HSA news release 11th February 2002
HSA Calls for Prosecutions Before Another Hunt Saboteur is Killed

On 22 January 2002, hunt protestor Simon Wild was attacked at a meet of the Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt in West Sussex. He was then ridden over by a member of the hunt on a horse. The League Against Cruel Sports has announced its intention to use bodyguards to protect protestors from similar incidents. The huntsman has gleefully admitted his part for last Saturday's Independent, and pro-hunt commentators are laughing about the situation.

11 years ago this Saturday, on 9 February 1991, Hunt Saboteur Mike Hill was killed by a vehicle belonging to the Cheshire Beagles Hunt. On 3 April 1993, Tom Worby died under the wheels of the Cambridgeshire Foxhounds hound-van. On 1 Sept 2000, hunt saboteur Steve Christmas came close to losing his life when he was run over by a 4x4 at a meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent Hunt. Steve had to be airlifted from the scene and spent months in intensive care.

Today the Hunt Saboteurs Association called for more appropriate policing at hunts. Spokesperson Nathan Brown said "We have recently seen approximately 100 police officers mobilised in Sussex to prevent hunt saboteurs from blowing horns or spraying the ground with a harmless mix of citronella oil and water. Meanwhile, no concerted attempt has been made to tackle the violence dished out to protestors by hunts and their supporters."

Taking one day as a snapshot, Saturday 19 January 2002, attacks were made on hunt saboteurs at 5 different hunts across the country showing how widespread the problem is:

  • Woodland Pytchley Hunt, Northants. A hunt steward was arrested and taken to Corby police station after a hunt saboteur was attacked.
  • Four Burrow Hunt, Cornwall. A hunt saboteur was taken to hospital in an ambulance after being run over by a horse trailer.
  • Vale of Aylesbury Hunt, Hertfordshire. A hunt saboteur was driven at by an angry hunt supporter and had to throw himself clear to avoid being hit.
  • High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire. A hunt supporter drove at hunt saboteurs. She hit one female sab who landed on her bonnet and became trapped between two vehicles.
  • Vale of White Horse Hunt, Gloucestershire. Hunt sabs driven at by van and one of them clipped. Driver reverses and announces " If you f***ing get in the f***ing way of my f***ing car again I'm going to f***ing kill you... you 're gonna f***ing die!!"
With the exception of the Woodland Pytchely arrest, police have taken very little interest. The HSA spokesperson commented "Hunt saboteurs have always received threats and violence, but this season we have seen an escalation in the severity of attacks. We are not talking about a few punches being thrown, we are talking about protestors being run over. A lot of resources are spent protecting the right of people to hunt, yet none are spent on protecting our right to protest and, more seriously, our right to life. This season has been one of the most violent experienced in the Hunt Saboteurs Association's 39 year history. The fact that nobody was prosecuted in the cases of Mike Hill, Tom Worby or Steve Christmas has given hunt supporters the green light to attack saboteurs and has given hunt protestors very little faith in the legal system. Other than seeing an increase in prosecutions of hunt thugs, a solution would be for the government to honour its election pledge and enable Parliament to ban hunting once and for all"

Aside from numerous cases of violence, this season has already seen other incidents such as hunts trespassing on railways, hounds being killed, trespass through villages, and sheep being disturbed during the lambing period. Reports have been received of disturbance by a hunt causing 2 pregnant ewes to abort their lambs.

Notes to Editors:-
  • Jeremy Whaley, 51, from Duns (but about as Scottish sounding as Prince Charles) and the Master of the Berwickshire Hunt, was arrested after he tried to break through a police cordon in Regent Road, Edinburgh last Thursday. Police later said a 51-year-old man had been arrested for public order offences.
  • The Scottish Parliament votes on whether or not to ban hunting on Wednesday 13 February.

ENDS
HSA news release 31st January 2002
Hunt Saboteurs Left to Rescue Hunt Hound After Cliff Fall

Hunt saboteurs in the North West yesterday (30/01/02) condemned the Holcombe Hunt after its supporters, riders and staff showed little regard yet again for the fate of a hound which was injured after falling 30 feet off a cliff.

The incident occurred when the hunt met at Holt Lane Farm, Brindle, near Chorley, which is the home of Hunt Master, Arnold Greenhalgh. Hunt saboteurs were in attendance to use non-violent direct action in order to prevent the hunt from killing foxes or hares following a tip off from a from a local.

During the course of the day members of the North West HSA managed to save the lives of many hares and rabbits using tactics that have proved successful in the past. However, during the afternoon the pack of hounds were seen hunting near a cliff face, and one of the hounds fell. The saboteurs were at the incident within seconds to attend to the hound. One saboteur then picked up the severely injured hound, which had blood streaming from its mouth, and ran over to the nearby road to get help.

Despite the presence of 20 hunt supporters at the road they all ignored the saboteurs pleas for help and it was not until a member of the hunt staff decided to intervene after several minutes that a supporter reluctantly decided to put the injured foxhound in his Landrover. It is not known what happen to the injured hound but sabs present feared for its life, especially after the unnecessary delay in taking it for treatment.

Following the incident Paul Timpson spokesperson for the NWHSA said "The complete lack of concern shown by the hunt and their supporters over the incident is disgraceful and highlights the hunt's blatant disregard for life - whether it be fox, hare, horse or hound. It also goes to show that the hunt see the hounds as expendable as they just carried on hunting as if nothing had happened.

"Following an incident five years ago when sabs helped save the lives of two hounds from nearly drowning in an ice covered reservoir, it would be appreciated if the hunt would publicly thank the sabs for their help yet again".

Notes to Editors: -
For general information on NWHSA and past press releases please see the NWHSA website at www.nwhsa.org.uk

ENDS

HSA news release 26th January 2002


Garth & South Berks Hunt: “arrogant, reckless and stupid”

The Hunt Saboteurs Association yesterday condemned the Garth & South Berks Hunt as “arrogant, reckless and stupid” after their hounds strayed onto a main train line at Grove, near Wantage in Oxfordshire. The Hunt, who are closing their kennels due to constant sabotage, had been hunting by invitation of the Old Berkshire Hunt.

Hunt saboteurs had spent the early part of the day with the hunt and successfully prevented them from catching 3 foxes when, towards the end of the day, huntsman Peter Swann took his hounds to woods and scrub on the edge of the train line. The line, consisting of four sets of tracks, forms part of the main Reading to Swindon line and serves the West Country and the Midlands.

A fox, which ran along the train line and then crossed it was chased by the hounds. Whilst hunt members were several hundred yards away, hunt saboteurs intervened and tried to stop the hounds running on to the track. They also managed to retrieve some hounds that were already running along the tracks. When the hunt eventually did arrive, their inaction meant that saboteurs had to continue removing the hounds from the line. Minutes earlier, police at the hunt had been informed that a criminal trespass by the hunt was likely and that they should intervene to prevent such an incident.

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown spoke of the incident: “The actions of the hunt today were arrogant, reckless to the extreme and plain stupid. Hounds have been mown down by Intercity trains before on countless occasions, yet the huntsman chose to hunt his hounds right next to the train line. It was only the quick thinking and action of hunt saboteurs that prevented a potential tragedy. We could have seen the whole pack killed, or even a major train accident caused by them.”

When protestors raised the issue with hunt members and the police, a hunt official allegedly told them “Trains don’t run today”. However, 2 trains had already passed the scene in the previous 10 minutes. Mr Brown continued: “Whether or not a train would have been passing is neither here nor there. Rail trespass is a criminal offence, and the arrogant disregard of this fact is typical of the way hunts treat other people’s property in the countryside. Protestors are reviewing video and still camera footage taken in order to pursue this matter with Transport Police.”

The incident was captured on video, some grabs from which appear below:

Some hounds were called back from railway tracks by hunt saboteursGarth & South Berks hounds on railway tracksGarth & South Berks hounds on railway tracks Garth & South Berks huntsman still failing to take action as hunt hounds rampage across mainline rail tracks

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