While many foxhunts make Boxing Day their one public meet of the year, the hare-hunting beaglers remain as secretive as ever. On hunting's premier day not a single beagle pack, anywhere in the country, chose to avail themselves of the chance to engage with the public.
However, many hunt sab groups have been busy tracking down their local beagle packs, knowing that they are even more likely than the foxhunts to
be illegally hunting.
As a result, several packs were successfully sabbed over the festive period (including the Colne Valley/Holme Valley, the Old Berkeley, the New Forest
and the Warwickshire); but many more across the country were placed under covert surveillance in a major intelligence-gathering operation designed to ensure the success of future sabbing.
These packs included: the Black Combe who met in Waberthwaite, Cumbria; the Leadon Vale Bassets who met at the Lower Lode Hotel, Gloucester; the Wilts and Infantry who met at the Longs Arms, Steeple Aston and, most revealing of all, the new Severn Vale Beagles who foregathered at the Salutation Inn, Berkeley.
Crucial information, including identification of key personnel and vehicles, was obtained and this will be put to good use in the next phase of the campaign against hare hunting.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Over 50 different beagle and basset packs have been targeted by hunt saboteurs in the past year and many more are being covertly monitored. The evidence gathered shows that the majority of these packs are hunting illegally and we will continue to make them a focus of our activities.
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 30th December 2013
On Saturday December 28th hunt saboteurs from Yorkshire attended a Pony Club meet of the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds at Escrick Park. Three foxes that were deliberately hunted were aided in their escape by the sabs through the course of the day and, as the sun was going down, three terrier men were found just as they were about to finish digging the second fox out of an active badger sett.
The sabs began to obstruct the men from continuing this illegal activity and the situation began to escalate, with about 8-10 more men with spades soon arriving at the scene. One sab was smashed in the head with the pistol the men planned to shoot the fox with and was also knocked down in a field by a hunt pickup truck. The sabs were not deterred by this, fought off the attackers and stood their ground.
On stopping the dig-out the sabs had to prise a terrier from the fox as it had locked on to the fox's face. Sabs then had to help the fox free from the earth as the earth around it had been caved in, leaving only its head exposed. The fox escaped with little visible injury but the terrier's face was badly wounded from fighting the fox. The group are now preparing to prosecute the hunt for their actions and ask Escrick Park to stop facilitating these criminal acts by the hunt and to refuse them access from now on.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Only two days after Boxing Day we see the real face of fox hunting. Boxing Day is the sanitized, media friendly press stunt that the hunting community use each year to pull the wool over the eyes of the British public. This is the grim reality of what occurs the rest of the time when the media spotlight is elsewhere. Escrick Park are a major supporter of the York and Ainsty South Hunt and are just as guilty as they allow these illegal acts to take place on their land. We call on them to ban the hunt from their estate before they become embroiled in any legal action taken against the hunt.”
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 30th December 2013
Hunt saboteurs from the Northants and West Midlands groups visited the Oakley hunt on Saturday 28/12/2013. On their arrival the hunt were clearly hunting foxes and the sabs had to intervene to enable an animal to escape. Shortly after this a police helicopter arrived, which it later transpired was called in from Leicestershire expressly for this incident.
The helicopter repeatedly flew very low over the sabs heads and purposely placed itself between the sabs and the hunt to enable the hunt to get away. The helicopter continued to follow the sabs in this way for some time, always trying to stop them from following the hunt and then they decided to land. Once on the ground the police from the helicopter tried to detain people, but when challenged had no answer as to why they were doing this. The sabs continued to follow the hunt and eventually the police helicopter left about forty-five minutes later.
Simultaneously six police cars were also surrounding the sab vehicle and members of the public were stopping to see what incident had led to such a high police presence.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “It beggars belief that in times of austerity the Police are willing to waste so much public money protecting illegal hunting. We can only assume that members of the Oakley Hunt have friends high up in Northamptonshire police and we wonder how local residents feel about their council tax being misused in this way.”
Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Release December 27th 2013
During a meet of the Old Surrey Burstow & West Kent fox hunt at Fordcombe, Kent on the 14th December, huntsman mark Bycroft launched an unprovoked assault on a hunt saboteur. Despite calling 999 Kent police failed to take any action on the day. Following complaints they reviewed the video evidence and, although he has a previous conviction for assault on a hunt saboteur, decided that a warning would suffice as Bycroft freely admitted the assault.
The video clearly shows Bycroft looking around to see if he is observed, and then viciously punching the hunt saboteur in the face with no warning or provocation.
Roll on two weeks to Boxing Day and the same hand is shaking that of Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP. It seems Farage not only welcomes a return to the slaughter of our native wildlife but is also happy to shake the hand of a man who uses violence against anyone who intervenes to stop him illegally killing animals.
Is this the face of the new politics that UKIP is promoting?
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Are the hunts feeling so betrayed by the Conservatives and their years of broken promises that they are willing to climb into bed with this insignificant, minority political party? We celebrate this alliance between two groups that share such outdated, unpleasant ideas that are despised by the majority of the British public.”
Note to editors:
Photograph of Bycroft and Farage can be viewed here:
View the video of Bycrofts attack here:
In the run-up to hunting's big traditional Boxing Day show piece, anti hunt protesters from Manchester and Liverpool witnessed first hand the reality of post ban hunting at a meet of the Holcombe Harriers this Saturday 21st December. The hunt, who traditionally mostly hunt hares, met at Brindle at noon, just off the junction of the M61 and M65. The hunt saboteurs followed closely for two hours both on foot and from the road. At around 2pm hounds from the pack got on to the scent of a hare, chased and killed it. The protesters, whilst close to the kill, were too far away to have time to intervene to save the poor animal.
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