Posts Tagged ‘NFU’

We have another guest slot for you this week, this time from the good people at ‘Outpaced‘ so it’s straight over to them to fill you in with everything you need to know about this activists resource.

Outpaced is a group of people who have always declared their love for animals. Devoted pet owners, fiercely anti-bloodsports, haters of fly spray, promoters of bunny-cuteness, and positive celebrants of Facebook photos of matadors getting gored in their genitals – all the while holding this genuine and heartfelt belief whilst shopping for high quality leather shoes, and pontificating hypocrisy at the bacon bap van.

Bizarrely, we owe something to the cheeseburger-faced prime minister and his barely veiled bloodlust, because it was the badger cull brought us our moments of clarity. Beginning almost whimsically, the reality of being out there, seeing the cruelty, and most of all meeting those who tirelessly fight is what has changed us, forever.

And whilst some personal journeys started there (and are still ongoing, although you can expect to see the Outpaced vegan recipe book sometime in the next decade!) it became very clear that something Stop the Cull said in a post is absolutely true – Words mean nothing, action is everything.

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We realised that not only did we have an obligation to act, not to mention an obligation to atone, there was something very specific that we had skills in, and something that was sorely needed in abundance. Police accountability.

Outpaced as a group includes individuals experienced in litigation, experienced in board level negotiation, and critically includes ex police officers and wildlife officers who have an extensive and current knowledge of the law, and of PACE. We are formed with one specific intent – to provide a layer of protection for the activists who give up so much or their time and risk their personal safety to fight this fight right from the front.

The regularity with which these people are assaulted, insulted, harassed, threatened or victimised is shocking – the paucity of the number of cases pursued or investigated by the police even more so.  The repeated failures of individual officers, or more often, senior management of police forces, is a national disgrace that mustn’t be written off as institutionalised bias. It flies in the face of moral expectation, of the national police code of ethics, and it flies in the face of the bloody law – and yet until you see those people who are failed time and again by the body supposed to protect them, you would never believe it was happening. An assault that would be determinedly investigated and charged on the high street is routinely and comprehensively ignored out in the fields and on the bridleways.

Outpaced is here to change that.

Outpaced has a specific mission – to ensure that the police are held to account, and that the people who fight for animal rights get the same policing service that anyone should be able to expect. We will make sure that those who would hunt illegally, who would fill badger setts, who would intimidate, harass, assault or abuse good people are prosecuted where prosecution can be lawfully brought to bear. More than that we intend to force constabularies to police us equitably, according to their own national code of conduct, freeing activists to go about their business.

We are not anti-establishment.  This is for the animals, not for protest.

We are not anti-police.  But we will DEMAND redress when they fail to act.

We are not anti-government.  (Well OK, we are – but isn’t everybody?  That’s what happens when a government is formed of terminally smug and cynically self-interested bastards.) reasonable conduct.  There’s more, but we will cover that later.

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We are not lawyers.   But we have people with specific knowledge, skills and experience. We have particular experience in the application of PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) and in police procedures and when they are broken. And we have the time to take this burden from you whilst you do what so many can’t or won’t.

This is our contribution to the fight.  It won’t cost you a penny. It is how we as a few individuals can have the greatest impact. We are also out in the field targeting police behavior and evidence gathering unlawfulness around the hunt and culls., working alongside activists and sabs.

We will grow, and expand, and we will provide as much as we can, to as many we are able – already the caseload we have taken on has been shocking, and we have started chipping away at not so much the tip of the iceberg as the arctic shelf. We have some positive dialogues with some forces, and are seeing signs of collaboration starting minor but important processes of change. It’s easy to forget there are some superb police officers out there, and we have great examples of that even though sometimes it seems that the constable pre-requisite for police being deployed to hunts and culls is to be as thick as mince.

Yet we are also at odds with forces (Avon and Somerset in this instance) who wilfully support illegality by their officers, who fail to investigate clear failure of process and with officers who operate more like a rogue sheriff in Fort Sumner than a modern British Police ‘service’. A great recent example from them is an officer who arrested an activist without PACE necessity, months after an unsubstantiated SUMMARY ‘offence’ was alleged, conducted an illegal house search in front of terrified children that would only have been lawful for an indictable offence, unlawfully seized phones under S19 PACE which doesn’t apply if you are not lawfully on premises, and then still has the poor activist on bail 7 months after arrest when the time limit for laying before a court is 6 months. The law firm advising the activist will deal with the allegation, but who will hold Avon and Somerset to account for this behavior, which amounts to simple unlawful bullying and discrimination? Without in depth knowledge of PACE and police procedure, most wouldn’t even know this was openly illegal. We will and are.

The scale of the fight is bigger than people outside of our activism community understand, and we need everyone who cares enough stand on that wall doing exactly what they do. Outpaced are here to take this long and protracted fight on for them, and to become a professional thorn in the side of those who would quietly stand by and fail to meet their obligations to us.

Our tagline is ‘Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes’ – often translated as ‘who watches the watchers’, which seemed very apt considering our police NEED watching. But literally the translation is ‘who will guard the guards themselves’. You are the real guards. We will help protect your rights.Outpaced_logo
With great thanks to the Accidental Activist. Find us on Facebook  and let us know how we can help you.

 

I’m very much of the opinion that when powerful lobbying group turn their guns in your direction you have in fact been effective and they perceive you as a threat. This was very much the case with regards to the RSPCA and the concerted smear campaign against them and their then Chief Executive, Gavin Grant, by the Countryside Alliance.

Successful prosecutions against illegal hunts, most notably the Heythrop (which David Cameron rode with) were huge victories against the aminal abusers and those that support them. The Gavin Grant, took the RSPCA in a direction which encompassed more than just rescuing badly treated pets and took on all forms of animal cruelty. They came out against the pointless badger cull and actively went after the hunts who were openly flouting the Hunting with Dogs Act which was passed in 2004. Obviously this didn’t go down too well with those on the opposing side of the argument and he finally left through ill health. There are suggestions that this was brought on by the constant attacks and threats of legal action by the CA and the NFU, groups which hold significant funds and the power in which to prosecute their personal agenda.

So in comes the new CE of the RSPCA, Jeremy Cooper, a man with a history in supermarket management.

And one of the first statements he makes to the Daily Telegraph, a publication known for its sympathies towards the Tories and hunting, is this:

“We care as equally about badgers as we do about dairy cows. Calls for naming and shaming of farmers who shoot badgers is not helpful. We don’t have an issue with the need to manage badgers. It is the method. Foxes need to be managed as well. It is about humanely managing the animals. We recognise that dairy cows suffered problems and badgers need to be managed.”

Now correct me if I’m wrong but that sounds like something written directly by the CA’s own PR machine. It is quite frankly a disgrace and shows not only a lack of balls but also a complete lack of understanding of basic ecology. The CA and NFU must be mutually masturbating each other right now (sorry for that image), Tim Bonner et al all positively gleaming from ear to ear , they have their man in place and their vendetta against the RSPCA has finally bore fruit.

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Jeremy Cooper – The CA’s new boy.

It is of course a complete disaster for anyone with any compassion for our wildlife. Every scientist in the land with knowledge of the issue has come out and stated on the record that culling badgers is not the way to go in dealing with the bTB issue and statistic in the cull zones show once more an increase in bTB even after 3 years of culling (perhaps Jeremy Cooper knows better) and foxes certainly do not need controlling as once again science proves they are a self regulating predator whose numbers are dictated by the availability of food and territory. If foxes needed controlling why do the hunts breed them?

He goes on to say:

“My style of advocacy is encouragement and dialogue. The [previous] leadership was too adversarial. If you want to shout and use rhetoric that’s fine but it isn’t helpful to anybody. It is not going to make friends and influence people. People won’t like you for it.”

In other words he’s not going to ruffle any feathers and cosey up to the CA and NFU. Perhaps they made a big donation to get their man in place, heavens knows they’ll need it as no doubt this will not go down well with the masses of people to send them their hard earned cash to protect our wildlife. If the comments from the story in the Independent are anything to go by they’ll need every penny they can get.

He added:

“The charity would be focussing on the prevention of cruelty, rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming in the future”. 

Prevention of cruelty. Surely one of the biggest injustices going on in our countryside every week throughout the hunting season is the cruelty meted out by those controlling hounds and riding a horse?

I believe a person holding these views should have no place in the RSPCA let alone be CE. If you feel the same the please sign the petition to have him removed here.

 

A slight change of tack for me this week and hopefully there’ll be more in the future. I’ve invited some guest writers to put their thoughts and ideas out there, it’s a chance for some new points of view to be aired so I hope dear readers you’ll enjoy and maybe learn something new. First up we have the man behind Stop the Cull, badger warrior and general thorn in the side to the Government and NFU . . . Jay Tiernan.

Jay is going to explain how you can get active without getting muddy.

I’m a keyboard warrior, and you should be too.

“..yet my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted, and thoughts ran into me, that words and writings were all nothing, and must die, for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing,” – Gerrard Winstanley

What could be better than words that highlight how useless words are? Well I’d suggest petitions, one step up from a motivational quote and one step below a letter to an MP. There they sit on our stalls and littering facebook, but are they really any good and if so how can we best make use of them? Love them or loathe them there is no denying that they can be used to make people aware of a specific campaign.

They are frequently used by activists doing stalls on our high streets. When asked “do they make any difference?” I’d always reply “No, we quite often just burn them. The only use they serve is to get you to chat to me and maybe give me some money, if you want to change the world then you have to physically do something, talking about it won’t do it”. I still believe that action is the only way forwards, but my view that petitions actually work has recently changed.

Online petitions frequently don’t by themselves achieve very much, but in tandem with actions they are a useful device to raise awareness and are a key tool for modern day online activism.

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Indeed there are a number of petitions I can think of in the last year that have done really well, that have raised awareness on an issue which has then gone on to win. Most recently was the wildlife officer who was outed as a hunt supporter. Another petition campaign that also won that comes to mind is the demand for the huntsman who rode over a sab having their charges dropped then brought back by the CPS. In both cases the petitions alone did not work, they worked side by side with other actions, with the wildlife officer there were a number of blog posts and social media posts exposing other elements of police collusion with hunters and with the hunt sab being ridden over there was a demo which gained a lot of media attraction.

So what else can we do from the comfort of our own homes that will work effectively at changing the world besides petitions?

Writing an email to your MP can be frustrating but it’s worth doing if for no other reason than to get MP’s aware of the issues that concern their constituents, you can combine any response from your MP along with the issue you are raising with a letter to your local paper and to national press. These letters are read by potentially tens of thousands of people. A comprehensive list of national press letters page contacts here: http://www.mediahell.org/letters.htm

Twitter can be great for directly contacting people, whether it’s the chief of police to let them know about an officers behaviour or to publically shame an animal abuser. Twitter trends can often be easily used. For instance #dorsethour trends every week and it’s a good time to let people in Dorset about the upcoming badger culls.

Facebook posts that highlight an issue can have a huge reach, including contact details for the people who can make a change are an important part of this, so highlighting a managing director for their companies involvement with their contact details means that the problem is quickly being addressed by a key decision maker. It can also create controversy which in turn may get picked up by main stream press. A useful resource for finding CEO’s is here: http://www.ceoemail.com/

Many people wrongly assume that it is illegal to publicise contact details for businesses or people, it isn’t and a recent industrial tribunal looking at why Natural England decision not to release certain information with the defence that it would be unsafe for those involved to be revealed was overruled. Specifically the tribunal said that it was part of the democratic process for protesters to contact by mail and phoning those who are involved in the badger cull. Big national waged animal rights groups are often afraid of any adverse publicity, we should not be.

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Another easy way to get a companies attention is by highlighting their Facebook page, many small businesses have FB pages as well. Hunt Sab groups often post links to pubs where hunts meet, by giving the pubs 1 star reviews on Facebook and any other review website many pubs have very quickly decided to no longer host meets. Phone calls are also very important, I once rang up a pub that had just had press off the back of a hunt meet and was quoted as being delighted to be hosting the hunt meet. I informed the owners that I’d be organising an on-line boycott of the pub, they immediately decided to never host a hunt meet again.

It’s not just pubs that host hunts, mostly it’s farmers and those farmers are probably the weakest link in the hunting world. Whilst a number of them are die hard hunters, many farmers have no interest in having hunts rampaging over their fields and being highlighted on social media and getting calls of complaint could well be the excuse they need to pull out, meaning that they never allow the hunts to hunt across their land again.

To find phone numbers and contact details there are a number of on-line resources you can use to find out more contact details for a person or company, 192.com is probably the best but isn’t free. Google is my usual first stop, using “ “ helps refine searches. After I’ve searched a name and an address and found a land line number I’ll search that again using quotes and that will give much more accurate results. The land registry office will tell you who owns land, you can get some free information by using their map search facility.

Once you have a postcode you can start searching any planning permission requests, which in turn can give you a map of the property boundary, very useful for shooting estates or farms that allow hunting.

If a hunt loses farmers and land to hunt on, then a entire neighbouring areas within their country can also become inaccessible making the future of the hunt harder and harder. This is one of the reasons that an Essex hunt closed down in the past weeks.

To expect sabs who have been out in the fields and who are also holding down full time jobs to do all the research and run an ongoing campaign is probably expecting too much, all the supporters of sab groups can do more than just ringing up or writing reviews, we can also help out with research and exposing those involved with hunting.

Words mean nothing, action is everything.

Stop the Cull

The NFU’s badger eradication scheme has come to an end for another year. No doubt they’ll continue to be persecuted while no-one is looking and all those vigilant wildlife loving people out there will do their best to catch the perpetrators. How effective the cull has been is something being argued over as Lord Krebs rubbishes the NFU’s claims that TB is already dropping where the culls have taken place. The NFU in tern are doing their best to add some sort of positive spin on their claims however when you’re up against someone who’s basing their arguments on solid scientific facts with all the latest data then you need to come up with something good. All I’ll say is you’d have to be significantly challenged in the brain department to believe what the NFU say.

Perhaps that’s it. Farmers are just stupid?

Thing is I know that’s a flippant and somewhat sweeping remark but you’d have to be a moron to believe the nonsense they spout which can only leave me with the alternative and that the whole thing has nothing to do with TB. I’m of course repeating myself, seems like the thing to do in the NFU’s case. Liz Truss likes to say the same old thing over and over again even though her script has been soundly debunked. Like they say, repeat a lie often enough and it’ll become the truth. The only problem the NFU and Defra have is there’s plenty of well informed people out there who see through their lies. And remember, the trials weren’t designed to bring down TB, they were supposed to test free shooting as a method of population reduction, something which seems to be conveniently ignored. And judging by the piles of scrap metal that were once cage traps now festooning the countryside in the South West one wonders what exactly they’re up to. Trevor Cligg the NFU’s representative in Dorset suggested there was no major disruption to the cull. Having spent a large percentage of the last six weeks down there I’d suggest he’s misinformed.

Lord Krebs - NFU are big fat fibbers.

Lord Krebs – NFU are big fat fibbers.

From a personal standpoint I’m just happy to be able to get my own life back to some sort of normality. I’ve worked with some great people, dedicated and unwavering in the face of significant hostility. They’ve been from all sorts of backgrounds, with various outlooks and desires but the single unifying cause we all share is to do the right thing and take action for those that have no voice. I’m feel honoured to be included as one of them and salute each and every one who made an effort.

But there’s no rest for the wicked and the hunting season is now upon us so its time to move on and face the new challenges that await us.