HSA News Release 24th November 2007
Anti-hunt protestors claim that this afternoon police ignored blatant illegal fox hunting and failed to prevent a serious assault against them.
At the Essex and Suffolk Hunt, held at Bluegate Farm, Wherstead today (Sat 24th November) a hunt rider was seen to ride his horse over a female protester repeatedly, causing significant injuries to her legs and back.
While the hunt were in the vicinity of Freston Church, it is alleged that the hounds were chasing a fox over a road after emerging from a wood in pursuit. It is claimed that the huntsman was close by and was doing nothing to prevent the hounds from chasing the live quarry.
The protesters saw no sign of an artificial trail having been laid, though he hunt did have a bird of prey. This would allow them under the Hunting Act 2004 to use hounds in order to flush a fox out of woodland to be killed by the bird. It's an exemption that was never meant to be applied to foxhunting and everyone knows it's a smokescreen to allow normal hunting - the only animals killed trying to hunt like this have been the birds by the hounds or foxes by the hounds. The fox however was seen being pursued by the whole pack of about 20 hounds, and the bird of prey was not in the vicinity.
When protesters attempted to turn the hounds back from the public road, they say the hunter galloped at two females, knocking one to the ground, then rode his horse over her on four or five separate occasions, a hoof only narrowly missing her head.
Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association commented, “It would appear to be business as usual in East Anglia almost three years after the hunt ban came into force. We are still seeing fox hunts acting as if they are above the law. Chasing and killing foxes and indiscriminate violence are traditions in this part of the country, and the Essex and Suffolk Hunt seem to embody these customs.
Several Hunt stewards from this very hunt were convicted of violence against protesters earlier in 2007, and two huntsmen in Essex have been found guilty of assault in recent years, one for assault on the police. The hunts are the lawbreakers and we will be pressing the police to fully investigate this horrific incident.
Several complaints had earlier been made to Suffolk police attending the hunt of illegal hunting and racist abuse, and with three vehicles and a video camera there would appear to have been sufficient resources to gain evidence of the hunt’s potential law breaking, but no police were accompanying the hounds when they were seen chasing the fox.”
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