The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) is pleased to announce its affiliation to the Anti-fascist network (AFN).
The HSA has always had a policy of inclusion, welcoming anyone into our ranks regardless of race, creed, gender, religion or sexuality, and has been forced over the years to confront and exclude people who have been proved to be racist or fascist.
Our active members have for years been the subject of racist (and sexist) abuse from the hunting community which only highlights that our struggle to end hunting also promotes a more ethical attitude to both humans and animals.
Both the HSA and AFN promote a policy of confronting those engaged in racism and hunting respectively, on the streets and in the countryside. To not only stop such activities continuing but also to highlight them to the wider public.
While other organisations hide their heads in their hands, hoping that a few leaflets or email shots will make the problems go away, we are clear that the only way to end both hunting and racism is confront it head on, so those who partake of such actions and attitudes are clear that we will oppose them until they stop.
For any further enquiries please contact our Press Officer here.
Hundreds of people have been protesting against badger culling in Gloucestershire.
About 500 people joined the Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting demonstration in Gloucester city centre.
Pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset were aimed at limiting the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).
Earlier this month Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the pilots would continue.
‘Recipe for disaster’
Organiser Carol Cook said the number of people who turned out to demonstrate shows “it is not acceptable for an industry to be killing our wildlife”.
She said they were “sympathetic” towards farmers, but added that the “industry needs to look at its own practices” and improve “bio-security in the farmyards themselves” to stop the spread of the disease.
“It isn’t us against the farmers at all – everyone can work together to stop this awful disease,” she said.
Conservationist Ian Redmond said most badgers do not have the disease and culling is a “recipe for disaster, not for curing the disease”.
The end of the hunting season this spring coincided with the news that the badger cull would continue this summer in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Due to the conditions of the licence, we’re expecting the cull zones to be the same areas as last year and that the licence will allow them to start killing from 1st June onwards. With experience to learn from from last year, we’re more prepared this time round to get involved against the cull.
This is a shout out to anyone in the area to come and help us with sett-surveying. This is basically walking around an area looking for new setts and checking on ones we knew of last year. Sett locations will have changed due to the cull, perturbation, the winter, the floods and now badgers are becoming more active again with cubs running around, setts which looked inactive may now appear to be used again.
It is important that we manage to cover the cull zone prior to the cull starting as we need to know the location of the setts in order to protect them from the cull operators. We understand that not everyone is local enough, has enough time off work or money to help out, but if you are able to come down (we can help with fuel money to an extent) please do so. Contact us through email and we can pass you on to the relevant people. Gloucestershire Badger Office (who will be coordinating the work before and during the cull in order to avoid duplication of work and areas being left unchecked) now have a facebook page (open to the public)
and a phone number – same as the one used last year – 07582 607913 – with a landline number being confirmed soon.
People are also needed to help with admin and fundraising especially as we’ll be helping out other groups coming into the zone which will be a huge drain on our finances. Information stalls in town can be a great help to promote the work we’re doing and spread information regarding hunts and the cull as well as related campaigns. If you think you’d be able to do a car-boot sale, fundraising event, stall or be able to get into the zone before or during the cull, please do let us know. There will be something for everyone, regardless of ability, age, experience and so on.
Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs celebrated End-of-Season(!) with a visit to the Ross Harriers.
The day started with an hour-long conversation with Huntsman Lee Peters (some interesting stuff there re: badger digging, human overpopulation and which sab groups to avoid if we don’t want to get hurt as well…) followed by their midday meet at the Tump Inn in Wormelow.
Paul Standen and his mate “Jack” arrived on their quad to sit in front of our van (but wasn’t quite quick enough on the ignition when we drove off behind him… sorry Paul!) and our 2 vehicles (and 6 sabs) split once they began to cover the hunt from 2 sides.
Needless to say, end-of-season madness did kick in as the day progressed. Staying in a rather small area, the hunt picked up on (and lost) a number of hares, some of whom escaped with no help, other chases we managed to intervene with to give the hares a few extra seconds to get away. A fox was run to ground in a badger sett which was blocked up and there was a lot of holloaing, pointing and not-so-sneaky radio-use.
Following a couple of angry farmers and a tractor, a sab in a hedge, Lee Peters “accidentally” almost riding a sab over (with some interesting use of a whip) and a bottle of engine oil thrown over the van windscreen and into the face of the driver and passenger, a hunt supporter attempted to enter the van and a sab was pushed over the bonnet with an older gentleman threatened by another.
Supporters seemed to want 2 things: the male sab to start a fight and to intimidate the women. They got neither. This report makes it sound far more eventful than it feels in our memories…
Investigations are pending.
An evening in A&E looking greasy and a night in a police station (still a bit greasy) followed by a bag of greasy chips meant 3C arrived home around 4.30am – our EOS celebration cup of tea ended up being a quickly-downed cup of chamomile in bed. Stylish!
We say goodbye to the ever-lively Danny Burton (son of ‘Stephen’ who you may find at the Hursley Hambledon drinking coffee) who leaves us to go be a kennelman in Hampshire and who is sad that he will have to work even when the hounds are out hunting. Our hearts bleed for you Danny Look out for his face in the county.
It was a pleasure to have Bristol out with us on Saturday and Lee Peters did not seem happy. Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs ran into him outside the kennels and, despite some dangerous driving and illegal road blocks, our little car managed to keep up with him all the way to the meet.
Our 2 pairs of foot-sabs were in an out of the vehicles all day, with one managing to avoid the 2 incidents that took place throughout the day and helping a couple of hares that sprinted past.
The ever-charming Lee did not seem best pleased at last week’s video of his hounds chasing the fox and his supporters (who usually check out this page quite regularly) claimed not to have seen it.
Solidarity and love to all the groups who were attacked and hurt this last weekend (or indeed before then!) It’s end-of-season madness time…
and from Bristol Hunt Saboteurs
A return visit to the charming Ross Harriers today, who were hunting just outside of Much Marcle. Their huntsman, Lee Peters, burst a few blood vessels upon our arrival looking angry even by his standards.
After lots of personal threats and some dicking around by some of the followers, he moved off with us close behind. Hares were put up all over the place with him encouraging his hounds on, with complete disregard of the law.
Sabs found themselves in a perfect position when hounds went into cry, only seconds behind a hare. With the use of citronella sprays and whips, sabs ensured that the hare got away to safety. This only added to the frustration of Peters who tried riding sabs down as a response.
Catching up with the hunt again we witnessed the hounds actively chasing a hare with only a few feet between them. We were too far away to intervene but luckily the hare managed to slip away from the hounds. A truly horrifying moment.
As we approached the hunt they were surrounding our vehicles on a road. At this point one of the tyres got slashed on our land rover and then the Harriers spearheaded by Peters launched an all out attack on sabs from both the vehicles and in the field. One female Sab is currently in hospital with head injuries and multiple others came away with battered and bruised.
Just goes to show that when a hunt have a hard time trying to kill animals they turn their aggression elsewhere. It doesn’t bother us, as we get to go home in the safe knowledge that no animals were killed by The Ross Harriers.
From The Guardian March 23rd
Amendment to Hunting Act would allow up to 40 hounds to flush out a fox to face waiting guns
A growing number of Conservative MPs have warned David Cameron that he risks losing a vital Commons vote if he pushes ahead with what they believe is an attempt to weaken the ban on hunting to woo rural voters away from Ukip.
Environment officials are examining what they describe as a “viable amendment” to the Hunting Act, which would allow up to 40 hounds to flush out a fox to face waiting guns rather than two, a move that critics claim would effectively reintroduce hunting with hounds “through the back door”.
The Blue Fox, a group of anti-hunt Conservatives, said that 27 Tory MPs had contacted them to declare their disquiet over the developments, with another significant cohort yet to decide whether they will vote against the plans because of sizeable pro-hunt support in their constituencies.
The proposed amendment would be likely to use a parliamentary device known as a statutory instrument to amend the contentious 2004 act. Opponents of foxhunting predict that the move will be unveiled next month and it is has been claimed that the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, has tried to canvass support among MPs of all parties.
However, the plans will face sizeable opposition from within Paterson’s own party. Lorraine Platt of Blue Fox said more MPs were coming forward to voice their opposition, citing a statement forwarded to her by Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove and Portslade, which read: “My support for the Hunting Act remains completely unchanged and I will certainly vote against any attempts to weaken it.”
Anti-hunting groups believe that any attempt to amend existing legislation would be whipped, meaning that Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs would be told to vote with the government. Cameron promised last week that MPs will be handed a vote on whether to relax the hunting ban.
A letter from Glyn Davies, Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, to a fellow Conservative MP that has been seen by the Observer says that “all that has ever been discussed is a minor change which aligns the situation in England and Wales with that in Scotland”.
The devolved Scottish parliament passed its own hunting legislation in February 2002, making it the first part of the UK to ban traditional foxhunting, while still permitting hunts to use packs of hounds to flush out foxes to face guns.
In a letter dated 17 March, Davies writes: “Suggestions by LACS [League Against Cruel Sports] and others of ‘repeal by the back door’ are bizarre, as what is being proposed is a measure that they themselves support in Scotland.” The league, however, has accused the MP of “trying to mislead” and has released a statement denying that it supports hunting with a pack of hounds. It said: “We are strongly opposed to any amendment which would effectively allow traditional hunting with a full pack of hounds to openly take place in the countryside. The amendment being pushed would lead to this.”
Platt said her group believed that the amendment idea, put forward by Welsh hill farmers to defend their flocks from foxes, was a “device to bring back hunting with dogs through the back door”.
She added: “What it will do is allow a full pack of hounds to flush out a fox. It will almost be impossible to shoot that fox because you can’t control a pack of hounds in the same way you can control two dogs; you wouldn’t be able to hold off those packs of hounds. It’s not an acceptable amendment and we urge all Conservative MPs not to back it.”
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the LACS, said: “We know that moves are afoot to weaken the Hunting Act through a back-door amendment. The government need to stop dancing the political ‘hokey cokey’ and come clean about their intentions on bringing this forward. If they have the courage of their convictions, they would fulfil their coalition agreement promise and hold a free vote on repealing the act and end this constant uncertainty about its future.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “A number of Welsh farmers have brought this issue to our attention and we are looking at it.”
“Badger culling banned tonight on over 3,000 acres of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire following a petition signed by 2,300 local people. Another victory for the Badger Army and care & compassion over senseless slaughter of our wildlife” Dominic Dyer March 17th
POWA Press Release 17th March – Otis Ferry, ‘celebrity’ son of rock star Bryan, pro-hunt activist and Joint Master of the South Shropshire Hunt has, agreed to pay very substantial damages to two female hunt monitors, Mrs. Helen Ghalmi, who is a Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA] Associate, and Mrs. Susan Grima, after a 4 year legal battle by them.
Ferry’s last-minute offers of settlement were made and accepted immediately before trial in civil court. Mrs. Ghalmi is to be paid £8,000 by Ferry and Mrs. Grima a similar amount.
Ferry and his co-defendant, a Heythrop rider named John Deutsch, had already been convicted in Crown Court, on 22-5-09, for attacking the two ladies in November 2007. Both men pleaded guilty to a public order offence.
They had originally been charged with robbery and assault, but the former charges were dropped after a claim that it was intended to return the items removed. However, a video camera which Ferry was accused of having taken has not been returned.
The ladies, however, felt that the sentences – Discharges and £350 fines – which the Judge ordered paid to them as compensation – were nowhere near adequate to reflect the gravity of the offences against them and the terror and trauma they had suffered. They consequently launched civil claims against both Ferry and Deutsch, which have only recently been concluded.
Mrs. Ghalmi and Mrs. Grima were monitoring the Heythrop Fox Hounds on 21-11-07 near Lower Swell, Gloucs, in order to collect evidence of any illegal hunting.
They stated that their car was overtaken and blocked in by a vehicle being driven by Deutsch in a country lane. Deutsch then stormed towards their vehicle shouting abuse at them and violently ripped out the passenger side-window, right next to Ms. Grima, causing the glass to explode into tiny fragments.
Otis Ferry, who was a guest-rider with the Heythrop that day, then arrived and, also shouting, joined in the attack on the ladies.
Mrs.Ghalmi says that he tried to pull her out of the car, snatched her video-camera and then wrested her keys from her hand, during which her arm and fingers were injured.
Ferry then made off with the camera on horseback and admits he later wiped the film. Police arrived soon after, by when both attackers had made off. They later found the car keys discarded by Ferry. Both ladies were terrified for their safety throughout the joint attack by Ferry and Deutsch.
Ferry’s last-minute settlement offer meant he did not have to attend Court, but Deutsch continued to contest the ladies’ claims. Delivering his judgement at Brentford County Court on 5-3-14, Circuit Judge H.H.J.Powles, QC said he found Deutsch’s evidence wholly incredible.
He stated that this was ‘an angry attack by a man who trapped them and made them fear for their safety’, noted his ‘indifference and lack of concern’ and concluded he had ‘deliberately lied to the Court’. He further stated of Ferry and Deutsch that ‘they acted together’ and ‘each is liable as much as the other.’
The ladies’ counsel, David Rivers of Old Square Chambers, has published a digest of the case online. They were also represented by Howe & Co, Solicitors, of Brentford.
Speaking of the attack and its aftermath Mrs. Ghalmi [right, talking to police] said:- “I am so relieved it is finally over. The judge has listened to the evidence and rightly concluded that this was a vicious attack carried out solely because we were monitoring the Heythrop Hunt and these two individuals took it upon themselves to try and get rid of us.
To be trapped in a confined space in the middle of no where while two men attacked us was a terrifying and distressing ordeal to say the least. It was a nasty cowardly act by these two men and they should be ashamed of themselves.
I just hope this sends out a clear message to all Hunts that we won’t tolerate this kind of aggression towards monitors anymore. It’s been an extremely long drawn out process but its been worth it to have it recognised at last just how awful an ordeal this was and that when you cause harm to another it is only right and just that you should be held accountable. On that day we experienced a real taste of what the poor foxes go through.”
Mrs. Grima said:-“I’m just relieved that its now finally over and I can try and move on with my life. As a result of the attack I have been left with severe migraines and they show no sign of stopping, for all I know I may suffer with them for the rest of my life.
I was left with PTSD and this got to the point where it prevented me from wanting to leave my home, I couldn’t even bring myself to go and visit my mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. What these men did was vicious and yet even after pleading guilty they chose to prolong the suffering by dragging this case on for so long, thankfully the judge saw right through the lies.”
Alan Kirby, POWA spokesman, added:- “This is very far from the first time that pro-hunting fanatic Otis Ferry has been in trouble with the law and/or has had serious accusations made against him and his Hunt. It is gratifying to see he and his companion being made to pay for this vicious attack on two defenceless women in an isolated location.
This was just one of many such attacks, some even more violent and terrifying, by hunters and hunt supporters on anti-hunt activists which occur with disturbing regularity and which the authorities rarely treat with the seriousness they deserve.”
POWAperson adds:- Otis Ferry’s brushes with the law and trouble he and his Hunt have got into include the following:-