Tag Archive | hunt saboteurs

Sab report March 15th – Ross Harriers

As a couple of Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs headed over to Stratford for the anti-cull demo, a car-load of us headed out to the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt who were meeting at the Red Hart Inn in Blaisdon.

With no sign of hounds in the area, it looked like the rumours had been true and they were only going out for a “happy hack”. Luckily we had news of a Ross Harriers meet in nearby Drybrook, so decided to pay them a visit.

We found them drawing a covert in the sun and, with the scenting conditions not being great, it was no surprise that the hounds failed to pick up on a scent. It wasn’t long before we were spotted by Lee Peters himself who stopped for a long chat (while we’re chatting, he’s not hunting) before calling in his “boys”, getting a couple of riders to move their horses in the way of our car while he moved off.

One pair of foot-sabs got out of the car, following him on foot for some time. With the sun still strong and conditions not the best for scent to “stick”, the hounds drew a blank in most coverts Lee put them in.

Foot-sabs and car split up to cover both sides of a large piece of woodland on a hill in order to keep tabs on the hunt in the Deepdean area. As we were about to meet up, hounds started speaking in a large woodland by a valley, so two of us carried on inland, the others covering the road.

Both groups noticed (an attempt at) a holloa and pointing, followed by the group on the road radioing through that a fox was heading straight for the others. We were in a perfect position to act as the fox ran past, spraying citronella and rating the hounds, giving the tired fox valuable seconds to get away.

Mr Peters did not look best pleased when he next saw us, especially after we followed him into the land near to Home Farm (where the Cotswold Vale met a couple of weeks ago). Instead of having the police called on us (despite being on footpaths) like last time, we had a nice, short conversation with two of the people from the area who told us that the hunt “weren’t even supposed to be here” and said we were welcome to walk across the land as long as we didn’t damage anything. The hounds were soon gathered up and taken back to the road… where they picked up on another scent, losing it as one sab informed the others and they were able to get in the way of the hounds.

A short chat and a long hover by the junction of the road later and the hunt moved off again, all the boys (Luke, Danny, James and the other one) and, of course, Nick Hodges (terrierman from the Cotswold Vale) in tow. And Lee is always full of surprises – having made many phonecalls and had lots of little conflabs with his pals, a couple of the support vehicles blocking in our car repeatedly and a little bit of very-slightly-aggressive-but-not-that-scary riding at foot-sabs, the hunt headed back to the kennels earlier than anticipated.

As we write this, we are informed that the ever-charming Lee has been spotted outside of a well-known sab’s house, taking pictures of her… he had promised to do this (to “get his own back”) but not until summer. You’re a bit premature Lee! But at least we know he didn’t go back out after we left. Anyway, all in all a good day and not long left before even the Ross Harriers will pack up for the season.

If you can help us out in the last couple of weeks before they finish, share our reports and our gofundme (or paypal address if you’d prefer us to get more money!)

http://www.gofundme.com/7epn3g

March 4th sab report

A car-load (almost) of Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs turned up to the church in Weston-under-Penyard today to see the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt and the South Hereford who were having a joint meet.

The day began with a lovely opening speech which included the vicar not blessing the hounds… and an unexpected visit from Lee Peters (Ross Harriers) and some of his chums (hi James, Danny and the other one!)

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There’s a bit of a turf war going on between certain hunts (namely the Cotswold Vale and the Ross Harriers and the South Hereford and the Ross Harriers) and it would appear Lee only turned up to “piss off” the others. Having been introduced as “the antis” by the ever-charming Jason Warner, we took an opportunity to introduce Lee and his friends which ended with a lady confronting Mr. Peters about his “supporting the antis” and telling him how much she was disgusted by him and that he should not be in control of a pack of hounds.

Throughout the day the hunt drew a blank in pretty much every covert and woodland they went into, sabs staying with them until near the end. To be fair to the hunt, they did whip and call the hounds back when they noticed sabs running into a field to try and catch a lamb which had become separated from the rest of the flock (who were on the other side of a road in another field). But, then again, it wouldn’t be great publicity to have your hounds terrorise or kill livestock, so they probably wouldn’t want to run the risk. Plus they hadn’t told the landowner they were coming through, so…

After a bit of a chase and trying to herd this little'un away from the Cotswold Vale hounds (who had been called back away from the area) we finally got hold and lamby was returned to mummy

After a bit of a chase and trying to herd this little’un away from the Cotswold Vale hounds (who had been called back away from the area) we finally got hold and lamby was returned to mummy

Sabs were treated to a bit of on-the-spot farriery (not the sabs themselves!) and a nice bit of sunshine, so all in all, it was a pretty good day with no kills that we know of. Peters and co. however left earlier in the afternoon implying they were off to dig up some of our black and white friends, so who knows what’s going on in the countryside while we’re not looking.

Anyway, only a couple of weeks left until the end of season and, with a couple of the hunts in our area packing up weeks before they had been planning to, we’re still feeling pretty positive.

A Victory for “People Power”

From the badger-killers website

“At lunchtime on the 29th of November a moment in history was created when the guardian released this story. Telling the world that finally the British government had been beaten into submission and called an early end to its wildlife massacre it called a “badger cull”.

The cull was always sold to the British public as a pilot to see if over a period of 6 weeks, badgers could be killed “effectively, safely & humanely”. Toward the end of those 6 weeks we the public were told that the original population studies had changed and the new population figures were actually much lower, they refused to credit us the sabs with destroying their Hair DNA population studies and instead decided to blame badgers for “moving the goalposts”. With massively reduced populations (strangely David Heath had been complaining along with many farmers of population “explosions”) the target to kill was made much easier for them to reach.

What they hadn’t planned on was the perseverance, tenacity, endurance & craftiness of those opposed to the cull. Many experienced hunt saboteurs walked the fields and woodlands of the cull zones night after night, as did many other people, these people just like sabs came from a wide variety of backgrounds, teachers, graphic designers, care workers, the very rich, the retired and yes even the unemployed and students.

A dedicated number of  these people before the culls started, going as far back as June last year had been sett surveying the entire area, one of them “Jo Badger” recently passed away, her passing has been a great loss to many of us. Their work was the foundation for all the defence of the badgers during the cull & it is these people who know how active setts are in certain areas, finding the Hair DNA traps was an easy task for them.

With a total of over 500 sq Km’s surveyed, protecting the badgers from free shooters was a question of team work, whilst some people working tirelessly within the law traversed hundreds of miles of footpaths and reported in any sightings, Sab groups and people prepared to break minor trespass laws got closer to shooters and often moved them on with noise. Several weeks into the cull a small fortune was spent on night vision equipment and the amount of shooters being stopped increased rapidly.

That equipment like the fuel in the tanks was generously donated by supporters from across the country, without their support the campaign would have struggled greatly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped with fundraising to get people to the zones.

When the 6 week culls ended and it was announced in Somerset that they hadn’t achieved their targets we sighed with relief & prepared to focus just on Gloucestershire for the final week, to our dismay they announced extensions, in Somerset with the drastically reduced populations they announced that they had to kill another 165 badgers over a three week period. Having managed to kill over 100 a week during the 6 week cull people on the ground knew they had a lot of work to do to stop them reaching their targets.

With little or no holiday time left to claim many people took unpaid leave from work, relationships were strained and many people were suffering with extreme fatigue. Still they did not give up, with the weight of knowing that the culls would be rolled out if these succeeded, people buckled down to the work knowing that tens of thousands of badgers lives were in the balance. At the end of the 3 week extension 90 badgers had been killed, making the Somerset cull and extension a failure.

The shooters having failed at free shooting early on had gone over heavily to cage trapping as a tried and tested method of killing large numbers of badgers, when we knew this for sure, our efforts accordingly varied and we focussed as much resources as possible at finding cage traps and “neutralising” them.

In Somerset we never found more than 3 cages on one sett. Meanwhile in Gloucestershire the figures on the total killed came out, it was shockingly low at only 30% of the revised pop. figure, Natural England issued an extension for 8 weeks with a target of just 58% to achieve “disease control” the NFU didn’t mess about and promptly put down hundreds of traps.

Protest culture has for some years attributed minor criminal damage done at night to “pixies”. Some people find this word annoying, just as other people don’t identify with the word “sab”. Semantics to one side, the cage traps were destroyed as fast as they went down, for the most part by very normal people doing extraordinary work, through the day traps were found then by night they were destroyed, each one costing approx £150.

In just over 4 weeks nearly 400 of these traps had been made useless. With “free shooting” being proven to be a methodology that didn’t work, cage trapping was undertaken to kill as many badgers as possible. We the British public just weren’t having it.

Whilst we celebrate the failure of these badger culls and the part we played in their downfall, we mourn the loss of all the badgers that have been needlessly killed during this cull. We would ask anyone who thinks that killing badgers to stop the spread of bTB to spend a few minutes watching this video filmed just before the culls started.

We will continue with our campaign, filming farm conditions, sabbing pheasant shoots, organising boycotts, all the time building our numbers and reach on social media. The culls may continue, but so will we.

As has been proven today, if you ignore the will of the people, the people will fight back, we are organised, we have built teams of people who rely on each other, our supporters know the methods we use and are comfortable knowing that we behave honourably, we know how to disrupt culls, we are strong and we are many, and we will never leave our badgers undefended to be attacked by brutes and thugs.

NEVER”

Badger cull: government could be forced to take direct control of pilot

Concern over low number of animals shot so far has led government to seek legal advice on taking direct control from farmers

www.theguardian.com 2013-9-13 23 15 8

The government is on the verge of being forced to take over the controversial badger culls in England from farmers because the low number of animals shot so far risks the policy seriously failing.

The Guardian understands that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has sought urgent legal advice on how to bring the night-time shooting under its direct control, and has even discussed using gassing as a more effective method of culling.

A Defra spokesman, however, denied any discussions had taken place about the department taking control. “There have been no discussions or considerations about Defra taking over the badger cull pilots. The pilots are being carried out by licensed companies and this will not change,” he said.

On Wednesday night, according to information leaked to the Guardian, marksmen failed to kill any animals at at all. This week, the government refused to deny claims that fewer than 100 badgers had been killed in two weeks of shooting in the Somerset cull zone.

The badger cull pilots, aimed at curbing the rise in bovine tuberculosis (TB) which caused 28,000 cattle to be slaughtered in 2012, must eliminate 70% of the badgers in each zone, or risk increasing TB as fleeing badgers spread the disease further afield. But the Guardian’s sources said far too few badgers were being shot in the opening weeks of the six-week trials.

Ministers chose the more difficult option of shooting of free-running badgers at night over the more reliable cage-trapping and shooting because the former is significantly less expensive.

The Guardian’s sources also said the possibility of gassing badgers had been discussed. A government strategy on eradicating TB, released in July included consideration of gassing if humane methods could be developed. Gassing with cyanide was outlawed in 1982.

“The failing badger cull could make the public forest sell-off debacle look politically painless,” a source told the Guardian, referring the embarrassing U-turn on the planned sell-off of England’s forests. “That is largely because every problem so far [with the cull] was first outlined in briefings and advice to ministers and ignored.”

Badgers are being shot in pilot cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset to test whether free shooting can kill sufficient numbers and do so humanely. But the number of badgers killed in the Somerset cull zone is just three or four a night, according to a source quoted by the Western Morning News.

“They are having major problems. It is just a case now of who gets the blame for the whole thing failing,” the source said.

The Guardian understands that the total number of badgers killed so far is now more than 100, but is far below the 120-per-day average that would be needed to meet the minimum final quotas across both of the zones.

A spokesman for the National Farmers Union said it was “premature” to talk of crisis, as the cull had several weeks to run, and a Defra spokesman said: “We are not commenting on operational details.”

The Guardian previously revealed that, according to experts, the population estimates for badgers in the cull zones are so uncertain that every badger in the area could be killed and the minimum quota would not be met.

Mark Jones, a veterinarian and executive director of Humane Society International/UK said: “It comes as no surprise that the badger cull is failing in its efforts to devastate badger populations in the pilot areas. This unjustified policy has been a shambles from the outset. The government must abandon this travesty that has already cost farmers and the taxpayer dear and caused deep divisions within our communities.”

The culls have sparked the biggest animal rights protests since fox hunting with dogs was outlawed, with more than 300,000 people signing a government e-petition against the cull. But ministers have insisted the cull is a necessary part of bovine TB control measures which cost taxpayers £100m a year for TB testing and farmer compensation.

Many scientific experts oppose the cull, calling it a “mindless” and “costly distraction” from developing vaccines for cattle and badgers and tightening cattle movement regulations and farm biosecurity.

Jones said Defra was also now in breach of a decision from the information commissioner, who ordered the department to release information under freedom of information rules to HSI UK on exactly how “humaneness” was to be measured and assessed during the pilot culls. He said the legally binding deadlines for Defra to release the information, or appeal the decision, have both passed.

Some information on humaneness was released and reported by the Guardian, including that the sounds made by dying badgers was part of the assessment. But the documents were heavily redacted and the IC ruled this redacted information should be revealed.

Jones said: “We can only assume Defra knows that independent scrutiny would find the methodology to be full of holes.”

Article

Also see: Badger cull in Somerset: on the trail of the marksmen – video

Message from Sabs in the Gloucester Zone

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“We need to have people out during the day sett checking high risk setts, we need people in the field BEFORE dusk i.e 18.00 nightfall is too late. We are trying to set up a reception point for people who are new to the area and/or new to this sort of action so people can go there and meet others and be pointed in the right direction.

You need to be aware that at present we are not giving out meeting points for very good reasons you just need to call us and get in the cull zone until others can take over the role of directing people.

You will need to make sure that you are dressed for walking and for wet weather, have maps OS 190/179 and 14 and plan for transport, where you are staying and make sure all vehicles are legal. Do bear in mind that most of the time you will be sat in a car, driving about or footslogging it for miles, it can be monotonous and exhausting with no apparent immediate impact but what is happening is this… We are being seen as keeping watch, we are delaying the cull just by being out here.

If you want to be visible then wear anti badger cull stuff and plaster the car in stickers you will give the cullers the heebie jeebies and take the focus off of sabs. If you want to get in the field and look around dress as a rambler look inconspicuous, sit in the local pubs and make conversation, park up at junctions and watch.”

Tel: 07516024180

Badger cull: protesters claim success in opening battles

Opponents say they have sabotaged traps, bait and sett areas ahead of official cull by groups hired to shoot animals

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Hunt saboteurs and wildlife groups claim to have won the first skirmishes in the impending battle over the planned badger cull by disrupting traps and digging up bait laid by gamekeepers and farmers as well as disturbing the ground near setts so that the animals will be scared to come out.

One saboteur, who asked to remain nameless, said that farmers had been laying bait for the badgers for five days in readiness for the official start of the two six-week pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset, widely expected to start in the next 24 hours.

“They have been burying peanuts near the entrance to setts to encourage badgers to come out, and also laying barbed wire traps. We have been going out disrupting them, removing the traps and digging up the bait,” he said.

The activist said that many hunt saboteurs who had been active before the 2004 ban on hunting were now preparing to visit the sites. “We have a core of 25 people [in both areas] going out every day to disrupt the cull in advance. When it kicks off there will be hundreds more. Many of them have been sabbing for years so know their way around. We go out in the day to disrupt the setts, and we will be going out at night starting from tonight,” he said.

“We know that we will not be able to save all the badgers but we are going to make it a lot harder than it should have been.”

Both hunters and saboteurs are expected to use infrared sights to spot the animals but the marksmen will not be allowed to shoot if people are present. However, footpaths have not been blocked off and many saboteurs have said they are prepared to risk criminal prosecution following a high court injunction granted to the National Farmers Union (NFU) at the weekend banning protests within 100 metres of homes, and within 25 metres of businesses.

“We will not be allowed to make much noise but in our experience it doesn’t need loud sounds to scare badgers away. They are scared by a twig breaking,” said a saboteur.

The first arrest was made on Monday when Jay Tiernan, a protester, was caught allegedly trying to enter Defra’s Food and Environment Research Agency at Ashton Down in Gloucestershire, where cages for the cull are being kept.

As an e-petition against the cull passed 250,000 names, the NFU president, Peter Kendall, repeated his claim that the cull was necessary. “Thirty-eight thousand cattle were slaughtered last year in Britain because of TB. For beef and dairy farmers dealing with TB on their farms, these badger culls are an essential part in the fight against this terrible disease.

“Opinion is divided, so, while we recognise that not everyone agrees with the government’s TB eradication policy, and the need to cull badgers to start to reduce this disease in cattle, we do acknowledge their legitimate right to hold peaceful protests.

“What we cannot condone are the actions being used by extreme activists designed to harass, intimidate and threaten others.”

Wildlife groups condemn the cull as “inhumane” and “unscientific”. Dominic Dyer, a policy adviser at Care for the Wild, said: “People are shocked when they find out that only 15% of badgers have TB and that the government will not even be testing to see any of the badgers they intend to kill have [the disease]. These two facts together completely undermine the cull policy.

“We are seeing a political kneejerk reaction to a problem. It is liable to backfire on the government and the NFU. People are outraged.”

He added: “Most of the people protesting are entirely peaceful. These are the middle classes, people from the Rotary club, the WI , district councillors, they are Tories.”

For the pilot culls to work in the six-week time frame allowed, the hunters will need to kill around 70 badgers a night in each area. An estimated 2,700 animals will need to be killed for the pilots to be judged a success and then extended.

A Defra official said: “Bovine TB is spreading across England and devastating our cattle and dairy industries. In TB hotspots such as Gloucestershire and Somerset we need to deal with the infection in badgers if we’re to get a grip on TB there. No country has dealt with the disease without tackling infection in both wildlife and cattle.

“We are working on new cattle and oral badger vaccines but they are years away from being ready and we cannot wait while this terrible disease spreads.”

A spokeswoman for badger rescue group Gloucester against Badger Shooting (Gabs) said around 100 people had volunteered to patrol public footpaths in the cull area to watch out for wounded animals. “Defra has said that some will not be killed outright but would sneak away to die a horrible death. We shall be going out in groups of three. If we find any we will contact animal hospitals. We are not seeking confrontation. We are just disgusted. We are entirely peaceful.”

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