Posts Tagged ‘Hunt Supporters’

Well after a brief break from blogging and another trip north of the border in what had to be the coldest week of the summer (it barely got above 13-14°C for the whole week) I’m back to catch up with whats been going on.

One story which obviously came to my attention was the death of 10 hounds and the injury to a cyclist after the collision with a car. The hounds in question belonged to the Cottesmore Hunt, you may remember them from a season ago when their terrier men assaulted sabs and one of their supporters brandished a heavy chain, swinging it wildly like a maniac which could have caused serious injury had it connected with its intended target  (incidentally no charges were forthcoming from Leicestershire Police, surprise surprise).

Obviously no-one from either side of the hunting debate would wish a tragic event like this but one has to question the reality of the situation and the reaction from supporters of hunting. While I don’t know the full details the hunt supporters were very quick to apportion blame, both on the driver of the vehicle and, you guessed it – sabs.

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Where the incident happened

It’s very easy to jump to conclusion without knowing the full facts however having observed hounds being exercised and transferred along country roads you have to question the sense and logic behind how this takes place. Having a kennel man on a bicycle with a whip on what is likely to be a bendy country road with a full pack of hounds (probably at least 15 couple) is obviously a recipe for disaster. Dogs do not have any idea of road safety and that many hounds could easily fill a narrow country lane and with these on a blind bend then the outcome is hardly surprising. This isn’t the first time hounds have been killed while being exercised (see here ) and I have no doubt it won’t be the last. Was the driver speeding as the hunt supporters claim or were they merely an innocent party going about their business who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

What was even more laughable were the claims that this was actually the work of sabs. Just think about that for a moment. A sab intentionally drove their vehicle at speed into a pack of hounds.

To say it’s utterly ridiculous is an understatement.

First off most sabs are vegans. Harming any animal goes against the very ethos of veganism and the ideal by which we live. We believe hounds are as big a victim of hunting as the animals they are trained and forced to hunt. Even ignoring this the legal ramifications of potentially losing ones license make the stupidity of those actions only bettered by the morons who suggested it in the first place. Here are a few of those comments posted on a pro hunting Facebook group.

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Aren’t they all just wonderful? One has to question where and how this rumour started? The same old tired and jaded stereotypical opinions such as claims of being hypocrits and their usual favourite (terrorists) are being wheeled out once more without any shred of evidence to support the claims but then this is of course nothing new and hardly unexpected.

As it turns out this proved to be somewhat of an embarrassment for that particular group and it had to delete all the comments blaming sabs and publish a post contradicting all those slathering hunt supporters looking to blame.

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Well at least that’s cleared up then but was the driver really out of control? It should also be noted that the driver of the vehicle hasn’t been charged with any traffic offences so the police clearly believe none had taken place which would suggest the claims by the hunt that they were out of control are also innacurate. Regardless of that what are the necessary requirement for exercising a large number of hound on a public road? I’m fairly sure Joe public would’t be allowed to walk a large number of dogs who weren’t controlled by a lead on a public highway. As hunting hounds come under the classification of working dogs the same laws don’t apply – perhaps they should.

Finally the longest hunting case in history (I made that up but it certainly feels like it) will be resolved on the 14th January 2019, a full 3 years after the offence took place. This will be the appeal of convicted Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams. Let’s hope we can get this written into case law at the crown court and finally the ridiculous Bird of Prey Exemption can be written into history.

 

The Countryside Alliance and particularly their Chief Executive Tim Bonner have been banging on about sabs & monitors covering their faces for as long as I can remember. I first commented on the subject here. It’s certainly something which has got under their skin to the point of obsession so when the laws regarding face covering were modified recently they once again shouted from the roof tops to anyone who was listening that they’d gained some sort of victory.

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Oakley Hunt Terrier Men.

Their headline of “New power to remove face coverings from violent protesters comes into effect today” suggests a radical change in police powers however the modification to the Section 60AA legislation is only minor and certainly won’t change anything from the point of view of those who wish to remain anonymous from the CA and their intelligence gatherers. Previously for a Section 60AA to be used it had to be requested and then authorised from an officer of Inspector rank or above and the relevant paperwork signed before it could be enforced. Now this order can be given orally by the senior officer at the request of officers on the ground.

It’s not hard to understand why the CA want to know the identities of those who stand against them. They hold files on all sorts of people from monitors to sabs and LACS employees. This is so, should the need arise they can try to discredit, undermine or even use this information for more sinister purposes by passing it on to the hunts and their thugs which the activists operate against. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had my photo taken by hunters and their supporters. They are clearly under instruction to do so at every opportunity and these will be passed on to the CA so a database of their activities can be built up over time. I imagine my own file is fairly large.

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Masked hunt supporter taking my photo (again).

So, what is the reality of the situation?

Well, nothing really changes. You’ll note in the headline the words “violent protesters”. The police can’t simply turn up at a hunt and demand all those wearing face masks remove them, they still have to justify this order in the same way as previously and simply wearing a face covering isn’t justification. Of course the CA and Bonner like to claim that sabs are violent protesters but the truth of the matter is the complete opposite.

Firstly sabs are not protesters. They are there to stop hunts from illegally killing mammals in direct contravention of the Hunting with Dogs Act. The hunts themselves are more accurately described as the ones protesting as they are openly flouting a law that they disagree with. Secondly sabs are non-violent. They gain nothing from acting in a manner which would detract from their main purpose and in all likelihood lose them the support of the general public. Of course we’re fully entitled to protect ourselves from violent assaults and will do so but it simply isn’t in our interests to act like thugs, we leave that to the hunting fraternity.

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More hunt thugs

Speaking of which we can now look forward to all the hunt thugs and terrier men being unmasked but notice how the CA and Bonner deny all knowledge of the existence of these people? The silence from Bonner et al regarding all the violence from the hunting side which made the national media several times this past season speaks volumes. The hypocrisy involved here really is astounding. In Bonner’s recent statement he says;

There are only two reasons for wearing masks and face-coverings in the context of a protest: to intimidate and harass, and to hide identity with the intention of committing criminal offences and avoiding prosecution”.

Now remember that sabs aren’t the ones protesting and apply what he says to the pro hunting side. I find it highly amusing the CA are attempting to hold the moral high ground here and even when they put together a short video on Twitter which is alleged to show sab violence they can’t really come up with anything substantive. I can say without doubt that any of the sab groups across the country could come up with hours upon hours of footage of hunters, supporter and “stewards” acting violently towards people and property. It is, quite frankly, laughable. Bonner can harp on all he likes, the reality is that perhaps now we’ll get more convictions against the terrier men and the violent thugs the hunts employ and if the police try and apply the rules in a hunt situation it will apply to all concerned and not just from one side.

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Tim Bonner, wearing a face covering while watching a hunt.

The tweet below sums up Bonner & the CA perfectly so I’ll finish with that. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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I get quite a few messages to my blog, thankfully the vast majority offering help, support or just good wishes. Sometimes of course I’ll get the occasional threat and abuse which to be honest is to be expected and water off a ducks back to me. I generally ignore them, they are largely written by intellectually challenged halfwits and are an affront to the English language let alone my own sensibilities. However one person is showing some persistence with their implied threats so I thought for once I’d get this one out in the open.

This is a screen shot from my email client and was sent to me via the contact page on this site.

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Lets break this down.

“We know it’s you”. Well done Sherlock, what do you want a prize? I know it’s me too. I’m well known by most of the hunting community. All you’d have to do is go to any of the local hunts and ask, they’d tell you. The Countryside Alliance probably have a significant file on me. I even went further afield to sab a beagle pack once and was spoken to by the huntsman by my first name (he also called me the most knowledgeable anti in East Anglia – go me!)

So you also think you know where I work, good, why not pop along for a chat, let me know in advance though so I can get you signed in.

You also fish? Hypocrit much? Well the link you supplied was from 2009, that’s hardly recent. Like many people I have had a history which included some fishing. Some sabs have even come from hunting backgrounds and like them I’ve seen the error of my ways and made changes to my lifestyle. Now I live as cruelty free as I can, I’m a vegan and have been for quite some time. Perhaps you need to update your searches.

“You can’t fool us”. OK, I’m not actually trying to fool anyone. The only fool here is you although the “us” implies there’s more than one of you which is probably true. The more brain cells engaged the better eh?

“We know who you and most of your friends are”. Yes, yes, you’ve said that already. Unlike you I don’t need constant reinforcement to absorb information. What else have you got?

“Why mask up when we know you anyway? And where you live and work?” This is a real giveaway. You see, I don’t mask up, purely for the reason you so eloquently explained. You’re clearly a bit slow and for that I feel sorry for you. Life must be hard when your intellectual equal is in the salad bowl.

Here’s another thing. There you are, mashing wildly away at the keyboard with your pork sausage fingers (this has to be the case for the offensively poor grammar and punctuation) making claims and veiled threats when you’re the one hiding, using a false email address (although bringiton@hotmail.com was viable for a while) and using a fake name. Can you see the irony in that? Do I need to post an explanation link so you can look it up?

So there you have it ladies and gents, the average hunt supporter. To hunt sab or Bob or whatever your name is, if you want to come out into the open then feel free, otherwise I’d suggest you crawl back under whatever stone you live and think about how embarrassing it must be to be so socially retarded and despised by the vast majority of the population. Here, have a facepalm.

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So I’ve been a bit lazy in the current updates department recently, this was largely due to wanting to see how things were panning out before I started to draw any conclusions and I also got a case of the dreaded lurgy so haven’t been out in the field but I should be fighting fit once again fairly soon.

When I read through the updates on a Saturday evening from the sab groups all over the UK there is always a common theme and it got me thinking as to why this is allowed to go on. It’s the typical antics from the hunt supporters and their employees – blocking roads, abuse, threatening behaviour, criminal damage and even violence. They are not isolated incidents and happen every week, without fail.

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Attempting to block the road

So lets just change things round for a moment and consider the police response.

If a group of people wished to observe something from a public highway then you would expect them not to act in a way which could be dangerous to other road users or impede those going about their lawful business. Why should the law be different in the countryside from that of the town centres? If this group were being openly aggressive, hurling abuse and actively blocking the road to others then why aren’t the police moving them on or making arrests, there is certainly the legislation in place for them to do so? Imagine a town centre and a group of rowdy individuals gobbing off and looking for trouble, in no time at all there’d be a significant police response. Football clubs have to pay towards the policing of their matches, perhaps hunts should do the same and then maybe they might be inclined to suggest their supporters behave themselves, they do, after all, pay to watch (amazing isn’t it, paying to watch something from a public highway) just like a football supporter.

Then you have these so called “Stewards”. They have no official credibility. Wearing an armband and waving meaningless bits of paper about doesn’t give them special powers whether they have been officially requested by the hunt or not. They have no more power than anyone else. They have to have express written authority from the landowner to even just act on their behalf and that doesn’t include blocking rights of way and assaulting people. Minimum force means virtually no force at all in a trespass situation and as nearly all hunts are hunting illegally any citizen can access that land to stop a criminal act taking place.

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These people are always so welcoming

So this begs the question why do the police respond in the way they do?

Now the police forces around the country vary hugely. I believe we’re making good progress on my home patch of Bedfordshire although there’s still significant work to be done but elsewhere it seems the police show little inclination or desire to truly understand what they are dealing with and this is where I believe the problem lies.

Whenever you speak to an officer they will, very early in the conversation say something along the lines of “I’m not allowed an opinion on Hunting, I have to remain impartial”. And this is the root of the problem. The very definition of a police officers is a person who is there to uphold the law and bring to justice those who defy it. They would appear to be overly concerned that applying very basic laws to the hunting side regarding the behaviour of their support and followers would be construed as being biased in favour of those who oppose hunting and so let them act in a way which simply wouldn’t be tolerated in any other situation. Perhaps they’ve had instructions from further up the chain of command? Perhaps they simply aren’t able to properly assess and deal with the situation or maybe there is some sort of institutionalised prejudice against sabs and monitors?

Remember, we’re not talking about the prosecution of the hunt here. Someone once told me that you have to think of the police as a business and their product is prosecutions. Now we know getting a prosecution for illegal hunting is very hard indeed and this I believe, is why the police show little interest, there’s a lot of effort involved with little chance of success however prosecuting those involved with threatening and violent behaviour should be relatively straightforward. There is literally hours and hours of footage every week showing criminal behaviour and this brings me once again to the use of the Section 35 Dispersal Order. Full details of this can be found here (Section 35) but the important part to note reads thus:

Two conditions need to be met for a direction to be given:

the officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person in the locality has contributed or is likely to contribute to –

(a) members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or

(b) the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder.

The officer considers that giving a direction to the person is necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder.

Now as far as I’m concerned pretty much all those criteria are fulfilled when considering the Stewards or supporters. Remove these people from the equation and what you’re left with is those who can behave themselves and those who will monitor a hunt until they believe they are hunting illegally in which case they are fully entitles to intervene.

Removing the violent element would also make policing of these incidents a whole lot easier. Less resources would need to be deployed and costs kept to a minimum. As far as I can see it’s an absolute no-brainer. So I think it really is about time the police had a crack down on this. It’s about being unbiased, it’s about applying the law, to a group of people who think they are above it and can act in a manner which not only contravenes the law but also common decency.

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Fairly certain this would be considered a danger to other road users