HSA news release 18th March 2006

A 999 call had to be made for emergency medical help today after hunt saboteurs were viciously attacked by both hunt staff and supporters of the Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt. Two saboteurs were taken to hospital, one with suspected broken ribs and severe concussion, the other with a suspected broken cheekbone and concussion. The hunt, which met at Sandhurst near Gloucester (Gloucestershire) had been been illegally hunting all day and saboteurs were present to collect evidence and also to intervene if necessary to prevent a kill. Police are currently taking statements in order to investigate the assaults.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated "It appears that, as ever, the hunt saboteurs were too successful at their job and paid for it by being subjected to a severe beating.

"13 saboteurs had been with the hunt all day, and despite the fact that illegal hunting had been reported to the police in attendance, they had declined to act to enforce the law. At around 3pm the hunt was in the area of a wood when hounds where placed inside it and immediately went into cry signalling they were onto to a fox. Saboteurs managed to call them out of the wood using horns calls to prevent the hounds hunting, and it was immediately after that that the attack occurred.

A video camera being used to record the illegal hunting was stolen in the attack - an apparent attempt by the hunt to get rid of the evidence.

She continued "Yet again we have a clear example of the police failing to act to prevent illegal hunting, but then having to deal with the aftermath. Why it takes a vicious attack, including aggravated robbery, and then the involvement of other emergency services before they take an interest in the issue is beyond me. It is safe to say that had the police spoken to the hunt so as to ensure that any hunting taking place was within the law, ie trail hunting, then this situation would not have occurred. Now many hours of police time and, hopefully, the involvement of the court system will be required. One has to question the police approach here, as at the moment the thinking behind it (if any) lacks foresight and blind acceptance of the word of the hunts. This weekend marks the end of the season for many hunts, and we can only hope that the police have a rethink of their approach before we embark on the next one."