HSA news release 7th March 2005
A Countryside Alliance press release published today has been dismissed by the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) as "twisting the truth". The release claims that the Vine and Craven Hunt were carrying out legal activities when they were beaten by anti-hunt protestors.
Hunt saboteurs who were monitoring the hunt's activities at Rockley near Marlborough, Wiltshire on Saturday 5 March have given their conflicting version of events:
Although the hunt started off following a "drag" scent, a fox was seen being pursued by the hounds. The fox and hounds entered a wood. The saboteurs entered the wood to find hounds digging at an earth where the fox had taken refuge and being allegedly encouraged by hunt staff. When the saboteurs tried to gather footage of what seemed to be a breach of the new Hunting Act, they were threatened and attacked. Video footage taken that day has been reviewed and unfortunately shows nothing except the floor as the cameraman was prevented from filming. One of the huntsmen tried to ride saboteurs down when his horse reared up and he fell off.
HSA spokesperson Nathan Brown summarized the situation: "Some huntsmen were caught chasing a fox and wanted to prevent monitors from gathering evidence by attacking them. One fell off his horse as a result of reckless riding. This was a self-inflicted injury. The Countryside Alliance seem to be trying to misrepresent what happened to discredit anti-hunting activists. Hunt saboteurs would have no reason to disrupt a drag hunt.
"However, huntsmen would clearly have a reason to attack people filming them breaking the law. I am sure if the public hear both sides of the story they will be able to make their own minds up."
The spokesperson also commented on the motivation behind the press release: "Violence against our members is nothing new. I am sure the Countryside Alliance want to divert attention away from the fact that a huntsman was arrested in Essex on Saturday after a woman protesting against a hunt was hit on the head with a riding crop."
Timeline: the recent wave of violence against anti-hunt protestors since the Hunting Act was passed...
- 18 November 2004
Parliament passes Hunting Bill. Hunting to be illegal on 19th February.
- 20 November
3 saboteurs injured. One has to undergo emergency surgery to save his finger. South Devon Hunt, Devon
- 27 November
Saboteur receives 5 stitches to head wound after attack. High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire
17 year old saboteur receives broken nose after repeatedly headbutted. Crawley and Horsham Hunt, West Sussex
- 4 December
Saboteurs threatened by terrierman wearing balaclava. Numerous assaults on saboteurs including a broken nose. Essex Farmers and Union/East Essex Hunt, Essex
- 11 December
Saboteur's wrist broken in 2 places by terrierman. Essex Hunt, Essex Saboteur threatened by hunt supporter in front of police. High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire
- 18 December
Saboteur ridden over by hunt rider twice. Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, Essex.
Saboteurs punched and equipment stolen. Attempts made to smash saboteur's van window with log. Van whipped, kicked and thumped. Attempts made to drag saboteurs from van. Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, Dorset.
- 24 December
2 cars smashed up and dead fox left on passenger seat of car. Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt, West Sussex
- 27 December
Saboteurs threatened with knife. One ridden down. Hunt supporters then armed themselves with iron bars and sticks. Weston and Banwell Harriers, Somerset.
2 saboteurs rugby tackled to ground. Puckeridge Hunt, Suffolk.
- 31 December
12 hunt saboteurs injured by mob of 30 thugs. East Essex Hunt, Essex.
- 1 January 2005
Pregnant woman taken to hospital with head injuries after being whipped and ridden over twice by hunt staff. Essex Hunt, Essex.
- 3 January
Hunt monitor's car destroyed in arson attack. West Sussex
- 4 January
2 saboteurs receive broken rib, facial injuries and equipment is stolen. Surrey Union Hunt, Surrey.
- 8 January
4 female saboteurs attacked receiving limb injuries / fractures, vehicle badly damaged. Crawley & Horsham Hunt, West Sussex.
- 15 January
Saboteurs threatened and attacked, vehicle damaged. Cotswold Vale Hunt, Gloucestershire.
- 20 January
Hunt supporter armed with a metal spike punctures sab Landrover door, barely missing the driver's leg. Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, Wiltshire
- 22 January
60 year old female aboteurs ridden down - receives head and neck injuries. Dunston Harriers, Norfolk.
- 29 January
2 hunt ‘stewards’ arrested after attack on hunt saboteurs. Avon Vale Fox Hunt, Wiltshire.
- 05 February
2 hunt saboteurs injured, 15 attacked by 30 hunt thugs. East Kent Fox Hunt, Kent.
- 05 February
Hunt saboteurs threatened with violence by hunt followers in front of police, obstruction and theft from motor vehicle ignored. Hampshire Fox Hunt, Hampshire.
- 09 February
Saboteurs hit by quad bike, ridden down and whipped. Essex Farmers and Union Hunt
- 12 February
Saboteur's finger broken, female sab had head held under water by hunt supporters, female saboteur repeatedly kicked in the head and head stamped on suffering a suspected broken jaw, gang of over 40 hunt supporters ambushed saboteurs. Essex Foxhounds, Essex.
- 17 February
8 Saboteurs attacked and ITN film crew ambushed by 30 thugs and riders. Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt, West Sussex.
- 19 February
Saboteurs attacked and beaten by 15 - 20 hunt supporters in full view of BBC film crew. East Kent Hunt, Kent.
- 05 March
Saboteur suffers head injuries after being attacked by rider with whip. Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, Kent.