated by the CA that they speak for any of these people. They have, and always will be, a minority bloodsports lobbying group.

We’ve had lots of messages of support from the locals thanking us for our efforts and also expressing shock at the total contempt and sense of entitlement shown by the hunt on the day.

Of course this is a major embarrassment for the Fitzwilliam Hunt (remember they are due in court in April) but their response was equally laughable. As expected they went on the attack claiming they were hunting within the law and accused animal rights activist of “telling blatant lies”.

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Doesn’t look too interested in retrieving the hounds currently running amok.

Within the law – The Fitzwilliam cynically use the Bird of Prey Exemption. While no fox is caught on camera you can hear the villagers say they have seen it run through the village. For the BoP exemption to be legal once a fox is flushed the hounds have to be called off and the bird is released, in this case, a Golden Eagle. Do you really think they would release a Golden Eagle in a village? Any cats or small dogs would be at risk not only from the hounds but also from the bird itself but that was never going to happen. There’s a reason Golden Eagles live in mountains and uplands, they need a lot of space! Also a no point can you see or heat the Huntsman or Whipper In calling the hounds back. They are more interested in seeing them in cry and on the scent of live quarry. The legality claims simply hold no water.

The hunt also claimed; “The behaviour of animal rights activists shouting, screaming and telling blatant lies may well have caused some concern in the village to inflame the situation and was certainly of no help to anyone.”

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Surely if the hunts claims are to be believed there would be a huntsman in this picture calling back the hounds.

Actually what those present did was clear hounds from peoples gardens and private property while attempting to stop them hunting. This is obvious for all to see in the full video but then again we don’t expect the hunt to admit this. The villagers also acted on their own initiative before our operative arrived. They were confronting the hunt on their own terms and we absolutely support them in the stance they took. Well done villagers of Upwood!

It doesn’t end there. I’m told the Master, Philip Baker had to apologise to the villagers of Alconbury Weston only a couple of weeks ago for a similar incident, it seems they have previous on this. Will he be forced into making another similar and embarrassing apology? I’ll keep you posted but no doubt an attempt to blame sabs on the day will be included as a way of saving face.

A the time of writing the video has had over 2500 shares and 216000 views and its still going. It’s had a reach of over half a million and there have been 15500 reactions and comments. We’e also received in that time frame over a 1000 more likes to our Facebook page. These kind of number prove the hunting debate isn’t going to go away but most importantly the vast majority of those commenting have been supportive of both our actions and those of the villagers in the video. This is a clear demonstration that the days of hunting with hounds is truly numbered. We just need a Government willing to listen to the people, improve the legislation and enforce it vigorously.

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.

If you have any interest in wildlife or indeed animal welfare you’ll have no doubt seen much of the media coverage both in the national press and on TV with regards to the unscrupulous method in which the Tory Government are trying to repeal the hunting ban via the back door. Brain May has been his honest best by telling it how it is by calling these people “lying bastards”. Now any supporter of hunting can try and justify their actions by claiming it’s pest control but the simple fact it they hunt for fun, if it wasn’t fun for them then they simply wouldn’t do it. Brian crossed verbal swords with Owen Paterson on Sky News recently and while good old Owen bluffed and blustered his was through with only multiple repetitions of the pest control claims Brian shot him down with hard facts. Foxes are not pests, I’ve said this plenty of times before and I’m not going to go over it all again but what I will do is highlight a few instances that prove the pest control justification of hunting is a total lie.

Encouraging Foxes. Some year back a national newspaper came into the position of a letter sent by the Masters of Fox Hounds Association to 800 hunt masters and the chairmen warns of a nationwide “shortage of foxes”. It also urged that landowners should be encouraged to breed more foxes to solve the “problem”. The letter came to light when the Sunday Mirror obtained a copy of an email sent in response to it by Simon Hart, chief executive of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance. In the email to Lord Daresbury, chairman of the MFHA, he expressed his concern that if the letter was leaked, “we would be ridiculed in Parliament, the Press and in all parts of Britain where hunting is firstly population control and secondly recreational.” He added: “I do want to re-stress that the Alliance is here to play its part in securing hunting’s future but we cannot do this if the core arguments are undermined. I am one of those who has never been happy about our reliance on the ‘pest control’ case, partly because so few people understand that control is not always the same as extermination – in fact it rarely is.” He calls the letter – which he says “advocates the artificial enhancement of a pest species for purely sporting benefit”“politically naive”. He says the letter’s suggestion that hunt masters “should be firmer with subscribers ‘who do not keep foxes’ dismays me”.

Artificial earth in Cambridgeshire.

Artificial earth in Cambridgeshire.

Artificial Earths. Moving on from what’s outlined above it seemed many hunt subscribers did indeed take action to encourage foxes. The Stop the Cull organisation have been releasing images on social media over the past few days of earths that have been constructed to encourage foxes to breed. These are not exceptions either, it would seem they are numerous and widespread. Footage secretly obtained by the HSA and shown on prime time news by ITV also showed the Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt no only providing a suitable breading earth but feeding the foxes with chicken carcasses and eggs. This would of course enable foxes to produce larger litters and so have more young foxes to hunt come the autumn.On hunt day this means many hunters would know exactly where to find a fox and so would send in their dim witted lackeys and their terriers to flush them in front of the hounds and block up any other holes where they may escape, including badgers setts which is illegal in its own right.

Upland farmers losing livestock. This was the repeated line spouted by Own Paterson on Sky News. Hard working, good old honest, salt of the earth upland farmers (OK I admit I embellished that a bit but that was the impression he was trying to achieve) are finding it hard to survive due to massive losses by aggressive foxes. This is another downright lie. By Defra’s own studies (weren’t you boss of Defra once Owen, you know, when the Badgers moved the goal posts?) lamb losses are below 1% (0.8% to be precise) and chickens a mere 2%, hardly earth shatteringly large numbers. Foxes will no doubt scavenge on the carcasses of dead lambs but actually taking and killing healthy lambs is a complete nonsense. Have you ever seen a breeding ewe defend her offspring? No fox would even attempt taking one on when there are easier meals to be had. The simple fact is that it is down to poor husbandry that so many casualties occur.

Even some hunters are disgusted. Clifford Pellow was a huntsman for 23 years before turning his back on the practice. The Daily Mirror published his story (13/07) with some horrific claims of cruelty but for the point in question here regarding pest control he has to say this: “It is nonsense and lies to say hunting has anything to do with ­controlling a pest in the countryside. When I worked on a farm, it was more effective to flush foxes out with two sheepdogs than with a pack of dogs. It’s got to be the worst method of fox control. There are more foxes killed on the motorways than killed by hounds. The hunting fraternity have a lot of excuses for hunting but not one ­justification. The only justification is to kill something at the end of the day.”

So as you can see and as Brian May so eloquently put, they really are a bunch of lying bastards.

UPDATE: The Tory’s hope of winning on the hunting amendments could be scuppered as the SNP throw their weight behind the no vote.

The Scottish National Party Westminster Group met this evening and decided to vote against the Tory Government’s attempt to relax the ban on fox hunting south of the border in Wednesday’s vote.

SNP Westminster Group Leader Angus Robertson MP said:

“We totally oppose fox hunting, and when there are moves in the Scottish Parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales for Holyrood to consider. 

“We are in a situation where the Tory government are refusing to agree to any amendments to improve the Scotland Bill – which are supported by 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs – and imposing English Votes for English Laws to make Scotland’s representation at Westminster second class. 

“In these circumstances, it is right and proper that we assert the Scottish interest on fox hunting by voting with Labour against the Tories’ proposals to relax the ban – in the process, reminding an arrogant UK government of just how slender their majority is – just as we will vote against the Tory welfare cuts next week, and appeal to Labour to join us.”

I wonder what vitriolic, literary vomit James Barrington will come up with in response to this news?

UPDATE#2: David Cameron has now withdrawn the amendment vote knowing he’d lose it. This looks like an attempt to delay until he can get through the English Votes for English Laws legislation which would effectively end the possibility of the SNP voting on such matters. Whatever democracy we had is now dead.

UPDATE#3: Wow, things are moving quickly. It would now seem that even if the EVEL legislation was brought into effect the SNP would still be able to block any move to weaken the Hunting Act. We won the battle. Now lets make sure we win the war and consign these evil people to history and get hunting with dogs completely banned and properly enforced.