HSA news release 12th February 2005

Injuries and arrests as saboteurs stop last legal hunts

Today (12 February 2005), on the last Saturday of hunting before the Hunting Act is enforced on 19th February, hunt saboteurs were active across the country. Whilst overall their activities saved many animals lives, in one incident a large number of saboteurs were beaten up and suffered injuries including a broken jaw. There were also a number of arrests.

Saboteurs at the Essex Foxhounds near Little Bardfield, Essex were attacked right from 11.00 a.m when the hunt started. Within an hour and a half they had reported how:

  • One of their van windscreens had been smashed
  • A saboteur had his finger broken when a hunt rider smashed his hand with a riding crop in an attempt to prevent him taking a picture of the damage
  • A gang of approximately 40 hunt supporters had ambushed saboteurs
  • One woman had her head held under water by some of the hunt supporters
  • One 28 year old saboteur was repeatedly kicked in the head and had her head stamped on. Police arrested her as she was receiving treatment for a suspected broken jaw in the ambulance.
  • Police also arrested a saboteur whose glasses had been broken by the assailants.
  • Only one of the hunt supporters was arrested.

At the Surrey Union Foxhounds meet near Ockley, Surrey, saboteurs kept the hunt on the run all day and stopped them from digging a fox out of an earth where it had taken refuge. The saboteurs reported how:

  • A female saboteur was assaulted by hunt supporters. She was then sprayed with CS gas and arrested.
  • Police attempted to use CS gas on other saboteurs at the scene of the dig out, although some sprayed themselves by accident.

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown commented: "For forty years we have been suffering injuries and arrests to save wildlife. To see the animals running free has made it worthwhile. However, in these incidents, instead of targetting violent hunt supporters, police chose to arrest the victims of their assaults. Some of our members have suggested that police were taking their last opportunity to intimidate and harass our members in the same way that the hunts were taking one of their last opportunities to harrass and kill wildlife within the law.

"The high number of officers on duty at hunts - many equipped with video sureveillance cameras - proves that police forces do have the resources to enforce the Hunting Act. The big question that remains is whether or not they have the will. If policing is as unbiased as is claimed, we can expect to see the cameras turned on the hunters from next Saturday."

Ends

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 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