Two West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS) have been informed that Leicestershire police are trying to issue them with a Police Information
Notice(PIN) following allegations made by the Atherstone hunt.
Over the last season, the two sabs in question attended the Atherstone Hunt on a regular basis, where they gained footage of illegal hunting, assaults, racist behaviour and blocked badger setts. Currently one of the sabs is a witness in a court case concerning the illegal blocking of badger setts. The prospective witness also believes followers of the hunt have been to her home address and committed criminal damage to two vehicles, which the hunt have openly boasted about.
The police are accusing the sabs of goading and harassing a member of the hunt. When asked by the sab's solicitor if they will be serving the hunt with any PINs in response to their law breaking the police replied that they will merely be speaking to the hunt regarding their behaviour.
All of the allegations made by the hunt against WMHS this season have been proven to be false. So the police are now helping the hunt by grossly
misusing a Police Information Notice, which they don't need any evidence to issue. They can base it on any allegations made to them, no matter if
they are unsubstantiated. West Mids sabs have video evidence of this particular hunt member assaulting and harassing sabs but the police would
rather act on unsubstantiated allegations by the hunt.
Recently WMHS received a copy of a letter from the Atherstone Hunt Masters to it's supporters regarding the 2014/2015 hunting season. The letter shows that the police were advising the hunt during this season and had even been out undercover with them. The police had been advising the hunt on it's behaviour and had also given advice regarding video footage that the sab group posted online. The letter states "To continue having good sport, we all have to do our bit to discourage the saboteurs/monitors by following the advice of the police".
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “In our opinion this is a gross misuse of PINs. By issuing them Leicestershire
police are trying to suppress the right to protest and this must be contested so this does not become a common tactic used against hunt saboteurs and other protest groups.
The Hunt letter also proves that the police are once again taking the side of hunts and are turning a blind eye to repeated criminal behaviour on
their part. They are further misusing powers to aid illegal hunting. We would like to hear how Leicestershire police can justify their behaviour and we hope they start allocating greater resources to illegal hunting rather than persecuting innocent protestors ”
Note to editors:
All of the details of this case are still not known, but as soon as we find out more next week we will provide an update. We have received a tip off from an anonymous source that on Friday three terrier men; Dylan Hill, James Smith and Jack Hudd from the Ross Harriers Hunt were all found guilty, at Hereford magistrates Court, of breaching the hunting act. We have been additionally informed that Dylan Hill was found in possession of a bagged fox.
The guilty men acted as terrier men for the hunt. Their role was to dig out foxes that had gone to ground after having cornered the terrified animal with terriers. This is one of the most barbaric parts of hunting and is normally kept away from the public eye. It causes horrific injuries and suffering to both the terriers and foxes. Once dug out the fox is either killed, released in front of the hounds to be hunted again or bagged to be hunted at a later date. The Ross Harriers hunt both hares and foxes and although like all the hunts will deny any illegal activity, these charges certainly raise some serious questions?
How long have these three men been doing terrier work for the hunt?
How frequently does the hunt use bagged foxes when out “trail hunting”?
Will the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles now commit to a full inquiry into the Ross Harriers?
Since 2005 hunts across the UK have routinely flouted the law. These convictions highlight one of the main problem with the hunting act. Even when it's enforced individuals get convicted but the hunts typically distance themselves from the individuals and and continue without repercussions. This will continue regardless of the result of next weeks vote.
Rather than relaxing the law MP's should be tightening loop holes in the current legislation including abolishing terrier work. The current “code of practice” for terrier work is being widely ignored and it urgently needs reviewing.
Please contact your MP, tell them how unhappy you are with the planned amendment and that you wish to see the hunting act strengthened.
Until we see that strengthening of the act and more stringent enforcement we, the Hunt Saboteurs, will be going out across the country using non-violent direct action to protect wildlife from those that would kill animals for their own sick entertainment.
Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Release 25th June 2015
A car used to monitor illegal fox hunts has been set on fire outside the home of a member of West Midlands Hunt saboteurs. Wheelie bins were piled up against the car and set on fire causing significant damage to the rear bumper. This is the second saboteur vehicle that has been damaged in the same location in the past few months. In February another member of the group had all four tyres slashed when they left their car outside the same house. Members of the group are confident both attacks were carried out by supporters of local foxhunts, angry at the success the group have achieved against them over the past year.
West Midlands sabs have focused the majority of their attention on the Atherstone hunt during the recent hunting season, attending every single one of their meets. Video evidence presented by the sabs has resulted in the huntsman, Stuart Barton, being interviewed by the police regarding
illegal hunting and assault of a hunt saboteur. Three Atherstone hunt supporters are also due to appear in court after racially abusing a hunt
The Atherstone had a challenging start to the season when they sacked their huntsman, Ollie Finnegan, shortly before the season began and forced him and his heavily pregnant wife out of their home. This led to a great deal of unhappiness in the hunt and a drop in their support. The
continuous presence of sabs exacerbated this and meant numbers were very low by the season's end.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Whilst there is, as yet no evidence linking these attacks to pro-hunt thugs it is difficult to reach any other conclusion. Members of the Atherstone hunt have made it clear that they know about this particular address and seem to have a significant hatred for West Midlands hunt sabs. We hope the police treat this latest attack seriously and take a particularly close look at local hunt support. The hunting community has a long history of targeting hunt saboteurs homes in retaliation to having their cruel pastime exposed and this is why many hunt saboteurs are forced to hide their identities. What they fail to realise is that these bullying, cowardly attacks only make us more determined and confirm how effective our actions are.”