Posts Tagged ‘hunt monitors’

We have a guest blog this week, an opinion piece written by someone only known as Scorpiovulpes, a monitor with a vast experience of hunting in England and the often pathetic response of the police and CPS in dealing with this illegal minority pastime. It’s a good read so grab a cuppa and settle in.

I have monitored hunts for twenty five years, and I can honestly say my shock and disgust have not abated one bit during all that time. It seems that the world of hunting is a strange alternative universe existing here among us. All the rules are reversed, all the standard codes are turned on their head.  Accepted norms of behaviour are ignored, and punishment is meted out to the innocent, not the guilty.

The most innocent of the victims of this sinister world are the hunted animals.  There are laws in place in England,  Wales and Scotland which purport to ban hunting and thus protect the hunted animal.  Do they?  Of course they don’t!

These weak laws were drawn up by people who did not understand the true nature of the hunter.  They failed to listen to the people who had the measure of hunters – i.e. the monitors and the sabs.  They totally underestimated the ruthlessness of the hunters, and failed to grasp how determinedly they would continue their cruel pastime no matter what the law said.  They failed to understand that hunters fundamentally believe they are above the law and they can do as they please, that they believe nobody – nobody – can tell them what they may and may not do.

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Openly flouting the law.

And so we have a situation, 14 years after the ban was instituted in England and Wales, where hunting continues unabated, covered by the smokescreen of “trail” hunting.  I will state without hesitation my opinion that trail hunting does not exist, and never has.

It is an illusion – well, basically, it’s a con.

So the monitors still have to go out to hunts and do the best they can to film what is really happening, collecting evidence which, in very rare cases, will actually get to court, but more realistically will form part of the library of shocking evidence which will lead to the strengthening of the Hunting Act and the creation of a real ban on hunting, a true death knell for this vile and barbaric practice.  The sabs still go and risk their safety in order to protect the hunted animals and save the lives of as many as they can.

The hunts are absolutely infuriated by the presence of sabs or monitors, whose safety is at real risk every time they go out.  It is common practice for hunts to call in so called “hunt stewards” – typically a particularly nasty species of inadequate and thuggish person who, given a baseball cap with “hunt steward” on the front, think they’re somebody and start throwing their weight around.  They behave in an unbelievably obnoxious way.  They constantly harass and impede the monitors, surrounding them, continuously trying in every possibly way to wind up the monitor they are victimising (usually a female and/or elderly person) to try and make them lose their cool.  I could write a whole book on this subject, but instead I suggest you view the film of this type of behaviour that you will find on all the monitor and sab Facebook pages, and also on You Tube.  These films speak for themselves, and make grim viewing.

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Hunt Steward hat but dead behind the eyes and delusions of adequacy.

So we have an orchestrated conspiracy to hunt illegally being conducted between the hunts and their lackeys, the whole scenario being  protected from scrutiny by obstructive, menacing and threatening behaviour .

Well, you might say, the police must be very concerned about this.  They must be shocked to see the film.  The CPS must be very willing to act on the clear filmed evidence presented to them.  This is where you need to grasp the extent of the alternative universe we are talking about,  as the very opposite is the case.  Police scrutinise the film to try to pin something on the innocent monitors (or sabs),  They downplay the seriousness of the behaviour of the stewards.  They churn out the old chestnut “six of one and half a dozen of the other” when it would be obvious to a five year old that this is categorically not the case.

Time and again the monitors and sabs are left shocked and disgusted by the lack of action by the law enforcement agencies over the whole scandal of illegal hunting and its attendant intimidation and violence.

So they turn to Facebook.  For all its faults, Facebook has provided a lifeline for campaigners, and has led to a turning point in the general public’s understanding of the sheer and utter horror of illegal hunting, the cruelty, the deviousness, the thuggery  –  the lengths gone to to protect this abomination from scrutiny.  Sometimes when the absolutely disgusting behaviour of a hunt steward is exposed on Facebook or another arena, the subject of the film uses devious means to have the film taken down.  Fortunately this only works short term as their reasons are bogus and the films are usually reinstated.  But this again shows how secretive and how absolutely without morals are the people involved in hunting.

It is not  only the stewards who behave in a revolting way.  People who no doubt consider themselves to be the cream of society will barge you with their horses, swear at you, persistently drive at very low speeds in front  of you to prevent you keeping up with the hunt, even assault you.

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Terrier men – Lowest of the low. What purpose do they have on a “trail” hunt?

So there you have the alternative universe of illegal hunting for your edification.  The hunters throw a threadbare cloak of respectability over themselves with a claim of “trail hunting”.  They lie.  They bully.  They abuse.  They bring in their hunt thugs to protect themselves from scrutiny.  The law enforcers of the land, who are paid by the taxpayer and whom we are told to respect, more often than not support them, sometimes hunt with them.  I have seen a high court judge out hunting, a meet held at a magistrate’s house, ex police officers hunting, uniformed police officers laughing and joking with obnoxious hunt heavies, while a woman monitor was held captive in her car and the police refused to help her.  I have heard a female police officer tell a hunt master she would try and get me to leave the hunt so the hunt could carry on as they wished.  The list goes on and on and on.  You may think that, if the police fail in their duty, there is a robust police complaints system.  All I can say to that is, you try it – and good luck.  Very recently a District Judge found a hunt not guilty of illegal hunting, giving one of the reasons for his decision that he did not believe a hunt master would lie and perjure himself.  This kind of thing leaves those of us at the sharp end of this situation in absolute despair.

I have given you my opinion as a seasoned and long term hunt monitor.  You are free to disbelieve me if you choose, but if so, I ask you to look at the plethora of filmed evidence that unequivocally illuminates the situation.  And ask yourself why all these people would go to such lengths to stop a non-violent individual from legally filming their activities.

We know the public are overwhelmingly against hunting. We know they are absolutely shocked when they see the evidence of what is happening in our countryside on a daily basis during the hunting season.  Between us all we can drag this alternative universe out of the dark ages and expose it to the light.  That way we will see it finally abolished.

That day cannot come soon enough.

 

The so called Countryside Alliance are without doubt a truly insidious organisation. While they make claims about being the “voice of the countryside” the realty of the situation is far from the truth. Their main focus was, and always has been the promotion and preservation of blood sports, hunting shooting and fishing. However with public opinion against hunting in particular at an all time high, a review of the laws surrounding hunting in Scotland currently underway and several high profile prosecutions going against them the CA are clearly feeling the heat and will once again resort to rummaging around in their box of dirty tricks to try and maintain their status and that of hunting within the UK.

Now the CA are no strangers to underhand and bully boy tactics. They tried to manipulate the legislation with regards to the monitoring of hunts (see here) as well as attempting to directly influence police policy with regards to saboteurs before so it came as no real surprise when a letter was leaked that was sent from their CEO Tim (not nice but dim) Bonner to all their members explaining how they intended to proceed with the coming hunt season. The Cheshire Monitors group were the first to publish this on their Facebook page and it makes interesting reading.

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Firstly Bonner sets out with some unadulterated self congratulation. Hunting only exists due to the CA it would seem but also admits that they despite the ban hunts are still flouting the law, “hunting as we know it” clearly refers to the pursuit of a live mammal. Even with a letter going to their own members any organisation regularly involved in the promotion of law breaking should, you’d think, be a little more discrete.

The next part is quite an admission and personally I’d like to thank Tim for the kind words regarding sabs. It’s abundantly clear that we are indeed having a “significant” impact on hunting although from what I understand the HSA membership has increased significantly and more active sabs are joining all the time but once again  it proves you should, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. Tim does get a little mixed up at this point though, the simple truth is we don’t have to make up lies to get our point across and show up hunting for what it really is. Social media has given us a platform in which to show the many examples of illegal hunting and the related violence each week during the hunting season to a huge audience and without the spin of normal media outlets. We’re winning the PR war that’s for sure.

This is where it get’s really interesting.

It would seem the CA’s new approach will be to expose individuals who oppose them (I’ll be disappointed if I’m not on their list) and try to get the police to do their dirty work. You see the problem here is they’ve just admitted to harassment, maybe even conspiracy? He goes on to mention all sorts of crimes which are regularly undertaken by both hunts and their supporters against non-violent monitors and sabs that Bonner and his cronies are mysteriously silent about. Violence in the countryside? Oh my Timmy, people in glass houses really shouldn’t start throwing stones you know. Now this revelation is in the public domain it will be interesting to see what they do next, will it be damage limitation time or just ignore this complete blunder and crack on regardless? How do they intend to “expose” their opponents, will I have to look out for private detectives rummaging through my rubbish bins in the hope of finding something incriminating? No doubt chief subverter Phillip Davies will play a leading role in this. If you don’t know who he is then you can read all about him here.

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Philip Davies – Ex cop and CA subverter.

Finally they get to the real point of the letter – they just want some money. This whole debacle is nothing more that a begging letter!. How terribly sad. Now correct me if I’m wrong but I was always under the impression that the CA weren’t short of a bob or two, especially considering the number of MP’s they have in their pockets and the number of millionaires which seem to hunt. I think one could safely assume if they needed some extra cash they’d be banging on the doors of a few of their wealthy members and asking for a handout, perhaps all is not well on the cash flow front?

Irrespective of all of the above this is likely to be a major embarrassment for the CA and the complete buffoon at their helm, Tim Bonner. Of course Bonner should be well used to cocking up by now, he’s the CA’s version Boris Johnson.

When you go into battle it’s usually a good idea not to let your enemy know your plans and the CA have unintentionally laid theirs out for all to see. Let’s see how this all pans out . . .

 

Bank holidays are normally spent either recovering from the excess of a weekend (in my case I was still a little fragile from a big Saturday) or getting stuff done at home which had otherwise managed to avoid your attentions. Except this last bank holiday Monday thousands took to the streets of London to remind old Cruella De May that hunting with hounds had no place in modern society.

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Photo from ITV.com

I met up with some of the rest of our group to represent Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs and with our flag proudly blowing the breeze we joined many other sab groups, hunt monitors, members of the public and a smattering of celebs to march through London to make our voices heard. It was a noisy but good natured affair arranged by Keep the Ban, with lots of horns, whistles, chants and the occasional gizmo being played as we marched from Cavendish Square through central London to Downing Street. Those not involved cheered and clapped as we walked by to show their support while many stopped to take photos on their phones.

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Grim

It was the polar opposite to when the Countryside Alliance had a street war with the police when the ban came into effect. No dead animals were left on the streets and there was no violence, just a peaceful demonstration. And this sums up the differences between the two sides perfectly. One is all about compassion for our fellow creatures and the other violence. Violence against those unable to defend themselves and violence against anyone who opposes them.

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Hunt scum fight with the police.

Understandably there was lots of media attention, here are a few reports.

The Metro

Evening Standard

The Mirror

The Independent 

ITV

You’ll notice no BBC. You’d think this would be a news worthy story and yet zilch, nada, nothing. They were even covering another event only a short distance away so could easily have done both. However the BBC are now so firmly under the control of the Government that they are clearly refusing to cover anything which will portray Cruella in a bad light. Perhaps you’d like to complain about their, quite frankly, scandalous coverage of the election as a whole. You can do so here.

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Protester as far as you could see.

Another amusing nugget of info came from the clowns on the other side. I won’t grace them with a link however they claimed (through the use of a photo which clearly didn’t portray the reality of the situation) that the police outweighed the protesters by 2 – 1 and was a complete flop. All I can say is that London would have been devoid of police and probably a few of the home counties as well if that was the case. It’s actually laughable that these goons believe the crap they come out with. Any fool on the day could see it was a huge success with the march being out of sight both front and back from my place somewhere in the middle. Actual figures quoted range from 2000 to as many 5000. It’s probably somewhere in the middle.

Of course the boys in blue never miss an opportunity for a bit of intelligence gathering but you have to expect that sort of thing at any anti-government event.

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Sergeant Watson and his camera.

All in all a good day for those exercising their right to demonstrate against a manifesto pledge by a party which is clearly run by the few, for the few. The potential repeal of the Hunting Act is only one of numerous reasons any normal person could list as being a reason not to vote Tory on June the 8th. Do the decent thing, when it’s your time to make that mark vote for change and a compassionate Government who will benefit the many.

Continuing on my theme from last week and putting the record straight with regards to Bonner and the Countryside Alliance I thought it only necessary to dive further into their history with regards to their obsession with sabs and monitors. What helped me most was the acquisition of an internal memo sent by Bonner (in conjunction with Simon Hart) in 2009 to Stephen Lambert (board member of the CA) and Alastair Jackson (previous Chairman of the MFHA) with a plan on how they could potentially reduce the risk of being caught illegally hunting.

Tim Lawson Cruttenden

Timothy Lawson Cruttenden

The idea was to employ the legal expert Timothy Lawson Cruttenden, once described as “an enemy of free speech who had a history bringing legal action against activists and protesters and specialised in harassment law, to bring about a state of play which would hugely reduce the capability of all fox hunt monitoring by organisations or individuals by the use of the civil injunction. See the memo below:

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Pay special attention to the 3 main points highlighted. Burden of proof is based on probability rather than reasonable doubt, no defence for detecting or preventing crime and allowing the complainant to set the terms with obvious results for future monitoring. Also note that this trial case “would try to impose conditions on all monitoring of all hunts”.

You don’t have to be a legal expert to understand that there is a clear attempt here to subvert the real course of justice and a clear attempt at handicapping those who seek to bring them to justice via sinister, but legal means. It also highlights the lengths the CA were prepared to go to in allowing hunts to continue to hunt illegally without having to risk being taken to court.

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It makes quite interesting reading, especially when noting the potential cost of such a legal action, estimated to be in the £10 -20K range. This is no small sum and certainly well out of the reach of any normal person and we’ll cover more on that shortly. So how did history record the events that followed?

Wikipedia notes this:

The Crawley and Horsham hunt launched a legal action in the High Court for trespass, nuisance, and harassment against Simon and Jane Wild of West Sussex Wildlife Protection and West Sussex Badger Protection Group. The hunt used Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, an expert in the use of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 in such cases. This was viewed as a test case and received support from the Countryside Alliance, the Master of Foxhounds Association and 80 landowners and if successful was planned to lead to a request for an injunction against everyone associated with these groups from interfering with the hunt. The defendants claimed to have evidence of illegal hunting taking place and were asking the court to accept this as a defence to the Harassment Act action. The original judge, Justice Cranston stepped down in July 2008 due to earlier comments made in support of the ban made while an MP. During the second trial it was reported that the judge dismissed nuisance and trespass, because they had “fundamental defects”, leaving only harassment. It was also reported that the protestors, using an undercover infiltrator, had been able to get hold of conclusive evidence that the claimants were engaged in illegal fox hunting. The principle plaintiff, Simon Greenwood, was filmed using his hounds to chase a fox to ground and then call in terrier-men to dig it out and throw it to the hounds The plaintiffs dropped the case, and agreed to pay costs estimated at over £120,000.

Bonner, Hart and all involved failed completely in their attempted action. In doing so the costs they were forced to pay were significant and it would appear that when Lawson Cruttendan estimated the cost of such an injunction he was significantly wide of the mark, from £20K to an incredible £120K! The fact that the CA probably didn’t have any trouble paying the huge costs says something about the financial might they can call on however being rich doesn’t always solve your problems.

The ramifications of this would continue to rumble on within the CA for several years to come. Internal emails I gained from CA employees claim;Many hours have been spent reconciling something that was ill conceived from the beginning” and “The architect of this doomed and financially disastrous case, Tim Bonner, has a lot to answer for”. Further to this there seemed to be some confusion as to who was actually responsible for the management of the case as all concerned seemed to be denying it was them. Lord Mancroft (famous for calling NHS nurses “grubby, drunken and promiscuous”) was noted as saying:

“Unfortunately the CA did not have management of the case, it was not well managed and so it has ended badly. If the CA were not in charge of the management, who was, as it was neither the Crawley & Horsham (by their own admittance) nor the MFHA – the last had nothing to do with it and expressed grave reservations about going forward from the outset”.

When we see these monumental CA cock-ups from the inside and see how they shouted from the roof tops about the changes to the face covering laws I covered in my last blog entry you start to understand why they got so excited about something so minor. Makes you wonder what other hair brained schemes Bonner will come up with next and why he even holds a senior position within the CA if he’s as incompetent as he appears. Irrespective of that, these revelations only further my belief that the CA are a truly sinister organisation who will stop at nothing to further their agenda by fair means or foul and are prepared to spend a significant amount of money in doing so. In this instance justice was done and the right outcome achieved however this may not always be the case. It was a relief that their recent attempt to gain charitable status also failed, quite frankly how any organisation can claim to be charity and yet who’s main purpose for existence is the promotion of blood sports is beyond me.