HSA news release 12th November 2002

Hunt breaches own Code of Conduct and attacks protestors

Hunt saboteurs in Surrey told today how they were attacked by riders and a gang of terriermen and hunt stewards at the Surrey Union Hunt as they tried to stop them killing foxes. 3 saboteurs attended the meet at Capel nr Dorking today (12 November) and used hunting horns and 'gizmo' to prevent the hunt from chasing foxes.

After initial success in stopping the hunt from killing, the hunt saboteurs reported that:

  • 2 'disorientated' foxes were ripped apart after an unusually short chase (draw your own conclusions)
  • A saboteur was assaulted and had her hunting horn stolen by a hunt steward
  • Riders deliberately rode into the saboteurs
  • Riders and hunt stewards threatened the saboteurs throughout the day
  • A saboteur who managed to grab the carcass of one of the foxes was rugby tackled and assaulted by hunt stewards sustaining injuries to his face
  • A saboteur with a camera was assaulted to try and prevent photos being taken of the assault and she sustained injuries to her leg
  • An attempt was made to steal a 'gizmo' from a saboteur. She had to climb a tree to prevent the hunt seizing the device used to call hounds away from foxes
  • Hunt members surrounded woods to prevent foxes from escaping - a practice known as 'holding up' - usually practiced during Cub Hunting

Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) spokesperson Nathan Brown said "The hunt were ruthless and underhand in their pursuit of foxes today and equally arrogant in their attacks on protestors. On Saturday approximately 20 police officers - including two mounted on horses - were present to stop 5 saboteurs saving animals' lives. There were only 25 riders out on Saturday, almost one officer per hunt rider, a fortnight earlier there were over 40 police - all there to aid the hunt. When our members were attacked, as usual there was no sign of the police who always make the claim to be protecting and upholding the rights of both sides. The victims have no faith in Surrey Police and on past experience, feel that no action will be taken if they report the incidents to them."

The saboteurs feel the action of the hunt clearly breached the Master of Foxhounds Association "Code of Conduct" which states that they should only hunt "..the fox in its wild and natural state" and that "Confrontation with saboteurs should be avoided whenever possible" (i.e. not attacking them). The Code also states that 'Holding up' should only be carried out during 'Autumn Hunting' not in the full season.