Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 5th February 2018

 

David Thomas, hunt Master of the Dwyryd hunt, has today been sentenced to 22 weeks imprisonment and banned from keeping dogs for 8 years after being found guilty of badger baiting. Jordan Houlsten, the hunt terrier man, was also sentenced to 20 weeks and received a ban on keeping dogs for 8 years. A 17 year old who had previously pleaded guilty to being present at a dog fight at the hunt kennels was given a 10month suspended sentence and banned from keeping dogs for 4 years.

 David

David Thomas has previously been accused of badger baiting but got away with it on that occasion. He attempted to blame his co-accused in court today. The judge took into account when sentencing the adults that a child had been dragged into this horrific animal abuse. The evidence shown in court was disturbing and Magistrates Gwyn Jones had no option but to hand out prison sentences. Another man who pleaded guilty on the day received a 10 month suspended sentence and an 8 year ban from keeping dogs.

 Jordan

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “David Thomas is the founder, master and huntsman of the Dwyryd Hunt. His ban on keeping dogs means there is no other option than for the hunt to be disband. They will attempt to claim that someone else owns the hunt hounds but this will obviously be a falsehood. The hounds must be re-homed and the apparatus of the hunt broken up. We expect the Masters Of Foxhounds Association to lead the calls for this course of action and to formally distance themselves from the Dwyryd Hunt.”

David Thomas, master and huntsman of the Dwyryd Hunt, has been convicted of running a horrific badger-baiting ring from his hunt kennels.

 

RSPCA investigators found an elaborate system of pipes, artificial setts and cages at the kennels - all built to facilitate the premeditated torture of foxes and badgers by dogs. The HSA is now calling for the immediate disbanding of the Dwyryd Hunt.

 

This latest incident follows the closure of the South Herefordshire Hunt after their staff were filmed throwing live fox cubs to the hounds.

 

HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "This horrifying case highlights, yet again, how hunt personnel are routinely involved in the most serious and disturbing of wildlife crimes. In press interviews following the 2005 hunt ban, Thomas made very clear his intention to become a wildlife criminal saying 'I've been doing it for 15 years and it's something you can't give up.' Perhaps if Gwynedd police had acted against Thomas at the time then these depraved acts might have been prevented."

 

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Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 13th January 2018

A Hunt Saboteur is in critical condition after being punched to the ground and ridden down by members of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers. The huntsman from the hunt was present and involved in the attack. Cameras and radios were stolen during the attack.

 Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers

Saboteurs had been following the hunt when a small group of three were lured into a premeditated attack. The injured sab was punched to the ground before being ridden over by one of the hunt horses. He is currently in hospital undergoing a CT scan and repeatedly lost consciousness after the attack. He also has a hoof print in his head.

 

Devon and Cornwall police are investigating the attack after being called by other members of the group whilst the attack was taking place.

 

Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteur Association, stated: “This was clearly a premeditated attack by a hunt that have been put under increasing pressure by South Devon Animal Rights. Unable to kill with impunity they are taking out their frustrations on those that stop them. We hope that Devon and Cornwall Police carry out a thorough investigation but given their usual pro hunt bias we won't hold our breath.”

 

On Monday Hunt Saboteurs were in action to stop the Gloucester-based Royal Agricultural College Beagles from killing hares in Aberdeenshire. The RAC pack are in Scotland for a week of illegal hare hunting at the invitation of the Kincardineshire Foxhounds.

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The Sabs have on video a police officer at the scene telling them that the hunt are flushing hares to guns and if the sabs follow then they will be arrested. The sabs have gone to the local police station with the video and pointed out the law, and the police have realised that they have helped facilitate an illegal activity. They have now sent a wildlife crime officer to the hunt and told them that they have to stop.

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The RAC are one of the most controversial hunts in England. In February 2013, their then huntswoman, Libby Gilbert, was filmed illegally hunting hares. Gilbert chose to flee to America rather than face justice in court. Two years later, a mob of drunken RAC supporters were filmed attacking a small group of hunt saboteurs and attempting to overturn their vehicle.

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Given this reputation, and the intense scrutiny Scottish hunting is currently under, it is extraordinary that the Kincardineshire Foxhounds thought it to appropriate to offer a 'hunting holiday' to the RAC.

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HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "People in Scotland will be outraged to learn that their wildlife is being terrorised by a gang of hare hunters from England. The fact that this visit went ahead in the midst of major political moves against Scottish hunting shows just how arrogant the hunters are. Even now these people think they are above the law."

 

Notes for Editors

(1) The RAC Beagles are the official hunt of the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. The Queen and Prince Charles are the university's patron and president respectively. 

(2) Beagling is the practice of hunting hares by scent with packs of beagles. (This is different from hare coursing, where the hare is hunted by sight with greyhounds or lurchers). However, there are no beagle packs in Scotland and, as hunted hares run in large circles, it would be physically impossible to 'flush to guns.'

(3) League Against Cruel Sports footage of RAC huntswoman Libby Gilbert hunting a hare on 20/02/13: https://youtu.be/Hs0vOjjhFYI

(4) HSA press release on RAC attack on hunt saboteurs 10/01/2015. Includes footage of dead rabbit being thrown at sab vehicle and drunken attempts to overturn occupied vehicle: https://www.huntsabs.org.uk/index.php/92-news/press-releases/554-criminal-activity-by-members-of-the-rac

(5) Details of the Jed Forest Foxhounds conviction - the first under the The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002: https://www.league.org.uk/news/borders-huntsmen-found-guilty-of-illegal-fox-hunting

(6) Hunting in Scotland is currently under pressure from several quarters: https://www.league.org.uk/blog/on-the-trail-of-the-hunts

 On the 4th, 5th and 6th of December, Hy Fly Game Hatcheries in Lancashire hosted the International Gundog League Retriever Championship and a small group of hunt saboteurs headed to the area to gather valuable information and formulate a plan about how best to sabotage next year’s championships.

Hy Fly is a vast game farm that intensively rears pheasants, partridges and ducks in appalling conditions to be sold on to shoots all across the UK. Birds used for breeding are confined to barren wire cages and their offspring are artificially incubated on site. Hy Fly even boasts of producing up to 1.5 million pheasants, partridges and mallards per week. In January this year, the farm was close to bankruptcy after bird flu was found on the site and a staggering 10,000 birds were subsequently culled.

The shooters, dog trainers and spectators met at Moss Cottage, not far from Poulton-Le-Fylde, before walking to the surrounding fields to kill pheasants and partridges who had previously been released into the area from the endless rows of pens at Hy Fly. The event attracts some high profile people, for example this year's championship was won by a dog owned by serial animal abuser and fox hunt master, the Duke of Buccleuch (who is also the largest private landowner in Europe). The Queen has also awarded prizes at the IGL in past years.

The International Gundog League has recently come to the attention of the HSA as part of our ongoing campaign against the shooting industry. It is sickening that large numbers of factory farmed birds are gunned down simply for dog trainers to win themselves medals. The organisers of next year's event should certainly expect mass sabotage.