Posts Tagged ‘North Downs Hunt Sabs’

I’ve heard some far fetched excuses in my time but this one has to take the biscuit. It came from Mark Bycroft, huntsman for the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hill hunt. Mark has convictions for assaulting anyone who gets in the way of his blood lust and is a serial fox killer, not exactly the sort of person you’d describe as a reliable witness. His outrageous claims were in response to the horrific video published by North Downs and Guildford Sabs of a fox the hunt had killed south of Chiddingstone last Saturday (3/12). Sabs were unfortunately only moments too late to save the animal but according to Bycroft it was all their fault.

He said; “I understand they found a dead fox in the wood but I wasn’t there at the time so I don’t know what has happened. They use hunting horns and play recordings and try to disrupt the hounds. If an incident has happened they are to blame.”

So lets look at the facts:

A hunt is in the area, the only hunt and Bycroft is the huntsman.

Hounds have killed a fox as they are trained to do.

The hounds belong to the hunt which is in the area.

Sabs are on the scene moments later and witness the kill and record footage.

Hunt staff/terrier men are aware the hounds are hunting a wild mammal.


If Bycroft wasn’t there what the hell was he doing? It’s his job to be in control of the hounds. Blaming sabs for the incident is of course complete and utter nonsense. Their only desire is to save the hunted animal and they did their very best however they’re hardly likely to act in a way which would scupper their primary aims. Now this means that Bycroft is either completely incompetent at his job (which is possible) or he’s purposefully casting the hounds into areas looking for foxes and leaving them to get on with it on purpose so he has the excuse of not knowing anything about what is transpiring.

Except of course he knew all along the hounds were on a fox. Terrier men were observed hollering to indicate they’d seen a fox, the hounds were in full cry (making a loud baying noise) and hunt staff were nearby with full knowledge and made no attempt to call off the hounds.

Rightly this has made the national media and the evidence has been passed on to the police however despite the obvious illegality I doubt there will be any convictions resulting. Lee Moon, spokesperson for the HSA summed up;

“Mark Bycroft has previous convictions for assaulting hunt saboteurs. His hunt have also been filmed illegally chasing and killing foxes but have never been prosecuted for this due to the inadequacies of the police and the Hunting Act. We hope this time it will be different but won’t hold our breath. Whether they get prosecuted or not this video footage speaks for itself. The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent are a bunch of rural law breakers who think they are above the laws of the land. Well done to the sabs present who, although they weren’t able to save this particular fox have again highlighted the reality of hunting since the ban.”


This wasn’t the only incident last weekend.

You may remember I reported on several incidents previously regarding the Belvoir Hunt (see here, here and here) and it seems they still regard themselves as untouchable. Three foxes were killed by the hunt in the same day from their meet at The Wolds Farm near Holwell. Also present on the day was the PPC for Leicestershire Lord Willy Bach along with officers from the Leicestershire force. Sabs from Northants Hunt Sabs witnessed a fox being chased and brutally killed in a farmyard near Scalford Hall. Huntsman John Holliday was present and made no attempt to stop or call off the hounds but dismounted his horse and assaulted a female sab as they tried to save the animal. It unfortunately died in the arms of the sabs at the scene.

On reporting this incident to the police they confirmed the Belvoir had already killed 2 further foxes, this time in the grounds of a nearby nursing home which was witnessed by staff and patients alike and reported by a horrified member of the public. The police also had the bodies of the murdered foxes as evidence. Lee Moon from the HSA again;

“2016 has shown the world exactly what the Belvoir hunt are like. They were implicated in keeping captive foxes, then viciously assaulting those who had exposed them. Now as the year draws to a close they brazenly hunt and kill three foxes in the presence of Leicestershire Police. Members of Leicestershire Police, including former wildlife crime officer Sharon Roscoe, are known to ride with the Belvoir and we hope this doesn’t influence any investigation. It is perhaps fortunate that the Leicestershire PCC was also present on the day to insist that this latest law breaking by the Belvoir is not brushed under the carpet.”

These incidents just show the utter contempt hunts have for the law and their arrogance by still claiming what they are doing is legal. No-one with any sense believes their lies any more and the blatant manner in which they pursue their grisly agenda time and again is a true reflection of their desire to kill and remain immune from justice. There has been a review in Scotland recently on their hunting laws and I remain hopeful that progress will be made there. The same process should be followed in England and Wales however the big difference here is we have a pro-hunt Government and an Environment Secretary who wants to repeal the act. Until these hurdles are removed it will be left to those in the field putting themselves on the line to stand up for our wildlife – The Hunt Saboteurs. Find your local group and bung them a few bob.

It’s bad enough that Hunting is allowed to continue, in full view of those that are supposed to uphold the law but when they actively support those they should be arresting by acting, once again as a private security force then the situation becomes untenable and major conflicts will occur. When those actions are then complicit in the extreme suffering of a wild, sentient mammal plus the unlawful detention of those wishing to aid that animal then the intent is clear to see for all. I am referring to an incident involving the Surrey Union Hunt on the 25th October, their opening meet held at Gosterwood Manor, Forest Green.

The official statement of events from the HSA: “They (the hunt) moved quickly from the meet to the Lukyns Estate near Ewhurst in an effort to lose the hunt saboteurs who were in attendance.

Just before one o’clock the hunt were drawing a small wood when the hounds chased and quickly caught a Roe deer. Several hounds savaged it causing horrendous injuries and the screams of the deer brought one saboteur to the scene. He managed to get the hounds off it and frantically tried to call other sabs to help.

It was at this point that Surrey Police showed that they didn’t give a damn for the torment of the deer and prolonged its suffering by refusing to let the other saboteurs present come to its aid. Four sabs were arrested for aggravated trespass in their efforts to get to the deer. Many of the sabs have worked at animal sanctuaries and could have quickly accessed its injuries and by their actions the Police only protracted the animals’ agony for a further twenty to thirty minutes. Eventually some more reasonable police went to the deer and the lone saboteur and realising that it was beyond saving arranged for the poor animal to shot.

The four arrested saboteurs were taken away to spend many hours in the cells and the rest of the sabs continued to stick with the hunt until the end to prevent further loss of life”.

There are clearly several issues here which are completely unacceptable and raise serious questions.

Firstly why did the police take no action when it was clear the hounds were out of control and in the process of killing a mammal in contravention of the Hunting with Dogs Act?

Secondly, why did they then act in such a manner which prolonged the suffering of the animal, showing a complete disregard for its welfare with their only interest being the arrest of those trying to come to its aid?

This isn’t the first time and I’m pretty sure it won’t be last that these types of issues are highlighted with the policing of hunts. It seems clear to me that the officers present had a predetermined role on the day, and that role was to assist the hunt in any what they saw fit and ignore any offences committed with regard to the Hunting with Dogs Act. The real question however is were the offices present acting on orders or just merely individually pro-hunt and prejudiced against the sabs acting to save the animal?

Another kick in the teeth came in the way of an official statement from Surrey Police after they were inundated with negative comments regarding their actions on social media. The outrage from the general public clearly spurred them into action however the statement once again showed their bias and a complete denial of the facts.

Police statement: “Surrey Police officers attended a location near Ewhurst on Saturday 25 October where the Surrey Union Hunt were taking part in an organised trail hunt.

At around 1pm, a small number of protestors entered onto a field adjacent to the hunt which was on private land. The group were warned by officers that they were trespassing and although given a clear direction to leave, they remained on the land.

Three men and a woman were arrested at the scene of suspicion of aggravated trespass contravening section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act and taken into custody. They were later released on conditional bail until November 21 and 22.

During the hunt, a deer was injured and subsequently had to be humanely put down. Officers at the scene investigated the circumstances and enquiries remain on-going. The deer was discovered in a ditch which was bordered by brambles and barbed wire which early indications suggest may have caused the injuries it sustained.

There were no injuries on the deer or other evidence to suggest it had been attacked by the hounds. At this time no offences relating to the injuries sustained by the deer have been established. The Force is aware that this incident is attracting comment on social media and if anyone has any evidence in relation to it they are urged to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference 45140090216.

Surrey Police recognises the right for people to assemble and protest in a public place and we will always seek to facilitate peaceful protest while dealing proportionately with any unlawful activity”.

In shock and bleeding to death

In shock and bleeding to death

This statement is, quite frankly insulting. The response from North Downs Sabs shows it for what it is, a work of fiction designed to appease whoever in the hunt is pulling their strings and absolve them from any responsibility.

“Firstly this is an unbelievably unprofessional statement from Surrey Police and will lead to an official complaint from us as they have shown incredible bias in siding with the Hunts version of events and must be a knee-jerk response to all the complaints on their web page.

There are points that we can’t cover for legal reasons, but it is full of “mistakes” It implies that the hunt monitors were warned and arrested for aggravated trespass before the deer was savaged by the hunts hounds, but all the monitors stuck to the footpaths up until the point the deer was attacked and then attempted to come to its aid as our videos will show, the Police ignored the screams of the deer and initially only seemed intent on acting as the hunts private security effectively aiding them in their illegal activities.

There were no hunt members or Police present when the deer was attacked, only hunt monitors who witnessed several hounds savaging the deer, two of which had to be physically pulled off the deer which afterwards had horrible injuries and couldn’t stand (the photos plainly show it in a state of shock surrounded by its own blood) so how the Police can state what happened is beyond us.

The Police say that the deer was injured by brambles and a barbed wire fence and had no bite marks on it, the deer after a short chase may or may not have been held up by these barriers enabling the slower hounds to catch it (our people arrived as the deer was being savaged), but the hounds were tearing at the deer when they were pulled off and this would have resulted in most/all of its injuries.

The Police have dramatically failed to investigate a reported crime and should have seized the deer’s body for evidence, no Police officer there was qualified to say that the deer had no bite marks on it, this should have been done forensically by a vet at a later time, but the Police aided the Hunt in hiding their crime by leaving them with the body/evidence which again is unbelievable and will lead to yet another compliant.

The Surrey Union Hunt has a long history of killing directly or indirectly killing at least four deer, three of which have been reported in national or local papers”.

It saddens me that in this so called age of enlightenment we still have a small minority who take delight in causing extreme suffering to sentient beings and have the authorities on hand to make sure they aren’t called to account for their actions. The laws of this land are worthless if we have a police force which are either incapable or, more importantly, not willing to act in a manner which our constitution demands. It would be remiss of me to suggest that all the police are corrupt or incapable of acting in the correct manner in an incident such as this, however this type of negligence will continue while we have a government with members so deeply entrenched in organisations like the Countryside Alliance that it’s difficult to separate the two.

Clearly changes need to made. The Hunting Act should be strengthened (see campaign here) and all the loopholes closed so enforcing it will be easier. The police need direct guidance on how to enforce it and failure to do so should be seen as a dereliction of duty and the officers or those responsible should be held to account. The biggest change will of course need to come in the form of Government. A Tory/UKIP coalition would be an absolute disaster for our wildlife so let’s all make sure that doesn’t happen, ever.