Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Release 7th October 2013
HUNT protesters are to use 'spy in the sky' technology in the on-going battle to stop hunters flouting the ban on hunting with dogs.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association says it will be using 'drones' mounted with cameras to gather evidence during a week-long 'hare hunting' festival, set to take place in the Pennines later this month.
During the Alston Hare Week, which starts Monday, October 14, hunters with packs of beagle hounds, bred and trained to hunt hares, will travel from across the country to hunt the moors outside the market town of Alston.
The HSA, which promotes non-violent direct action to save hunted animals, is concerned that the event, which is open only to hardcore hunt supporters and takes place in remote terrain, could provide an opportunity for illegal hunting.
It says a team of 'unmanned aerial vehicle' operators will be at the event helping to locate hunters and capture vital evidence of any illegal hunting.
A HSA spokesperson Lee Moon said: "Our new camera 'drones' will ensure people are always in the best tactical position to try to stop hares being ripped to shreds by packs of dogs. This week the hare hunters of Alston will find there is no hiding place for any illegal activities."
The recent convictions of the Heythrop, Middleton and Seavington hunts prove that hunts across the country are continuing to use packs of dogs to hunt and kill wild animals despite the practice being banned in 2004.
Notes to editors:
(1) 2013 is the 50th Anniversary of the Hunt Saboteurs Association. The HSA marked this occasion by sabotaging 50 of the usually elusive hare hunts. (Photos/video available)
(2) 'Beagling' is the practice of hunting hares with a pack of beagles. The hounds are followed on foot by hunters and supporters.
(3) There are 68 beagle packs operating in Britain today. Since the hunting ban, hare hunters have become increasingly secretive about their activities. Because hare hunting take place on open farmland and moors it very difficult for hunters to falsely claim they are 'trail hunting' as many foxhunters do. The HSA believes illegal hunting of hares is widespread amongst beagle packs.
(4) Alston Hare Week is organised by the Weardale and Tees Valley Beagles. Between 70-100 beaglers attend annually, making it one of the most important events in the hare hunting calendar.
(5) The Alston Hare Week is followed by a similar, equally secretive event: the Northumberland Beagling Festival organised by the Newcastle and District Beagles.