On Boxing Day 1963 four people sabbed the South Devon hunt in what was the first official act of sabotage by the Hunt Saboteurs Association. On Saturday 18 January 2014, just over 50 years later, over 100 hunt saboteurs from across Southern England and Wales descended on Dartmoor National Park to sabotage the same hunt.
In the 50 years that we have been in existence there have been many changes, most notably the Criminal Justice Act, that aimed to make hunt sabotage illegal, and the hunting act which came into force in 2005, but the one thing that has not changed is that they still hunt wildlife and we still save it.
Saturday's events were testament to that, as the South Devon illegally tried to hunt foxes only to be repeatedly stopped by the large numbers of saboteurs. Despite acts of aggression from the support, who rammed our vehicles with quad bikes, and the awful weather conditions, the saboteurs ensured a kill free day.
There was a large police presence but they took no interest in the illegal hunting or acts of aggression from the hunt. One officer's reply to the question: "Are you here to prevent them from illegally hunting?" was: "No. Hunting is an issue for DEFRA, not the
With many new sab groups forming across the UK and the existing groups going from strength-to-strength, it's a sure sign that the British public continue to feel more and more disillusioned with the cruel and illegal acts that are committed in our countryside.
As well as the events on Dartmoor there where hundreds of other saboteurs out across the UK doing what they do best - protecting the nation's wildlife from persecution.
Due to the embarrassment caused to the hunting community this photo has been issued with a take down notice, but in its place we have evidence of animal abuse by George Humfrey of Tiverton Foxhounds. The voices in the video are hunt followers.
While many foxhunts make Boxing Day their one public meet of the year, the hare-hunting beaglers remain as secretive as ever. On hunting's premier day not a single beagle pack, anywhere in the country, chose to avail themselves of the chance to engage with the public.
However, many hunt sab groups have been busy tracking down their local beagle packs, knowing that they are even more likely than the foxhunts to
be illegally hunting.
As a result, several packs were successfully sabbed over the festive period (including the Colne Valley/Holme Valley, the Old Berkeley, the New Forest
and the Warwickshire); but many more across the country were placed under covert surveillance in a major intelligence-gathering operation designed to ensure the success of future sabbing.
These packs included: the Black Combe who met in Waberthwaite, Cumbria; the Leadon Vale Bassets who met at the Lower Lode Hotel, Gloucester; the Wilts and Infantry who met at the Longs Arms, Steeple Aston and, most revealing of all, the new Severn Vale Beagles who foregathered at the Salutation Inn, Berkeley.
Crucial information, including identification of key personnel and vehicles, was obtained and this will be put to good use in the next phase of the campaign against hare hunting.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Over 50 different beagle and basset packs have been targeted by hunt saboteurs in the past year and many more are being covertly monitored. The evidence gathered shows that the majority of these packs are hunting illegally and we will continue to make them a focus of our activities.
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