Posts Tagged ‘Mink Hunt’

As you may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here and that’s because I took my annual pilgrimage north of the border to watch some wildlife on the western isles. However a lot has happened while I’ve been away so it’s time for a bit of a catch up.

Obviously the election result must have been a shock to those at the Countryside Alliance who thought they would get enough pro-hunt tory MP’s in place to push a repeal of the hunting ban through. No doubt old Bonner was crying into his cornflakes on the 9th when he realised that all the leafleting and lobbying by hunt lackeys was going to count for nothing. As I pointed out previously, Cruella De May’s support for a repeal was in fact political suicide and despite claims by some pro-hunt tory MP’s to the contrary this indeed was the case and the fact they can’t come to terms with this show’s their complete lack of understanding of the British voting public. This arrogance and indeed that of May was another major stumbling block for them. While Labour and Corbyn in particular were making all the right noises and actually talking to the people the tories were relying on a noisy, privileged blood sport minority to do their bidding. It was also hugely refreshing to see so many younger voters registering and getting involved. Make no mistake this played a significant role in the results and it bodes well for the future.

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CA predictions – hilariously wrong

Of course there will be more to come from this election result. The repeal free vote will be omitted from the Queens speech today (along with several other poor manifesto decisions), while the coalition of chaos argue among themselves and do dirty little deals in an effort to stay in power. This was effectively the last chance for the pro-hunt lobby to get their way. The repeal is dead, long live the ban. Now is the time to move on and get it strengthened and properly enforced.

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Micheal Gove or Harry Enfield?

Micheal Gove is also now the new Minister for Defra and the 4th minister in that position since I started writing this blog. Looking back I’m not sure who was the worst although Paterson took some beating for comic sound bites & quotes. Gove claims that policies including the badger cull will be looked and decided on from a scientific stand point. The problem there lies with the out of context and cherry picked science supplied and the power of those with influence over that department. The badger cull will no doubt continue with the further roll outs and more innocent animals will die for no reason whatsoever other than it’s something the NFU want. Gove has a history of voting against environmental protection issues and I don’t expect his tenure to improve the current situation.

A bit closer to home I’m still waiting for a date when the Fitzwilliam case will finally be heard. If the other side were delaying in the hope for a repeal then that threat has now passed and I’ve been told to keep the whole of August free so hopefully we can get these murderers into court and a guilty verdict secured.

We’ve also had some success against the Mink/Otter hunts locally. These people really are the lowest of the low, putting a pack of hounds through a delicate environment like a water course is nothing more than environmental vandalism and it’s clear to anyone with half a brain that Otters will be the main quarry as the Mink have been largely displaced now by the returning Otter. I was also pleased to see the UK Wild Otter Trust come out with a statement regarding this.

The full statement:

MINK HUNTING

“As a leading charity dealing with the European otter, we are concerned that mink hunting can & does cause issues for otters. The hunting act of 2004 bans the hunting of mammals with dogs whether they are native or not including mink. The control of any predator if required should be done in the most humane way – hunting with dogs is not. Unfortunately, this type of hunting still continues and therefore poses an ongoing risk to the otter.

UKWOT would question the methods used during illegal mink hunting as the dogs would not be able to distinguish between an otter or a mink. There are several points that require intervention by the law because it will cause disturbance to otters at the holt, place of rest or shelter and of course will disrupt its territory. There is also a very huge risk that the “mink hounds” will “accidentally” take an otter but of course that would be covered up. Do we believe that these packs actually hunt mink? No, we don’t but having proof is paramount to any such investigation and subsequent prosecution. The UK Wild Otter Trust would not hesitate to take legal proceedings should this ever be proven against any such hunting packs and we will never endorse this barbaric act”.

Hunting is still firmly in the public eye and while this is certainly not the beginning of the end I would suggest that it could be the end of the beginning. There’s still plenty of work to do, but it will get done, make no mistake.

It never ceases to amaze me the levels to which a certain sector of our society will stoop in an effort to continue with what they see are their right to hunt regardless of the law. It really shouldn’t surprise me I guess, I’m long enough in the tooth now to know a little of the mind-set of these people but I guess their ideals are so alien to my own and people like me that I’ll never accept even a tiny bit of it.

Once again there was an operation organised by several sab groups against another illegal mink hunt, this time our target was the Three Counties Mink Hounds however as it turned out we got two for the price of one with a joint meet including the Teme Valley Minks Hounds from which I’m sure you’ll remember the large expense incurred by West Mercia Police for the helicopter and multiple ground units. It was also the same day a sab was threatened with a knife.

Irony overload

Irony overload

Once again the police turned out in force (this time it was Warwickshire), complete with riot van, two separate dog units, multiple cars and even the helicopter made an appearance although only stayed for a mere 15 minutes or so. The big guy who threatened the sab with the knife was once again in attendance (wearing the same clothes – I wonder if he has a change as they must stink a bit by now?) and this time upped the ante by threatening him with a shotgun he had in his car. All this while standing next to a police officer. But it was OK apparently because he was a friend. I’m pretty sure had the roles been reversed someone would have been arrested and locked up pretty swiftly. Nice to know where you stand on these matters.

The land owner frothed at the mouth and was very hostile while others wanted to use their own children as a human shield in the false belief we couldn’t film their actions with them there. Aren’t they just wonderful examples of compassion and honour! Once again we stopped their little games despite their best efforts and attempts at subterfuge. Watch the video; I think you’ll enjoy it.

You may remember my blog entry from a few weeks ago regarding a Freedom of Information Request to West Mercia Police after they deployed significant resources to protect an illegal Mink Hunt (see here). I also suggested it may be a good idea to contact West Mercia and get them to explain themselves and that’s exactly what some of you did, so thanks to those who took the time and effort there. One particular query and response was forwarded to MorethanjustBadgers and I’d like to address the explanation given by West Mercia Police.

First of all the question was asked:

Why, may I ask are you spending all this money protecting people who are committing a crime? If you actually advised those hunting illegally that they would be arrested and charged perhaps they would then stop of their own accord. Thus those people who try to stop the illegal activity would not need to do so and your police force would not have to waste taxpayers time and money assisting criminals.

This is not the first time your police force has spent taxpayer’s money on enabling illegal hunting to continue. I fail to understand why your force allows these people to keep carrying out illegal acts and protects them whilst they are doing so.

And the Response:

As per our initial response, we must again re-alliterate that no police resources were pre-assigned to this hunting event, resources were only allocated in response to calls received from concerned members of the public (1). Whenever a call is received from a member of the public asking for police assistance, a dynamic risk assessment is applied and a decision made as to whether to send resources at all and if so, how many and of what type. Often, the decision maker around that allocation has to act on a partial picture of events on the ground based on incomplete and sometimes conflicting information (2).

Once resources arrived at the scene, a further assessment will take place as to what has happened, whether any offences have taken place and if there is a need for continuing police or partner agency involvement. Needless to say the more complex and involved the incident, and therefore require a longer police presence to complete a full assessment. The costs released in the freedom of information act request represent the time incurred by those units deployed to this incident, through until such time as they were released to other duties (3).

In incidents of this nature, the police are often faced by conflicting version of events from those present. They have to act based on what can be assessed at the time, and in the area of public protest, strike a proportionate balance between ensuring those who wish to go about their lawful activities may do so, while also ensuring those who wish to legally protest may also do so (4).

The police service does not enable illegal activity, nor protect those who engage in such activity. Where there is evidence of offences having been committed, we will conduct a proportionate investigation, but such allegations must be evidence based (5).

Let’s address these in order.

(1) As noted in my previous blog entry the police were not called by a concerned “member of the public” but in fact they were called by the hunt themselves. Although they could be perceived as members of the public they clearly have a vested interest in the outcome of the proceedings and will have no doubt painted a somewhat distorted picture of what was really going on.

(2) So the police openly admit they had little idea of what was going on and yet decided in very quick fashion to deploy multiple units as well as closing down a section of the town centre causing significant disruption to the local community and the justifying the cost of putting the helicopter on the scene. I would suggest whoever carried out their dynamic risk assessment may have overreacted.

(3) Once they had these multiple units in place it seems they were still unable to deduce who the criminals really were (threats of violence using a knife where made against a sab at the scene and captured on video). Perhaps it was a quiet day in that part of the country and very little crime taking place elsewhere as 10 vehicles and a helicopter would certainly seem to be overkill, perhaps they all fancied some action, not that there was any, we’re a non-violent direct action group although will defend ourselves if required.

(4) Well of course there was conflicting reports however there is one singular event which negates the rest of this part of the statement. We weren’t protesting and the hunt weren’t going about their lawful business. We were there to stop illegal hunting as we have a right to do and the hunt was hunting illegally. The hunter who called the police openly admitted to hunting in contravention of the Hunting Act. Police calls are routinely recorded so they could have referred back to the conversation and yet chose to ignore this information. We often have the police claim that the hunting act is a matter of personal choice, a conflict of morality and tradition which they won’t get involved with but let’s make things clear here. The Hunting Act 2004 is a fully endorsed piece of legislation supported by over 80% of the population and they are required to enforce that legislation as required by the law of the land. Now I’m not suggesting there was enough evidence in this instance to proceed with a prosecution however spending that amount of tax payer’s money on the protection of the hunt is certainly a kick in the teeth for anyone with a shred of decency and a concern for animal welfare.

(5) Well, pardon me if I’m wrong but you just did. An admittance of guilt is evidence of sorts and while the other evidence was largely circumstantial it was pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain what was going on. This statement just suggests that unless you have damming evidence of killing, undeniable proof of unlawful activity we’re really not interested, although we’re interested enough to deploy a helicopter, 10 cars and spend a shed load of cash. Surely a more proportionate response would have been a little less extreme and one sided. The police are without doubt severely blinkered on this issue.

It’s a funny old world we live in. Except I’m not laughing.

Thanks to the reader who supplied me with all the information, it is appreciated.

Before I get on with updating you dear reader on my latest excursions in the field I’d like to make a quick comment on the recent cabinet reshuffle and the good news that Owen Paterson has been sacked.

Paterson was the worst possible choice for Environment Minister. He was a complete disaster. Nothing more than a puppet for big agribusiness, the NFU and the Countryside Alliance. His contempt for the scientific facts in everything from climate change, neonicotinoid pesticides, GM foods and or course the badger cull, means he was a man dedicated to the destruction of our environment via the corruption of corporate greed and had the arrogance to believe he would succeed. He has now gone and I wave him off with a single fingered salute and hope I never have to darken my blog with his name again. I can only hope his replacement; Elizabeth Truss will be better suited to the job however her pro-hunt stance in the past doesn’t exactly fill me with very much hope. We can only wait and see.

Anyway, back to the action, or lack of it.

All dressed up and nowhere to go

All dressed up and nowhere to go

The usual mix of sabs from various groups was once again operating against the illegal mink hunts. After some miles covered and information received we arrived back fairly close to home and paid the Northants Mink Hounds another visit. You’ll remember a few of the characters from the previous video (Ep 2). Needless to say they weren’t that impressed with our presence, packing up straight away upon discovery and once again the police were called to act as a chaperone for them back to their meet at a farm close by in Westbury, owned by the charming Rupert. We hung around in the sun to make sure they didn’t try and get back out again and with all exits covered they had little chance. Thames Valley Police were generally jovial but of course did nothing to question the hunt on the legality of their actions. Another successful operation if a little dull and somewhat sweaty in the heat. Still, a nice cold beer on the way home helped with that.

Thanks to all involved and the drivers who transported us many miles across the country. Beds and Bucks Hunt Sabs welcomed some new members which is a pleasing development for our newly emerging group and I think we have a bright future in wildlife protection.