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.
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:-
Police have paid “significant” compensation to a hunt protester who was arrested at a demonstration against the South Shropshire Hunt.
An undisclosed sum has been paid to the woman, who was arrested outside the Mytton and Mermaid public house in Atcham, near Shrewsbury, in February 2012.
She had been part of a group of protesters from the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs and Northampton Hunt Saboteurs.
They have released a video of the incident which has been posted on YouTube.
It shows a woman being arrested by officers after one claimed he had been pushed by her. But, after a claim for unlawful arrest was made against the force, compensation was paid to the woman, who has not been named.
(Above, footage of the arrest)
A statement by West Mercia Police said today they had attended the scene following reports of a threat of disorder between the hunt meeting and the protesters. Two protesters were detained at the scene, with one arrested.
Deputy Chief Constable Karen Manners said: “West Mercia Police can confirm it has come to an out-of-court settlement relating to the arrest of one person following a disturbance in Atcham in February 2012. A settlement was made and accepted and a compensation payment has been made to the claimant.
Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs’ Association, said the incident was a “shocking example” of West Mercia Police favouring local hunts over protesters.
“We hope this public shaming, and financial penalty, will force them to modify their behaviour,” he said. “We are pleased that the compensation received by the victim was used for essential repairs of the group vehicle which enabled them to be out in the field saving hunted animals.”
Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs were out in the field again yesterday at the Ledbury Hunt who hunted around the Longdon and Birtsmorton areas.
In the area of Queenshill hounds were right on the scent of a fox who ran out of a covert just metres from sabs who had seen him and were ready to act. Seconds after he ran, hounds emerged from the covert and were encouraged into the field he had run into, picking up again on his line. The fox, however, knew exactly where to run and headed straight for a nearby (and very smelly) farmyard full of cows.
As one sab entered the farmyard, hounds still speaking, another heard hunt support saying “There’s a huge slurry pit in there, I hope she falls in it. You wouldn’t pull that out, would you?” Moments later and two hounds ran straight into it, the sab alerting hunt support who were oblivious to it and came to the aid of the second hound (the first on was able to get out on her own).
Most of the day was spent navigating flooded areas (and hunt & hounds taking over the roads repeatedly) and perfectly maintained footpaths… Hunt supporters were seen holloaing and waving their hats to show where foxes had run which was very helpful as sabs could get into the right area and slow down the pack . We believe they may have had a kill in someone’s garden later on in the day.
Tomorrow is a day for checking out new cameras to finish the rest of the hunting season well equipped to catch hunts out illegally hunting. Thanks to everyone who recently gave us money towards our appeal… If you know anyone else who has a few quid spare, show them this link: http://www.gofundme.com/threecountiessabs
Please contact the pub where the hunt met and give them your “polite” view on them allowing a foxhunt to meet at their premises.
“We sabbed the Croome today from their meet at the Wheelbarrow Castle pub at Radford (thanks to the person who gave us the info). They spent half an hour before moving off whether because sabs were present or because it was a pub is unclear but they messed about a bit prior to hunting around some brambles at a farm in Kington.
The huntsman called hounds out of cover as it was obvious that they were hunting no trail, the fox was left be. On they went to Abberton where first one fox ran (and was helped by a quick witted sab who sprayed the line).
A very cross man ran over the field but was not too dangerous when he confronted the sab as he was so out of breath, he grabbed the spray and broke the top off emptying some of the contents just where they were needed! The second fox then followed his mate to safety filmed on 3 cameras and so far too risky for them to hunt so close to a village.
They left those to. On the hunt went into Yield wood where the senior master Patty Allen got a bit cross and they then rioted on deer. They actually did manage to hunt a fox with hounds going through a garden frightening some Alpacas but were stopped dead on the road by being rated by asab’.
Just as well really because amateur huntsman (and master) Tim Allen was frantically zooming up and down on a quad bike wondering where his pack had gone, the sab had safely rated them back into a field from the road where they were harmlessly following a heel line. Both Patty and Timmy were confronted politely about the illegal hunting and they said that they were hunting a trail with one girl claiming to have laid one.
It was pointed out that she had only got a cutting whip so had nothing to lay one with…then it was the vicars wife wot laid it….and she had gone home….conveniently. We believe despite an effort to find that fox they failed. Even at 16.20 they tried to draw for another and had a go at sabs for using a footpath to see what they were up to. All in all a good day.”