Hunters and Shooters just wanna have FUN!

Forget Foot & Mouth - the ‘Guardians of the Countryside’ want access

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) today expressed its disappointment, although not surprise, at moves from both the hunting and shooting fraternities to gain access to the countryside despite the continuing Foot and Mouth 'crisis'. The Countryside Alliance, the self styled ‘guardians of the countryside’ met last week with DEFRA (formerly MAFF) to push for the resumption of hunting even though new outbreaks of the disease arise daily.

This is also despite several ‘at risk’ and ‘infected’ areas covering the usual shooting areas of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. Shooters will apparently be allowed to start the grouse shooting season on the ‘Glorious 12th’ as normal.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the HSA stated: "The situation is deplorable, but we are no longer surprised at desperate moves by bloodsports enthusiasts. The hunters were hit hard when the Foot and Mouth crisis started in February, as they were forced to cut short their fox, deer and hare hunting seasons, and indeed the mink hunting season has been practically lost altogether.

"August would normally see the start of the cub-hunting season, where the new hounds in each pack are taught to hunt through the sordid practice of hunting young foxes, but the start of this will hopefully be delayed due to ongoing F&M restrictions, and this in turn will have a serious effect on the effectiveness of the hunts come the main season in November. With this in mind, no wonder they are so determined to get on with the slaughter as soon as they can."

She continued "Shooters, desperate to get one good grouse season in (to follow previous poor years) seem just as happy to forget the obvious risks of spreading Foot and Mouth through their activities."

The DEFRA website gives a veterinary opinion stating ‘Grouse shooting carries a risk that the activity will spread infection and cause new outbreaks of FMD.’ Despite this, permission has been given for shoots to go ahead - even in infected areas, a decision that seems to us to be pure madness in light of the risks of spreading the disease.

However, some good news does reach us via the Daily Torygraph's Peterborough column, concerning the Duke of Westminster who has already called off all 30 days of driven grouse shooting at Abbeystead, his 19,500-acre estate in Lancashire:

"His Grace has taken the view that, in view of local conditions, it would be irresponsible to permit any shooting to take place," says estate manager Rod Banks. "Abbeystead is in an infected area and also in a movement controlled area, so we have decided just to batten down the hatches."

Current rules, announced a fortnight ago, require shooting parties in infected areas to obtain a special licence. Unfortunately, the small print precludes anyone who has been in contact with livestock in the previous seven days from qualifying. With so many beaters and guns being farmers or vets, the effect is potentially crippling.

Surely other 'responsible' land owners cannot fail to follow this example? When it comes to the best interests of the countryside versus the demands of 'country sports’ enthusiasts, it seems the latter will always take priority.’


HSA news release 31st December 1999

Countryside Alliance ‘truce’ classed as a joke

Hunt Saboteur Attacked During Fox Rescue

Hunt saboteurs today condemned the hunting fraternity for failing to abide by their own ‘truce’ following a violent attack on a saboteur.

Saboteurs had successfully rescued a fox that had been badly mauled by hounds and were attempting to take it to a vet when two hunt staff and a rider intervened. The saboteur holding the fox was repeatedly attacked until he dropped the terrified animal and he is now receiving treatment for his injuries. The fox met a horrific end courtesy of the hounds. Around 10 members of the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group (WSWPG) were in attendance at a meet of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray Foxhounds at Rowner Farm, Billingshurst near Horsham when the incident happened at approx. 1.45 pm.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated ‘Here we stand on the eve of a whole new century and yet things remain exactly the same. Saboteurs are regularly attacked or at the very least threatened by the hunters and their supporters, and yet the Countryside Alliance had the nerve to call for a ‘truce’ between protestors and hunters over the Christmas period! Despite this saboteurs successfully disrupted around half of the traditional Boxing Day meets on Monday, and we will continue to do so until hunting with hounds is banned.’

She continued ‘The fox today almost had a second chance, and would have lived to see in the new millennium had it not been for the violent and despicable actions of the hunt. However we know that we may help get the next fox away – and that is precisely why we sabotage bloodsports.’

Notes to Editors:-
Activists from the WSWPG were responsible for the rescue of ‘Copper’ the fox from the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray FH in February this year, and this re-opened the debate as to how much hunted animals suffer during the actual chase.

HSA news release 18th February 1998

A Hunt Saboteur from Sussex was the latest casualty in a war that is going on unreported in the British countryside. Today's attack was at Heyshot, near Midhurst, W.Sussex.

At approximately 12 noon today, a hunt rider with the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Foxhunt, rode deliberately into a small group of Hunt Saboteurs on a public footpath and using his horse as a weapon, barged the protesters into a ditch.


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