Posts Tagged ‘hunt violence’

The Atherstone Hunt are finished.

1906

George Whitemore – Atherstone Huntsman 1906

This is of course incredible news and testament to the dedication and perseverance of a small group of people who took it upon themselves to protect the wildlife that was routinely persecuted by this organised gang of criminals, often with the full support of the police.

Full statement from West Mids Hunt Sabs below:

After six long years of an unrelenting and unstoppable campaign by West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs the 200 year old Atherstone Hunt have finally thrown in the towel and folded.

We have faced harassment, extreme provocation and regular violence from those associated with the Atherstone Hunt. We’ve received death threats, had our tyres slashed, cars burnt out and have been hospitalized. We have also faced a hostile campaign of police harassment from Leicestershire Police who have actively sabotaged investigations against the Atherstone Hunt whilst constantly seeking to prosecute members of our group at all costs.

We persevered and never backed down. Despite the regular violence we have faced our campaign has always remained non-violent. Over the last six years we have sabbed almost every single meet of the Atherstone Hunt. They have collected over 20 criminal convictions and cautions for their violence and antisocial behaviour and at their worst they were making the national press every other month for their hunting and violence. As well as stopping them killing foxes twice a week every week we have been able to expose the real face of fox hunting.

We witnessed them kill numerous foxes in front of us but that only made us more determined. We exposed all businesses that supported them. We held demonstrations at their biggest events of the year and at all of their fundraising events.

For six years the Atherstone Hunt have been completely sabotaged and as a result they have now folded. This means that for now the 908 km² area of West Leicestershire and North Warwickshire are completely hunt free and hundreds of foxes lives will now have been saved

Ultimately the Hunting Act needs to be strengthened however we are not waiting around for politicians to change the law or corrupt police forces to enforce the law. Fox hunting is cruel and barbaric and has no place in the 21st century. Hunt saboteurs will shut hunts down one by one until hunting is consigned to history.

Our only concern remains the safety and welfare of the hounds. We have notified relevant authorities

We would like to thank all the different sab groups who have helped us and joined us in sabbing the Atherstone Hunt over the years. We would also like to thank all of you who have donated towards fuel and equipment costs over the years, all the kind words and encouragement and all the tip offs and information sent to us.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Dedicated to Leanne Bridgewater.

If I can put this achievement into some perspective take a look back at this blog post I wrote back in 2015 (see here). It’s a meet of the Atherstone. Look at the number of supporters alone.

It was a hunt of some significance. I can remember driving to the meet on that particular day and seeing a least a mile of parked up support vehicles on both sides of the road. The riding field was huge.

Not any more.

71893678_10156822781958391_1378602176082870272_n

Trying to drum up support

Of course the hunting community are probably feeling a bit miffed right now to say the least. The FB page,This is Hunting UK are trying to rally support but the problem they have is a simple one. It’s impossible to promote hunting in a positive way to everyone when hunting is just a cruel and illegal minority pastime. The British public, by a vast majority no longer accept the lies spouted in an effort to save their sick little hobby.

This isn’t the first hunt to go to the wall, it certainly won’t be the last but the method in which this one was helped on it’s way should be considered a blueprint for others with the same goals.

To all those at West Mids Hunt Sabs – I salute you.

Finally I’d like to say “Hi” to Adrian Henson. I love it that you share my blog among your bumpkin friends online, it improves my figures! Did you like the one about the letter?

UPDATE: Comment from the hunt themselves on their FB page.

ath

 

It’s been quite a crazy couple of weeks, I’d had little time to put fingers to keyboard so it’s about time I caught up and updated you all whats been going on in the world of animal protection.

Without doubt the biggest recent story was the unprovoked attack by Fitzwilliam Hunt supporters on our Friends North Cambs Hunt Sabs. They’d been sabbing with us earlier in the day and we’d done a fine job on the Oakley but after they left us they popped by to find out what the Fitzwilliam were up to. It made national news and was the lead item on the ITV Anglia television news complete with interview of the driver involved. If you haven’t seen the video footage I’ve included it below. I was happy to help our comrades to edit and put the footage together for them.

As you can see it’s revealing footage and the assailants are clearly out to cause serious harm to non-violent activists. It once again shows the levels these people will stoop to in defence of their sick pastime. As I understand it the driver of the pimped up Land Rover handed himself in to police the following day. All the others have been identified and their identities passed on to the authorities however at the time of writing I’m unaware of any arrests or charges made. I’m well aware of the time it takes to investigate crimes and the need for due diligence however I’m fairly sure had the roles been reversed several doors would have been kicked in some time ago. We can only hope that a proper investigation follows and those responsible held to account for their dangerous and violent actions.

tubs

Speaking of being held to account self styled and appointed hunt steward Shaun Stacey was sentenced at Northants Magistrates Court last week for multiple assaults on sabs on separate occasions. Now Mr Stacey and I are well known to each other. He’s threatened me on many occasions and also mentioned my partner in doing so. Of course this kind of thing only stiffens my resolve but it was nice to see him have the embarrassment of having to wear a tag for 4 months, get a £1010 fine and a community order. Only the presence of Stephen Welford the Countryside Alliance go to lawyer at the hearing prevented a more serious sentence. Amusingly he’s apparently physically incapable of carrying out community order work (fit enough go assault people though) so has to undergo 10 sessions of compassion therapy. Judging by his continued defiance on Facebook I’d suggest he may need a few more. Word is he’s also on disability benefit, I wonder if that would be affected by the money he receives from the hunts which employ his thuggery services? Further to that he’s also in court next week to answer yet more charges so there is the possibility that there could be more bad news for Mr Stacey.

Another interesting point to note was how quickly his so called friends and fellow stewards dropped him, denying he was part of their group. Just a couple of weeks ago while in discussion with one of them (which I recorded on video) their sentiment was very clear, “he’s nothing to do with any of us”. Must be nice to be popular.

The fact that the CA are now endorsing this kind of violence (they would generally wash their hands of this kind of thing in the past) once again stinks of desperation on their part. Tim Bonner likes to continually bang on about masked sabs but the simple fact is the only ones relying on violence and intimidation are the pro-hunt side and now they seem to be openly supporting and defending it. They truly are an insidious organisation but are catastrophically missing the point to all this. The British Public overwhelmingly support the ban on hunting and bad PR like this should be roundly condemned. Their silence and indeed open support only furthers the interests of those who opposed them.

Finally here’s an interesting images taken only last Saturday on the Tyringham Estate in Buckinghamshire.

28164934_1563296953767039_2217261787657144991_o

It’s Thames Valley Police attending an Oakley Hunt meet on the estate. They were called by us as they openly hunted and caused havoc in the villages nearby as hounds ran riot causing mayhem to road users and the villagers alike.

The woman on the horse speaking to the Officers is Oakley Hunt Master Caroline Evans from Wooton Green. The woman on foot is Lucy Hill, land owner and and owner of local Estate Agents Micheal Graham. Here’s the info from Companies House.

hill

It would seem that the officers who attended believed that no offence has taken place as no foxes had been killed (mainly due to us saving them). Therefore one has to ask; if someone was walking down the street with a firearm on display acting in a hostile manner would the officers refuse to act until that person shot someone? Of course not.  One of our sabs proceeded to explain the relevant laws to the officers but as usual they didn’t seem at all interested and left shortly afterwards, no doubt suckered in by the complete bag of lies told to them by Evans and Hill.

So perhaps if you’re looking to sell your home it’s probably a good idea to avoid this particular agents bearing in mind that not only do they host the Oakley but also the Northants Mink Hounds who hunt both Mink and Otter in the nearby river in the summer months along with the shooting interests on the estate. They are, by any definition, huge enablers of wildlife abuse.

logo-mg-50.jpg

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.

titch 1

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 . . .

I didn’t write an update last week, I was fairly busy at work and was also looking to see how certain issues developed before I made a comment.

One incident was the visit to the Atherstone by quite a few sab groups in response to the disgraceful behaviour of their support during a peaceful demonstration at the new years meet (see video below).

It would seem that this sort of thing is par for the course among hunt supporters but it’s certainly not the behaviour you would expect from a rational human being. Clearly Warwickshire police were hugely at fault here for not policing the event even though concerns had been raised well in advance. The incident is now being investigated by the same team who should have been on hand on the day. West Mids Sabs are urging people to complain, details below.

The investigation is being headed by Mitch Oakley whose team cover the Atherstone area. mitch.oakley@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk

Please direct all complaints / questions to the following:

Warwickshire Police
https://www.facebook.com/warwickshirepolice/?fref=ts
email nwe.snt@warwickshire.police.uk

The multi group hit on the Atherston was a huge success. With over 50 sabs arriving at the meet the hunt tried to put a brave face on things and claimed that due to the fog they wouldn’t be hunting that day, which was odd as all the other hunts in the midlands were out in the same weather. I guess we all know the real reason.

Another embarrassment for the Atherstone was the setting up of a funding  page for the hunt who are clearly on their last legs financially if they have to start such enterprises in the first place, and once again the outcome was not what they hoped for. Multiple complaints to Just Giving informing them of a breach of funding rules resulted in the company pulling the page and refunding all the donations that had been made up to that date.

15895678_1012567222221685_6884171913514853537_o

You would think that given the amount of negative publicity the Atherstone would be on their best behaviour however their desire to kill our wildlife is so strong it would seem to override all common sense as once again they killed fox on the drive of a house only yesterday (12/01/16) and my thoughts that go to those who had to witness such a gruesome event. These people really do need to be stopped and it is now time for the police forces in question to step up and take some positive action. Anyone else acting so consistently and blatantly would be dealt with in no uncertain terms regardless of the legislation.

Closer to home the well known hunt steward who assaulted me (Stuart Morris) finally admitted to the offence and accepted a police caution. While I think a caution is hardly likely to make this moron engage his brain before his fists next time (I’ve heard he’s already been bragging how he got away with it) at least the police did their job on the day (see video below). As you know I’ve been in contact with several forces in an effort to get things changed and I hope this will start to bear fruit. Our local hunt (The Oakley) seem to be quite miffed that the police are paying more interest in their activites whether sab groups are present or not. They are clearly rattled and uncomfortable at having the police around and not working their behest. I get the feeling that opinions within the local force are starting to change.

Our friends at Northants Sabs seem to also be making progress with Leicestershire police, a forces which I’ve been highly critical of in the past. Recent reports of their activities against the Belvoir Hunt have been positive where the police are concerned. Lets hope this is a concerted and lasting effort to change and not just a knee jerk reaction to public opinion.

The next logical step is for the police to take action against the violence from the support and stewards who have delusions of social standing within the hunting community. They are nothing more than tools (in more way than one) to be used and thrown away when they have no further use. I know Cambridgeshire police have been contacting the hunts in their areas regarding the employment of these neanderthals (to be honest that does neanderthals a disservice) and I urge all other forces who are graced with their presence to do the same and if they still appear then the use of the Section 35 would clearly by justified.

While the CA and Dim Bonner continue to make noises about the growth of hunting I believe this is nothing more than a desperate attempt to gain support from a dwindling fan base who are in turn becoming increasingly isolated and violent. While graphic images of hunts killing and their supporters acting like yobs continue to be plastered all over social media and the mainstream press there can realistically only be one outcome. While I don’t believe there is paradigm shift just yet I do believe as Winston Churchill once said: “This isn’t the beginning of the end, but it’s certainly the end of the beginning”.