Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 25th March 2013
On March 23rdth Hunt saboteurs from the Bristol and Bath groups were at The Fox public house, Tangley, on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border north of Andover, the meet of the the Tedworth Foxhounds.
During the days hunting the group’s vehicles was blocked by riders as the hunt 'put-up' a fox with the Hounds close behind! Hunt saboteurs on foot managed to intervene by slowing the hound with voice and horn calls preventing the fox’s death and the breaking of the hunting act.
The huntsman and whipper-ins were on the scene wearing the traditional red coats and as one of them passed the groups Land Rover he used his riding crop to smash the windscreen, only inches from the driver's face.
The driver later spoke to a Police officer from the Hampshire Police who refused to take any statement of the incident or interview any suspects on the scene. This is being followed up with Hampshire constabulary.
Lee Moon, Press officer of the hunt Saboteurs Association stated;
“You would assume the Hampshire Police would be interested in any Criminal Damage reported, particularly with a group of people with a history of violence. It seems that when it comes to hunters Hampshire constabulary will turn a blind eye to illegal hunting and any other illegal actions taken to protect their activities. We would in interested in a comment from the Hampshire Chief inspector regarding his officers lack of action to this incident.”
The Crawley & Horsham Fox hunt have once again been caught breaking the law, this time in their desperation to keep their financially ailing hunt going they have taken to street collections, but without the gaining the proper authority. Horsham District Council have issued a warning to the hunt that it is illegal to collect in their district without the correct permission.
The Crawley & Horsham hunt officials and its wider supporters are known for their propensity to ignore the rule of law and have been frequently in court for acts of violence and of course breaking the hunting act.
Lee moon of the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated:
“This hunt continues to ignore the law; its members think they are above the normal restrictions of civilised society and continue to act as if they cannot be touched. Our members will ensure they are kept under observation to ensure that any of their illegal activities are reported to the correct authorities and appropriate action taken”.
Hunters and Shooters just wanna have FUN!
Forget Foot & Mouth - the ‘Guardians of the Countryside’ want access
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) today expressed its disappointment, although not surprise, at moves from both the hunting and shooting fraternities to gain access to the countryside despite the continuing Foot and Mouth 'crisis'. The Countryside Alliance, the self styled ‘guardians of the countryside’ met last week with DEFRA (formerly MAFF) to push for the resumption of hunting even though new outbreaks of the disease arise daily.
This is also despite several ‘at risk’ and ‘infected’ areas covering the usual shooting areas of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. Shooters will apparently be allowed to start the grouse shooting season on the ‘Glorious 12th’ as normal.
Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the HSA stated: "The situation is deplorable, but we are no longer surprised at desperate moves by bloodsports enthusiasts. The hunters were hit hard when the Foot and Mouth crisis started in February, as they were forced to cut short their fox, deer and hare hunting seasons, and indeed the mink hunting season has been practically lost altogether.
"August would normally see the start of the cub-hunting season, where the new hounds in each pack are taught to hunt through the sordid practice of hunting young foxes, but the start of this will hopefully be delayed due to ongoing F&M restrictions, and this in turn will have a serious effect on the effectiveness of the hunts come the main season in November. With this in mind, no wonder they are so determined to get on with the slaughter as soon as they can."
She continued "Shooters, desperate to get one good grouse season in (to follow previous poor years) seem just as happy to forget the obvious risks of spreading Foot and Mouth through their activities."
The DEFRA website gives a veterinary opinion stating ‘Grouse shooting carries a risk that the activity will spread infection and cause new outbreaks of FMD.’ Despite this, permission has been given for shoots to go ahead - even in infected areas, a decision that seems to us to be pure madness in light of the risks of spreading the disease.
However, some good news does reach us via the Daily Torygraph's Peterborough column, concerning the Duke of Westminster who has already called off all 30 days of driven grouse shooting at Abbeystead, his 19,500-acre estate in Lancashire:
"His Grace has taken the view that, in view of local conditions, it would be irresponsible to permit any shooting to take place," says estate manager Rod Banks. "Abbeystead is in an infected area and also in a movement controlled area, so we have decided just to batten down the hatches."
Current rules, announced a fortnight ago, require shooting parties in infected areas to obtain a special licence. Unfortunately, the small print precludes anyone who has been in contact with livestock in the previous seven days from qualifying. With so many beaters and guns being farmers or vets, the effect is potentially crippling.
Surely other 'responsible' land owners cannot fail to follow this example? When it comes to the best interests of the countryside versus the demands of 'country sports’ enthusiasts, it seems the latter will always take priority.’
It's Official - Crown Prosecution Service say it is OK to try to kill Hunt Saboteurs
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) today utterly condemned the ‘spineless’ decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to drop charges against a hunt supporter who drove over and almost killed an anti-hunt protester.
Martin Maynard, a supporter of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Foxhounds based at Felbridge, East Grinstead, Surrey, had been charged with ‘Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent’ and several other driving offences with an expected court date of mid November.
However Steve Christmas, the hunt saboteur who spent 4 weeks in intensive care following the alleged attack, was informed almost a year to the day of the attack that charges had been dropped as a key witness is currently serving a prison sentence for matters unrelated.
Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the HSA commented "We believe that both the CPS and the Police have been nothing but cowardly and deceitful throughout this process - cowardly in that they have used a convenient excuse to let someone, who we feel should be charged with attempted murderer, get away without punishment - and deceitful as they have let many supporters of Steve foolishly hope for justice from the system.
"Whilst Martin Maynard walks away from what could easily have been the death of a third hunt saboteur, perversely 18 anti-hunt protestors still remain on charges relating to some broken windows at the hunt kennels!
She continued ‘The reason given by the CPS for the refusal to continue the case is that a witness in the prosecution case is currently serving a prison sentence. But this witness is not the only witness, and indeed Steve himself, the person who it is alleged was purposefully driven at by Maynard, will obviously be a key witness, along with others who were present at the time of the attack. And since when did it become impossible for a prisoner to be escorted to prison to appear in a court case – whether as a witness or not?
"This decision represents a travesty of justice, but we will not let this be the end. Legal advice is currently being sought on the ways forward from here, and the CPS, the police and most importantly the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Foxhunt themselves should be aware that this is certainly not the end - it is the beginning of our fight to get justice for Steve Christmas".
The HSA would also like to draw attention to the timing of the dropping of the charges against Maynard, and the implication that the charges were allowed to stand over the summer to 'keep a lid' on the volatile situation in Surrey. As part of 'Operation Tempo', police from the Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, and Metropolitan police forces, associated Special Branch officers and the Animal Rights National Index have all been involved in investigating and disrupting any anti-hunt activity in relation to the OSBWK Hunt. If they are allowing charges to be dropped at this point, it is for the reason that they now have sufficient intelligence and/or levels of infiltration and are poised to act should matters spiral out of control.
We would advise fellow activists to be VERY aware of this, and to keep any protest within the law, however aggrieved we may feel at the moment.
Notes to Editors:- Steve Christmas was airlifted to Haywards Heath Hospital after being run-over by a hunt supporter at a meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Foxhounds on Friday 1st September 2000. The driver returned to the spot to taunt the remaining saboteurs who were attempting to help their friend. Both wheels of the 4 x 4 vehicle ran Steve over - he was admitted to Hospital with a crushed pelvis, four broken ribs and internal bleeding. He underwent two major operations, one to fit a metal plate in his pelvis and the other to remove two feet of bowel. A tracheotomy was also performed. He remained in the Intensive Care Unit of the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath for over 4 weeks’.
Dyfed Powys Police Pay Hunt Protestors 21,000 Compensation For Wrongful Arrest
A group of seven foxhunt protestors arrested whilst they were eating lunch in a minibus have each been paid £21,000 compensation by Dyfed Powys Police for wrongful arrest and for trespass to property. The group of 4 men and 3 women, the majority of which are from the Swansea area, were arrested on 21 November 1998 whilst peacefully observing the movement of the Sennybridge Farmers Foxhunt near Brecon.
Police officers said they were following the orders of senior officers and detained the protestors to 'prevent a breach of the peace' at approximately 12.15 pm. They were ordered to drive to Brecon Police station where they were held in custody for some 10 hours before being released until 10.30 pm that night.
One of the group, Carey Lynne Jurczyk of Swansea, said they were merely observing the hunt: "We arrived at the hunt with the intention to monitor what went on. It was an entirely peaceful activity and something we had done before. We couldn't believe the over-reaction from the Police and as the day went on, when it became apparent they planned to search my house for evidence, I was even more concerned and upset by the police's actions", says Carey Lynne Jurczyk.
Acting for the group, Iftikhar Manzoor of national law firm Irwin Mitchell says: "My clients were eating lunch in a minibus when they were arrested, and I find it hard to believe that the Police seriously saw this as a risk of a breach of the peace.
"This substantial compensation is for the wrongful arrest as well as for the Police trespassing on their property, when searching their homes, and for retaining property belonging to our clients."
On 19 February, almost three months after the incident, the people arrested received a letter from the police saying no further action was to be taken. They then spent a further three weeks trying to recover from the Police property that had been taken on the day of their arrest.
"With Dyfed Powys Police paying such a large sum in compensation this demonstrates that an over-reaction to peaceful and lawful conduct will not be tolerated and gives hope to others that their rights can not be violated without redress," says Iftikhar Manzoor.
The above Press Release is from the rather excellent Irwin Mitchell & Co (www.irwinmitchell.co.uk) who have acted on behalf of wronged sabs for many years.
An HSA spokesperson added: "Yet again it has taken the courage and dedication of Hunt Saboteurs to stand up to policing that harks back to feudal times! The police are all too willing to arrest Saboteurs for no reason whatsoever to pander to powerful people in the hunt, through ignorance or laziness or sometimes as in this case, sheer bloody mindedness.
"Police force insurers around the country have paid out many hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation or out of court settlements over the last decade. If the police think they can get away with this type of victimisation and partial policing, they should be bought to book and this is exactly what happened in this case. Sadly, we expect this is another 7 people who will never view the police in the same light."
From the archives
- Crawley & Horsham Fox hunt: Still breaking the law!
- HSA Calls for Prosecutions Before Another Hunt Saboteur is Killed
- Hunt breaches own Code of Conduct and attacks protestors
- Two years since the ban, but little has changed: dead foxes and hunt violence in Suffolk
- Derbyshire Police payout over £37,000 to Hunt Saboteurs