Posts Tagged ‘North East London Hunt Sabs’

The war of words from both side is continuing and is as hotly contested as the battles going on in our countryside. Claim and counter claim are being thrown about like the proverbial hot potato but, with just a little intelligence and an ability to read between the lines it would seem that there’s certainly a sense of desperation coming from those who like to kill things for fun. This is highlighted perfectly by a couple of incidents currently doing the rounds on social media.

atherstone 2

Firstly there were the claims that sabs from West Midland Hunt Saboteurs assaulted a 15 year old boy during the Atherstone Hunt on the 21st Feb. Even the boys mother took to social media to complain about the sabs behaviour with photographs of the incident. You’d think that things weren’t looking too good for the West Mids crew however with nothing more than a slightly closer inspection of the photos you’ll notice they actually show, well . . . nothing untoward at all. If the story wasn’t already on shaky ground then the release of a video from the sabs on the day totally undermines the very foundations of the assault claims and shows them for what they really are, a desperate attempt to discredit West Mids with completely unfounded nonsense. If there had been any grounds for complaint then releasing the details on Facebook isn’t exactly going to help your cause but I’ve never really credited these people with an abundance of intelligence anyway and just reading through the text will explain all you need to know about the person on the other side of the keyboard.

The lies.

atherstone

The Truth.

Well let’s see how they explain their way out of that one. Video camera’s are an essential part of sab kit and it’s at times like this, with the PR battle raging that it is never more apparent.  It also highlights the depths they’ll sink to. Using obnoxious minors to stir things up seems to be a more common tactic among the hunts at the moment, in the hope they’ll get a reaction from the sabs and then gain the negative press they’re so desperately seeking. But it’s something they’ll have to do without and this is purely down to the restraint and calm shown by those at West Mids Hunt Sabs. Great work guys.

The second incident was again from last weekend. I was out supporting Cambridge, Northants and North East London with Beds & Bucks Sabs on what turned out to be quite a tough day. I’ll not go into those details but report on a single incident which occurred during the afternoon. Our van had been parked next to a wood, waiting to pick a group of us up that had been on foot monitoring the hunt. At this time a hunt support vehicle pulled up close behind the van (a 4×4 transit). Our driver was unaware they had pulled in behind and being so close he was unable to see them in his mirrors. He reversed and made contact with the car causing some very minor damage. No real drama and details were being exchanged when we arrived on the scene.

Shortly after this a number of other hunt supporters arrived and things escalated rather quickly as the support made spurious claims of ramming and became very aggressive. This is fairly typical of their behaviour and not the point I’m going to raise. The issue was with the driver of the support vehicle involved and her reaction. She removed a very young child from the vehicle (she claimed to check for injury) and rather than distance herself and her child from the situation she became more embroiled. Looking in from the outside it would be easy to suggest she was using the fact a youngster was present to inflame the situation further. Whether this was her intention or not is difficult to ascertain, only she knows that but video footage clearly shows a sab telling her calmly to take the child away somewhere quiet, which was promptly met with a four letter response.

After the hit report was posted on Facebook the woman in question contacted Beds & Bucks sabs asking them to change the report as it made her look bad and wasn’t accurate. After some discussion with her and reviewing the video footage some minor accuracy changes were made but the general impression of the report was the same. If you think it’s good parenting to take a small child along to support an illegal activity (no legal hunt has a use for masked terrier men on quads) where sentient mammals are killed for fun then, you really have to suffer the consequences and if the general public take a dim view of you then perhaps it’s about time you reconsidered your stance on the matter.

Draw your own conclusions but I’m fairly confident my impression is accurate.

It’s amazing how fast some people can change their approach when dealing with others. Obviously when you’re in uniform and a public servant you need to assess any given situation and react accordingly so it’s never a good idea to go in all guns blazing and then have to back down with your tail between your legs when you get found out. This was the case last weekend when we were ordered to remove our face coverings in quite a forthright manner by a member of the Hertfordshire force. We explained our rights to this chap and at once he became all friendly and accommodating. Unless a section 60AA is in place (which needs to be organised in advance by a senior officer) the police have no justification in ordering you to remove your face covering. Thing is, the police will often try and push their luck, hoping you will be intimidated and comply with any request, regardless of legality. The same goes for giving your details, you really don’t have to do this unless there are a very specific set of circumstances. Some of our group were also told they weren’t allowed to use a public right of way and again this was totally unlawful and their orders were ignored.

Hounds rioting on a Roe Deer

Hounds rioting on a Roe Deer

I did however have a reasonably polite conversation with the local wildlife crime officer regarding the hunt we were attending. I showed him footage of the hounds trying to dig into a badger sett where a fox had gone to ground and he seemed sympathetic to our cause however sitting in a car won’t get you any evidence of illegal hunting when the hunts are well out of sight and looking for foxes. We stopped a potential dig out when we arrived on the scene just as the terrier men on quads were turning up and the hounds showing lots of interest in a particular sett entrance. The huntsman at once called the hounds away knowing his plans were well and truly scuppered. Apart from stopping one vehicle the police paid us little heed from then on in and left us to our work. Our biggest concern of the day was when the huntsman and whipper in lost control of several hounds and they rioted on a Roe Deer. The terrified animal was chased across several fields before finally getting away with some sab help. Just another potential victim of the hunts and even though it wasn’t their intended quarry it’s another reason why the law needs to be tightened.

Killing something by accident is no excuse, although as far as we could see no attempt had been made to even lay a trail so they were acting illegally from the outset. Remember, using more than two hounds is illegal and with no trail being laid or bird of prey in attendance (a ridiculous exemption as a bird large enough to take a fox, namely an Eagle of some sort, is wholly unsuitable for use in these environments) they could have been legally stopped from operating completely should the police have chosen to do so.

All in all it was a good day for us. Only one stroppy supporter felt the need to try and wind us up as most seemed to have seen a few too many summers and clearly in no position to get involved in any aggravation and the local wildlife remained safe for the time being. This was the same hunt we ruined on Boxing Day (the Cambridge and Enfield Chace) except this time they had a joint meet with the Puckeridge hunt on who’s territory they were using. Packing a hunt up early is always very welcome and a surefire sign of an effective operation, needless to say I utilised my extra free time recovering from all those miles run and stuffing my face with a well earned veggie curry.