HSA news release 26th March 2003

Saboteurs attacked at hunt of Countryside Alliance Director

Three hunt saboteurs from Reading and London were today attacked whilst following the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt. The hunt had met at Bower Farm, Aldworth, West Berkshire and at around 3.30 p.m. the protestors were making their way across Moulsford Down when they were attacked by a group of estate workers or gamekeepers.

Two of the protestors were thrown through the air and then punched in the head repeatedly as they lay on the floor. One of the attackers was shouting "I'm going to f****ing kill you". As a result, one of them has been left with a large bump on the side of her head. The other has burn marks on her neck from where the attackers tried to pull away the hunting horn that was on a string around her neck. The third protestor was also attacked after being pushed to the floor.

However, the protestors bravely continued to sabotage the hunt after the attack using horn calls, sprays and voice calls to distract the hounds from foxes.

The matter was not reported to the police as the saboteurs in question have little faith in any action being taken. Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown explained their stance: "Two hunt saboteurs have been killed at hunts and no-one has been prosecuted. We have yet to see any justice for Steve Christmas, who was nearly killed and is still having to undergo surgery following an attack in September 2000 at the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt. If saboteurs trespass there is a rapid police response. Groups of hunt supporters have been roaming the countryside in co-ordinated attempts to ambush and attack hunt saboteurs over the last couple of months, in our experience, when saboteurs are attacked there is a slow response or none at all."

The Chairman of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt is John Gardiner - Director of Political Affairs at the Countryside Alliance. Commenting on the link, the HSA spokesperson continued "On Saturday protestors were hospitalised at the hunt of a Countryside Alliance Board member and today we see protestors attacked at the hunt of one of their Directors. Is this the Countryside Alliance response to the progression of the Bill to ban hunting? Where is their condemnation of attacks?"