Members of the hunt saboteurs from far and wide have been in proposed badger Cull zones for many weeks, gathering information on badger setts and other useful information to prevent the cull. This Saturday over 50 hunt sabs descended on Orchard Wyndham and other near locations including an impromptu inspection of peasant pens on a shooting estate much to the distress of the workers. Although police were aware of the sabs presence no attempt was made to communicate and sabs were free to roam at will across the sab zones.
Lee Moon of the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated:
“Our members will be back in the cull zones when the shooting stars and we save badgers by sabotaging the cull. The vast majority of the population is against this unscientific cull and we will prevent as many deaths as possible. We have been inundated with message of support from the public, as well as substantial donations. The British public is proving itself to be as pro animal as normal, but this government fails to represent the vast majority’s views and continues with their vendetta against the nations wildlife.”
Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 22nd May 2013
Hunt Saboteurs have today welcomed news that PC Sarah Ward, from North Yorkshire Police is no longer in position as a Wildlife Crime Officer. This comes after a complaint made by a saboteur about the officers link to the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds.
On 9th March 2013, Sarah Ward had been involved in a case in which the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds had been accused of deliberately illegally hunting and killing a fox at a meet near Escrick Park, North Yorkshire. Saboteurs from Sheffield and Manchester had witnessed the huntsman lead the hounds into a large area of elephant grass, where they quickly picked up on a scent of a fox. They reported that the hounds were encouraged by the huntsman before catching and killing the fox. Two red coated members quickly rode away with the fox's body and only entrails were left. The saboteurs presented the entrails to police officers in attendance and Sarah Ward was called to take statements from witnesses. The questions asked by Ward were geared more towards gathering more information on saboteurs than the incident in question.
Sarah Ward had also been involved in a case where it was alleged that the Y&AS terrier men had dug into a badget set on 17th December 2011. No action was taken and we can only wonder if there have been other cases she has thrown out. She was also involved in a failed case of “trespassing to disrupt a lawful activity” against hunt sabs in 26th November 2011, when the saboteurs had stopped an unlawful dig-out of a fox.
Hunt saboteurs were informed that Sarah Ward rides with the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds who saboteurs allege consistently and routinely flout the Hunting Act 2004. I an email, the hunt saboteur witnesses challenged Ward on her involvement with the hunt and she responded: "I do follow hounds occasionally and don't see what my hobbies have to do with members of the public as others wouldn't tell them they go bike riding.” , a few minutes later two attempts were made to recall the email. This information was then used to make an official complaint about Ward being biased in favour of the hunt.
Following the complaint, a letter from North Yorkshire Police, dated 12 April 2013 reported that Ward “will no longer deal with similar matters or any wildlife crime”. Saboteurs working in the North Yorkshire area welcome this decision and hope that Ward's successor is someone who actually cares about wildlife crime, and not potentially a part of it..
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated:
“North Yorkshire Police have clearly made the correct decision in removing Sarah Ward from her post as Wildlife Officer, but the question should be asked what vetting procedure is used as well what training and expected skills are required regarding this post. Clearly there is a failure in the process so far. Although hunts ‘could’ be acting legally considering the frequent convictions using the hunting act, the claims made in the press by the Countryside Alliance, and the clear intention to return to legal hunting as soon as they can, any person who rides with a hunt cannot be seen as a fit person to be a Police wildlife officer. We assume all Wildlife cases she has been involved in will be reviewed, especially the most recent cases and appropriate actions taken by the police.”
Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 14th May 2013
On Tuesday 19th March 2013, Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt, Dean Common Farm, a drunken hunt supporter Adrian Wood forced entry to a hunt saboteur vehicle. The two female occupants could not stop his advances and had to drive away with him inside the vehicle in the hope that other hunt saboteurs or members of the hunt would be able to assist in removing him from their vehicle. Although other members of the hunt were in attendance none made any moves to assist. The two saboteurs were the subject of unwanted physical advances while trying to gain assistance by calling 999. Eventually they managed to remove him from their vehicle. Although called the police did not attend the scene (Crime ref CR/06463/13).
After an investigation the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute.
Video of the incident can be viewed below:
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated:
“If two women had been subjected to the forced entry of their vehicle by a drunken yob in a town high street, and had then been made to drive him around while being the victim of unwanted advances we suspect that the police would have responded in a different fashion.
Once again those who try and protect our wildlife from the excesses of the countryside thugs are left to fend for themselves. This of course will not deter our brave people but it stinks of hypocrisy and inequality.”
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