Posts Tagged ‘National Dis-Trust’

Old Timmy and his cronies at the so called Countryside Alliance may think they have the bragging rights over the recent National Trust vote on trail hunting because they think they won. The truth is, they lost.

It’s emerging that many members didn’t receive their voting forms and the whole legality of the voting system is being called into question but even if you ignore these anomalies the simple fact is without the discretionary votes of the pro-hunt NT board the outcome would have been very different indeed. The margin was close, 299 votes from a total of over 60,000. The NT may think they have dealt with the situation for now but it’s certainly not going away and have probably made a rod for their own back.

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They will now have to show they are serious about the new rules regarding trail hunting, no animal based scents, no terrier men and publishing dates and locations of all hunt meets on NT land. Of course now the hunts and CA are asking for those conditions to be changed but, if they truly believe they are going to be legally trail hunting what would they have to hide? We all know the real reasons and make no bones about it, the NT will be held to account over the licensing and conditions. They will be scrutinised very closely indeed and as it stands no hunt has made any application for licenses to hunt on NT land. We’ll see what happens next.

Moving on from that an interesting situation arose yesterday after a sab colleague of mine reminded me of the poster from the Oakley Hunt summer show.

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We decided to do a little digging on the main sponsor – Green Energy UK (plc). This lead to some interesting findings which we thought the public should be aware of and in turn published the statement this statement on the Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs Facebook page (see here). We also published links on Twitter for maximum exposure. Needless to say your average consumer doesn’t like being lied to regarding claims of being ethical but also supporting fox hunting. Lots of bad reviews were left on the company’s Facebook page and tweets were rolling in thick and fast. Finally Green Energy issued a statement and the B&B responded accordingly (see here). At this time Green Energy were actively removing the all the bad reviews in an attempt to save face. Their statement was clearly 2 fingers up to the consumers, they weren’t going to budge on their position and their support of the Oakley no matter how they tried to spin it however they severely underestimated the indignation of the people and aligning themselves with a blood sports lobbying group (the so called CA) was a huge mistake.

This only fanned the flames and people power took hold. They were flooded with more complaints and bad reviews until they were finally backed into a corner and once again had to issue another statement to which B&B responded once more (see here). We’re in no doubt that the ethos of the people in charge (including the husband of Oakley Hunt master Lady Lydia Thompson, Sir Peter Thompson) will not have changed and they are no doubt still pro hunt, however we have shown that the general public won’t stand for lies and that hunting is pretty much universally hated by everyone except the wildlife killers themselves.

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Doug Stewart – Green Energy UK CEO

It will also show other companies that supporting blood sports is bad for business and they risk losing customers. Just like Theresa May found out in the general election, blood sports are political and financial poison. Those that support them are finding themselves increasingly isolated. There’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. We’ll sab them in the fields and we’ll hit these organisations financially as well. We’ll pursue every possible avenue and make life as difficult as possible until the inevitable outcome is reached.

So, after my publishing previous post I had some very nice comments on here and social media with encouragement to continue writing and I thank everyone for the kind words. I’ve decided to continue at least for another season and see what happens then. There may not be the weekly updates which I tried to publish previously but if there’s a subject which I feel needs a wider audience or promoting then I’ll put something out.

Moving on from there we are getting ever closer to the vote on Trail Hunting on National Trust land at their AGM on the 21st October. I’ve covered this previously (see here) and the National Dis-Trust are keeping up the pressure and encouraging members to use their vote appropriately. Even though I’ve said this before the importance of this vote cannot be understated and I urge all NT members to vote with their conscience and ban trail hunting on NT land for good. This will of course have serious ramifications for some of the hunts in question, with no land to use some of these hunts will cease to exist. Of course this is great news not just for the hunted wildlife but for the residents of these areas who suffer the bullying and intimidation from the hunts and their supporters.

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In our own neck of the woods we continue to work with our local police in an effort to break down the historical barriers between monitors/sabs and the law enforcement  authorities. Obviously things aren’t going to change overnight but I think we are making progress and hope the situation will continue to improve. We still have our liaison officers but a new inspector has taken on the responsibility for rural operations and I met with him for the first time last night. While new to the post and the hunting act in general I was pleased to see he’d taken some time to inform himself of the situation and had also spoken to at least one Master of our local hunt (the Oakley). It’s always interesting to get an insight from the police’s point of view and would have loved to have been a fly-on-the-wall at the meeting he had with Lady Lydia Thompson – pillar of the community, millionaire, choralist, model (I won’t publish the pics, they’ll give you nightmares) and wildlife killer.

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The Angry Egg gets his collar felt.

Despite all their claims to the contrary and much like many other hunts up and down the country the Oakley openly flout the law. We’ve caught them cubbing several times already this autumn and saved foxes when we were there. I believe the new inspector can see that this is taking place and while he also knows that getting a conviction under the hunting act is unlikely he can however restrict the hunts use of thugs to impede our operations. One particularly rotund chap we call the ‘Angry Egg’ was arrested a couple of weeks ago for another assault on a sab. Video evidence was supplied to the police and he was charged with common assault (after spending a very long time in the cells while I was in the pub) and bailed away from any hunting activity until his court case. I believe he is in court this week or at least very shortly regarding an incident last year and has to face a further 3 charges of assault and another of theft of one of our radios during a meet of the Pythley hunt at the very end of last season. Just restricting these morons will be a victory not only for us but also for justice and the decent majority of people who oppose hunting. People like him have been getting away with this kind of unacceptable behaviour for too long and but now the tables are turning. Sooner or later they’ll have to give up the thug act or end up behind bars.

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Lady Lydia Thompson.

Of course Lady Lydia would never admit to employing these low lives and denies all knowledge of them, even though previous master Guy Napier asked them not to attend Oakley meets previously after witnessing first hand their violence. Just like the hounds they are merely means to an end, tools to be used and discarded once their usefulness has run out.

We’ve changed the game and the thugs don’t know how to play by the new rules.

The National Trust are panicking.

The (so called*) Countryside Alliance are panicking.

The hunts that use NT land are panicking – all 60 of them.

The reason behind their fears is the vote to ban hunting from all NT land which will take place at their AGM on the 21st October. The subject has been covered previously here with a guest blog from National Dis-Trust (see here) but there has been several important developments since.

NT position

In an effort to perhaps sooth the concerns of many of their voting members the NT published a set of rules for hunts to abide by in the coming season. These included:

Banning the use of animal-based scents as a trail for hounds or beagles to follow. This will reduce the risk of foxes or other wild animals being accidentally chased. 

Prohibit the presence of terriermen, who have no practical purpose on a trail ‘hunt’, and the use of their vehicles.

More active management of hunts and how they operate including: mandatory reporting requirements after each meet; the provision of specified maps/areas; and requiring at the time of application details of all proposed hunt days.

Probing the track record of each applicant and establishing a consistent charging regime across Trust land.

Greater transparency for our members and the public.  We will post on our website the agreed days and locations, in advance, for our members and supporters to view.  This will include a primary point of contact for each hunt.

We are exploring how we can work more closely with the Police’s independent National Wildlife Crime Unit, which is the proper authority for handling alleged breaches in wildlife legislation.

These changes would seem to be the answer many people were looking for however dig a little deeper and it would seem that this is nothing more than smoke and mirrors and an attempt to scupper the vote to completely ban all hunting.

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Even TV presenter Ben Fogle is putting pressure on the NT.

The problem is many of these restriction were already in place. The hunts would simply ignore them and with no NT staff to police the laws laid down then they would become nothing more than a paper tiger. The League Against Cruel Sports even offered their support in the policing of these rules but were turned down. You have to ask yourself why would the NT do that? The simple fact is trail hunting was invented after the implementation of the hunting ban as a method to circumnavigate the new law. Hunts have been cynically exploiting this and killing foxes, hares and stags in much the same way as they did before. The rules put forward by the NT pretty much amount to drag hunting which is a completely different thing and has no bearing on real hunting at all, it is “clean boot”, they follow a scent or drag laid by a fit person like a fell runner or similar and largely use bloodhounds. No animals are hunted and there are no “accidental” killings.

Of course the CA immediately threw their teddies right out of the pram with Tim Bonner being his usual self and shooting his mouth off to anyone who’d listen with his usual mixture of lies, playing the victim card and claims of  intimidation from “animal rights extremists”.  All of this is of course, completely laughable and only serves to show once again how detached from reality with their own sense of self entitlement they really are. It sometimes makes me wonder if they realise what a tiny (but well funded and vociferous) minority they really are?

Of course this escalated into the mainstream press with reports coming in from generally pro-hunting papers like the Telegraph to the more moderate like the Independent and the Guardian. Much of what the CA complained about seemed to be centered on the fact that hunt meets would be publicised, something every hunt in the UK will only do to it’s members. The reason for this is of course to remain secretive so they can go about their dirty business without interference from sabs, monitors or indeed the police (where they aren’t in the pockets of the hunts). Of course if they were abiding by the law there would be no need for all the secrecy but this fact seems to have escaped them. Monitors & sabs pay no interest in drag hunts. These hunts also openly publish their meets as they have no concerns about being caught killing animals.

The NT then took the further step of writing to all their members to advise them on how to vote.email 1

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The campaign group Nation Dis-Trust responded to this email.

“To explain how ‘trail hunting’ works to members who have witnessed foxes being eviscerated by hounds is insulting. It also ignores the fact that ‘trail hunting’ is fictional (http://g.ifaw.org/2kD1orC) except as a false alibi for wildlife crime, despite Dame Helen Ghosh having read the report which proves this (http://bit.ly/2u8XKua).

The Trust don’t monitor the activities they licence; this is an outright lie. They have both said that they don’t have the resources to monitor as well as stating in a leaked internal memo to staff that the onus is on the hunts for adhering to the licence and the law (http://bit.ly/2eLfI01).

If the Trust now think terriermen are a redundant element of ‘trail hunting’, what do they think terriermen have been doing on their land for the last 12 years?

In a separate note, the Trust have also said that the vote at the AGM isn’t binding, implying that the Trust are preparing to ignore the wishes of their own membership. Putting aside how disrespectful this would be to their members as well as the wildlife that will soon be terrorised & slaughtered by hunts on their land, it also forgets that whilst a vote may not be binding, the law is. It is an offence to knowingly host illegal hunting with hounds (http://bit.ly/2wp0Ai4)”.

Of course should hunts be banned from using NT land it could spell the end for many of them. Having land to actually hunt animals on is a primary concern for all hunts. While there are still plenty of land owners who will accept them the tide is slowly turning and some hunts are feeling the squeeze. With no land, they can no longer hunt, if they can’t hunt they won’t make any money, with no money they, like any other business will cease to exist. There are several hunts which rely on NT land for the majority of their meets.

Of course should the NT ban hunting then it would also set a precedent for other large land owning organisations to do the same. The Forestry Commission and the MoD could follow suit along with utilities companies. This vote could potentially have a huge impact on how hunting is viewed in England today. The vast majority want to see and end to this barbarity and winning this battle would be a huge step towards that goal.

Final word from National Dis-Trust:
“The NT updated rules are a smokescreen to prevent members voting for the member’s resolution. If the resolution fails, another one cannot be proposed for 3 years. Therefore there will be another 3 years of illegal hunting on NT land. Leaked internal memos (see blow) have shown that the NT intend to allow hunts to self-regulate with regard to abiding by the terms of the licence. The leaked memo’s doesn’t mention giving out times and dates of meets but instead mentions an annual list of places that will be published.

On top of all this the hunts that are likely to be affected are threatening to hunt without a license from the NT, effectively trespassing on NT land, and lets not forget thousands of hunters signed a declaration to defy the ban when the law was passed in 2005, they will do the exactly the same to the NT”. 

National Dis-Trust

 

*We think this is a good idea. Thanks to Hounds Off for publishing.

so called.

This week I have a guest blog for you and it’s written by National Dis-Trust.  They are a group of voluntary campaigners from across the country calling on The National Trust to save their reputation & kick off the criminal hunts from NT land. They are working alongside other grassroots groups and volunteers for this sole objective.

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Convicted wildlife killers the Meynell Hunt still use NT land

Earlier this year in March, staff from The League Against Cruel Sports met with The National Trust to talk about concerns relating to illegal hunts on their land, concerns
which are shared by an increasing amount of people. The League’s statement on this meeting shows that The Trust make little effort to enforce or monitor the conditions that
the hunts agree to; instead, the hunts simply state they are adhering to the licenses, regardless of the truth. Subsequent internal discussions within The Trust, it seems, have
resulted in little change and apparently no further correspondence with The League. Subsequent to this meeting, The Trust claimed it would do more for declining wildlife – strange, then, that they rejected The League’s offer of assistance in monitoring hunts on their land, given that brown hares (a priority of conservation) sometimes find
themselves amongst the unfortunate legion of victims. We can’t imagine why they would
refuse such an offer.

If you flick around The Trust’s website for long enough, you may find their (seemingly
deliberately hidden) policy that demonstrates their unwavering faith in so-called ‘trail
hunting’ whilst conveniently omitting all information regarding their licensing of fox
hunting in Northern Ireland, where this bloodsport sadly remains legal, hence the
existence of the campaign group ‘Ban Fox & Stag Hunting Northern Ireland’. Given the
overwhelming opposition to these ‘sports’, is this not something The Trust should tell the
public before taking their subscriptions?

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There are two huge problems with their ‘trail hunt’ policy; the first is the Trail Of Lies
report published by The International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 2015. This
report drew on hundreds of field reports from hunts across the country and surprisingly,
99% of them failed to lay ‘trails’. The Trust’s Director-General, Dame Helen Ghosh, is
well aware of this evidence; it has been presented to her and she has read it (watch this
video of a lecture she gave as proof, from 59:30 to 63:00), though seemingly to no avail.
The second is that it is not actually legal to use fox urine to lay ‘trails’ for a myriad of
reasons, and that the supplier of fox urine that some hunts tell The Trust they use doesn’t
actually exist (shocker!). A recent Freedom of Information request to DEFRA’s Animal &
Plant Health Agency (APHA) has revealed that there have been only one license granted
for importing fox substance from 2014 onwards, and it wasn’t related to hunting. As with
the ‘Trail Of Lies’ report, The Trust are well aware of these facts.

Fox hunting, and the fate of The Hunting Act 2004 which remains the only real legal
protection for the brown hare, were huge issues in the election earlier this year. Some
Conservative MP’s who lost their seats said fox hunting was a crucial factor in the result.
The blind arrogance of those who think fox hunting has a future even led Countryside
Alliance CEO, Tim Bonner, to claim that the Conservative landslide would result in a
majority of 103 seats. The irony in this is that earlier in the year, Dame Helen Ghosh was giving talks under the title of ‘What Are The Challenges Facing The National Trust In The 21st Century?’

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So perhaps it is time The Trust heeded the message of the recent election. You need only briefly skim their Facebook page to see how little weight their defense of ‘trail hunting’ is carrying with the general public, and no wonder; fox hunting and their counterpart packs for hares or mink and otters rightly sicken the overwhelming majority of us, and few people believe in the lies of the hunt lobby anymore. On mink hunting, The Chair and Founder of The UK Wild Otter Trust, Dave Webb, recently offered an unexpected (but welcome) interjection by stating that not only did he believe that mink hunts were continuing to hunt illegally (regardless of your opinion of mink, it is illegal to pursue them with packs of hounds) but that they also implied that they considered them to be pursuing otters, which are thankfully increasing in number. He said if proof was brought to his organisation, he would begin to take legal proceedings. The National Trust, on the other hand, appear to have no objection to offering ‘trail hunt’ licenses to mink-packs.

So what can people do about this? Well, a members resolution has now been submitted to put a stop to these ‘trail hunt’ licenses on The Trust’s land. It will be put to a vote on 21st October this year, at their AGM. Anybody who has been a member for 70 days before this date is entitled to a vote, according to their regulations. We urge anybody capable of doing so to offer their votes to this end, and help us shut down ‘trail hunting’ on Trust land.