HSA news release 23rd March 2003

Huntsmen create their own war as they attack saboteurs

On one of the last hunting days of this season, and whilst thousands marched for peace in London, hunt suppporters yesterday declared their own war as they attacked hunt saboteurs at various locations around the country.

At the Woodland Pytchley Hunt near Drayton Park, Northants, a gang of approximately 30 hunt supporters attacked saboteurs. Three saboteurs had to be attended by paramedics and were taken to hospital after the attack. One received head injuries and had high blood pressure after she was knocked unconscious, and another was treated for an injury to his eye. A third who had his ankle fractured and dislocated, is expected to be in hospital for at least 3 days and may have to be operated upon. In total 8 saboteurs were injured. 2 hunt supporters were arrested. The hunt packed up early on the advice of the police.

The gang of supporters have been following saboteurs from hunt to hunt in the area in the past few months intimidating them and have carried out previous attacks. They are believed to be "stewards" for the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hunt, a favourite of Countryside Alliance President Baroness Ann Mallalieu. The Master of the Woodland Pytchley Hunt, David Reynolds, is also a Board member of the Countryside Alliance.

On the same day at the Hampshire Hunt near Alton, Hants, a saboteur was attacked and hit by a Land Rover driven by hunt supporters.

Also on Saturday, at the South Dorset Hunt, which met at Bovington Tank Museum, a saboteur has reported that he was grabbed by the throat and hit on the nose by a huntsman. Throughout the day, the hunt searched for foxes across MoD firing ranges next to Bovington Camp, posing a potential breach of security in the current state of high alert. One of the hunt's hounds was also hit by a van and saboteurs are concerned that it was not recovered by the hunt for veterinary attention.

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown stated "The violence dished out yesterday is a reaction to our success in saving lives. It shows that hunting is not a pursuit carried out by respectable people. The barbarity inflicted on animals is also inflicted on people who oppose what hunts do. The Countryside Alliance turns a blind eye to these attacks and by failing to prevent them could be seen to be encouraging them. If the so-called Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting takes no action against those involved in these attacks then it is proof that it is neither independent or regulatory."