Dirty Tricks - Hunt Saboteurs Demand an Apology
Sloppy Journalism, Malicious Stories and Short Memories
As former JP, Jonathan Wilkes, is sentenced to 5 years in jail for making bombs that were "specifically designed to maim and kill", the Hunt Saboteurs Association demands an apology for being mischievously connected with the case by several newspapers, the police and the military.
The devices were left in woods in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire in August 2000. At the time Geoffrey Gibbs of The Guardian ran a story titled "Bomb linked to anti-hunt activists" which claimed that hunt saboteurs could be responsible for the devices. The report included the quote "A spokeswoman for 721 Explosives Ordnance Depot at Ashchurch said police had indicated they could not rule out hunt saboteurs."
Spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Nathan Brown, stated "We demand public apologies from the Explosives Ordnance Depot for spreading this malicious misinformation, Gloucestershire police for not withdrawing or denying the claim and The Guardian and local newspapers for running the story without even approaching us for a comment."
He explained "The Hunt Saboteurs Association has represented hunt saboteurs in this country for 40 years. We are sick of being ignored by the media and tired of being misrepresented as violent. Hunt saboteurs use non-violent tactics and intelligence to outwit huntsmen in pursuit of wildlife. We save the lives of hundreds of hunted animals every year. To suggest that we would wish to endanger life is a grave insult."
The HSA would like to know why, when Hunt Saboteurs were no more likely to have planted the devices than the Chief Constable or Coco the Clown, that we were the only specific group vilified by the media in relation to this case. Even when it emerged the main suspect in the case was an Oxfordshire magistrate, the slur cast on the HSA was not withdrawn.
- Link to the original Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/aug/22/hunting.ruralaffairs
- The Wilkes story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/jan/08/stevenmorris
Same Bloodsport, Same Attitude, Different Day!
Prince William (Monday) at the Duke of Beaufort FH to Photographer before riding at him: "F***ing Piss Off!"
The violent attitude of foxhunters has already started to rear its ugly head despite the fact that the hunting season is only a few weeks old. Several incidents over the last week, one including Prince 'not nice, but dim' William, give the lie to the hunters' claim that "confrontation is not the country way". Attacks and intimidation against hunt saboteurs have been reported from the North West, down through Oxford and Northamptonshire to the South East.
Farmer (Tuesday) at the CL&C Foxhounds to sabs before attacking them with an iron bar: "You're going to get the f***ing kicking of your life!"
Violence broke out once again yesterday on the Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray FH as West Sussex Wildlife Protection activists were attacked by hunt supporters wielding iron bars as they attempted to film the hunt packing up near Midhurst, West Sussex.
The previous week, when the hunt were the only one known to be hunting in the South of England on a Saturday, the most serious offence the police could find to deal with was the alleged absence of DTI licences for CB radios some of the sabs were using. With over 40 hunt saboteurs in attendance, no kills and no violence, the hunt appear to have taken their revenge yesterday.
The four WSWP activists were set upon by CLC supporters armed with iron bars and were forcibly prevented from reaching the safety of a nearby road. Dramatic footage taken by WSWP (stills from the video shown here) shows the supporters attempting to seize the group's video cameras, threatening to give activists the "f**king kicking of your life", and throwing one into a ditch. Throughout the 15 minute incident the CLC supporters threatened and used violence.
One camera is reported to have been damaged in the incident. It comes less than a fortnight after three hunt supporters on the notorious adjacent Crawley & Horsham FH were arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage following an incident during which a hunt monitors' camera was smashed and an anti hunt protester injured. Nicolas Soames MP - so keen to accuse anti hunt campaigners of violence - was seen scuttling away from the scene. The Chiddingfold FH was recently exposed for breaching FMD regulations and is being investigated by DEFRA.
During the sabotage of the Grafton foxhunt in Northamptonshire earlier in the new year, saboteurs split into two groups to stop the Bicester with Whaddon Chase foxhunt also killing. The two hunts were in very close proximity on the day and after one group of sabs made towards the pack of screaming hounds, they realised they had found a different hunt.
The Bicester see themselves as the darlings of the media, but when there are no cameras around, they are one of the nastiest hunts in the South. They count Baroness Mallalieu and Michael Heseltine's daughter as riders, but have also had convicted violent criminals in their ranks. Two hunt supporters were jailed several years ago for their part in an attack with a quad bike which left a sab with serious spinal injuries. Of the sabs attacked at the hunt last week, one of them received head injuries and broken glasses after being punched in the head. Others were threatened by supporters with alsatian dogs.
Video footage of the Sussex incident has been passed to Sussex police. Breath not being held. On previous experience, there would have been no point involving Northamptonshire police!
‘Hunts should resolve to stop killing hounds!’ say Hunt Saboteurs
The Hunt Saboteurs Association today called on all hunts to make a New Years Resolution to end the senseless slaughter of dogs used for hunting. It is common practice for hunts to put down hunting dogs after 6 or 7 seasons of hunting despite the fact that the animals could live naturally for around another 5 years, and each season many hounds are simply killed following injury or accident.
The call comes after the latest incident where a hound from the South Devon Foxhounds was shot on Boxing Day after breaking its leg, despite offers from hunt saboteurs present to take the animal off the hunt and deal with its veterinary treatment and recovery. The hunt met at Poundsgate on Dartmoor, near Newton Abbot, Devon on Boxing Day and hunt saboteurs were present with them throughout. One saboteur overheard the huntsman saying to another follower that one hound was to be taken back to the kennels and shot, and indeed this did happen, despite the offers from saboteurs to take the animal and deal with its recovery.
Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated ‘This is a pitiful example of how the lives of the hounds are regarded as totally expendable by the hunt. It doesn’t matter to the hunting fraternity whether the animal concerned is a fox or hound – at the end of the day they use them for a purpose and have no concern for their welfare. Hunt saboteurs often witness such needless waste of life as they are actually in the field with the hunts when incidents occur. For example we have reported incidents in the past of hounds being killed on railways lines, drowning in reservoirs after falling through ice, and even an incident of a beagle being strangled to death after getting caught in a snare. Had we not been present such horrific incidents would pass by unheard of, as the hunts themselves certainly wouldn’t admit to them.’
She continued ‘The saboteurs made it clear in this latest incident that they were willing to take the hound from the hunt and deal with its treatment, recovery and re-homing – however the huntsman refused point blank to consider this, choosing instead to simply end the life of what was probably a loyal and quite young dog. We know that hunting hounds can successfully be re-homed – the hunts however will never admit this as it blows one of their emotive arguments against a hunt ban out of the water – that all hunting hounds would have to be destroyed once a ban is brought in. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – hunting hounds can be re-homed, and when the hunt ban comes we will endeavour to find each and every hound a new home. Unfortunately the hunts will never accept this fact, and instead will no doubt continue to reward the loyalty and dedication of their hounds with a bullet in the head.'
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