Posts Tagged ‘Hunt Saboteurs Association’

Last week on the One Show there was a piece about hunting and those that monitor the hunts in their own time. The Cheshire Monitors took part in the filming of this and you can see what they thought about what was aired on their facebook page plus you can also watch the piece itself if you haven’t already.

The major talking point however came from Countryside Alliance spokesperson Polly Portwin. When questioned on the presence of masked up men on quad bikes following the hunt she claimed they were there to mend fences, they carried tools for that job in the boxes on their quads and they were in fact masked up to protect themselves from dust. It’s a shame the program makers didn’t challenge this and in fact stop one of the terrier men present and ask to have a look in their box.

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Polly “Pinocchio” Portwin

Even by the CA’s standard this is laughable. Do they really expect the viewer to believe this unmitigated tripe? Even a casual observer with no real knowledge of the issue could see through these contemptuous claims and the evidence to the contrary is, to say the least, overwhelming.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association were quick to reply with 2 separate posts from their press officer, Lee Moon:

The Countryside Alliance claimed on The One Show tonight that Hunt terrier men use the metal boxes on their quads to carry tools to mend fences. These photos prove their lie. They carry terriers on their quads to corner foxes below ground that are then dug out and shot or thrown to the hounds.

The presence of terrier men on hunts proves the lie of trail hunting.

And also:

“The Countryside Alliance claimed on The One Show that Hunt terrier men wear masks to protect themselves from dust. These photos prove their lie. Terrier men and Hunt supporters wear masks to intimidate, threaten and assault anyone who tries to disrupt their bloodsport.

The presence of terrier men on hunts proves the lie of trail hunting”.

To see original posts click here and here.

These posts were accompanied by a selection of photographs (some of which you will have already seen on this blog) utterly disproving the nonsense the CA were spouting.

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Oakley Terrie Man Neil Young.

CA CEO Tim Bonner is also well known for spouting a similar amount of utter drivel and is obsessed with the issue of anti-hunt personnel hiding their identities (for legitimate reasons) and I’ve covered this many times in the past. His recent behaviour on Twitter also leaves a lot to be desired, particularly his comments regarding mental health and Chris Packham.

The CA is a truly insidious organisation. An organisation which will openly lie in an effort to try and claim their members aren’t breaking the law and will use any and all measures to discredit those who stand against them. They may have plenty of money and people with influence in their pocket but an overwhelming number of the general public stand against them and, given time, they will be shown up for what they really are. The rubbish spouted on the One Show is just another example that this failing organisation are becoming more and more desperate and will soon need the Fire Brigade to put out all those underwear fires.

 

Something a little different for this blog post.

Becoming involved in the protection of wildlife through direct action can be a big step. I remember my first sab quite clearly and well, the rest as they say is history but I thought it may be interesting to get a newbies perspective after their first year on the front line against the hunters. So here it is, over to Titch . . .

I write this guest piece for MoreThanJustBadgers to mark a personal anniversary. Last Saturday was a year to the day since I first sabbed a fox hunt with my local group.
Before then, I was sat comfortably in my bubble of naivety. I had voted in the general election of 2001 guided by the prospect of a Hunting Act, having seen it pass into law I had thought that was that. Not until the Hunt Saboteurs Association managed to get into my twitter feed at the end of 2016, did I realise any differently.

Within a fortnight I was joining up with associates in the cause of animal welfare, learning the ways and language of the hunt, as well as the real reason for keeping your distance from heavily set, self-appointed, amateur ‘stewards’ (I’d have written something far less polite – Ed).

Over this past year I have been privileged to have campaigned and taken part in direct action against fox hunts, mink hunts, wild bird shoots and badger culling. I’ve witnessed untold numbers of animals escape with their freedom under the watch of sabs, and I have also sadly seen the deaths of some unfortunate creatures too. I’ve worked with people from the length and breadth of the UK, as well as activists from Europe too.

I learned that being vegan alone was not enough. Simply not taking part, allows horrors to be committed against animals week in week out. Compassionate and thoughtful people are needed to take a stand, to prevent what acts of cruelty they can, and to shine a light on what they can’t.

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The sun sets on another successful sab.

During the year I have been punched, kicked, threatened with weapons, driven at by quads and various 4×4’s, informed that I am going to be arrested, beaten up or even killed. I’ve seen friends beaten, bloodied, whipped and even arrested. I’ve spent time in muddy fields and wading streams, as well as in police interview rooms giving statements. Hunt sabbing has been exhilarating, as well as at times dangerous, but ultimately always rewarding and worthwhile.

The one constant throughout my first year of activism has been the unwavering attitudes of hunters. Every week they assemble, 11am sharp wearing the same dated outfits and following the same tired routines. They profess to be continuing their tradition, but in reality this is a rut. An endless cycle of pretence and theatrics constructed to deny the advance of time and sensibility. The same tired clichés are heard, “we’re hunting within the law, you antis spray hounds with acid and pull children off horses”, and so on. After attending a shade under 40 hunts in my first year, I have not once witnessed a trail being laid.

Policing has been variable at best. With some notable exceptions, most police officers have been content to turn their back on any reports of illegality by organised hunts, in favour of preserving public order. Of course, from a police officer’s point of view, thirty smartly dressed people riding horses in a field is perfectly good ‘public order’. Hunt sabs turning up and making a scene immediately brings that precious public order into question and on go the blue lights.

Will I still be sabbing this time next year? Almost certainly so. In five years? It’s certainly a possibility given the speed of change this country. Any further that that only time, and the House of Commons and future governments, will tell . . .

While the Countryside Alliance and the shooting lobby frantically clamor to produce some kind of evidence to support their claims that shooting is good for conservation (see here) the rest of us can see with our own eyes that shooting estates and Grouse moors in particular are only really good for one thing, shooting Grouse, lots and lots of Grouse. Claims that predator control (control always means killing but that doesn’t sound quite so acceptable) benefit other species is in fact just a secondary consequence of what the main purpose really is – to produce an unnaturally high population of Grouse.

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Grouse moors don’t have balanced ecosystems. While the Hen Harriers and raptors in particular are the main species for concern we shouldn’t also forget that all predatory species are persecuted, some legally, some not. Foxes, Stoats, Weasels and Badgers will all fall victim to the traps, snares and gamekeepers guns. Mountain Hares will be killed in their thousands (see here) just because the shooting lobby believe they have the potential to spread disease to their precious Grouse stocks. This kind of slaughter is immoral in the extreme and once again highlights the lack of empathy and Victorian thinking these estates and their employee have.

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A massacre, nothing less.

Of course this kind of species eradication will have a cascade effect on the ecology of that environment. Golden Eagles will have to target other species to find food or move away from the area (is they haven’t already been poisoned or shot). We cannot let this kind of mentality to continue.

So what can you do?

It’ll be the 12th of August on Saturday. Among the shooting fraternity it’s known as the Glorious 12th – the opening day of the Grouse shooting season (Mark Avery wrote a book on the subject with a more accurate title “Inglorious” see here). It will also be the day that thousands of people will march from Cavendish Square to Downing Street to show their disgust that Grouse Shooting, Badger Culling and Hunting with Hounds still takes place. Why not go along and lend your support. There will be a whole host of speakers from all corners of conservation, politics, public figures and wildlife protection. See the speaking list and order below. I’m sure it will be a great day.

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Cavendish Square – 1pm to 1.30pm

Mark Avery – wildlife writer and campaigner

Philip Mansbridge – Director IFAW UK

Natalie Bennett – Former Leader Green Party

Mark Jones – Associate Director Born Free Foundation

Nigel Palmer – Save Me

Paula – Hunt SABS Association

 

Richmond Terrace – 2.45 – 3.30pm

Chris Packham – Naturalist & Broadcaster

Peter Egan – Actor & Animal Welfare Campaigner

Will Travers OBE – President Born Free Foundation

Philippa King – Acting CEO League Against Cruel Sports

Portia Landry – Hunt Investigation Team

Dominic Dyer CEO Badger Trust

 

Alternatively if you don’t want to travel to London and you fancy a walk in the countryside why not go to a Grouse moor. Take the dog for a walk, bring some friends, hell if it’s a nice day take a packed lunch and make a day of it. Many are open access and there are public rights of way. What you might see are lots of expensive 4×4’s, posh folk wearing tweed or Barbour coats and flat caps, you might also bump into me. What you won’t see are any raptors or mammalian predators. They’ve all been killed. If you happen upon a shoot why not go and voice your objections in a polite manner, explain to them that their actions are unacceptable in a modern society. It would also be a huge shame if their days shooting was ruined and they’d wasted their thousands of pounds to be there.

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Gamekeepers stink or midden pile.

The wild areas of this land and the animals that live there are under threat. Iconic species will be wiped from existence if we don’t take back control from a vociferous and well funded tiny minority. We have the power to make change and it has to start now.

 

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.