POWA sent the following to selected local, regional and national
papers on 12-7-15
supporter of the Grafton Hunt has just been given a Police Caution for making a malicious and abusive phone call to a female
hunt monitor, from near Thame, Oxon, on 27th January 2015.
The youth, aged
17 and a pupil at Stowe, the well known public school, at the time of the offence, left a message on the phone of hunt
monitor Penny Little, who has been monitoring the Northamptonshire based Grafton Hunt for the last couple of hunt seasons.
Mrs Little, who is an Associate of Protect Our Wild Animals, was shocked when
listening to the voicemail, in which the song “What Does the Fox Say” was played, interspersed with a hunting
horn being blown. A the end of the message, the male says in an aggressive tone “Fuck you Penny Little,
you fucking cunt.”
Mrs Little thought she recognised the boy’s
voice, as he had been pestering the monitors, being abusive and unpleasant. The song “What Does the Fox Say”
is often played by Grafton hunt supporters in order to drown out the sounds of the hounds and hunting horn etc., sounds which
the monitors are trying to record as part of their filmed evidence. She reported the call to Northamptonshire Police.
The male withheld his number when he made the abusive call, but it was later traced
by the police.
The monitors have decided not to reveal the boy’s
name, on the police advice.
Penny Little said “Monitors are
subjected to appalling harassment and abuse from hunters and their followers. To invade my privacy in such an obnoxious way
is a good example of the standard of behaviour we have come to expect from hunters, and clearly this boy’s expensive
education has been wasted. In this case I am pleased with the outcome, and grateful to Northamptonshire Police for dealing
with the matter so efficiently."
Mrs Little added "My many years of hunting experience have taught me that the vast majority
of hunt followers are as loutish as the youth who offended against me and that many are prone to violence. These are the people
Mr. Cameron is seeking to reward this week by passing amendments to the Hunting Act that will effectively neutralise it and
herald a return to legalised cruelty to wild animals for 'sport'."
POWA sent the following to national and regional papers on
the 10th anniversary of the Hunting Act 2004. We had just learnt that LACS had, at long last, accepted the need for strengthening.
Delight at League Against Cruel Sports new desire to strengthen Hunting Act
On the 10th anniversary of the Hunting Act 2004, Protect
Our Wild Animals [POWA] expressed delight that the League Against Cruel Sports has at last acknowledged the need for the Act
to be significantly strengthened.
Alan Kirby said;- 'It has long been obvious that, though successful in some respects, the Act is not fit for purpose in
dealing with organised Hunts. POWA have argued for it to be amended for nearly a decade and recently launched the Campaign
to Strengthen the Hunting Act.. Many Hunts still go about their bloody business with very little fear of investigation, let
alone sanction. League monitors, like others, have done excellent work bringing some hunters to justice, but these cases represent
a minute fraction of the offences being committed regularly. Just 33 people from organised Hunts have been sentenced for illegal
hunting in almost ten years and many cases which should succeed are never brought, dropped or lost at trial, largely because
of the weaknesses and loopholes of the Act.'
the League's recognition that 'trail hunting' - what Hunts usually claim to be doing - is little more than a sham
designed to disguise live quarry hunting. They also praise the charity's acceptance of POWA's long-standing insistence
that the Act needs to have a 'recklessness' clause added so that Hunts cannot keep getting off by claiming 'accident'
when seen chasing and killing wild mammals, and that sanctions must be tougher to deter hunters from transgressing.
Mr. Kirby added:- 'Now the League have accepted our
arguments, we look forward to working with them and other anti-hunting organisations to help formulate legislation to remedy
all the problems that we have long since identified with the Hunting Act. Once in force, this will make it much harder for
Hunts to continue hounding and slaughtering wild mammals for fun. Of course, we still need the public, around 80% of whom
oppose hunting with dogs, to elect a government that will have the courage and compassion to strengthen the Act. And clearly
that won't be one led by the current PM and his hunt-loving colleagues.'
POWA sent the following PR,
in response to the Wooler report, to national, regional and selected local press and some broadcasters on 2-10-14 -
Strengthen law to rein in hunters, says senior prosecutor
Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA] today hailed an independent report stating that
there is 'extensive flouting' of the law by organised Hunts. Steven Wooler, a former senior CPS lawyer, was appointed
to review the prosecution policy of the RSPCA*. He said that the volume of footage from hunt monitors showed that "it
is 'business as usual' for many Hunts because enforcement is so difficult." - and it threatens to bring Parliament,
the police and prosecuting authorities into disrepute.
welcomed the recommendation that the RSPCA should press for the Hunting Act 2004 to be amended "to make enforcement less
problematic", since POWA has been arguing the need for that for years.
Spokesman Alan Kirby said - "We strongly urge the CPS to heed the report's call for them to crack down on
the outrageous amount of illegal hunting going on and trust the Society will continue to make its resources and expertise
available to support hunt monitors and others with well-founded cases."
POWA was especially pleased with Mr. Wooler's finding that the Society's prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt
in 2012 was fully justified and not politically motivated. Several of the hunt monitors, who braved harassment, abuse, threats,
property damage and assault** to collect the evidence that convicted the Hunt, are POWA Associates.
Mr. Kirby added - "Clearly, neither Mr. Wooler nor the Society have been cowed by the torrent
of bile-filled propaganda unleashed against the charity by the pro-bloodsports lobby after the Heythrop case succeeded. The
RSPCA will, we're sure, continue to try to stop hunters getting away with tormenting and killing defenceless wild animals
for 'sport' and, crucially, press for the law to be strengthened."
- "As our new campaign film clearly shows, the many loopholes in the Hunting Act allow Hunts to
ride roughshod over the spirit and letter of the law with near impunity. As Mr. Wooler says, the slight sanctions imposed
in the rare event of conviction also provide very little deterrent. The law's weaknesses almost always allow their 'cynical
subterfuges'^^ to blind the eyes of justice. The will of Parliament and people^ is being mocked by a small but ruthless
minority. We appeal to readers to support our Campaign to Strengthen the Hunting Act."
Notes to Editors*
The Wooler report was published 1-10-14. The summary RSPCA response, with links to the full report and the Society's full
response is here.
** See here for page detailing bad behaviour by the Heythrop Hunt and a list
of convictions and cautions of Heythrop followers for various offences against hunt monitors.
^ Phrase coined by Judge Michael Pert to describe the efforts of members of the Fernie
Hunt to disguise their illegal hunting activities as 'trail hunting'. [Leicester Mercury, 15-10-11].
^^ An IPSOS/Mori poll last year showed that 80% of the public - urban and rural - supported
the 'ban' on fox hunting and the figures were even higher for deer and hare hunting.
POWA sent the following PR to selected press and broadcasters
on 17-3-14. The Western Daily Press ran the story on 22-3:-
Otis Ferry to pay very substantial damages for attack on two female hunt monitors
Court orders Ferry and co-defendant John Deutsch to pay them over £32,000 plus costs
Judge talks of 'angry attack' during Heythrop Hunt meet, with both men equally liable
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
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.
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
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 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."
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
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 ."
Notes for editors:-
Below are two stills of the scene following the attack which you may use.
Mrs. Ghalmi's car showing damage to passenger window.:-
Mrs. Ghalmi talking to PC Skinner:-
. Mrs. Ghalmi, who still monitors, and Ms. Grima were part of a volunteer
group of monitors who regularly follow fox hunts in the South Midlands area, including the Heythrop, to gather
evidence of any illegal hunting. The group have long claimed that the Heythrop regularly flouted the Hunting Act
2004. Over several years, they frequently submitted video evidence and witness testimony of these alleged breaches, but were
nearly always rebuffed by the police/CPS. Finally, in 2008, the CPS charged the Heythrop Huntsman with 4 counts of illegal
hunting, but later dropped the charges. Despairing of bringing the Hunt to justice through the normal channels, the monitor
group took a large amount of further evidence to the RSPCA, who agreed to prosecute. In December 2012, this eventually resulted
in the Heythrop Hunt and two of its members pleading guilty to 12 charges of illegal hunting. These monitors are regularly
obstructed, abused, threatened, subjected to property damage and theft and even assaulted by hunt followers. Since 2005,
no fewer than 14 separate followers of the Heythrop have been convicted of, or cautioned by police for, such offences against
hunt monitors. Further details here .
. Copy of judgement available
on request to author of this email.
information regarding Otis Ferry and his Hunt [more detail available on request] :-
- 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
- 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.
POWA sent the following to most press and many broadcasters
Doubtless the country's media will once again treat us all to the usual
nauseating 'chocolate box' portrayals of Boxing Day Hunts, ignoring their real intent and desire -
to terrorise and slaughter wildlife for fun. Hunt accounts are nearly always unquestioned, their claims of innocent
'trail hunting' taken at face value - despite ever-growing evidence that it's largely a massive fraud.
The dramatic convictions last December of the Heythrop Hunt - forced to admit 12 charges of
illegal hunting - were not the first where Hunts' claims, that they just follow trails, and suffer occasional 'accidents', had been exposed as a sham. In previous cases - e.g. the Fernie
in 2011, the Crawley & Horsham and the Meynell last year - the judges saw through their flimsy pretences and
condemned the evidence they gave as the 'cynical subterfuge' it was. Despite the incredible difficulties in obtaining
convictions against organised Hunts, three further cases this year - involving the Middleton in Yorkshire, the Seavington
in Dorset and the Crawley & Horsham again have further shown their refusal to abide by the letter, let alone
the spirit, of the Hunting Act.
Hunts nationwide employ ruses and exploit loopholes in the Act to continue chasing
and killing live quarry much as before the ban, and bamboozle police forces, usually reluctant anyway, into not acting
The only people working in the field to expose the hunters, who the League Against Cruel
Sports [LACS] described as being engaged in 'a national criminal conspiracy'*, are a relatively small number of brave and dedicated volunteer monitors, who repeatedly perform the police's job in exposing Hunts' repeated
law-breaking, yet so often find the authorities strangely reluctant to act on their evidence. They
have to bear repeated assaults, threats, harassment, obstruction, vile abuse and property damage and theft from
thuggish hunt followers. Much evidence of the suspicious activity and the true, very nasty, nature of Hunts is at
www.powa.org.uk and on YouTube at channels such as 'scorpiovulpes', 'enthullen', 'DerbyHuntSabs', 'Megatextingqueen',
'Zinfandelorganic', 'westwalesantis', 'LACS1924' and more.
The Hunting Act was passed with overwhelming public support, People expect the law against the cruel chasing
and killing of wild mammals for 'sport' to be upheld. The tiny, but highly vocal, rich, powerful hunting monority,
however, made no secret of their intent to disregard it and many continue their vile, vicious pastimes.
Somebody has to stand up for decency and the rule of law, to defend the defenceless. The police, for a
mix of reasons, are rarely willing or able do it, and the media are mostly compliant with hunters' lies. Thank
goodness for the monitors, the LACS, IFAW and the RSPCA.
What Gavin Grant, RSPCA CEO, said
of the behaviour of the Heythrop and their convicted members, equally applies to many Hunts;- 'This was deliberate,
repeated, intentional abuse of animals....These people are wildlife criminals.'
19th December 2012 - POWA sent the following
to all national and regional newspapers, selected local papers and some broadcasters:-
protection group challenges Prime Minister to condemn repeated unlawful behaviour by his favourite fox Hunt.
On 17th December, the Heythrop Hunt pleaded guilty, as
a body corporate, to four counts of illegal fox hunting, as did a recently retired Huntsman and a former Joint Master.
All were fined.
The case, brought by the RSPCA, was based on extensive footage
supplied by volunteer hunt monitors, many of whom are also Associates of Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA], and originally comprised 52
charges against the Hunt as a whole and 4 of its members.
POWA is now challenging the Prime Minister to condemn this and all other cruel and unlawful behaviour by the Heythrop
Fox Hounds. Not only is the Hunt based in his constituency, but he is known to be close to many leading officials and members
of the Hunt, to have ridden with the Hunt on several occasions in the past and to have personally intervened in a previous
case from 2008 in which the ex-Huntsman, Julian Barnfield, who admitted illegal hunting on Monday, was facing four counts
of breaking the Hunting Act. The CPS subsequently dropped those charges.
After the RSPCA laid the new charges in the Spring, based on events in
the 2011/12 season, the Heythrop and its members all vehemently denied any wrongdoing - until very recently, when they
suddenly offered to plead guilty to 12 counts. This left the RSPCA with little choice but to agree to bring
the trial to a speedy conclusion, which meant not pursuing the other charges. But monitors are convinced that
all the evidence was so strong that these would probably also have succeeded.
By pleading to some charges, the Heythrop have engaged in damage limitiation, avoiding weeks of detailed,
daily publicity of their hunting behaviour, not to mention substantial additional court and preparation costs and
probable further fines.
The group of monitors, who provided
the very hard-won evidence, have passed footage of what they believe was illegal hunting by the Heythrop and other local
Hunts to the police around 30 times in recent years, but the CPS have not once managed to bring any of them to Court,
and the monitors had lost all faith in these authorities' ability or willingness to prosecute the Hunts' wrongdoing.
They, and POWA are immensely grateful to the RSPCA
for agreeing to mount and fund the recent prosecutions.
is the monitors' contention that, far from the multiple breakings of the Hunting Act admitted by the Heythrop and its
members being isolated incidents, as their Defence QC contended, it is, in fact, their standard behaviour, and that their
supposed 'trail hunting' is little more than a charade intended to disguise the chasing and killing of live
Not only that, the monitors contend, and have
evidence to show, that they are regularly subject to highly reprehensible and aggressive behaviour from hunt riders and
followers. This includes assaults, threats, other menaces, vile abuse [racist in one instance], obstruction and damage
to their property. No fewer than 14 Heythrop followers, including a Hunt terrierman, have been convicted or cautioned regarding
such behaviour in the last six years. Extensive footage of such behaviour, and of Heythrop hounds frequently chasing
foxes, has been uploaded to YouTube over the last several years.
spokesman, Alan Kirby, said:- 'We believe that most people, viewing all the video evidence, would conclude that
the Heythrop Hunt and its supporters are little more than a lawless gang of rural vandals, apparently willing to stoop very
low indeed to continue, and attempt to cover-up, their repeated flouting of the law as they seek to harry and slaughter foxes
for fun. We find it hard to believe that David Cameron has remained unaware of what his favourite Hunt is really
like, but we call upon him now, when he has been presented with incontrovertible evidence, to condemn their behaviour, that
of the many other Hunts who behave similarly, and to disassociate himself from them. It is clear that far from needing repealing,
as Cameron has promised to try to do, the Hunting Act requires strengthening, both to deter and properly punish transgressive
Hunts and to make the law, designed to avoid wilful cruelty to wild mammals in the name of 'sport', easier to
Monitor Penny Little, says of her experience
of repeatedly seeing what the Heythrop hunters did;-
"After the physical torture of a
gruelling chase, with the fox terrorised into despearate flight, I have to watch as the victim is literally ripped apart
by the hounds. What was, seconds before, a beautiful, vivid wild animal is reduced by multiple savage bites
to a bloodied rag, it's life brutally cut short to satisfy the hunters' perverted desire for 'sport'.
It breaks my heart every time."
POWA also wishes to
express its dissaisfaction with the level of fines imposed in this case - a tiny fraction of what could and should have
been levied - and the failure to use other sanctions allowed by the Act, such as the confiscation of vehicles, animals and
equipment used in committing the offences.
that at least a substantial proportion of the RSPCA's costs should have been awarded against the wealthy Heythrop Hunt,
who number several multi-millionaires [and major donors to the Conservative party] among their backers. They also regard the
remarks made by Judge Pattinson regarding the Act itself and the costs expended by the RSPCA as highly inappropriate, and
intend to make a formal complaint about them.
The accompanying Notes to editors' contained details of
You Tube clips showing proven and suspected illegal hunting by the Heythrop and of the many aggressive, obusive and obstructive
acts by their supporters against monitors, plus details of convictions/cautions of supporters for such acts in the last few
years. This can all be found here.
27th October 2012 POWA sent the following
PR to national and regional newspapers, selected local papers and some broadcasters.
Wildlife Protection organisation condemns 'sick' Countryside Alliance advice
urging Hunts to get local schools to 'adopt' a hound
Our Wild Animals [POWA] has today reacted with revulsion to news that the Countryside Alliance is urging Hunts to try
to get their local schools to 'adopt' a hound, as a means of promoting their 'sport'.
Spokesman Alan Kirby said:-
the Hunts, if they are the 'decent and honest' people that DEFRA Secretary of State [and avid promoter of
wildlife killing] Owen Paterson once described them as*, will tell the kiddies about how they start culling the hounds they
breed very early in their lives, should they have any defect of character or physique that might make them unfit to hunt well
with the pack.
They will want to detail how they intensify
this winnowing process when young hounds are first trained to kill wildlife in cubbing, etc. so that any disinclined to show
the necessary savagery, or that 'babble', 'run mute', chase non-target quarry or commit any of a host of other
'crimes' will likely get a bullet in the head, and how they remain liable to this fate if they go similarly astray at
any time in their short hunting 'careers'.
will surely honestly reveal to the schools how hounds are liable to be similarly disposed of should they become
seriously ill or injured, and, finally, how, when the dogs reach six or seven - half their natural span - and are getting
a bit slow, the great majority are rewarded for their loyal service with a quick execution round the back of the kennels and
a trip to the incinerator.
Of all their propaganda, Huntsmen's
protestations of 'love' for their hounds are surely the most vomit-inducing. In reality, the dogs are nothing more
than disposable tools of the trade to them. POWA calculations indicate that UK Hunts must kill - deliberately - between 5
and 7 thousand of their own hounds every year.
doubt that many children - those not already brainwashed into blood-lust, at least - would find these truths too palatable.
no stunts too sick for the killers-for-fun of the bloodsports fraternity to come up with in their desperation to preserve
and promote their cruel and barbaric 'sport'?
If they really
wish to gain public acceptance, they should abandon not just their obnoxious attempts to relegalise live quarry hunting for
fun, but give up 'cynical subterfuges**', such as 'trail hunting', by which many seek to avoid prosecution
while they continue to chase and kill wildlife much as they did before the long-overdue Hunting Act 2004. Until they sincerely
and transparently do so, POWA will continue to call for the Act to be strengthened to fully achieve the ban on hunting wild
mammals with dogs which has such overwhelming public support."
Notes for editors:-
* The Daily Mail reported on a Commons debate on the Hunting Bill in 2001 and
said this -
During the debate one Tory, Owen Paterson, likened
supporters of the legislation to Nazis. He claimed only 'honest, decent' people went hunting .... [Precise
date of article not given on website].
Nb. POWA knows of over 300 followers
of organised Hunts who have been convicted of or cautioned for criminal offences, almost all hunting-related, since 1990.
About half of these were Hunt staff or officials.
'Cynical subterfuge'. How Judge Pert scornfully described the attempts by the Huntsman and terrierman of the
Fernie Hunt to pretend they had simply been 'trail hunting', when dismissing their appeals against conviction for
illegal hunting and interfering with a badger sett, on 14-10-11 [Harborough Mail]. Judges in subsequent cases, eg. the
Crawley & Horsham FH and the Meynell FH, have since remarked on hunter evidence in similar terms.
- The new Countryside Alliance advice to Hunts is detailed in this article of 27-10-12 in the Daily Telegraph. -
An article on how Hunts treat their hounds, with calculations, based on information from the Hunts themselves, as to how many
hounds UK hunts kill each year, can be found on the POWA website .
25th March 2012 POWA Press Released to all national
press and relevant regional/local papers, plus national and relevant local broadcasters;-
cubs ripped from their mother's body as she is torn apart by hounds - Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt filmed
at scene of bloody carnage
On Tuesday 6th March 2012, hunt monitors found the bodies of six fox cub foetuses
strewn on the ground in a piece of land which had just been visited by the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt.
followed the hunt all day in the Gotherington area of Gloucestershire, and in the afternoon saw the hunt enter their hounds
into a piece of wooded covert near Bozard's Farm. The monitors heard a commotion within the covert, with hounds baying
noisily, and then heard the hunting horn blown in a way which traditionally indicates a kill.
Certain that the hounds
had killed a fox within this piece of land, the monitors entered the land after the hunt had left, and to their horror found
not only blood and fox fur on the ground, but also the pathetic, bloody remains of six unborn cubs. They filmed the remains
on the ground, and then gathered them up and took them to the Vale Wildlife rescue centre near Tewksbury. Here the dead cubs
were identified as unborn fox cubs.
These were the Vale's findings:
6 fox foetuses, 2 beheaded, one of whom had no body retrieved, some partially eviscerated,
some with trauma to their bodies, tooth marks and bleeding, some placental tissue remained and one cub was still attached
to it with the umbilical cord still present.
A small piece of liver
A small piece of lung tissue.
One of the monitors present said "The hunt went into the covert, and we heard the hounds begin to speak, and then
a gruff grunting noise, and then a kill was blown. We ran towards where the hounds were obviously breaking up the fox within
the c the overt. We saw a man and woman retrieving something from the covert, and the woman turned and gave a "thumbs
up" sign to the hunt followers, as did the terrierman when he left the wood. We asked to see what was inside the metal
box on his quad bike but he held it closed with his hand. A short while later we returned and found a scene of carnage."
The filmed evidence has been examined by experts, but, due to the ineffectual framing of the Hunting Act, the evidence
would not be adequate to secure a prosecution of the Hunt. Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA] has repeatedly stated that hunts
are blatantly evading and breaking the law all around the country, and has campaigned consistently for a strengthening of
the Hunting Act.
Penny Little of POWA said : "Hunts always insist that pregnant and lactating vixens are not chased
or harmed by them. This is, and always has been, another of their downright lies, and we now see further evidence of the utter
barbarity of hunting. Prime Minister David Cameron is strongly in favour of fox hunting, which he wants to re-legalise. It
follows that he thinks it absolutely fine for gangs of people to take out killer dogs to chase. attack and tear apart pregnant
foxes for 'sport'. Indeed, he has recently made it clear he believes that hunting should be immune from the law*."
The footage has been posted on You Tube,
The Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt is no stranger to trouble. Saboteurs
have made several complaints of violent assaults by hunt staff and supporters in recent years and the Hunt have been filmed
causing havoc on roads**. Earlier this season, their then Huntsman Alan Morgan was convicted of racially abusing a hunt saboteur
Notes for editors:-
* On 13-1-12, in an interview given to the BBC, Mr.Cameron restated his intention to try to seek repeal
of the Hunting Act and said that the passing of the Act '... was just taking the criminal law into an area of activity
where it didn't really belong'. A former hunter, Cameron is close to the hunting lobby, which provided a great deal
of financial and logistical support prior to the last Election. But he is very close to his local Hunt, the Heythrop, including
to its Point to Point Committee Chairman Charlie Brooks, recently arrested in the phone-hacking investigation. At least 8
Heythrop supporters have convictions or cautions for assaulting, menacing, abusing or damging the property of monitors. Many
of the the Heythrop's rich supporters donate to Party coffers, several bountifully so. Mr. Cameron, whose stepfather-in-law,
Lord Astor, is Chairman of the Hunting Act Repeal Committee, talked about fox hunting in his maiden speech in 2001 and repeal
of the Hunting Act was his first, and for a long time only, firm policy commitment after his election as Party leader.
** In October 2011 a hound was killed by a lorry on the A38, whilst, claimed
monitors, the Cotswold Vale were hunting illegally very close to this major route. Hunters tried to blame sabs, but, a few
days later the Hunt was videoed causing more road havoc. In February 2011, sabs claimed
several of them had been subjected to a sustained and violent attack, during which a camera was stolen, by riders and foot
followers, instigated by the Huntsman, Morgan. It was also asserted that, three years earlier, a female sab was smashed over
the head with an iron bar and that previously a sab had been kicked unconscious, several had ribs broken and a number of video
camers were stoleIn 1997, one of theHunt's Masters was cautioned for indecently assaulting a young female sab.
Convicted at Cheltenham Magistrates, December 2011 of racially abusing Aubrey Burge. Fined £100 and ordered to pay £200
compensation. Racism is by no means limited to this Hunt though. Since then, Lee Peters, Master and Huntsman of Ross Harriers,
in Herefordshire has been arrested for racial abuse and footage has been released of a supporter of Mr.Cameron's
Hunt, the Heythrop, using the most obnoxious and aggressive racist language imaginable while following that Hunt.
23rd December 2011 POWA Press
Released to all national, regional and local daily newspapers, and a large number of broadcasters -
In advance of the Boxing Day meets, Protect Our Wild Animals is calling upon the Prime Minister to renounce his commitment
to trying to repeal the Hunting Act and to denounce and clamp down on the 'cynical subterfuge' being employed by Hunts
nationwide to flout the both the spirit and letter of the Act.
POWA says it is an open secret
that many Hunts are now exploiting a combination of weakness and loopholes in the Act and a lack of enforcement of it to chase
and kill live quarry much as they did before the ban.
Spokesman Alan Kirby said: "Numerous
reports from activists and independent witnesses alike nationwide suggest that hunting of wild mammals is happening widely.
It is clear that Hunts are often simply pretending to be using certain exemptions or 'Trail Hunting', and also pretending
every time they are seen chasing or killing forbidden quarry that they lost control of their hounds by 'accident'.
Recently, a fox was 'accidentally' chased into a family's garden in Essex and bludgeoned
to death by the whipper-in a few feet from the horrified residents. Yet Essex police stated there was nothing they could do
about this outrage. Days later a beloved pet cat was 'trail hunted' to death by N.Yorkshire hunts, and this week another
fox was 'trail hunted' through a housing estate and hounds ran on to a major road in Shropshire in yet another 'freak
The 'cynical subterfuge' which a Judge recently said Leicestershire hunters
had employed to try to disguise their crimes seems very widespread. Hunts are making a mockery of the authorities and of the
democratically enacted will of the people. With typical arrogance and contempt for others, they are behaving as if they were
above the rule of law, much as inner-city gangs did in August. Like those looters and rioters, these rural gangsters should
be brought sharply to heel, whatever their social status. When criminals circumvent the law, it should be strengthened to
stop them, not repealed to reward them."
POWA also feels that the 'chocolate box'
images of Hunts at occasions such as Boxing Day meets universally shown by the media not only help hide the cruel truth from
the public but now almost risk colluding with the law-breakers.
Mr. Kirby said: "We challenge
newspapers this year to print, and broadcasters to show, images of the brutal and sordid reality of hunting, its 'sharp
end', where terrified and exhausted wild animals are ripped at by slavering hounds cheered on by excited hunters. The
picturesque spectacle of Boxing Day meets is undeniable. But, knowingly or not, by attending, or by blandly or admiringly
reporting on them, people are effectively endorsing something very nasty."
Notes for editors:
See POWA website, UK Hunting News page for many reported instances of outrageous, illegal and violent behaviour this season. These are just the 'highlights'
Nationwide - League Against Cruel Sports report finding numerous artificial fox earths
apparently in use by Hunts
Cheshire - Hunt Redcoat's horse filmed being fiercely beaten with
whip by another hunter
Cumbria - Police announce increased patrols of 'Trail Hunts' following
Cumbria - Stray hounds from Hunt filmed trying to catch cat
Dorset/Somerset borders - Hunt chases fox across A30 then blocks traffic while they hold procession along highway
Dorset/Somerset borders - Hunt hounds mill around on mainline railway after fox filmed fleeing along
Durham - Monitors film what looks identical to pre-ban 'cub hunting' Essex - Huntsman
clubs fox to death feet away from horrified residents on their patio
Gloucs - Hounds invade banned
land and savage alpacas
Herefordshire - Independent witness reports apparent cub-hunting going
Kent - Hunt invades village early in morning, rampages through gardens, kills fox and
leaves corpse behind
Lancashire - Independent, local witnesses see Hunt hounds and riders chasing
Leicestershire - 2 hunt servants' appeals dismissed by Judge who scorns hunters' 'cynical
Leicestershire - Motorist couple's nightmare drive into midst of 'illegal'
fox hunt. Police investigating
Oxfordshire - Huntsman of 'David Cameron's Hunt' is
charged, for the second time, with illegal hunting of foxes
N.Yorks - Hounds kill beloved pet cat, hunter steals body,
Hunt eventually returns it in a dog food bag
Shropshire - Hunters chase fox through a housing estate
and run on to major road in another 'freak accident'
Somerset - Huntsman convicted of racially
abusing anti-hunt activist
Somerset - A different Huntsman convicted of violent assault on hunt
Sussex - Four senior Hunt members charged with illegal hunting
- Hunt supporter convicted of threatening behaviour
Sussex - Huntsman filmed whipping saboteur
20th March 2011
As a result of an exchange between Roger Williams, Lib-Dem MP for Brecon & Radnor, and Jim Paice, Conservative, DEFRA
Minister, which gave credence to myths that have been circulating for many years regarding alleged sightings of urban foxes
being dumped en masse in the countryside, POWA today issued the following release: -
Press release from PROTECT OUR WILD ANIMALS
Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA]
has accused DEFRA Minister Jim Paice and Lib-Dem MP Roger Williams of wilfully peddling hoary old pro-hunt propagandist myths
as fact, in an attempt to demonise both foxes and animal abuse activists, following an exchange between them in the Commons
on Thursday [17/3]. The group suspect that exchange of being part of a propaganda offensive aimed
at weakening the presently overwhelming public opposition to a repeal of the Hunting Act.
POWA is calling upon both men
to publicly acknowledge that stories of foxes being transported en masse from towns to be dumped in the countryside are just
that, and that there is no reliable evidence to support these absurd anecdotes - which have been circulating for decades.
POWA Associate and RSPCA Council member, John Bryant, a former CEO and Wildlife Officer of the League Against Cruel
Sports, who now runs a humane wild animal deterrence service, said:-"Fox dumping is a rural myth, surfacing
whenever the fox hunting is at issue. For 20 years I have written to the press offering up to £1,000 for evidence identifying
any culprit. I have never received even one claim. Amazingly, people have written to papers detailing large and exact
numbers of foxes they claim to have seen being dumped - but never manage to get the alleged vans' registrations.
The Fox Project too offers a reward - again no claims. The Union for Country Sports also asked for evidence
to support these allegations and reported nothing concrete. A BBC Countryfile investigation was equally fruitless. One
of the country's leading fox experts, Professor Stephen Harris, has described these stories as 'fabricated'.*
Such operations would, anyway, be very difficult to conduct, let alone conceal, and extremely costly
in time and resources. Nor is it anything animal protection activists or local authorities would do. The RSPCA consider that
such movement would be cruel and almost certainly criminal.
POWA spokesman Alan Kirby added "The conclusion
is inescapable. These tales are actually just yet more lies from people who will say anything to promote their 'right'
to be cruel to animals, especially foxes, for 'sport'. For Jim Paice to pretend concern for foxes' welfare
is particularly sickening as he is a strong supporter of fox hunting, and, I believe, once scornfully decried the
humane alternative - drag-hunting - as being like 'kissing one's sister'. Mr. Paice is now a Minister
of the Crown and required to display a rather higher level of integrity than was apparent in his Commons answer to a fellow
you heard the one about vanloads of urban foxes being dumped in the countryside, where they die a slow and lingering death
(or are put out of their misery by a passing gamekeeper)? It was always a white van and the sighting was always by a
"friend" or "someone else". The story is a myth: who could catch a van load of foxes in a city without
being noticed? It's all a fabricated story that's persisted for 40 years and is still regularly repeated in
the press. It's all rubbish, but proves that the fox-myth industry is alive and well"
Prof. Stephen Harris, Bristol University, in BBC Wildlife Magazine, May 2007
13th March 2009
POWA Statement to the Press This press release is to clarify the role of POWA, Protect Our Wild
Animals Limited, a political campaigning group that focuses on lobbying Parliament and the Government in an effort to improve
the laws designed to protect wild animals. The collation and presentation
of lawfully obtained evidence to demonstrate the need for amendments to such legislation forms a part of these campaigns.
The Hunting Act 2004 is a case in point and there are a number of
individuals throughout the UK who, independently, peaceably and lawfully monitor the activities of hunts. These individuals
are at liberty to offer their evidence to POWA for review and possible use in the campaign to strengthen the Hunting Act. POWA has a policy not to comment on individuals or individual cases in order to protect their privacy. POWA liaises regularly with police forces throughout the country and has worked closely with a number of
MP’s over many years on all aspects of POWA’s campaigns. POWA’s
current campaign to ‘Build on the Ban and Strengthen the Act’ supports Early Day Motion 122 – Hunting with
Dogs, tabled by John McDonnell MP, which calls for amendments to the Hunting Act to include a reckless behaviour clause. This
motion has been signed by 98 MP’s so far. John B Campbell BVSc MRCVS POWA Director
22nd December 2008 - POWA Press Release
Make the Hunting Act ‘Fit for Purpose’
The wildlife campaigning group POWA - Protect Our Wild Animals, has stepped
up their campaign to ‘Build on the Ban - Strengthen the Act’ in support of MP John McDonnell’s
Early Day Motion calling for a reckless behaviour clause to be added to the Hunting Act 2004.
are delighted that 65 MP’s have shown their support for the *Motion overall in just six weeks. EDM
122 will stay in place until next October so POWA are confident that these MP’s will be joined by many more when Parliament
resumes from the Xmas break on 12th January 2008.
POWA have produced a pack detailing their proposals for a small number of straightforward
amendments to the Hunting Act 2004 in support of MP John McDonnell’s Early Day Motion and this pack is being sent to
MP’s and other interested parties for their consideration. The pack can also be viewed online at www.powa.org.uk Penny Little, spokesperson for Protect Our Wild Animals
said “There are two ways of
looking at the situation surrounding the hunts. One is that trail hunting is a complete fiction used as a cover for illegal
foxhunting, with the alleged similarities to foxhunting due to the fact that it is foxhunting. Hunt monitors are certain this
is the case. “The other option is to see that the practices
of “trail” hunting as described by the hunters themselves are so utterly reckless that they are virtually certain
to result in “accidents”, and lots of them.
“Either way, it is time for MPs to revisit the Hunting Act, and make that
small adjustment that would make the law fit for its purpose, because at present the proscribed quarry species continue to
be hunted exactly as before the ban.”
4th November 2008, POWA Press Release
(see Hunt Havoc page for additional stills)
MP Backs Call to Toughen Law on Hunting
The campaign group POWA - Protect Our Wild Animals, has responded to the start of a new hunting season by calling
on MP’s and the Government to remember all of the cruel and barbaric practices that
the Hunting Act was meant to outlaw and show a renewed commitment to the hunt ban by addressing the failings in the legislation.
Their campaign has won the immediate support
of Labour MP John McDonnell who is backing the call for the Government to act now to toughen the law against hunting.
John said “There
is mounting evidence that hunts are avoiding the law and by various devices continuing the barbaric practice of hunting foxes
down to a bloody kill. The Government needs to act to prevent this abuse of the spirit of the anti hunting legislation.”
Watch a short video compilation from the POWA DVD
the case for strengthening the Hunting Act
|CLICK TO ENLARGE
POWA – Protect Our Wild Animals has received hours
of footage from hunt monitors¹ and reports from country dwellers of what they regard as reckless and lawless behaviour by
the hunts ever since the Hunting Act became law four years ago.
Penny Little, spokesperson
for POWA said "When
the general public pressed their MPs to ban hunting, they did not want a ban
that would allow hunts to behave with such arrogance and deceit. They wanted the practice to be stopped,
with genuine drag hunting the only legal alternative.
Penny added “The practices of "trail"
hunting as described by the hunters themselves are so utterly reckless that they are virtually certain to result in “accidents”.
But this outrageous situation can be resolved by amending the Hunting Act to include a ‘reckless behaviour clause’
by making it an offence to ‘cause or permit a dog to hunt, attack,
injure or kill a wild mammal’. That removes the possibility of an accident being used as a defence,
and removes the need for intent to be proved in court.”
Stills - click on photo to enlarge
|CLICK TO ENLARGE
1st November 2008 - POWA Press Release
Remember, Remember the Fear of November
Another hunting season begins on the 1st November and the campaign group POWA - Protect Our Wild
Animals is urging MP’s and the Government to remember all of the cruel
and barbaric practices that the Hunting Act was meant to outlaw.
Penny Little, spokesperson for POWA said “It
was an historic achievement when the Hunting Act reached the statute books. But it is vital that we remember the terror and torment suffered by wild animals hounded for so-called ‘sport’ and remember that the aim of this legislation was to deter or punish this cruelty which continues despite the ban.” POWA has received hours of footage from hunt monitors and reports from country dwellers of what they regard as lawless
behaviour by the hunts ever since the Hunting Act became law four years ago. Helen Weeks, a hunt monitor, said “Anyone
who comes out with us will see that the only thing standing between the hunted animal and the hounds are the monitors and
their camcorders. They will see hunt supporters using intimidation and violence to stop us from filming and they will see
how many hunts are left to their own devices leaving our wildlife in great peril. We urge the MP’s
to remember why they voted for the ban
and to remember the wild animals they hoped it would protect.” POWA is calling on
MP’s and the Government to turn their attention back to this serious issue with a renewed commitment to address the
failings in the Hunting Act and to enforce the law.
Penny Little added
"The Government could start by condemning the leader of the opposition, David
Cameron, who has promised to reward law-breaking hunts by removing the Hunting Act. This is encouraging anarchy in the countryside, endangering hunt monitors and pouring scorn on the judgement of
the majority of people who support the ban."
the case for strengthening the Hunting Act