HSA news release 21st November 2004
Saboteurs injured in violent backlash against Hunting ban
3 hunt saboteurs were injured and had to receive medical treatment yesterday (20 November 2004) when they were attacked by a mob of hunt supporters led by 2 red coated huntsmen at the South Devon Hunt meet at Old Langsworthy Farm, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon. The unprovoked attacks happened as the hunt left the meet. One saboteur had to undergo emergency surgery last night at Torbay hospital due to the serious nature of his injuries.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) had issued a warning to all groups on Friday to be careful and ensure they carried video cameras. As one local protestor said "The South Devon are one of the more peaceful hunt in this area, and they knew we had videos. I hate to think what will happen at the others."
One saboteur was able to identify people involved in the attack for the police and one hunt supporter was arrested on suspicion of assault. Local protestors have heard an unconfirmed rumour that the Master and huntsman, Ian Pearse, has been arrested, along with the hunt's whipper-in. They are rumoured to have been banned from hunting until January as part of their bail conditions.
HSA spokesperson Nathan Brown said "Violence from huntsmen and their supporters is nothing new. Bear this in mind next time the Countryside Alliance try to represent hunting people as helpless law abiding citizens."
Elsewhere, 2 saboteurs were arrested at Peppard Common in Oxfordshire when they saved a fox from the hounds of the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt. They were taken to Abingdon police station and released without charge. The HSA Spokesperson said "In 3 months time, we hope the police will be as pro-active in targeting people who hunt as they have been in targeting those who stop it."
He also outlined the HSA official response to the Hunting Bill's progress: "Hunt saboteurs are still not claiming victory yet. It is not over until the Countryside Alliance legal challenge has failed. It is not over until the Act is enforced. It is not over until wildlife goes unpersecuted. It is not over UNTIL THE LAST REDCOAT IS SLUNG IN JAIL."
Notes for editors:
- Part of the attack in South Devon was caught on video which can be made available.
- An eye witness is available to talk to journalists.