Posts Tagged ‘HOWL’

I was sent a very interesting article to preview prior to publication in the next installment of HOWL. For those of you who aren’t members HOWL is the magazine of the Hunt Saboteurs Association. It’s a pretty good read with all the updates from the various groups around the country and some informative pieces regarding sabbing, the law and the history of the movement. If you aren’t a member I really encourage you to join. You don’t have to be active in the field but it is one way of getting involved and your money goes directly towards saving lives. All you need to know is right here.

Back to the preview.

The subject of the article is Phillip Davies. It’s a name many people wouldn’t have heard of. While most will know of dim Tim Bonner from the Countryside Alliance and his buffoonery and nonsensical ramblings on social media Phillip Davies is described in the article as “someone who prefers to operate in the shadows”. He is the Countryside Alliance’s police liaison officer. It should come as no surprise then that Davies was himself a police officer before retiring and taking up his position with the CA.

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Shadow Man Phillip Davies

The article goes into great detail on how this man has influenced police policy and decision making with regards to those who stand against the illegal hunting community and painting the CA as the voice of the countryside when the facts are indeed nothing of the sort. The CA’s main purpose for existing is the promotion of blood sports, the repeal of the hunting ban and the criminalisation of those who oppose them. The real issues of the countryside are completely ignored.

It goes on to highlight the other aspects of this mans work, the intelligence gathering and files of known sabs and investigators from LACS and the reason sabs are constantly having their photos taken week in, week out. It’s an obsession with those on the pro hunt side to the point of ridiculousness (and sometimes their own down fall).

Those who are regular readers of this blog with know the amount of hard work I’ve put in with the police to get their attitudes towards hunting changed. Phillip Davies is the man I’m up against and the reason why so many forces are pro hunt in the first place. It’s actually fairly unsettling to read and further highlights what a truly insidious organisation the CA really are. The article includes quotes from Kevin Blowe of Netpol (Network for Police Monitoring) who concludes:

“Mr Davies’ efforts at the conference to portray anti-hunt groups as violent criminals seemed like a rather crude attempt by the Countryside Alliance to try to co-opt local police forces as its own private security.”

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The real face of the CA

It’s a piece which pulls no punches and gets to the heart of the matter with regards to policing and why sabs and monitors are constantly fighting an uphill battle against what should be public servants acting to uphold the law and not be influenced to the point of obvious bias by those with a sinister agenda. It looks at those in power at the CA and perfectly highlights why we should be questioning what’s going on behind closed doors and need for transparency within the police force and from those who are advising them on matters of hunting with hounds.

A few freedom of information requests submitted to various forces throughout the country may shed some further light on the matter and indeed this may be the purpose of the article. Before you take on an opponent you have to know who they are and what they are about. Bringing the shadow man into the light might make things a little more uncomfortable for him and with such huge public support for the ban on Hunting with Hounds the police will be put in an uncomfortable position and maybe forced to changed their ways.

UPDATE: I have been given permission to publish the full article which can be found by clicking HERE.

For the second installment of guest contributions to my blog I’m pleased to welcome Joe Hashman, the man behind the hugely successful ‘Hounds Off’. Here Joe will explain everything you need to know about Hounds Off, from concept to fruition.

In Spring 2010 a Tory landslide seemed imminent and, naturally, fears about the future of the Hunting Act occupied much of my mind. The challenge was (and remains) to find a way to stop hunting which can be effective regardless of what the law says. What became Hounds Off was an idea. Or rather, a collection of ideas.

I’m pretty convinced that the hunting community knows full well that having land to tally-ho over is essential. “Country” (as they call it) is central to everything they do and having access to it is jealously guarded. Despite hunting with hounds truly being a minority pastime, the unspeakable minority operates a well oiled machine which facilitates their animal abuses of choice even though technically they’re outlawed.

Back to the idea.

“Hounds Off Our Wildlife”. The HSA used to have a black and white poster with those words on complete with images of deer, fox, hare and otter. It was a straight-forward and simple poster but it struck a chord the first time I saw it.

“Hounds Off Our Wildlife”. That’s HOWL, the radical, informative, inspirational, ground-breaking, often entertaining voice of the Hunt Saboteurs Association.

Hounds Off Our Wildlife. Hounds Off. This is what we want. Short, sharp, to the point. Does what it says on the tin, kind of thing. Did the HSA object? I asked the Committee. No they said. Carry on.

After quite a lot of meetings with colleagues and close friends it was decided that a website would be the best vehicle for delivering the Hounds Off message. The plan remains to create as many no hunting nature reserves as possible, including all sorts of land; from whole estates and farms to smallholdings and back yards. We wanted universal access to the information needed to do this effectively, autonomously and with no-strings. The Internet provides an ideal platform and so www.houndsoff.co.uk was born.

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The concept of creating hunt-free zones is not new. The League Against Cruel Sports started buying sanctuary land in the West Country in the 1950’s, principally to disrupt stag hunting. The counter-concept of preserving hunting rights had earlier seen the formation of companies who sole purpose was to support bloodsports. In reality, Royalty has been dictating over hunting preserves for centuries. Today a whole structure exists to exert the power and control of that influential, criminal minority who like to hunt. Not everybody knows about this ‘system’ but it’s real. Anyone who has crossed their line knows about it, that’s for sure; the bullying, the ostracising, the undermining, the dismissing, the evicting. Rural peer pressure can be intense.

So where does Hounds Off come in? Well, Hounds Off empowers people. For anyone affected by hunt trespass (or the threat of it), we really do provide the information and tools needed to protect property, livestock and pets. Alongside bringing together a community of related minds to stand united on this issue in real life and via social media, the aims and objectives of Hounds Off today genuinely are as simple as this. Looking to the future, if you believe as I do that “available country” is a major factor in deciding whether or not a Hunt can exist, then squeezing them in that area makes perfect sense.

For Sabs and other front-line campaigners, Hounds Off is another tool in your kitbag which can be used to scupper bloodsports and save lives. You’re meeting the outraged public, disgruntled locals, beleaguered landowners and farmers who have had enough. Please use www.houndsoff.co.uk as a resource where you can suggest folk go to find support and solutions to the problem of hunt trespass. The Action & Advice pages (Warn Off Your Local Hunt) are especially crucial!

Last autumn I was working in a wood which belongs to a Hounds Off landowner. One of my fellow volunteers told me he was living off-grid in a bender under a hedge on land owned by friends who were new to the area. The local Hunt had run their hounds through his encampment and the new owners could do nothing to prevent it. Turns out that, deep within the conditions of sale, rights to hunt over that land were protected. You can be sure similar arrangements are being made elsewhere. Aside from ongoing efforts to repeal the law, I’ve no doubt that anything and everything which could obstruct hunting in the future is being ‘dealt with’ or neutralised, often quietly and behind the scenes. This includes ensuring access to as much land as possible via sporting rights, deeds and covenants. Remember, without available country any hunt is knackered.

The best thing I can tell you is that, since launching in September 2010, Hounds Off has helped people across the UK and thousands of new acres of hunt-free land has been established. Where hunt-related problems persist so our support remains ongoing. The Hounds Off philosophy is simple and based on people power. Hounds Off is about being strong at our roots, resolute, standing with our friends united and, yes, these tactics are effective!

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Have a look at the accompanying diagram called “How To Make Friends & Influence People”. It’s not theory – it comes from the my experiences of how Hounds Off is working on the ground and shows how cultivating relationships between Sabs, Monitors and the public can benefit us all, including (most importantly) abused wildlife. See what you think and how you could make it relavent for your group. Most importantly, personalise it. Make Hounds Off your own and www.houndsoff.co.uk an asset which you use.