Posts Tagged ‘Hunt Sab’

For those of you who get the regular updates you’ll be aware of the operations undertaken over the last few weeks involving the targeting of illegal Mink hunts across the country which, I’m glad to say, we successfully disrupted. The last operation was particularly interesting mainly due to the excessive police involvement from the West Mercia force. This became of particular interest, as a law abiding tax payer I like to know how my hard earned cash is being spent so a Freedom of Information Request to the West Mercia Force asking for their policing costs for that single operation.

Today I got their response.

Total policing hours: 35

Cost: £661.59

Police helicopter: Airborne for 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Cost: £2770.50

Additional costs would have been incurred in the control room but as they were dealing with multiple incidents they cannot specify costs.

I would imagine there would also have been additional costs in terms of fuel for the police vehicles, we counted 10 separate vehicles at different times during the operation and allowing for various other costs not specified I think it would be safe to say the overall costs would have been in excess of £3500.

West Mercia Police – Spending your cash

I don’t know about you but that seems like a lot of money. What makes these costs even more galling is that it was in support of an illegal activity. There’s no argument about the previous point, the hunt themselves even admitted on the phone to the police they were hunting, not exercising hounds, not going on a nice run in the countryside, not engaging in any other lawful activity.

They were hunting, with dogs, in contravention of the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004.

Of course it’s difficult to deny the activity when you have spades for digging out your quarry and terriers to send down holes but the stupidity of openly admitting your guilt beggar’s belief. Unless of course you know you’re not going to get prosecuted. Not only not get prosecuted but have the police spend thousands of pounds acting as personal security.

If that doesn’t sound wrong then you’re either an immoral hunter or just not comprehending the issue.

I’m not sure what’s worse here, the fact that illegal hunting continues with an annoying level of impunity or the fact their protection is being paid for by a largely unsuspecting general public. Most people I talk to honestly believe that this type of hunting is a thing of the past since the act came into force and they’re astonished when they find out it still goes on. Figures released in the last few days show prosecutions under the act are at their highest level since coming into force (110 individuals in 2013) with the numbers showing a distinct upward trend but this is largely down to the various dedicated groups obtaining the required evidence to gain these prosecutions and little to do with effective policing. The Act is far from perfect but it’s what we have to work with until it can be improved.

So if you’re feeling a bit peeved with the situation maybe give West Mercia Police a call and ask why they’re spending so much of your money protecting criminals and not enforcing a piece of legislation supported by over 80% of the population.

If you get a response let me know.

As a general rule the hunting season starts in the autumn when the hunts train their hounds to kill in the grim and largely undercover “cubbing” season and ends at the start of spring. This means sabs can expect to get cold, wet and muddy most of the time they’re in the field so a bit of action in the summer months should at least be a bit easier in terms of climate. But of course this is England and where the weather is concerned nothing can be taken for granted. Still we’re generally a hardy bunch and dressed for purposed so a bit of rain wasn’t likely to affect the outcome when we paid a visit to the Teme Valley Min Hounds.

West Mercia Police - Money to burn!

West Mercia Police – Money to burn!

This pack have only been in existence since 2007 and have never been targeted before so no doubt it all came as a bit of a shock to them and an experience they’re unlikely to forget. The meet was at the Bridge Pub in Stanford Bridge, Worcestershire (drop them a line, perhaps they can explain why they promote illegal hunting) and upon our arrival we immediately decamped and went after the hunt on foot who were in the adjacent fields. A chase across a few muddy fields and we were soon in amongst them, the followers, complete with spades and terriers decided to make themselves scarce. The hounds seem so friendly and always love the attention and affection they receive from the sabs. They clearly get none for the rest of the time and its nonsense that they wouldn’t make fine pets given the right situation. Unfortunately most will only live a fraction of their lives. They’ll be shot once they’re unable to keep up and fed to the rest of the pack. This can be as soon as they’re just 6 years old and those that show no aptitude for hunting don’t even make it that far.

We even had a bear in the air.

We even had a bear in the air.

With the hunt now is full retreat they were boxed up but not before a sab had been threatened with a knife. The video below shows the incident. West Mercia Police, an organisation I’ve had the misfortune to deal with on several occasions previously during the badger cull once again showed their bias by providing an escort for the hound vehicle and bringing the town centre to a complete standstill while they checked all the relevant details. They clearly have money to spare as there were in total 10 police vehicles in attendance along with the helicopter overhead for a significant amount of time. I think it’s always nice to know where your hard earned taxes are being spent. Considering the hunt even told the police on the telephone they were illegally hunting (well they admitted to hunting mink with hounds contrary to the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004) you’d think our boys (and girls) in blue could have worked out for themselves what needed to be done. Still in the end the sun came out, we won the day and it might just give the hunt second thoughts about going out again because, and just in case anyone connected with the hunt is reading this, you’re likely to get another visit soon. It was another great co-operation between various sab groups and it was good to catch up with old friends from Three Counties Hunt Sabs who I’d worked with extensively during the cull and who gave me my baptism of fire when I tagged along with them to spoil the Ledbury Hunt’s day back in January.

Finally we’d like to apologise to Charles & Kirsty who were getting married in Tedstone Delamere and had some disruption to their day. It wasn’t us who closed the road, that was down to West Mercia Police but you looked good in your period open topped car. Hope you had a good day.

We’re almost there! A few more bob and we’ll have our own vehicle. To donate click here.

The type of comment or abuse directed at you as an active sab tends to be of a similar ilk. You’re generally classed as a workshy layabout who’s generally high on some sort of narcotic and the last time you had a wash was when you fell in the river due to excessive refreshment all funded by the hunters hard earned tax pounds. However last weekend I witnessed a new one. On our arrival at the meet location we were asked if any of us spoke English.

Well I may not be Shakespeare but I’m fairly confident my grasp of our native tongue is enough not to be considered to be from foreign shores. Who did they expect? Perhaps this is a UKIP stronghold? I found this a very strange comment to say the least but then I find the idea of chasing an animal to exhaustion before being ripped apart by dogs or, if it’s lucky a single gun shot to the head a rather unpleasant way to spend a day in the countryside. Of course in due course the usual insults of “you’re all parasites” and “maggots” got the standard airing, hardly any imagination shown there at all and I’m pretty sure in their shoes I could come up with something much more artistic. The irony of all their stereotyping and narrow minded opinions is clear to see in the pictures and videos. If you wanted to create a stereotypical landowning hunter/follower they would all fall neatly into the demographic with little in the way of variation whereas the sabs I’ve met have covered a vast and varied section of society.

Insert your own caption, I have no words.

Insert your own caption, I have no words.

I wonder how many hunters spewing forth their verbal bile in my direction would believe I’m a 40 something professional who’s almost paid off his mortgage through hard work and long hours and an education likely to exceed many of those doing the insulting? Anyway, I digress.

Several sabs groups once again joined forces and decided it was the turn of the Northants Mink Hounds to get a visit. We chased them from their intended hunting ground back to the meet where they boxed up the hounds and called the police. The police had little idea what to do (apart from discuss the variations in combat trousers) even though the hunt tried to encourage them to arrest us for all manner of offences including carry acid in our bottles. The fact they had personnel carrying firearms and spades was clearly overlooked and I didn’t realise such equipment was necessary when exercising a pack of hounds. Dangerous place you know this countryside of ours. Anyway after a standoff they admitted defeat and went for a picnic but we kept our eyes on them just in case, all under the usual torrent of monosyllabic abuse.

Just for fun I made a little video of the day, a collection of scenes which you may find interesting. Enjoy!

 

Beds and Bucks Hunt Sabs need funding for a vehicle. Please help in any way you can. If you can’t donate then please share. Click here.

 

It doesn’t really seem to matter what the species, it could fly in the air, run in our fields, climbs the trees in our woodland or swim in the seas and rivers, somewhere there will be someone calling for a cull of some sort to protect their interests. Last week Natural England finally grew a pair and denied the request to kill Buzzards to protect game shooting interests. The very fact that this estate and the keepers on it had the front to request an application to cull says everything about them; arrogant and completely lacking in any ecological understanding. Pheasants represent the largest biomass of birds in the country, with 40 million or so birds released every year only to be blasted from the sky by a select, privileged few or to meet another grizzly end under the wheels of cars or starvation as they have little idea on how to survive without the help of man. Those shot rarely even make it to the dining table, we simply cannot consume that many so most will end up in a stink pit dug in an out of the way area of a shooting estate. The impact of the Buzzard is minimal to say the least, around 3% according to statistics but I suspect they already know this and just want to wipe out any natural predators from the estate. I’ll leave this subject with a link to the excellent blog from Mark Avery who can explain the issue in a far more eloquent manner than myself. Please sign the petition included on his site. (Click here)

Now I’m hearing that there is call for a cull of seals in the West Country. The fishermen say they’re having an impact on their livelihood. Well, quite frankly tough shit. Seals eat fish, everyone knows that and you can’t expect to put it on a plate and then for them to not adapt. Perhaps if we hadn’t raped the seas quite so badly there’d be more fish to go round and the seals wouldn’t need to find their food in this manner.

The arguments always seem to be the same regardless of species, the population is out of control . . . we can’t survive economically if we don’t cull . . . they’re the cause of disease . . . other species are suffering due to them. It is of course all complete nonsense and propaganda devised to get Joe Public on side and while it pains me to see how little many people seem to care there is enough of us to know the truth and seek to get these facts into the public domain and take direct action should it be required.

Dead Seal, illegally killed

Dead Seal, illegally killed

The shooting of seals buy the Scottish Wild Salmon Company was expertly brought to an end by fine work from both the Hunt Saboteurs and Sea Shepherd recently and any attempt at a repeat performance in other parts of the UK will be faced with similar operations. If we as a species cannot adapt our lifestyles in order to fit in with the larger environmental picture then we don’t deserve to exist at all. Economic interests should NEVER take precedence over the natural world. We’re far too quick to reach for the gun when other non-lethal means may be at our disposal.

In other news I can but keep both my finger and toes crossed in the hope David Cameron finally sees some sort of sense and gets rid of Owen Paterson as Environment Secretary in the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. He’s been a complete disaster from day one and with the election coming up and the Tories desperate to regain some of their recent loses Cameron should be looking to make the party as electable as possible. Of course his replacement could well be equally incompetent, arrogant or pig headed, it is after all the Tories we’re talking about.

My final comment isn’t environmental at all. I just wanted to pay my respects to someone who made me howl with laughter throughout my teens as a student and into later life through a whole host of characters brought to life in manner only he could. Rik Mayall you will be missed. It’s only right Ade Edmondson gets the final word.

“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing.”

“They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.”

“And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.”

WOOF!

WOOF!