Posts Tagged ‘Old Berkeley Beagles’

If you’ve been keeping up with events on social media you may have noticed Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs caught the Kimblewick Hunt in the act of cubbing very early on Bank Holiday Monday morning near the village of Adwell in Oxfordshire. You can view the full report here. Someone very actively involved in this illegal activity was a certain Matthew Higgs. I received the following about old Higgsy via email so thought I’d publish so we all know what this guy is all about. I also know Higgsy likes to read this blog as well and while he thinks I’m not such a martyr to my cause he lacks any courage in his own conviction and like many cowards, flatly refuses to acknowledge what he does is illegal and hides behind puerile technicalities. Anyway, enough of that, here’s the article . . .

With two of their members in court in October you might think that the Kimblewick Hunt would be on best behaviour (see here). Not a bit of it. When sabs caught them last on Monday morning they were in perfect cub hunting formation. To the fore was Kimblewick Hunt Committee member Matthew Higgs, smartly attired in his Agrii gilet. (Should he really be wearing workwear at an event like this?). Matthew’s first love, though, is hare hunting.

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Higgs, out cub hunting with the Kimblewick on 26/08/19

Trinity Foot and South Herts Beagles

Higgs became huntsman of the South Herts Beagles in 1986 and master a few years later. When his hunt merged with the neighbouring Trinity Foot in 2003, Higgs assumed control of the new pack and has been main man ever since. The Trinity Foot had close links with Cambridge University so there’s usually a gullible student or two on the mastership. Higgs is a respected hound judge and, in his late fifties, an energetic youngster on the decrepit beagling scene.

The Pack 

The TFSH Beagles meet at 12:30 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Their pre-season hunting begins mid-September (hence Higgy’s availability on Monday) and usually includes a trip to Northumberland. On their home turf they have several meets around Ivinghoe Beacon and at farms in Ramsey, Silscoe, Cottenham and elsewhere.

Higgs and the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles 

In 2017 Higgs became Chairman of the AMHB – a tiny, extremist group of a couple of hundred people who obsessively campaign for the right to set dogs on hares. The AMHB also try – very unsuccessfully – to encourage children into beagling through their “Young Hare Hunters Days” which have previously been disrupted by hunt sabs. The big question is whether Matthew will replace current Director Lizzie Pinney, who is retiring to spend more time with her hunt cushions.

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Higgs struggles with his phone again – TFSHB 09/02/19

Friends in High Places 

As with all hunting groups, the AMHB board is small but influential. Their list of Vice Presidents includes such luminaries as Tory MP Nicholas Soames, CA President Baroness Mallilieu and Tory peer Lord Annaly (stop sniggering at the back).

Higgs and Hunt Sabs 

As the de facto leader of beagling in the UK, it would be bad form for Higgs to just pack up when sabs attend. Instead, he tends to flash his spray of American jackrabbit scent and embark on a ludicrous and poorly-rehearsed display of “trail hunting”. This involves his wife, Kate, dragging a scented sock around while the hounds chase hares elsewhere.

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After being caught by sabs Kate pretends to lay a trail 09/02/19

Limited Intelligence 

At the Kimblewick on Monday, Higgs was boasting about how much he knows about one of the sabs. This is typical behaviour. Higgs is the AMHB representative on the Council of Hunting Associations who support Tim Bonner’s embarrassing campaign to “expose” hunt sabs. Because of this role, he is one of the few beaglers who attempts to gather intelligence and keeps a folder of sab mugshots in his hound vehicle. He tries to engage sabs in conversation to find out where they are from and is obsessive about getting photos of sabs who don’t mask up.

Managing Decline

Sitting at the top of the AMHB and on the committee of the Kimblewick, Matthew is perfectly positioned to observe the decline of hunting. Several beagle packs fold every season because no one supports them, and the Kimblewick (an unhappy merging of several fox hunts) faces a high-profile trial in the same week as their Opening Meet.

Oh, Matthew, where did it all go wrong ?

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Can you see a pattern emerging? This time with the Old Berkeley Beagles 02/01/19

So here we are and another start of a new year.

For a change my own festive period was relatively quiet compared to previous years and for that at least I’m thankful. While this was not necessarily the case country wide discussions in our sab wagon certainly seemed to conclude that many hunts in our area at least were keen to avoid any unnecessary and negative press by being caught killing wildlife. Many of the hunts which traditionally take place on Boxing Day and New Years Day were met with demonstrations and this is of course great news. While demo’s won’t save lives in the fields they are important in showing the real feeling among the general public and they have, overwhelmingly, had enough. Hunters and their supporters live in a bubble of their own propaganda and self justification, having middle England turn out on a cold and miserable day waving placards and shouting at them goes some way in bursting that bubble. It also shows the supporters of hunting for what they really are as they resort to abuse and violence in response – they know no other way.

While Timmy and his cronies at the so-called Countryside Alliance were on overtime and once again claiming record turn outs in support of these hunt meets it was abundantly clear, more so than ever, that hunting really is on the decline.

Not so long ago hunts would have had large turnouts in both riders and foot support for these events. They would have hunted on regardless of monitor or sab activity but now that’s simply not the case. Some hunts just chose to parade, the Cambridge with Enfield Chace haven’t hunted for the last few years at their Eltisley Boxing Day meet after they were embarrassingly sent home by the police after killing fox in 2016. The road & green used to be chock-a-block with cars and 4×4’s and getting a drink in the pub would be impossible. As far as I’m aware the pub is no longer hosting the meet and they just now meet on the village green. Just look at this aerial shot we took, the turnout is, to be frank, utterly pathetic.

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Pathetic for a Boxing Day meet.

One has to wonder why they even bothered. Surely its embarrassing to see such a crappy turnout and pointless to get all dressed up with nowhere to go.

The Fitzwilliam faced concerted opposition on New Year’s Day meet at Wansford. Around 50 people turned out to voice their disapproval and there was also some humour thrown in for good measure.

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We agree.

Fitzwilliam Master Philip Baker seemed a bit riled by the anti-hunt sentiment in the crowd and this photo speaks volumes.

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Philip Baker looking a bit concerned, or constipated, could be either.

Another amusing part of that day for us was watching the hunt trotting up the road with a police escort to where all their horse boxes were parked, turning in and all the support parking their vehicles further on at the side of the road, getting out with their binoculars expecting to see the hunt carry on out that back of the farm and start hunting. What they actually saw was some empty Cambridgeshire fields with a few sad looking cows and nothing more. The Hunt had clearly neglected to tell their support that they’d got out of bed for nothing as they put their horses away and buggered off with their tales between their legs.

We had this all confirmed by the police as we chatted with them while they left. While some forces and officers are clearly pro hunt and biased this particular officer we know from the past and was the same one which sent the Cambridge and Enfield Chace home a few years earlier.

Some demo’s got a little bit tasty as drunken hunt support tried to take control of the proceedings and the police had to intervene. A member of East Kent Sabs sustained a nasty injury as he was attacked by hunt hooligans at a meet of East Kent with West Street Hunt and the Atherstone Hunt supporters were predictably aggressive.

What these morons fail to comprehend is that this type of behaviour only strengthens our claims that the hunts are nothing more than organised crime organisations followed by low life thugs and hooligans. The chocolate box image they try and portray has now long gone, the Great British public see them for what they really are and are now finding their voices an making their feelings known.

Finally I’d like to say hi to this chap, Matthew Higgs:

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He was following of the Old Berkeley Beagles who’ve been sabbed a couple of times recently but better known for his connection to the Trinity Foot Beagles and also an avid reader of my blog. Thanks for increasing my viewing figures Matthew but if you really must quote me please get your facts right first, it just makes you look a bit daft.

Happy New Year.

First off my apologies for being a little quiet of late. This was largely due to a total hard drive failure of my PC. Unfortunately I’ve lost the majority of my video files plus a few others things which could prove to be a pain in bum. However I’m now up and running once more with a new PC rebuild complete with fetching army green case!

Of course not being able to write my blog doesn’t mean I haven’t been active in the field. Two weekends ago we hit the Old Berkeley Beagles who intended to hunt hares in the area around Marsh Gibbons. The weather was foul, but us sabs are made of fairly stern stuff and a bit of rain won’t put us off although the hunters seemed less sturdy and spent the majority of their time hiding in a rickety old barn which was full of crap. When the rain finally abated they took us on a very pleasant 7 mile walk, the only highlight being a stroppy farmer who could only throw some pretty pointless abuse in our direction.

Old Berkely Beagles

Morons in green & white. They treat their own animals pretty badly so it’s no wonder they kill for fun.

Next up we spoiled the fun of the Hursley & Hambleden who were having a joint meet with the Hampshire Hunt. As expected we had a little trouble with them as one female sab was assaulted and another racially abused. Both incidents are being investigated by the police as we have supplied video evidence for both so we hope for a successful prosecution. Once again we proved effective, taking control of the hounds at one point and splitting the pack using horn and voice calls. It was a tough day with lots of running and plenty of mud but seeing the annoyed faces of the hunters  and no wildlife killed makes it all worthwhile.

However not every sab group have been so lucky. Our friends over at West Midlands Hunt Sabs were unable to save a fox which fell victim to the bites of many hounds, literally disemboweling the poor animal. They did however manage to retrieve the body which you can see below

dead fox

I make no apologies for the graphic nature. This is what these sick and twisted individuals take delight in and something I’ll never understand. Those responsible, the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt met at the Robin Hood Inn, Drayton Road, Stourbridge. Perhaps you may wish to contact them and ask why they support illegal hunting or maybe leave a review on their Facebook page. Another casualty last weekend was a deer which had to flee the as the South Dorset Hunt was active between Sherborne & Dorchester. In it’s desire to escape it ran right across a busy road and was struck by a car and killed. This incident highlights once again the damage the hunts do to more than just the animal they’re targeting.

The real problem of course remains in the policing of the legislation in place, or should I say the complete lack of it. If this was any other situation in any other location the police would be all over it like a tramp on hot chips however I think it’s pretty clear that they have instructions from on high not to get involved unless they can either cheaply arrest some sabs (who are in effect doing their job for them) to make their figures look good and justify some costs or if there’s a credible threat of violence, which is often the case and generally focused in our direction. The recent dropping of a case by the CPS which involved the killing of a stag by the Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds is quite frankly a disgrace. They claim the kill was made under the exemption of “Scientific Research” which is of course complete bullsh*t.

Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “How on earth can chasing a wild animal to exhaustion be considered as genuine scientific research and observation? The decision taken to drop the case against members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds needs immediate explanation. We urge the public to watch the footage for themselves and make up their own mind as to whether the primary purpose of the hunt member’s actions was for research or for sport.”

Watch the footage, decide for yourself.