HUNT STEWARD GUILTY OF CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROTESTOR'S RADIO
An unemployed gamekeeper was given a 6 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs at Corby Magistrates court on Friday (3 May) after he pleaded guilty to smashing a hunt saboteur's CB radio. Mr W. Playford was arrested at a meet of the Woodland Pytchley hunt at Stoke Albany on 19th January where he was acting as a hunt steward.
A hunt saboteur had been trying to stop the hunt chasing a fox when he was punched to the ground by another man, dropping the CB. It was then that Playford deliberately smashed the radio.
Whilst hunt saboteurs welcomed the guilty plea, they were disappointed to receive no compensation for the radio, which will cost around £100 to replace. They were also concerned at the light sentence and the fact that no action has been taken over the assault that took place that day.
Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson, Nathan Brown said, "Yet again hunting has shown its true nature. Non-violent tactics of hunt saboteurs save animals' lives and are frequently met with attacks and aggression from the bullies in the hunting fraternity.
"This hunt has a reputation for the violence they visit on anti-hunt protestors. David Reynolds, Master of the Woodland Pytchley hunt, is a prominent member of the Countryside Alliance, who have now threatened a 'summer of discontent'. In light of the increased violence hunt saboteurs suffered last season, I fear we will see even more attacks on opponents of hunting in the future until the Government has the courage to do something about it."
HSA news release 30th March 2002
Huntsman Arrested After Attacks on Hunt Saboteurs
Is this what they mean by a 'summer of discontent' in the countryside?
A huntsman was arrested today (30 March 2002) after a series of violent attacks on demonstrators at the Essex Farmers & Union Hunt. The hunt met at Patten’s Farm, Great Baddow near Chelmsford - the home of Senior Joint Master Doug Hill.
During the course of the day, hunt saboteurs were using non-violent methods such as blowing horns and spraying harmless scent dullers to prevent the hunt killing foxes. The hunt reacted violently throughout, with one protestor hit over the head with a baseball bat, 3 protestors ridden down, and 6 whipped by hunt riders. A knife was also pulled out by a terrierman and used to threaten the anti-hunt activists. One eyewitness said that when police arrived and attempted to halt the attacks on protestors, they too were ridden at.
After one alleged incident, in which an activist was whipped, a huntsman refused to get off his horse when asked by police. The man, wearing the red coat denoting rank and importance in the hunt, was eventually arrested on suspicion of causing Actual Bodily Harm and Assault. Officers from Essex Constabulary filmed the incident.
Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown commented: “Hunt saboteurs were subjected to violence throughout the day. The fact that the arrested man wore a red coat and that the attacks happened when the hunt met at the Senior Joint Master’s farm implies that this sort of behaviour is acceptable within the hunt“
The HSA spokesperson pointed to the frequency of attacks against activists: “This is the 24th incident of violence against anti-hunt activists in the 16 weeks since hunting was resumed after Foot & Mouth restrictions were lifted.
"There have doubtless been more that we are not aware of. Hunt supporters are showing their true colours – they partake in a violent activity and will react violently to anyone who opposes it. Incidents like the one today show that hunt supporters are not a respectable minority as they claim, but desperate thugs, wreckers and bullies. That they are now openly promising to bring a 'summer of discontent' to the countryside should be of interest to the police and law enforcement agencies”
Notes to Editors:-
It is believed at least one other supporter of the hunt was also arrested on Saturday.
HSA news release 27th March 2002
HUNT SABOTEURS ATTACKED WITH PICK AXE AND IRON BAR
Hunt Saboteurs from the South West were today considering themselves lucky not to have been killed after they were attacked with an iron bar, whips and a pick axe at a joint meet of 2 hunts in Cornwall.
10 activists from Devon, Cornwall and Somerset had been present throughout the day near Goon Hill Down, Helston where the Cury and Western foxhunts had converged, and prevented the hunts from killing any foxes using our usual tactics of non-violent direct action.
During the day one saboteur had his ear split open when a hunt official in a red coat whipped him round the head.
Events took an even more serious turn in an alleged incident as the hunt packed up. A group of hunt supporters approached a car driven by one of the activists, smashed up its roof, used a wrecking bar on the body work and then, almost unbelievably, put a pick axe though the bonnet. The occupants of the car were lucky not to be seriously injured.
Spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Nathan Brown, spoke of the incident: "The success of the sabs and the recent vote in the House of Commons must have inflamed tempers. There can be no justification for this aggravated attack which shows that people involved in hunting are far from a respectable minority - they are rural thugs and vandals."
The government has announced a 6 month period of consultation to find a 'compromise' between an outright ban and allowing hunting to continue unregulated. Mr Brown continued: "There can be no compromise on the issue of cruelty. The government should honour the wishes of the majority. Two hunt saboteurs have already been killed at hunts, and many others injured.
"The government should stop wasting time and ban hunting before another protestor loses their life and to stop the pointless slaughter of thousands of foxes, hares and deer."
The saboteurs are having to make an official complaint at Falmouth police station.
Notes to Editors:-
Video footage will be available from 28th March.
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