HSA news release 11th February 2002
HSA Calls for Prosecutions Before Another Hunt Saboteur is Killed
On 22 January 2002, hunt protestor Simon Wild was attacked at a meet of the Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt in West Sussex. He was then ridden over by a member of the hunt on a horse. The League Against Cruel Sports has announced its intention to use bodyguards to protect protestors from similar incidents. The huntsman has gleefully admitted his part for last Saturday’s Independent, and pro-hunt commentators are laughing about the situation.
11 years ago this Saturday, on 9 February 1991, Hunt Saboteur Mike Hill was killed by a vehicle belonging to the Cheshire Beagles Hunt. On 3 April 1993, Tom Worby died under the wheels of the Cambridgeshire Foxhounds hound-van. On 1 Sept 2000, hunt saboteur Steve Christmas came close to losing his life when he was run over by a 4×4 at a meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent Hunt. Steve had to be airlifted from the scene and spent months in intensive care.
Today the Hunt Saboteurs Association called for more appropriate policing at hunts. Spokesperson Nathan Brown said “We have recently seen approximately 100 police officers mobilised in Sussex to prevent hunt saboteurs from blowing horns or spraying the ground with a harmless mix of citronella oil and water. Meanwhile, no concerted attempt has been made to tackle the violence dished out to protestors by hunts and their supporters.”
Taking one day as a snapshot, Saturday 19 January 2002, attacks were made on hunt saboteurs at 5 different hunts across the country showing how widespread the problem is:
- Woodland Pytchley Hunt, Northants. A hunt steward was arrested and taken to Corby police station after a hunt saboteur was attacked.
- Four Burrow Hunt, Cornwall. A hunt saboteur was taken to hospital in an ambulance after being run over by a horse trailer.
- Vale of Aylesbury Hunt, Hertfordshire. A hunt saboteur was driven at by an angry hunt supporter and had to throw himself clear to avoid being hit.
- High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire. A hunt supporter drove at hunt saboteurs. She hit one female sab who landed on her bonnet and became trapped between two vehicles.
- Vale of White Horse Hunt, Gloucestershire. Hunt sabs driven at by van and one of them clipped. Driver reverses and announces ” If you f***ing get in the f***ing way of my f***ing car again I’m going to f***ing kill you… you ‘re gonna f***ing die!!”
With the exception of the Woodland Pytchely arrest, police have taken very little interest. The HSA spokesperson commented “Hunt saboteurs have always received threats and violence, but this season we have seen an escalation in the severity of attacks. We are not talking about a few punches being thrown, we are talking about protestors being run over. A lot of resources are spent protecting the right of people to hunt, yet none are spent on protecting our right to protest and, more seriously, our right to life. This season has been one of the most violent experienced in the Hunt Saboteurs Association’s 39 year history. The fact that nobody was prosecuted in the cases of Mike Hill, Tom Worby or Steve Christmas has given hunt supporters the green light to attack saboteurs and has given hunt protestors very little faith in the legal system. Other than seeing an increase in prosecutions of hunt thugs, a solution would be for the government to honour its election pledge and enable Parliament to ban hunting once and for all”
Aside from numerous cases of violence, this season has already seen other incidents such as hunts trespassing on railways, hounds being killed, trespass through villages, and sheep being disturbed during the lambing period. Reports have been received of disturbance by a hunt causing 2 pregnant ewes to abort their lambs.
Notes to Editors:-
- Jeremy Whaley, 51, from Duns (but about as Scottish sounding as Prince Charles) and the Master of the Berwickshire Hunt, was arrested after he tried to break through a police cordon in Regent Road, Edinburgh last Thursday. Police later said a 51-year-old man had been arrested for public order offences.
- The Scottish Parliament votes on whether or not to ban hunting on Wednesday 13 February.