HSA news release 17th September 2005
Anti-hunt protestors claim that in incidents at two hunts this morning (Saturday 17 September), police ignored fox hunts flouting the Hunting Ban as they carried out cub hunting activities. In both incidents protestors were attacked.
At the Essex and Suffolk Hunt, held at Normans Farm, Great Bromley, a hunt protestor's land rover was rammed by a horsebox. Hunt staff also attacked the vehicle and its 8 occupants. Two of the protestors sustained injuries to the head and ribs. Later hounds from the hunt were put through a field of beet. This was a common practice in cub hunting before the ban and would be unnecessary, let alone unwise, if the hunt were following a false trail and were avoiding chasing foxes. Protestors who were at the scene suspect that a fox was being hunted in the crops and that the hounds killed an animal. They claim that police obstructed them from getting closer. The huntsman, off his horse, was seen leaving the field with what looked like an animal's corpse. Some animal remains were retrieved from the field and have been taken to a vet for analysis.
Police temporarily detained one protestor as he attempted to get closer to gather evidence. Police seized video taken by the protestors. The protestors are due to make statements to police about the attacks they suffered.
At the Crawley & Horsham hunt in Sussex, an anti-hunt protestor's windscreen was smashed with a riding crop. The incident occurred close to the hunt's kennels at West Grinstead within 5 minutes of 10 protestors from Sussex and Surrey arriving to record illegal hunting with video cameras. Protestors at the scene claim that the hunt were illegally hunting as if the ban was not in place. The hunt has a history of violence against protestors and is supported by, amongst others, Tory Shadow Defence Spokesperson Nicholas Soames. Protestors claim that police told them that they would log the windscreen incident but were not interested in the allegations of illegal hunting.
Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) spokesperson Nathan Brown said "It is outrageous that police forces are allowing illegal hunting to continue. We feel it is no coincidence that those same forces have a history of over zealous policing against protestors. The police should be upholding this law the same as any other."
Photographs of the vehicle with a windscreen smashed at the Crawley & Horsham Hunt available on request.