Dirty Tricks - Hunt Saboteurs Demand an Apology
Sloppy Journalism, Malicious Stories and Short Memories
As former JP, Jonathan Wilkes, is sentenced to 5 years in jail for making bombs that were "specifically designed to maim and kill", the Hunt Saboteurs Association demands an apology for being mischievously connected with the case by several newspapers, the police and the military.
The devices were left in woods in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire in August 2000. At the time Geoffrey Gibbs of The Guardian ran a story titled "Bomb linked to anti-hunt activists" which claimed that hunt saboteurs could be responsible for the devices. The report included the quote "A spokeswoman for 721 Explosives Ordnance Depot at Ashchurch said police had indicated they could not rule out hunt saboteurs."
Spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Nathan Brown, stated "We demand public apologies from the Explosives Ordnance Depot for spreading this malicious misinformation, Gloucestershire police for not withdrawing or denying the claim and The Guardian and local newspapers for running the story without even approaching us for a comment."
He explained "The Hunt Saboteurs Association has represented hunt saboteurs in this country for 40 years. We are sick of being ignored by the media and tired of being misrepresented as violent. Hunt saboteurs use non-violent tactics and intelligence to outwit huntsmen in pursuit of wildlife. We save the lives of hundreds of hunted animals every year. To suggest that we would wish to endanger life is a grave insult."
The HSA would like to know why, when Hunt Saboteurs were no more likely to have planted the devices than the Chief Constable or Coco the Clown, that we were the only specific group vilified by the media in relation to this case. Even when it emerged the main suspect in the case was an Oxfordshire magistrate, the slur cast on the HSA was not withdrawn.
- Link to the original Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/aug/22/hunting.ruralaffairs
- The Wilkes story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/jan/08/stevenmorris
Hunt steward arrested after attacking saboteur
Violence erupted today at the Woodland Pytchley Hunt in Northamptonshire, resulting in the arrest of a steward employed by the hunt.
Stewards employed by the hunt had been trying to prevent hunt saboteurs from following the huntsman, but the saboteurs had ignored them. In the alleged attack, one of the stewards stole a CB radio from a saboteur. When the saboteur attempted to retrieve it he was punched and then kicked several times. The CB was dropped and another steward ran up to it and kicked it, breaking it with the impact. Saboteurs made an emergency phone call and one of the stewards was arrested and taken to Corby Police Station.
Local hunt saboteur Clive Richardson said "We have been subjected to abuse from this hunt for years, so it is nothing new, but we are glad that the police are taking this attack seriously. After the incident we successfully prevented a fox from being dug out of an earth and the hunt packed up at 2.15 pm - 2 hours earlier than usual."
Nathan Brown, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association said: "This is an example of the depths to which the hunting fraternity will stoop to prevent hunt saboteurs from saving lives. It is testament to the fact that our tactics have a profound effect on hunts. It is not the first time that hunt stewards have attacked sabs, but we will not be deterred from taking action to save wildlife from being ripped to pieces for fun." In March 2000, 2 hunt stewards were arrested after hunt saboteurs were attacked at the Quorn Hunt, a favourite of Prince Charles.
As Master of the Woodland Pytchley Hunt, David Reynolds is responsible for what happens during a day's hunting and would have sanctioned or organised the use of stewards. He is also a Board member of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance. Nathan Brown commented further "The Countryside Alliance tries to promote itself as a respectable body, but the behaviour at Mr Reynolds' hunt shows what sort of people the Alliance really are. The fact that violence against hunt saboteurs is tolerated at a hunt run by one of the Alliance Board members sets an example and gives a green light to other hunts to follow suit. They will stop at nothing in their pursuit of terrified wildlife."
Hunt saboteur hospitalised after being run over by horsebox at Four Burrow Hunt
A hunt saboteur came close to losing his life today after he was run over by a horsebox at a meet of the Four Burrow Hunt in Cornwall.
In an incident bearing horrifying similarity to one which claimed the life of hunt saboteur Tom Worby in 1993, hunt saboteur Andy Pollock was run over by a hunt supporter's horse trailer. After a successful day's sabotage against the Four Burrow Hunt, Andy was walking down a lane late this afternoon, when a Four Wheel Drive vehicle and horse trailer drove towards him. He moved to the side of the lane and pressed himself into the hedge. However, the vehicle was allegedly steered straight towards him. The vehicle narrowly missed him, but the horse trailer hit him. Andy said "It was only pure luck that I managed to get into the hedge as close as I did and the vehicle missed me. The horse trailer took my legs from under me."
An ambulance was called and he was taken to Treliske hospital with a suspected fractured fibia. Following X-rays he was released from the hospital.
The driver of the vehicle did not stop, and despite the incident being a serious "hit and run" incident, police did not arrive for almost 2 hours. One officer at the scene said that it was "difficult to prove it was a deliberate act". The police are still making enquiries.
Two hunt saboteurs have died under the wheels of vehicles driven by huntsmen and a third was recently critically injured. In 1991, Mike Hill died under the wheels of a vehicle belonging to the Cheshire Beagles. In 1993, Tom Worby died under the wheels of a vehicle belonging to the Cambridgeshire Hunt. In September 2000, Steve Christmas was run over at a meet of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt, and air-lifted to hospital with a crushed pelvis, four broken ribs and internal bleeding. Someone was apparently charged but the victim not informed fully.
HSA Press Officer, Nathan Brown commented "When I heard the news that Andy had been run over by a horsebox, I feared that I was going to have to break the news that another sab had been killed. What we have seen happen in the past leads us to have little faith in any prosecution being brought. How many more lives - human and animal - have to be taken before Labour will live up to their manifesto pledge and ban hunting?"
HSA news release 22nd January 2002
"Let's sort this out once and for all"
A hunt saboteur could easily have been killed today by the actions of an irate huntsman. Hunt saboteur Simon Wild was grabbed by the huntsman of the Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt in Sussex and dragged along by his jacket. The huntsman, Jonathan Broise, dropped Mr Wild in front of the horse of his 'whipper-in' who then rode over him. Mr Wild, who somehow escaped with just hoof blows to his groin and legs and a throat injury where he was dragged along by his radio strap, later said "I was a hair's breadth from being seriously hurt". Another protestor was kicked in the ribs during the incident. Immediately before the attack, Broise allegedly shouted "Let's sort this out once and for all". A formal report has been lodged at Midhurst police station (However, whether they will be able to tear themselves away from the vital task of checking people's CB licences is not known).
Simon Wild is one of a group of protestors who have been regularly attending the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray hunt to prevent them from chasing and killing foxes.
Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Nathan Brown, commented "The attendance of hunt saboteurs at the Chiddingfold has obviously had such an effect that the hunters have turned their attention away from their traditional quarry and decided to vent their rage and bloodlust on protestors. It is a miracle that Mr Wild escaped with minor injuries. A horse can easily crush a person's skull or cause irreparable spinal damage - let there be no doubt that another Hunt Saboteur could have been killed today."
Jonathan Broise has a history of violent behaviour - in February 2001 he received a conditional discharge after head-butting a disabled magistrate. He has also previously received a formal caution from the police for assaulting a hunt protestor and was the thug caught on film threatening 'war' on an ITN news crew back in 1994.
This incident follows incidents at several hunts on Saturday when hunt saboteurs were variously driven into by hunt supporters, assaulted or suffered threats to kill. One protestor was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured fibia and was almost dragged under the wheels of a horse trailer. A hunt steward was also arrested on Saturday after a protestor was attacked at another hunt. Mr Brown added "It is as if the hunting fraternity has declared war on anyone who dares oppose them. It is a shame the government does not have the guts to stand up to them and honour their election pledge to ban hunting."
The entire incident was captured on video, some grabs from which appear below:
HSA news release 26th January 2002
Garth & South Berks Hunt: “arrogant, reckless and stupid”
The Hunt Saboteurs Association yesterday condemned the Garth & South Berks Hunt as “arrogant, reckless and stupid” after their hounds strayed onto a main train line at Grove, near Wantage in Oxfordshire. The Hunt, who are closing their kennels due to constant sabotage, had been hunting by invitation of the Old Berkshire Hunt.
Hunt saboteurs had spent the early part of the day with the hunt and successfully prevented them from catching 3 foxes when, towards the end of the day, huntsman Peter Swann took his hounds to woods and scrub on the edge of the train line. The line, consisting of four sets of tracks, forms part of the main Reading to Swindon line and serves the West Country and the Midlands.
A fox, which ran along the train line and then crossed it was chased by the hounds. Whilst hunt members were several hundred yards away, hunt saboteurs intervened and tried to stop the hounds running on to the track. They also managed to retrieve some hounds that were already running along the tracks. When the hunt eventually did arrive, their inaction meant that saboteurs had to continue removing the hounds from the line. Minutes earlier, police at the hunt had been informed that a criminal trespass by the hunt was likely and that they should intervene to prevent such an incident.
Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown spoke of the incident: “The actions of the hunt today were arrogant, reckless to the extreme and plain stupid. Hounds have been mown down by Intercity trains before on countless occasions, yet the huntsman chose to hunt his hounds right next to the train line. It was only the quick thinking and action of hunt saboteurs that prevented a potential tragedy. We could have seen the whole pack killed, or even a major train accident caused by them.”
When protestors raised the issue with hunt members and the police, a hunt official allegedly told them “Trains don’t run today”. However, 2 trains had already passed the scene in the previous 10 minutes. Mr Brown continued: “Whether or not a train would have been passing is neither here nor there. Rail trespass is a criminal offence, and the arrogant disregard of this fact is typical of the way hunts treat other people’s property in the countryside. Protestors are reviewing video and still camera footage taken in order to pursue this matter with Transport Police.”
The incident was captured on video, some grabs from which appear below:
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