HSA news release 21st September 2001

Animal Welfare campaigner beaten with baseball bats by thugs


John Gill, an animal welfare and anti-snare campaigner from Castleside near Consett in Co Durham was yesterday viciously and cowardly attacked by 3 armed 'men' in his own home.

He spent the day and night in the University Hospital, Durham under observation for head injuries, after receiving stitches to head and leg wounds, and was expected to be released today.

John was beaten severely about the head and body with Baseball bats, by 3 'men' who attempted to break down his front door (one of the men apparently shouted that they were police officers) on Thursday morning (Sept 20) at about 0930.

It may be a coincidence that this attack comes the day after the parliamentary vote in Scotland to ban hunting with dogs (Protection of Wild Mammals Bill) and after increasing threats from pro-hunting supporters that they will not obey the law or go down without a fight. John Gill has upset some very powerful people in his local area with his tireless and direct campaign over the last decade to stop the torture and killing of wild and domestic animals by wire snares.

It seems obvious to us that this was a 'professional' and premeditated attack. The police are investigating, but from previous experience, local and national campaigners will not be holding out much hope of the sort of vigour and limitless resources that were spent on the case of Brian Cass, the head of Huntingdon Life Sciences, who was the subject of an assault earlier this year. His case led to a lengthy nationwide investigation and massive publicity.

In John's case, he has specifically requested that several local police officers not be involved because of their previous treatment of him.