Archive | March 2014

End of season report – Ross harriers 29/03/14

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.

Ross Harriers end-of-season meet at the Tump inn, Wormelow, Herefordshire 29/03/14

Ross Harriers end-of-season meet at the Tump inn, Wormelow, Herefordshire 29/03/14

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.

Hare in red, lead hound in black, sabs just beyond the hedgeline. A second hare also escaped from the field

Hare in red, lead hound in black, sabs just beyond the hedgeline. A second hare also escaped from the field

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…

Danny, James, Daryl and the boys

Danny, James, Daryl and the boys

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.

Danny Burton - look out for him down in Hampshire when he's heading now the season's over here

Danny Burton – look out for him down in Hampshire where he’s heading now the season’s over here

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3C/Bristol hunt saboteurs – Ross harriers report March 23rd

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…

3C

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cameron faces Tory revolt over move to ease ban on hunting with hounds

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.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage shakes hands with huntsman Mark Bycroft of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt. Photograph: Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Ukip leader Nigel Farage shakes hands with huntsman Mark Bycroft of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt. Photograph: Luke Macgregor/Reuters

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.”

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Badger culling banned on over 3,000 acres of the Malvern Hills!

“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

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Otis Ferry to pay very substantial damages for attack on two female hunt monitors

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.

Otis Ferry

Otis Ferry

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. 

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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.

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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:-

– In 2002, Ferry was arrested while trying to creep into PM Tony Blair’s constituency home garden in darkness at 4 a.m.and was cautioned by police.
– In 2004, whilst pro-hunt demonstators were rioting in Parliament Square, he led an invasion of the  chamber of the House of Commons and was convicted of Disorderly Conduct.
– In 2006, Ferry admitted drink-driving and was heavily fined, but escaped a driving ban when a friend claimed that he had ‘spiked’ Ferry’s drinks.
– In 2007, Ferry was reportedly cautioned by police after spending the night in the cells following a scuffle with a photographer..
– In 2008 he was cleared of two counts of criminal damage against photographers’ cars.  
– In 2008, he was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice while awaiting trail for robbery and assault against the hunt monitors. He spent four months on remand. The CPS eventually dropped the ‘witness-nobbling’ charges in mysterious circumstances. 
– In 2009, he gave an interview to the Sunday Times replete with foul language, in which he insulted non-white immigrants and called a female Labour MP a ‘bitch’.
– In 2010 a landowner claimed that Ferry’s hounds killed a fox on her land, terrified a cat and horses and that hunters laughed at and abused her. Ferry claimed they’d lost control while ‘trail hunting’, but didn’t apologise.
– Also in 2010, Ferry joined a Radio 5 phone-in under a false name, but was unmasked on air. Presenter Nicky Campbell accused Ferry of assaulting him at a Countryside Alliance rally.
– Also in 2010, a Shropshire village resident published an article on the internet. The woman claimed that Ferry had launched a prolonged campaign of persecution against she and her husband after they reported seeing him beat a terrier to death in his garden.
– In 2011, Ferry appeared in Court charged with failing to give the identity of a driver who’d allegedly committed an offence [outcome unknown]. 
– In January 2012, Ferry had to apologise after his hounds run amok in a village, caused traffic chaos on a main road and spooked a resident’s horses, endangering them.
– In February 2012, Ferry was the Senior Master when the Hunt called police to a meet at a village pub after anti-hunt protesters turned up. Police took one female into custody, who has recently been paid substantial damages by them for assault and wrongful arrest. Two weeks later, hunt saboteurs say they were attacked by a mob of supporters of Ferry’s Hunt. The same female was targeted and hospitalised with a broken nose and cheekbone [see here 24-2-14].
– Later in 2012, Ferry was convicted of failing to provide a specimen after arrest on suspicion of drink-driving. He was fined and disqualified from driving for 3 years.