HSA news release 7th February 2005
Police ignore attacks on hunt saboteurs as they save foxes in Hampshire
Hunt saboteurs today told how they were attacked repeatedly as they stopped a hunt from killing foxes in Hampshire on Saturday (5 February 2005). They also claim that police refused to intervene when a hunt supporter openly threatened to attack them with a baseball bat.
Hunt saboteurs had attended a meet of the Hampshire Hunt at Perryland, Bentley - the home of Joint Master of the hunt Simon Harrap - and were subjected to threats and violence thoughout the day as they set about saving lives.
Terriermen, employed by the hunt to dig out foxes who seek refuge in badger setts or fox earths, deliberately blocked in the group's Land Rover with two quad bikes - one in front and one at the side. They opened side panniers of the vehicle, stealing citronella spays - used to cover the scent of the fox - which they then emptied and chucked into a ditch before driving off.
The group also claim that hunt supporters blocked the road in front of the saboteurs' vehicle and threatened that they would "baseball bat their arses" - in front of a police sergeant. When asked to intervene, the police sergeant refused and said that he would make the decisions on how he would apply the law.
Following the saboteurs succesfully taking control of the hounds, the whipper-in with the hunt threatened saboteurs with being put in hospital. Later, after saboteurs successfully called hounds away from a wood, they were attacked by terriermen and riders. Riders used crops to try and smash cameras people were using to document the violence. Two people sustained injuries, with cuts to the head and fingers.
Just before end of day a fox appeared right in front of the group of saboteurs, with the whole pack of hounds close behind. One saboteur said "They were literally right on it's tail but we managed to save it." The saboteurs successfully took control of the hounds and stopped them for long enough for the fox to gain enough distance to run to safety. Shortly after this, a terrierman on a quad made a direct attempt to run down a saboteur at high speed. Thanks to the actions of the saboteurs, the fox eventually took refuge in gardens in a nearby village, where villagers made complaints.
Police were made aware of all the events that happened on the day but did not make any arrests.
HSA Spokesperson Nathan Brown said "As the incidents at the Hampshire Hunt show, some police officers are reluctanct to uphold the law against hunts. It is clear that wildlife will still be relying on the actions of hunt saboteurs to save their lives after February 18th. If people carry on hunting animals they must be stopped. We will be there to stop them if the police won't."
Timeline: the recent wave of violence against anti-hunt protestors since the Hunting Act was passed...
- 18 November 2004
Parliament passes Hunting Bill. Hunting to be illegal on 19th February.
- 20 November
3 saboteurs injured. One has to undergo emergency surgery to save his finger. South Devon Hunt, Devon
- 27 November
Saboteur receives 5 stitches to head wound after attack. High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire
17 year old saboteur receives broken nose after repeatedly headbutted. Crawley and Horsham Hunt, West Sussex
- 4 December
Saboteurs threatened by terrierman wearing balaclava. Numerous assaults on saboteurs including a broken nose. Essex Farmers and Union/East Essex Hunt, Essex
- 11 December
Saboteur's wrist broken in 2 places by terrierman. Essex Hunt, Essex Saboteur threatened by hunt supporter in front of police. High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire
- 18 December
Saboteur ridden over by hunt rider twice. Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, Essex.
Saboteurs punched and equipment stolen. Attempts made to smash saboteur's van window with log. Van whipped, kicked and thumped. Attempts made to drag saboteurs from van. Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, Dorset.
- 24 December
2 cars smashed up and dead fox left on passenger seat of car. Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt, West Sussex
- 27 December
Saboteurs threatened with knife. One ridden down. Hunt supporters then armed themselves with iron bars and sticks. Weston and Banwell Harriers, Somerset.
2 saboteurs rugby tackled to ground. Puckeridge Hunt, Suffolk.
- 31 December
12 hunt saboteurs injured by mob of 30 thugs. East Essex Hunt, Essex.
- 1 January 2005
Pregnant woman taken to hospital with head injuries after being whipped and ridden over twice by hunt staff. Essex Hunt, Essex.
- 3 January
Hunt monitor's car destroyed in arson attack. West Sussex
- 4 January
2 saboteurs receive facial injuries and equipment is stolen. Surrey Union Hunt, Surrey.
- 8 January
4 female saboteurs attacked receiving limb injuries / fractures, vehicle badly damaged. Crawley & Horsham Hunt, West Sussex.
- 15 January
Saboteurs threatened and attacked, vehicle damaged. Cotswold Vale Hunt, Gloucestershire.
- 20 January
Hunt supporter armed with a metal spike punctures sab Landrover door, barely missing the driver's leg. Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, Wiltshire
- 22 January
60 year old female aboteurs ridden down - receives head and neck injuries. Dunston Harriers, Norfolk.
- 29 January
2 hunt ‘stewards’ arrested after attack on hunt saboteurs. Avon Vale Fox Hunt, Wiltshire.
- 05 February
2 hunt saboteurs injured, 15 attacked by 30 hunt thugs. East Kent Fox Hunt, Kent.