On Saturday 22nd March the Wye Beagles, in Kent, held their last ever meet, bringing to an end 67 years of hare hunting.
Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Officer Lee Moon commented "The demise of the Wye Beagles comes as no surprise to hunt sabs. Since we started targeting the hare hunts three years ago we've noticed a significant drop in the number of their supporters. They have gone virtually underground to try and avoid us and this means they cannot recruit new members. With the HSA stepping up its anti-beagling campaign, it is only a matter of time before other beagle packs fold."
The Wye famously had their entire pack liberated by the Animal Liberation Front in 2001. Only one beagle, Sexton, was ever found and returned to the hunt. The rest were happily retired to loving homes, safe from the cruel fate that usually awaits hounds too old to hunt.
On the day of the Wye's final meet, hunt saboteurs were in action against both the Sandhurst & Aldershot Beagles and the Palmer Marlborough Beagles. Both packs had the same pitifully small 'field' of supporters that have led to the end of the Wye Beagles.
We the 'Hunt Saboteurs Association' are all about direct action in the field, indeed we are the only organisation that directly saves the hunted animal, whether that is a fox or a pheasant or more recently badgers during the cull. Sabs for over 50 years have intervened and disrupted countless hunts saving many thousands of animals.
Right now though we are asking everyone to contact their MP as a matter of urgency, This government is trying to amend the hunting act to allow any number of hounds to “flush to guns”. This will make the already difficult process of getting convictions under the hunting act even harder and it is with that in mind that we would ask you to push your MP to not only reject this weakening amendment of the act but to urge for an amendment to the hunting act to actually strengthen it.
Ways of strengthening the act could include:
- Removing the 'Bird of prey' exemption
- Removing the 'Digging out' exemption
- Require all hounds to be muzzled
- Include a recklessness clause i.e. If a huntsman puts his hounds through an area where he would reasonably expect to pick up the scent of a fox he could be prosecuted.
- Make the offence recordable - so it carries a criminal conviction
You can find your MP on this link, please email them telling them you want to see the hunting act enforced more rigorously and that you will not vote for anyone who votes for any watering down of the act.
Week in, week out, hunt saboteurs across the country witness clear breaches of the hunting act, often with police present and yet few arrests are ever made. Those saboteurs are all volunteers and pay for the fuel costs each week out of their own pockets, they often face physical assaults, criminal damage to property and police harassment whilst simply trying to stop animals being cruelly killed for somebodies “entertainment”. All saboteur groups rely on the HSA for grants to maintain vehicles, buy or replace broken cameras etc
The easiest way for you to stay up to date with whats going on in our countryside and ensure that our wildlife is protected is to buy membership to the HSA, at only £15 a year it gives you 3 copies of Howl and the piece of mind that sabs can continue doing what they do best...
To make a one off donation please click here.
On Saturday the 15th March a group of over 40 hunt saboteurs attended the Sinnington Hunt's final meet of the season at Kirkdale, North Yorkshire.
The hunt was targeted in response to the violent assault of a lone hunt monitor two weeks earlier which left him requiring x-rays. His camcorder was stolen and his mobile phone smashed by members of the hunt. The attack could have been worse had an off-duty police officer not stopped to offer assistance.
Not one of the dozen or so hunt followers present during the attack came to the assistance of the lone monitor who had gone out that day to ensure the hunt obeyed the law. One member of the hunt has already been arrested and further arrests are expected.
After the complete disruption of the hunt's final meet (coincidentally also the final meet for retiring huntsman Adrian Dangar) it can only be
hoped that the followers of the Sinnington, as well as their new huntsman, have learnt that a 'lone' monitor is never truly alone.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:
“These brave monitors deserve our respect for putting themselves in dangerous situations to ensure the law is being upheld. These violent hunts need to know that hunt saboteurs will always come to the aid of monitors who have been attacked as we know only to well how it feels to be on the receiving end of hunt violence”
The IEP was appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to evaluate the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of the Gloucestershire and Somerset pilots.
The leaked report shows that up to 18% of shot badgers took between five and ten minutes to die. This completely contradicts Defra's assertion that “all badgers killed as part of the pilot culls have been shot cleanly and killed instantly”.
The panel also found that less than half the required numbers of badgers were killed in each area during the six week trial. This failure may lead to an increase in bovine tb in both the cull zones themselves and in the surrounding areas.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "The IEP has only confirmed what everyone already knew. The trial badger cull was cruel and didn't work. Surely the Government won't continue with this farcical policy, but if they do, the hunting season is almost at an end and hunt saboteurs across the country will once again mobilise to fight the culls. We have learned from last year and will be even more effective at disrupting the killing this time round".
In the past 6 months the Hunt Saboteurs Association has donated well over £30,000 to local saboteur groups and we have seen the formation of 6 new local groups - Kernow, Dorset, Somerset, North Wales, North Norfolk and Borders. Hunt saboteurs from across the country were also instrumental in the failure of the Government's badger cull.
The money we have distributed has provided groups with vehicles and insurance, cameras, maps and various other essential equipment. Over £3000 was spent on night vision alone to help sabs fight the badger cull and we also provided fuel for groups across the country to reach both cull zones and play such a significant role in the disruption of the cull. The publicity surrounding the culls has led to an influx of new members and supporters for the HSA, many of whom have become active saboteurs getting out in the fields to directly intervene between the hunters and their quarry.
So as we enter our second 50 years life looks increasingly positive for the Hunt Saboteurs Association. We have more sabs, more groups, better vehicles and equipment, more supporters and more money. This means that we can save more wildlife and be a louder voice for those that can't speak up for themselves.
Thank you Mr. Paterson, we couldn't have done it without you!
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