News has reached the HSA that all is not well with the Weardale & Tees Valley Beagles (WTV), organisers of the notorious Alston Hare Week hunting festival.
Until recently the WTV were one of the few beagle packs to still enjoy 'professional' status: they had their own kennels and a paid employee to feed and hunt the hounds. Now, however, they find themselves in such dire financial straits that they have been forced to sell off their kennels and become an 'amateur' pack. The hounds will be kennelled with a neighbouring foxhunt and their kennel huntsman, Gary Wingar, has already defected south to become huntsman of the Easton Harriers.
Why this sudden downturn in the fortunes of the WTV Beagles? It's all to do with the collapse of their annual hunting festival, Alston Hare Week. This event involved southern beagle packs travelling north every October to hunt hares in the WTV's wild upland country. The visitors paid through the nose for this privilege and were further fleeced at a series of social events held throughout the week.The HSA sabotaged Alston Hare Week in 2014 and, the following two years, prevented it from happening at all. Deprived of this extra revenue the WTV have hit hard times, and it seems less likely than ever that they will be able to resurrect their cruel hunting festival.
However, the HSA is not complacent and we are determined that Alston Hare Week will never happen again. Our specialist operatives are already monitoring the situation on the ground and we are grateful to the many Alston residents who continue to send us information about the decline of the Weardale & Tees Valley Beagles.
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 16th May 2017
Three employees of the Derwent hunt in North Yorkshire have been charged with illegal hunting.
The three: huntsman Sean McClarron, kennel huntsman Jason Marles (now huntsman at the Eggesford Hunt) and whip Damian Readman are due to appear at Scarborough Magistrates Court on 22nd May.
This follows footage obtained on the 1st November 2016 by members of Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs, at a meet in Wilton in North Yorkshire. Towards the end of the day sabs filmed a fox being bolted from underground and then chased by the pack of hounds. The law stipulates that if a fox is dug out it must not be released to be further hunted.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “It's telling that in practically the same week that the Tories are promising a vote on repeal, the hunting community are showing how above the law they believe themselves to be. Who else, apart from the Conservatives, would choose to reward law breakers by repealing the very law they so blatantly ignore?
Hunt saboteurs were around long before the hunting act and we'll continue to protect wildlife whatever the self serving lackeys of the Countryside Alliance in Westminster decide to do next.
At least 3 hounds were killed and more injured at the Middleton Hunt yesterday when the hunt took them across a busy main road.
The huntsman took the hounds across a main busy road, with no spotter to check oncoming traffic on an upcoming bend. After the incident, one distraught huntsman said "why did we take them over the road?"
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “The Middleton claim to be following an artificial trail. If that's the case why on earth would they lay a trail anywhere near such a busy road. In fact if they're trail hunting, as they claim, then surely they can plan their activities in such a way that they NEVER have to cross main roads. Their wanton disregard for animals lives extends to their own hounds as well as the wildlife they illegally chase and kill.
Only last week we reported that the Middleton had attacked hunt saboteurs. They have also been in the national media in recent months for sexually abusing a passerby and in 2015 they were implicated in keeping fox cubs in a barn near their kennels to be illegally hunted and killed. Every week, hunts across the country endanger human and animal lives with their reckless behaviour. The Middleton Hunt are clearly out of control and as usual it is hunt saboteurs who are bringing their illegal activities to the attention of police and public.”
Video of the incident can be viewed here.
Hunt saboteurs were assaulted by members of the Middleton Hunt at their meet in Uncleby, North Yorkshire on Saturday 18th March. Riders from the hunt stole a video camera and two body cams, hit sabs on the head with whips, attempted to ride them down and jumped off their horses to continue the attacks. One female saboteur has cracked ribs after being crushed between two horses.
Other sabs suffered serious head injuries and broken fingers. Multiple ambulances had to be called to the scene and several of the injured were encouraged to attend hospital. The attack was filmed, attackers have been identified and this information has been passed to the police who are investigating. The footage can't currently be released due to the ongoing investigation.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “In 2015 an undercover investigation implicated the Middleton hunt in the rearing of captive foxes to be illegally hunted. In January of this year huntsman Charles Carter was filmed making sexually inappropriate comments to a member of the public. He subsequently had to resign as a Tory councillor. The hunt have now added violent assault and theft to their list of crimes and are fast becoming one of the most notorious in the country.
We repeatedly see hunters using their horses as weapons and, has been shown in recent years, this can result in serious injury. We are hopeful that the large number of police who attended the scene yesterday are indicative of how seriously they are taking this situation and we look forward to a swift and positive investigation.
Lord Middleton of Birdsall was Joint Master of the Hunt until 2013 and has their kennels on his Birdsall estate. It is alleged that that he no longer allows the hunt on his land due to the recent controversies. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to having his name associated to robbery and violent assault.”
The Fitzwilliam Hunt dug out and killed a fox in the vicinity of Kimbolton Airfield, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire on Wednesday 8th March.
A concerned member of the public witnessed the hunt chase a fox to ground and immediately three men arrived on a quad bike and commenced digging. He called police to the site and the hunt terrier men left the scene. When he returned to the site several hour later he discovered the same hunt employees with a fox that they had just killed. They subjected him to violence but he was able to retrieve the body of the fox.The incident has been reported to Cambridgeshire Police who are investigating. The fox has been autopsied and a vet has confirmed the Fox had more than likely died from blunt force trauma to the head, quite possibly caused by a spade.Prior to the incident the member of the public stopped to speak to foot support, and asked what they were doing. A female foot supporter stated that they were hunting. He questioned whether trail or fox hunting. The foot supporter stated that they were fox hunting but no-one was supposed to know. The foot supporter also stated that they had already caught and killed one fox that day.The Fitzwilliam are already embroiled in one court case following the illegal hunting and killing of a fox last year. Hunt staff are due to stand trial in Peterborough Magistrates court in April.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Well done to this brave passer-by who managed to gather evidence of a crime. It is one of the most blatant abuses of the Hunting Act that hunts still have terrier men out with them. If, as most of them claim, they are following a trail then why would they need terrier men to dig out foxes that they shouldn't be chasing in the first place. Not only are these thugs often the most violent members of the hunts but they are also the ones who prove illegality. The Fitzwilliam are clearly serial lawbreakers and we hope the upcoming court case serves up at least a measure of justice.”
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