Posts Tagged ‘Fox Hunt’

As any regular reader will know I’ve taken a break over the last few weeks to catch up with other things that needed addressing in my life. It’s always a good thing to have a bit of a change of scene and it’s been a busy old time of late but now the hunting season is over it’s time to reflect and take stock and see what we can learn from what has transpired. Overall I’m pleased with what we’ve achieved. We have, without a shadow of a doubt saved a fair few lives and have been a major pain in the arse of the hunts we’ve targeted. This is highlighted by the fact that one hunt has virtually gone underground which will no doubt affect it’s income while others seem to be relying on hired thugs in an effort to thwart our operations.

The police and their views of what he do however remain of some concern. Whilst some forces seem content to let us get on with it and do their jobs for them others are actively aiding the hunts in their efforts to kill our wildlife. Some officers (judging by their Facebook and Twitter profiles) are openly supportive of blood sports so how they can remain impartial when policing these situations is quite frankly beyond me. No matter how much they may claim otherwise it’s only human nature to favour those who share a common ground. So moving on from that steps are being taken to make sure we address this issue, meetings will take place between our representatives and the relevant police commissioners during the close season to try and make sure the hunting act is correctly policed and the word of the hunters shown the appropriate level of suspicion.

As a group (Beds & Bucks Hunt saboteurs) we’ll become a year old this May. For our first year we’ve made quite an impact. Our likes on Facebook are growing by the day and we receive plenty of supportive comments from the general public. We’ve had lots of enquiries from people wanting to get involved directly which is great news and we’ll be training these over the summer to be ready for when the new hunting season kicks off in the autumn. Of course all this costs money so while we have the chance we’ll be doing some fund raising which will go towards equipment and hopefully a new vehicle. I always think the best way to gauge how much of an impact you’ve had is by your opposition and their reactions. We get various comments either directly through this blog or through our Facebook page and of course some of those are from hunters and their supporters. Clearly if someone is annoyed enough to take the time to abuse you on-line then I’ll consider that a victory. One thing is for sure, I’m yet to receive anything abusive which shows any kind of imagination and creativity. They’re pretty much all monosyllabic and lacking in any type of correct grammar and punctuation. Still, it gives me a laugh and only reinforces the general perception of hunts and their support.

There are of course still hunts which operate over the summer and as you’d expect we cannot let them go unchallenged so I’ll update you about those in due course. Well that’s about it for now. I’ll leave you with a highlights reel I put together from the mass of footage I recorded over the season. Enjoy.

The war of words from both side is continuing and is as hotly contested as the battles going on in our countryside. Claim and counter claim are being thrown about like the proverbial hot potato but, with just a little intelligence and an ability to read between the lines it would seem that there’s certainly a sense of desperation coming from those who like to kill things for fun. This is highlighted perfectly by a couple of incidents currently doing the rounds on social media.

atherstone 2

Firstly there were the claims that sabs from West Midland Hunt Saboteurs assaulted a 15 year old boy during the Atherstone Hunt on the 21st Feb. Even the boys mother took to social media to complain about the sabs behaviour with photographs of the incident. You’d think that things weren’t looking too good for the West Mids crew however with nothing more than a slightly closer inspection of the photos you’ll notice they actually show, well . . . nothing untoward at all. If the story wasn’t already on shaky ground then the release of a video from the sabs on the day totally undermines the very foundations of the assault claims and shows them for what they really are, a desperate attempt to discredit West Mids with completely unfounded nonsense. If there had been any grounds for complaint then releasing the details on Facebook isn’t exactly going to help your cause but I’ve never really credited these people with an abundance of intelligence anyway and just reading through the text will explain all you need to know about the person on the other side of the keyboard.

The lies.

atherstone

The Truth.

Well let’s see how they explain their way out of that one. Video camera’s are an essential part of sab kit and it’s at times like this, with the PR battle raging that it is never more apparent.  It also highlights the depths they’ll sink to. Using obnoxious minors to stir things up seems to be a more common tactic among the hunts at the moment, in the hope they’ll get a reaction from the sabs and then gain the negative press they’re so desperately seeking. But it’s something they’ll have to do without and this is purely down to the restraint and calm shown by those at West Mids Hunt Sabs. Great work guys.

The second incident was again from last weekend. I was out supporting Cambridge, Northants and North East London with Beds & Bucks Sabs on what turned out to be quite a tough day. I’ll not go into those details but report on a single incident which occurred during the afternoon. Our van had been parked next to a wood, waiting to pick a group of us up that had been on foot monitoring the hunt. At this time a hunt support vehicle pulled up close behind the van (a 4×4 transit). Our driver was unaware they had pulled in behind and being so close he was unable to see them in his mirrors. He reversed and made contact with the car causing some very minor damage. No real drama and details were being exchanged when we arrived on the scene.

Shortly after this a number of other hunt supporters arrived and things escalated rather quickly as the support made spurious claims of ramming and became very aggressive. This is fairly typical of their behaviour and not the point I’m going to raise. The issue was with the driver of the support vehicle involved and her reaction. She removed a very young child from the vehicle (she claimed to check for injury) and rather than distance herself and her child from the situation she became more embroiled. Looking in from the outside it would be easy to suggest she was using the fact a youngster was present to inflame the situation further. Whether this was her intention or not is difficult to ascertain, only she knows that but video footage clearly shows a sab telling her calmly to take the child away somewhere quiet, which was promptly met with a four letter response.

After the hit report was posted on Facebook the woman in question contacted Beds & Bucks sabs asking them to change the report as it made her look bad and wasn’t accurate. After some discussion with her and reviewing the video footage some minor accuracy changes were made but the general impression of the report was the same. If you think it’s good parenting to take a small child along to support an illegal activity (no legal hunt has a use for masked terrier men on quads) where sentient mammals are killed for fun then, you really have to suffer the consequences and if the general public take a dim view of you then perhaps it’s about time you reconsidered your stance on the matter.

Draw your own conclusions but I’m fairly confident my impression is accurate.

I had a totally different blog entry all written up with details of our brushes with the Trinity Foot Beagles and the Cottesmore Hunt over the Christmas and New Year break however I’ve binned it in favour of something that happened more recently. The Fernie Hunt are notorious for violence. They have previously laid traps for sabs and called in thugs with baseball bats to protect their hunts. While we take this kind of thing very seriously we’ll never back down and just because a hunt may have a bad reputation doesn’t mean they’ll be ignored.

Much like on Boxing day it was another of those red letter days when everything went to plan. We saved a fox within minutes of finding the hunt. I always think it’s suspicious when the hunt manage to flush a fox on the very first covert they draw but we were on hand to help with it’s escape. Then after redeploying to a new area another fox runs right past us. One day I’ll have my video camera ready but as one of my colleagues said to me, “You sab first, video second” and they were of course right. This fox went to ground in a large badger sett but we’d already put the dogs off the scent and they didn’t even mark to ground.

If this is our next generation there's no hope for hunamity.

If this is our next generation there’s no hope for hunamity.

We faced plenty of abuse from the support and hunters alike. Even a spotty 15 year old boy wanted to fight me, along with his charming farther. I was kicked in the back by someone on a horse as they rode past and as you’ll see in the video horses were used as weapons. When one particularly overweight charmer thought he’d get a bit handy the police were forced to step in a take action and he was arrested. Funny how they’re all hard as nails but once the cuffs are on they squeal like little girls. The police on the day were, in the main fairly reasonable. Obviously they ignored the blatant illegal hunting (the Fernie don’t even pretend to lay a trail) and still did vehicle checks on the sab vehicles but at least they kept the peace and acted when necessary.

It was also pretty obvious due to our effectiveness we were going to get some special attention once the police weren’t looking so it was one of those times when you know when to call it day and make yourself scarce. The army would call it a tactical withdrawal however we were happy with a job well done and the day was kill free. Mentions go to all the sabs groups present; Beds & Bucks, Northants and Nottingham who turned up at exactly the right time.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to the type of person these hunts attract, it’s pretty obvious. The hunts will always try and intimidate us but we will never give up until every last hunt in the country is finished.

The Countryside Alliance will be quick to tell you it’s a pointless piece of legislation which punishes the good old British country life, a blight on rural communities who are steeped in tradition and are the best placed to manage the countryside in the ways they know best for all concerned, both man and wildlife.

Of course that’s a load of nonsense.

Any tradition which involves unbelievable cruelty should be consigned to the dustbin of history with things like slavery, bear baiting and putting small boys up chimneys. Just because something has been done for a significant amount of time doesn’t make it right. To evolve as a species we have the capability to reassess what’s right and what’s wrong then adapt our actions and behaviour accordingly. Clearly those who enjoy cruelty in any form are either incapable of this judgement through a lack of empathy for our fellow beings or have no moral responsibility (which means they’re probably sociopaths) or they’re just indoctrinated into a way of thinking to such a crushing extent that they’re incapable of breaking their programming through personal strength and intellect.

Put simply, they’re either mental or stupid.

Not a happy camper. But if you're doing nothing wrong the why the hostility?

Not a happy camper. But if you’re doing nothing wrong the why the hostility?

While the British public and even the majority of MP’s in the house of commons support the ban it would seem there is still a significantly powerful minority who are able to hold sway with those that have to uphold the law. We’ve seen time and again the lack of effective policing and in fact quite the reverse, the systematic persecution of those trying to save the lives of the animals illegally hunted. The police love to quote the numbers of successful prosecutions against Hare coursers but will often ignore the Beagle packs which illegally hunt Hares every week in full view. The difference? Coursers are usually from the lower end of the social and financial demographic while Beaglers will generally inhabit the upper echelons. I’ve never been one to favour the class war argument with regards to hunting as I’ve seen those from all walks of life involved in some capacity however by-and-large there is, without doubt some mileage in the claims and the actions of the police only help to enforce this. If they truly were impartial then anyone, regardless of background, finances and connections would face the same ramifications for breaking the law.

The Act itself has enabled there to be a significant number of successful prosecutions which wouldn’t have previously been possible however as is the case with much of these things the legislation is far from perfect. Hunts regularly use loopholes and exemptions to, pretty much get away with murder. The League Against Cruel Sports are pushing for improvements to the legislation and these include:

  • Prohibiting the use of dogs below ground – this is arguably where the worst cruelty occurs in hunting, not only to wild mammals pursued underground with limited opportunity to escape (usually foxes and badgers), but also to the dogs sent below ground to find these animals and either flush them out or hold them at bay.
  • Inserting a ‘reckless’ provision to ensure the killing of wild mammals during a trail hunt cannot be passed off as an ‘unfortunate accident’.
  • Increasing the punishments available to the courts so that the Act is brought in line with other animal protection legislation.

I agree totally with all the above however the most complete and water tight laws will become pointless if those who are tasked with enforcing them show little interest in doing so and this is the crux of the matter. Until our police and CPS take the law seriously and act accordingly then nothing will change.

Just exercising the hounds my arse.

Just exercising the hounds my arse.

Another issue is the lack of understanding into what’s going on in our countryside by the majority of people. Most believe hunting with dogs is a thing of the past, and why shouldn’t they, it has been banned after all. Time and again I get messages on Facebook and through this blog from people asking me what the situation is regarding the ban and whether it has been lifted. Most are stunned to learn that it is still in force and yet hunts are regularly seen to be killing animals with impunity. Generating public awareness is key in this issue. With better awareness the public can pressure their MP’s and make this issue into something that can be secure votes from the electorate. Environmental and wildlife issues should be at the heart of any political parties manifesto and yet it’s always seen as a secondary if not tertiary concern. Together we can make this a priority for the next election. If the Tories get back in and, perish the thought, UKIP gain more seats then we can say goodbye to all that we hold dear from our natural heritage, to be replaced by a playground for the rich and their lacky’s. A countryside devoid of biodiversity run by the bloodthirsty sociopaths hell bent on sick gratification through extreme cruelty.

We’re supposed to be a country of animal lovers. Let’s make sure we live up to that.