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For purpose of this record - and to include whole year - 'Hunting Season' runs from start July-end June

N.B.   Entries are in REVERSE chronological order. Stories are below each month's headlines 


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JUNE 2014

.....  6th June - Hunt monitor/POWA Associate Judy Gilbert to feature on C5's 'Angry Britain'
.....  3rd June - Devon & Somerset SH 3 illegal hunting trial adjourned to June 13th
Hunt monitor/POWA Associate to feature on C5's 'Angry Britain'

6-6-14   Hunt monitor and POWA Associate Judy Gilbert has been filmed at the last Heythrop FH meet of the season and interviewed at home for the 2nd episode of a new Channel 5 series 'Angry Britain'.
She says  ' I did my best to let them know what is going on out there and why I am angry that the hunts carry on in almost the same way as before the ban and that the police and CPS do virtually nothing to stop them. Hopefully it will show the hunt and their supporters up for the cruel and nasty bullies that they are and how they will do everything they can to stop monitors gathering enough evidence of illegal hunting to get to court.' The episode will be broadcast this Thursday, 8pm [Channel 5]. 

Devon & Somerset SH 3 illegal hunting trial adjourned until June 13th
3-6-14  LACS Press Release   Devon and Somerset Staghound cases adjourned until June 13     Joint Masters, David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, along with Huntsman, Donald Summersgill are to re-appear before Taunton Deane Magistrates’ Court on Friday 13th June 2014 at 10:00am, charged with illegal stag hunting relating to two separate incidents. David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews are charged with hunting a wild mammal with a dog, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act, in relation to an alleged incident at a hunt meet at Warren’s Farm, Simonsbath, on September 14th 2013.
David Greenwood faces a second charge of hunting a wild mammal with a dog, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act, along with Huntsman, Donald Summersgill in relation to a separate incident alleged to have taken place at a hunt meet at Coppleham Cross on 24th October 2013.
Both cases have been brought by the Crown Prosecution Service following evidence supplied by the League Against Cruel Sports and further investigation by Avon & Somerset Police.
UPDATE - The case management hearing will now take place on 29-7-14.

MAY 2014

..... 31st May - Sabs say they caused 2 Mink Hunts to pack up and go home again

..... 28th May - York & Ainsty S. terrierman and 2 others charged with badger sett interference
..... 28th May - Ex Western FH kennel huntsman sues for £200,000 after accident at 'work'
..... 16th May - Pytchley FH follower interviewed by police re. multiple assaults on sabs
..... 10th May - Sabs say they prevented another two mink hound packs hunting
.....  5th May - Sabs claim they twice stopped Culmstock Mink Hounds from hunting
Sabs say they caused two Mink Hunts to pack up and go home again

31-5-14   HSA Press Release  Double Trouble For the Minkhounds   Hunt saboteurs were out in force this weekend as the HSA stepped up its campaign against the summer bloodsport of mink hunting.  In the Midlands dozens of sabs gathered at the kennels of the Dove Valley Minkhounds whilst in Devon a further 40 sabs attended a meet of the Culmstock Minkhounds at Exebridge.  Both packs abandoned hunting for the day.  Others were covertly monitoring the Northamptonshire Mink Hounds who also didn't go out, presumably due to the large number of sabs gathered nearby.
HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "Saturday's unprecedented action brings to eight the total of mink hunts sabotaged in May alone. Just one month in, this is already the mink hunters worst season in over a decade. Hunt saboteurs will continue to prioritise mink hunts throughout the summer."

York & Ainsty S. terrierman + 2 others charged with Badger Act offence
28-5-14   HSA Press Release   York and Ainsty South Fox Hunt terrierman, and two other men, have been charged with interfering with a badger sett    The charges stem from an incident in December last year when members of Sheffield and Doncaster hunt saboteurs came upon the men digging out a fox at Escrick Park, near Selby North Yorkshire, whilst following the hunt.  The sabs managed to save the fox despite having to defend themselves from violence from a large group of hunt supporters.  The sabs reported the incident to North Yorkshire Police who took statements before charging the men.  They are due to appear at York Magistrates Court on the 5th June.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said:  "Congratulations to these brave hunt saboteurs who not only saved the fox on the day but followed it up by reporting the incident to the police. We understand that Escrick Park, previously a stronghold of the hunt, no longer allows them on their land due to the negative press generated by this incident."
POWA person adds;-   Especially given the reportedly less than helpful attitude of NY police, sabs have done extraordinarily well not just in dealing with the original incident itself [28-12-13, see pics below] but in getting these thugs charged and the Hunt banned by the Escrick Park Estate. 
    YorkAinstySTerrierrescuedfromdig-out28-12-13.jpg YorkAinstySfoxsavedbysabsdigout28-12-13.jpg

UPDATE -  The three defendants all pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing. Trial set for 30-9-14.

Ex Western FH kennel huntsman sues for £200,000 after injured at 'work'

28-5-14   Western Morning News   Hunt faced with £200,000 damages over badly fitting riding hat    A Westcountry hunt is being sued for up to £200,000 by a former employee who said he was left disabled following a fall from a horse while wearing a badly fitting riding hat.  Edwin Bailey issued the claim in the High Court which seeks personal injury damages from the Western Hunt [left], which is based in Madron, a village on the outskirts of Penzance.  Mr Bailey, who was employed as a first whip kennel huntsman, said he was left with a "significant traumatic brain injury" after his WesternFHOpeningmeet31-10-11St.Just.jpghorse was spooked during a meet in October 2009 and he fell off.  He is claiming between £150,000 and £200,000 over his injuries after he said the defendants, seven named members of the Hunt, breached Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations by providing him with unsuitable protective equipment.
Mr Bailey, of Trafalgar Fields, Madron, worked for 19 seasons for the Western Hunt in a job which saw him looking after all aspects of the hounds’ welfare and involved him riding on horseback.  In the claim, Mr Bailey said that at the start of his employment he rode with his own hat as he was not supplied with one, however when the peak broke in 2007 he was taken to a supplier in Gloucester to obtain a new one.  Mr Bailey claims in the court papers that he was not offered a choice in where the new riding hat was purchased from.  The papers said: "The claimant tried on a number of hats, none of which were custom made. The hat that was bought was apparently the best fit although the claimant found it to be a little tight."  The claim says that Mr Bailey was assured the snug fit would not be a problem, but he was given no further advice on how to care for his hat, when it should be worn and when it should be replaced.
In October 2009, Mr Bailey was on horseback watching the road as the Hunt went from Forest Carne to Trengwainton Farm, near Penzance. when the incident occurred.  The papers submitted to court say: "At this point his horse spooked and he was thrown off his horse onto the road. He does not recall anything more than that. He was unconscious at the scene."  The action makes a number of allegations against the Western Hunt, including that it failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment for his work and failed to instruct him on how to look after the gear that he had been given.
Ben Sparrow, who was master of the Western Hunt at the time of the incident, told the Western Morning News that the matter was in the hands of the hunt’s insurers and it would be inappropriate to comment.

Pytchley FH follower interviewed by police re. assaults on sabs at 'Rabbit' meet

16-5-14  Facebook - Sheffield Sabs    Northamptonshire Police have today interviewed a young man from the Pytchley Foxhounds, regarding him assaulting multiple hunt sabs at a meet of the Ryford Chase Rabbit Hounds, on March 22nd. Bet he thought he'd got away with it!  Here are the Ryford Chase hounds being chased out of the county on the day, having been unable to even start to hunt....



Sabs claim they stopped another two mink hound packs from hunting

10-5-14  HSA Press Release    Hunt Saboteurs Mink Campaign Continues   On Saturday the 10th May over 60 hunt saboteurs successfully sabotaged two mink hunts in the Midlands.  A blockade of the Dove Valley Mink hounds kennels stopped their days illegal activities from even starting.  One van of sabs stayed at their kennels to ensure they didn't try and sneak out and the rest headed for the Northamptonshire Mink Hounds who were hunting on the River Kym, near Kimbolton, on the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire border. As sabs descended on the hunt their hounds could clearly be seen chasing a hare but upon becoming aware of our presence they gathered up the hounds and finished hunting for the day. Saturday's events follow on the heels of the effective sabotage of the opening two meets of the Culmstock mink hunt, in Devon, over the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "Mink hunting is one of the most Blockadesecretive types of hunting with hounds, taking place outside of the traditional hunting season and with only the most trusted of followers invited to take part. Hunt saboteurs have been gathering intelligence about these hunts for the past few years and are now seeing the results of all their hard work. We are also receiving far more information about their activities from anonymous sources which suggests the majority of law abiding, compassionate country folk will no longer tolerate this cruelty. It is surely obvious to everyone that if the mink hunts had nothing to hide they would publicise their activities and carry on hunting even when saboteurs are present."

Sabs say they twice stopped Culmstock Mink Hounds hunting
5-5-14  HSA Press Release   Sabs Storm Summer Minkhunts    Hunt saboteurs have been in action twice this bank holiday weekend against the Devon-based Culmstock Mink Hounds [right].  On Saturday 3rd May 50 sabs descended on their meet on theCulmstockMHandsabs5-14.jpeg River Yarty near Chard and brought hunting to an immediate halt.  A convoy of sab vehicles spent the rest of the day pursuing the hunt's hound van through the Devonshire countryside.  The pursuit eventually ended in Honiton where four police cars blocked off the High Street to allow the hound van to return to kennels.
Today, Monday 5th May, 10 saboteurs attended the hunt's kennels at Cullompton while a further 40 patrolled their anticipated meet at the Culm Valley Inn.  The hunt did not venture beyond the kennels and no hunting took place.  The hunt saboteurs used a drone (unmanned aircraft) to track, and monitor, the hunt.  Members of the hunt were so concerned by the presence of the drone that they threw stones at it to try and make it crash.
HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "This weekend the hunters have become the hunted. The Culmstock Mink Hounds have had a disastrous start to their season and, with sab groups up and down the country making similar plans, it promises to be a long hot summer for the mink hunts."
Cornish gun pack gets noise abatement order after complaints about noise from kennels

29-4-14  Western Morning News   Baying foxhounds may have to be put down or shot after complaints over howling    A long-established gun-pack of foxhounds could be split up or even shot after complaints about their noisy dawn chorus and night-time baying.  The sound of the 35 dogs yelping, barking and howling in unison at dusk and daybreak across the Cornish countryside has proved too much for local residents, who have reported the racket to the council.
Shane Hocking, part of the Liskeard Farmers’ Hunt, a syndicate that owns and uses the pack for pest control, said officials have told him they must be silenced and has warned he may have to put them down.  He has been served with a noise abatement notice by Cornwall Council and could now appear in court, where he would face a fine of £20,000, after neighbours complained that the dogs’ outbursts have kept them awake at night and threatened tourism.
Devon & Somerset SH JMs and Huntsman deny illegal hunting in court

25-4-14   BBC News  Devon and Somerset Staghounds trio deny illegal hunting  Three members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds have appeared in court charged with illegally hunting stags. Huntsman Donald Summersgill and joint hunt masters Rupert Andrews and David Greenwood face a total of four charges.  Mr Greenwood denies two charges relating to alleged incidents of hunting with dogs on 14 September and 24 October.  Mr Andrews' charge relates to the September incident and Mr Summersgill to the other.  Both plead not guilty.
Both cases have been adjourned and the men, who are all members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, are due to re-appear at Taunton Magistrates Court on 30 May.  The cases are based on video evidence gathered by the League Against Cruel Sports.  The defence has been given five weeks to study the footage to see whether the cases fall within the exemptions in the law, where hunting can take place for research and observation purposes.
POWAperson adds;-  The 'Research and Observation' exemption is Schedule 1.9 of the Hunting Act. It allows for up to two dogs to be used to pursue any wild mammal for any length of time, so long as the dogs do not attack the mammal. It effectively allows hunters to do this purely because they want to. In deer hunting, the idea is to use dogs to exhaust the deer so that it stops and goes to bay, when the hunters will shoot it from close range. Some years ago, the Quantock Staghounds, who used relays of pairs of hounds to chase deer, relying on the 'flushing' exemption [Schedule 1.1]. were convicted of illegal hunting for doing this because the Judge ruled that they were doing it for sporting, not 'pest control' purposes. Since then deer hunts have relied on Schedule 1.9 instead and have openly written of hunts lasting 2 hours. It is not clear whether such hunts employ just a single pair of hounds or relays of couples. Whichever, the law relating to what they can and can't do under Schedule 1.9 has never been tested.
                            Pics below -   Summersgill - Greenwood - Andrews

Cameron finally abandons repeal vote pledge for this Parliament

23-4-14    Western Daily Press   Conservatives drop manifesto pledge for vote on Hunting Act reform     The Government has abandoned plans to hold a vote on repealing the controversial hunting ban before the next election. Despite the coalition agreement pledging that MPs would be allowed a free vote on the highly-sensitive issue, senior Conservatives have decided there is no point holding a vote before the election as most MPs support the status quo.
However, The Times reports that David Cameron has been issued a stern warning by countryside groups that rural communities will be less inclined to support the Conservative's election campaign if a promise to repeal the ban is not included in the Tory manifesto. Simon Hart, Tory MP for Carmarthen West, who is also on the board of the Countryside Alliance, told The Times he would not 'shed too many tears' over the decision to drop the vote. He said: "I would much rather vote on the real thing when we think we have got the numbers to alter the outcome. The manifesto has got to be clear and unequivocal." The Hunting Act was introduced by Tony Blair in 2004 and has proved to be one of the most controversial domestic measures of his premiership. Mr Blair has since expressed his regret at pushing the legislation through.

D&S SH apologise after bloody deer carcasses upset school kids

10-4-14  N.Devon Journal   Pupil upset by bloody scenes of dead deer in path of Exmoor run    THE SIGHT of ripped deer carcasses strapped to quad bikes has left a 12-year-old girl "very upset" as her school’s cross country event crossed paths with a hunt on Exmoor.  Richard Holloway, from George Nympton near South Molton, contacted the Journal to explain how his daughter Heather was forced to witness the bloodyDandSbloodycarcasses27-3-14RichardandHeatherHolloway.jpg scenes on Thursday, March 27.
Mr Holloway, whose daughter Heather [right] attends independent West Buckland School, said his daughter was taking part in a school cross country event when her and other pupils came across the hunt.  He said: "They were charging around with their vehicles and the children saw deer bodies being hauled away on the back of quad bikes. It was in front of everybody, the kids could see everything. My daughter came home very upset. They didn’t care about the children’s safety. The bodies were shredded and ripped. I am totally against blood sports. I am not a campaigner or a hunt saboteur I just think it is cruel."
The school’s headmaster, John Vick, wrote to staff and parents in his Easter end-of-term letter.  In it he said: "I was very disturbed to learn that many of our runners, staff and spectators were alarmed by riders on quad bikes and horseback, as well as by some vehicles attached to the hunt.  I am told there appeared to be little regard by some individuals following the hunt for the safety of the children.  A small number appear to have ignored the efforts of teachers to alert them to the fact they were operating close to children.  I have spoken to the Hunt chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Mr Guy Thomas-Everard, who has expressed his apologies to the school community." In a statement to the Journal, Mr Vick added: "It was deeply unfortunate and regrettable the events clashed. This is the first time this has occurred and while no one came to any harm, we are working with Devon and Somerset Staghounds to understand how this happened and avoid it in future." Mr Thomas-Everard apologised for the incident but said hunt followers – who ride the quad bikes – do not actually work for the Hunt. He said: "If there was an incident at the school with parents speeding through the village, the headmaster would ask them to be more careful, and I will be doing the same with the hunt followers. We are sorry we ran into the event. We will take steps to stop it happening again."
UK's biggest deer hunt faces a further charge of illegal hunting

7-4-14  Western Daily Press    Devon & Somerset Staghounds charged with illegal hunting a second time   One of the West’s biggest hunts has been charged with breaking the ban on hunting for a second time and now faces the prospect of fighting two court battles simultaneously.  The joint master of the Devon & Somerset Staghounds, David Greenwood, has been charged with breaching the ban in late October last year, and will appear before magistrates later this month.  Mr Greenwood was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service alongside huntsman Donald Summersgill with an allegation of illegal stag hunting on October 24 in west Somerset, and is due to appear before Taunton magistrates on April 25.
The joint master is already due in court later this week on an earlier charge of breaking the Hunting Act 2004, this time relating to a separate incident that happened in September last year.  He faces that charge alongside fellow joint master Rupert Andrews, with the pair due at Taunton Magistrates on Friday this week.  Both cases were initially investigated by police following the submission of video evidence taken by monitors from the League Against Cruel Sports.  The police passed the cases on to the Crown Prosecution Service, which has instigated formal state prosecutions.  Following the first charge being laid, a spokesman for the Countryside Alliance pledged that the hunt would fight the legal action, and predicted the prosecutions would fail. Another case, against two men from the Weston & Banwell Harriers for illegally foxhunting in Somerset in 2012, failed last week when the huntsmen were cleared.

Minehead Harriers former treasurer in court on fraud charge

7-4-14  Somerset County Gazette    Former Minehead Harriers Hunt treasurer Christopher Thacker in court on fraud charge  The former treasurer of Minehead Harriers Hunt and Hunt Club has appeared in court accused of fraud. Christopher Thacker, 67, of Lower Weacombe, West Quantoxhead, faces a single charge of the offence and was in Taunton Crown Court on Monday (April 7).  Mr Thacker entered no plea at the brief preliminary hearing and prosecuting,  Caroline Bolt, invited the court to set a timetable.  A plea and case management hearing date was set for July and Recorder Peter Towler granted Mr Thacker unconditional bail. 

Weston & Banwell JM/Huntsman and whipper-in cleared of illegal hunting

5-4-14   Western Daily Press    Somerset huntsmen cleared of illegal fox hunting with Weston and Banwell Harriers   A joint hunt master and whipper-in from Weston and Banwell Harriers have been cleared of illegal fox hunting.  Two Somerset huntsmen have been cleared of illegal fox hunting after evidence from hunt saboteurs failed to persuade a judge.  Weston and Banwell Harriers joint Hunt Master George Milton and whipper-In Toby Lee were both acquitted yesterday after a four-day hearing at Taunton Magistrates Court.
It is the second time Mr Milton, has been cleared of an offence under the Hunting Act after being found not guilty last year.  The case hinged on 93 seconds of footage out of 20 hours of video captured by six supporters of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) when the hunt met at the Old Piggery, in Axbridge, in October 2012.  District Judge Davison said that it was clear Milton and Lee had stopped the hounds, adding he was "not persuaded at all the defendants were not trail hunting".
The Countryside Alliance welcomed the judgement but claimed Mr Milton had been subjected to "a campaign of harassment".  Spokesman Tim Bonner added: "This is the second time Mr Milton has been cleared of illegal hunting allegations in court, but other charges have been dropped before they even got to trial.  Large amounts of taxpayers money and court time have been wasted on a case that never looked likely to succeed." Joe Duckworth, the league's chief executive, said: "Despite this result our team of investigators up and down the country remain committed."

4-4-14   Countryside Alliance website [extract]    .... What the Hunting Act is very rarely used for, however, is the purpose for which it was created: as a tool to target people involved in organised hunting. Prosecution statistics suggest that less than 3% of Hunting Act cases involve the 300 or so registered hunts in England and Wales and despite the efforts and expenditure of anti-hunting groups it is therefore rare that such cases reach court.  One such case was heard in Taunton Magistrates' court this week and is an almost perfect example of the waste and futility of both the Hunting Act and the anti-hunting campaign.
Weston and Banwell Harriers huntsman George Milton [right] and whipper-In Toby Lee wereWestonandBJMHuntsmanGeorgeMilton.JPG charged with illegally hunting a fox in October 2012. The case, involving a low level offence, had therefore taken 18 months to get to court and was listed to take 4 days at trial. Yesterday, 18 months after the date of the allegation after over a year of legal process and three and a half days of evidence, the District Judge took half an hour to return a not guilty verdict.  You could take the view innocent men were acquitted and justice was done.  Certainly no criticism can be made of the court, but there are some very serious questions to be asked about how on earth such a palpably weak case got there in the first place.


3-4-14  LACS PR [extracts]   Disappointment after two hunt members evade conviction   LACS today expressed ‘shock’ and ‘disappointment’ in Taunton Deane Magistrates Court, after two hunt members were found ‘Not Guilty’ of illegally hunting a fox with dogs....  The League’s Investigations Team obtained footage of an incident believed to be illegal fox hunting during a Weston and Banwell Harriers hunt meet at the Old Piggery, in Axbridge in Somerset. The footage was given to Somerset Police who conducted further investigation and submitted the file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service. Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League Against Cruel Sports said: "We are shocked and extremely disappointed by today’s verdict. We believe the footage captured by our investigators clearly shows evidence of illegal fox hunting.... We are going to be releasing the footage to the public so they can make up their own mind."

POWAperson comments;-  Especially as this is the second time that George Milton has been prosecuted unsuccessfully for illegal hunting, this must be both extremely disappointing and somewhat embarassing to LACS. Maybe they now need to acknowledge and address seriously the weaknesses in the Hunting Act that permit such acquittals and make prosecutions of organised hunts a rarity even though they themselves have stated that the majority of Hunts they observe are attempting to hunt live quarry. In this case it will be hard to say why the Judge dismissed the case until the video evidence is uploaded to LACS' website which, five days later, it has not yet been.
In the April 2013 prosecution of Milton the magistrates concluded that 'without a shadow of a doubt' the Weston & Banwell had been conducting illegal hunting on the day in question, but it could not be proved that Milton, the only hunter charged, had engaged or participated in it. 

Wye College Beagles forced to disband
3-4-14   Horse & Hound    Beagle hunt disbands after 70 years    A 70-year-oldWyeCollegeBeagles.jpg beagle hunt that recovered from having its entire pack stolen by animal rights extremists has been disbanded.  The Wye College Beagles (WCB), which formed in 1947, held its last meet at the former dairy unit of Wye College farm last month (22 March). Wye College, which was owned by Imperial College London, closed in 2009, and after a further 5 years the decision has been taken that the pack is no longer viable.
Tim Bonner, speaking on behalf of the pack as a former master and huntsman, said: "The WCB were largely run and staffed by students until the college closed. The current team have done an amazing job to keep the pack going for as long as they have after the closure."
The Hunt faced ruin in 2001 when the Animal Liberation Front stole 47 beagles in a night-time raid. But staff managed to rebuild the pack through generous donations,  "Not even the cruel action by animal rights extremists could keep the WCB down," Tim added.  The last meet was attended by many who had enjoyed great times through the years with the WCB. It was a fitting celebration of a great little pack."

Man fined after abusive phone calls to Llandeilo Farmers Master

3-4-14  S.Wales Guardian    'I will love killing you,' Hunt Master told    A Gloucestershire anti-hunt campaigner has appeared before magistrates to admit making abusive phone calls to the Master of the Llandeilo Farmers' Hunt following the online publication of photographs showing what appeared to be illegal fox-hunting.  Michael John Wheeldon, of Cains Cross, left messages on Hunt Master Colin Evans' phone saying he planned to hunt him "with a vengeance" and rip his head off after seeing a photograph of two men - allegedly linked to the Llandeilo Farmers' Hunt - teasing two dogs with a bloodied, live fox cub.  The photograph was purported to have been taken following a foot-hunt with terriers after a ridden hunt was cancelled due to bad weather.
However following publication, a spokesman for Llandeilo Farmers' Hunt said the two men held no official position in the organisation.  In one expletive-riddled message, 39-year-old Wheeldon said: "I hate you. I hate all of you. I tell you, I'm going to find you - that is a warning. I will hunt you with a vengeance. I will love killing you. I will love wringing your neck. I will rip your head off."  In all, Wheeldon left seven messages on Mr Evans' phone on February 4.  Wheeldon also made five calls - between February 7 and February 9 - to Mr Evans' 71-year-old mother Enid, who works as secretary at the family business.... Mrs Evans was aware of the threats her son had received," said Ms Morgan. "She found the calls very distressing and upsetting."
The court was told that between January 9 and February 3, Wheeldon had also made a series of calls to Rachel Evans, regional director of Countryside Alliance Wales.  Ms Evans is not related to Wheeldon's other victims...  On his first call, Wheeldon forgot to withhold his number and Ms Evans was able to contact the police and her telephone provider.  An investigation showed all the calls to Ms Evans and Mr and. Mrs Evans were made from Wheeldon's phone....  Wheeldon admitted three charges of sending offensive communications. He was fined a total of £305 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £20 legal surcharge....


MARCH 2014

..... 26th March - Prime Minister backs off bid to weaken Hunting Act by back-door
..... 22nd March - Otis Ferry and another hunter to pay big damages to female monitors they attacked
..... 18th March - Ullswater FH hounds killed fox in illegal hunt on N.Trust land, say sabs
..... 17th March - Female sab almost run down by Fernie FH follower pick-up
..... 15th March - LACS warns that weakening amendment to Hunting Act is imminent
..... 15th March - Lone monitor violently attacked and robbed by Sinnington FH followers
..... 13th March - Blackmore FH chase fox in village wreaking havoc and angering residents
..... 13th March - South Down hunt thugs acquitted of vicious attack on sab in face of evidence
..... 12th March - Monitors and sabs separately claim to have seen Cattistock FH hunting fox
..... 11th March - Atherstone FH take hounds across busy A5 and sab allegedly assaulted
.....  9th March - Melbreak FH allegedly savage and kill fox in front of distressed tourists
.....  5th March - LACS tells 'coward' Cameron to bring on Hunting Act repeal vote
.....  4th March - Two Devon & Somerset SH JMs charged by CPS with illegal hunting
.....  2nd March - DEFRA Minister confirms Govt considering bringing in 'flushing' amendment

Prime Minister backs off bid to weaken Hunting Act by back door

26-3-14   D.Telegraph   David Cameron abandons bid to relax hunting ban     Conservative attempts to relax the legal ban on hunting foxes with dogs are being abandoned, David Cameron [right, with hunting pal] says with "regret".  David Cameron has abandoned attempts to relax the ban on fox hunting, after opposition from the Liberal Democrats and some Conservative MPs. The Prime Minister told MPs that -- toCameronAvisHeythropFH..jpg his "regret" -- the Coalition has been unable to agree on a move that would have allowed farmers to use large packs of dogs to help kill foxes.
Ministers had been considering a bid to allow farmers to use packs of up to 40 dogs to flush foxes from cover where they could be shot. The current law allows only two dogs to be used.  The amendment, backed by MPs from all parties, would be the first change in hunting laws since Labour banned hunting with dogs in 2004.  Supporters were increasingly optimistic that the Government would allow a vote on the change, not least since Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, is said to be sympathetic.  But during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron said that, despite Conservative backing, the Coalition is unlikely to push ahead with the change. "I regret to say I don't think there will be government agreement to go forward," the Prime Minister said.
Mr Cameron indicated that his Lib Dem Coalition partners had refused to support the change in hunting rules. It is also understood that a number of Conservative MPs, known as the Blue Foxes, were also arguing against any change in hunting laws.  Many of those Tories are in marginal seats and worry that being seen to focus on issues like hunting could drive away wavering suburban voters.  Advocates of the change say that it is needed to make efforts to control the fox population in rural areas more effective.  Farmers say attacks on lambs have been on the increase, signalling that limited pest control measures allowed under the Act are not working. Hill farmers, who suffered devastating losses last spring as a result of the late snow, say a change in the law is desperately needed to fend off a growing threat to their livelihood.

Otis Ferry to pay very substantial damages for attack on two female hunt monitors
Court orders Ferry & co-defendant Deutsch to pay them over £32,000 plus costs
Judge talks of 'angry attack' during Heythrop Hunt meet -both men equally liable

22-3-14   Western Daily Press  Otis Ferry to pay thousands in compensation after attack on Heythrop Hunt monitors  The hunt campaigner son of rock star Bryan Ferry has had to pay thousands in compensation to two hunt monitors he and a fellow huntsman attacked seven years ago.  Otis Ferry, who was among pro-hunt campaigners who stormed Parliament 11 years ago, had already pleaded guilty of a public order offence in relation to the attack on two women who were monitoring the Heythrop Hunt in Gloucestershire in 2007.
The monitors, from local anti-hunt campaign group Protect Our Wild Animals [Correction - POWA is a national network. Monitors act independently], took Ferry and fellow hunt supporter John Deutsch to court claiming damages for the trauma of the attack, which happened at Lower Swell, in the Cotswolds, in November 2007.  A judge heavily criticised Ferry, who is the joint master of a hunt in Shropshire, and Deutsch, for their conduct during the case, which has dragged on for four years since the criminal case was over.  Ferry agreed to an out-of-court settlement late in the afternoon on the day before the court hearing in Brentford County Court, while Deutsch continued to fight the case.
The judge, HHJ Powles QC, described the attack on Helen Ghalmi and Susan Grima as "a frightening ordeal", and said he was increasing the amount of damages the pair would have to pay the women to reflect the "degree of insult" involved in the initial assault, and the "persistent denials" in the years since. Both had pleaded guilty to affray, although they denied earlier charges of assault and robbery, which were later dropped.
The two women pursued a civil claim against the men, saying they felt the initial criminal sentences against them - a £350 fine each - were not adequate to "reflect the gravity of the offences and the terror and trauma they had suffered".  The judge said he was awarding damages to both women for their psychological injuries, and both men had been jointly liable for attacking the women as they sat in their car. Ferry and Deutsch were ordered to pay more than £32,000 in damages and costs between them.
Judge Powles said he found Deutsch's evidence "wholly incredible". "This was an angry attack by a man who trapped them and made them fear for their safety," he said, adding that he noted his "indifference and lack of concern", and concluded he had "deliberately lied to the court". The court heard the two women were in car in Lower Swell, following the Heythrop Hunt. Their car was overtaken by a vehicle driven by Deutsch, who got out, smashed the passenger side window and shouted abuse at them. Otis Ferry, a guest rider with the Heythrop that day, joined in the attack. Mrs Ghalmi claimed he tried to pull her out of the car, snatched her video camera and her car keys.
Mrs Ghalmi said she was relieved the case was finally over.  "It was a nasty cowardly act by these two men and they should be ashamed of themselves. I just hope it sends out a clear message to all hunts that we won't tolerate this kind of aggression towards monitors anymore," she said.  Mrs Grima added: "I was left with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and this got to the point where it prevented me from wanting to leave my home. 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," she added.
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: "This is a civil matter between the individuals. The criminal case was concluded many years ago. That was an unnecessary incident and the two individuals pleaded guilty."

POWAperson adds:-  The story was also covered in the Daily Express, the Shropshire Star, the Sun on Sunday and by BBC Radio Shropshire. POWA's full press release, with additional details, can be read here. 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.
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 demonstrators 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.

                                           Helen's car after the attack                                                     Ferry at pro-hunt demo
  HeythropFHCarafterattackbyFerryandDeutsch21-11-07.jpg   OtisFerry3.jpg


Ullswater FH hounds killed fox in illegal hunt on N.Trust land, say sabs

18-3-14  Cumbria News & Star  Cumbria police probe disorder at legal drag hunt Claims that a fox was killed and a hunt monitor assaulted at a legal drag hunt are being investigated by police.  Officers have appealed for information about various incidents said to have taken place on Saturday in the Grisedale Beck area of the Eden valley. Extra police had to be deployed to ease tensions between the hunt supporters and about 15 monitors who had turned up to protest at the event.
Police say the objectors "clashed verbally" with those who were there to watch the hunt. 
The force says it has been told that: - a fox was killed during the hunt. "A number of other people were identified as being in the area at the same time, however when police spoke to them they advised they did not witness this and did not provide any information," said a force spokesman. - a ‘hunt monitor’ was assaulted by a supporter. The victim received no injuries. - there was a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian at Grassthwaite How.
"Police officers spoke to a number of people who were in the area, however no-one saw the incident or had any information," added the spokesman.  Sergeant John Chambers said they would investigate allegations from all parties.  "However, in order to do this weUllswaterFHsupporter15-3-14.JPG need cooperation from the public and for them to give us information about what they have seen. We also understand there may be video footage of criminal activity and we would appreciate those with footage to share it with us to help with our investigations." Anyone with information should call police on 101 and speak to an officer from the Eden Neighbourhood Policing Team.

15-3-14   Facebook - The National Dis-Trust   Another fox killed today at Thornhow, near Patterdale, by the Ullswater hunt [charming supporter pictured above right]. If it wasn't on National Trust land then it was definitely on the boundary, and had been chased through National Trust land. Filmed by hunt monitors and independent witnesses, and reported to the police. There was a police presence at the hunt, and they shockingly allowed the hunt to continue hunting after the kill. Police also appeared to deter independent witnesses (walkers) from making statements. Please get onto the NT page, ask questions about yet another wildlife crime involving NT land, also why have the Ullswater got a licence to hunt if the Melbreak (last week's fox killers) haven't, according to the NT. It has to stop.

20-3-14   Facebook - The National Dis-Trust   The National Trust have informed posters on their FB page that the Ullswater hunt were NOT licenced to hunt on NT land on Sat 15th March.  It turns out that the hunt was both illegal and unlicensed.  The National Trust have also stated that they temporarily suspended the licence from this hunt after the terrierman was convicted in 2010 when he beat a fox to death with a stick, but reinstated the licence when there was a change of hunt personnel. FYI - huntsman John Harrison is leaving the hunt soon and is being replaced by John Weller from the Pennine Hunt. Will this change of personnel allow the NT the excuse of relicensing the Ullswater next season? We have already posted on this page and elsewhere the article where Weller states that he intends to break the hunting law...
POWAperson adds;-   The newspaper headline about a 'legal drag hunt', which was also peddled by Cumbria police on their website, now looks a little silly.  There never was any evidence that this Hunt engage in genuine drag or 'trail' hunting. Their present Huntsman, John Harrison, only avoided conviction for illegal hunting a few years ago because a kindly judge decided the video image of the fox the Hunt were chasing was a bit too fuzzy.  Their incoming Huntsman, John Weller, told the Manchester Evening News this just before the Hunting Act came into force in 2005:- "I am quite prepared to go to prison for this and most of my colleagues think the same. The ban is complete and utter rubbish. It's just prejudice against people and has nothing to do with animal welfare. People will not take any notice and we as a hunt intend to carry on." 

Fernie follower nearly killed female sab with quad bike, say sabs

17-3-14  Facebook - W.Midlands Hunt Sabs - A small group of foot sabs were right up with the Fernie hunt who were chasing a fox down through a wood, the sabs were in a good position to stop the hounds and to film everything when the hunt panicked at what the sabs might get on film. They started repeatedly driving their vehicles at the sabs whilst forcing the fox back into the woods. The rest of the sabs then arrived and at this point one sab fell over and instead of slowing down, swerving out the way or stopping, a hunt supporter deliberately speeds up and turns his truck straight into the path of the fallen sab narrowly missing her head by inches [below left] after she luckily managed to get back to her feet. If that wasn't enough a member of the hunt then attacks and jumps on another sab from behind, luckily there were enough sabs around to pull her off and stop the attack.
                Sab falls before car veers toward her                     Sab down and almost run over
   FernieFHfemalesabfalls8-3-14.JPG FernieFHfollowerdrivesatfemalesab8-3-14.JPG

LACS warns that Hunting Act weakening amendment is imminent

15-3-14  LACS email to supporters   ...We have been informed that a motion to amend the Hunting Act, effectively legalising hunting, could be laid before Parliament within just a few days, most likely being debated on Wednesday 26th March. The threat is real and we have to act now. The Government have indicated that they are considering amending the Hunting Act by using an Affirmative Statutory Instrument (SI), a type of legislation that can be used to push unpopular changes through Parliament with less scrutiny than a full vote on repeal would require.
This SI would lift the limit on the number of dogs used to flush out wild mammals and in doing so, with a full pack of up to 40 hounds being used, would make the Act impossible to police and undermine the legislation to such an extent it would be made toothless. We believe the vote could take place on Wednesday 26th March so we need you to contact your MP immediately and urge them to vote against this devious attempt to bring back cruelty.
POWAperson adds:-   The 26th date was, apparently, reported by the Sunday Times on 16-3, but the next day the 'Campaigning for Hunting' website said this was wrong and that 'no such debate is planned for the near future.' but this itself may be incorrect. .This proposal by the Government is a cynical attempt to make the Hunting Act even harder to enforce than it really is and must be defeated. POWA wrote to about 330 MPs who we believe are opposed to repeal on 28-2-14 explaining the threat and asking them to vote against it. We shall be doing so again to remind them prior to the vote.

Lone monitor violently assaulted and robbed by Sinnington FH followers
Monitor rescued by off-duty policeman - one hunter arrested so far
Sabs swamp and disrupt Sinnington's final meet to show solidarity

15-3-14  HSA Press Release   Hunt Saboteurs support lone monitor at violent foxhunt    On Saturday the 15th March a group of over 40 hunt saboteurs attended the Sinnington Hunt's final meet of the season at Kirkdale, North Yorkshire. The Hunt was targeted in response to the violent assault of a lone hunt monitor two weeks earlier which left him requiring x-rays. His camcorder was stolen and his mobile phone smashed by members of the hunt. The attack could have been worse had an off-duty police officer not stopped to offer assistance.
Not one of the dozen or so hunt followers present during the attack came to the assistance of the lone monitor who had gone out that day to ensure the hunt obeyed the law.  One member of the hunt has already been arrested and further arrests are expected. After the complete disruption of the hunt's final meet (coincidentally also the final meet for retiring huntsman Adrian Dangar). it can only be hoped that the followers of the Sinnington, as well as their new huntsman, have learnt that a 'lone' monitor is never truly alone.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:- "These brave monitors deserve our respect for putting themselves in dangerous situations to ensure the law is being upheld. These violent hunts need to know that hunt saboteurs will always come to the aid of monitors who have been attacked as we know only to well how it feels to be on the receiving end of hunt violence".

Blackmore FH hounds chase fox into village and followers anger residents

13-3-14  Blackmore Vale Magazine   Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt says sorry for fox chase chaos in Stalbridge    A hunt master has apologised after hounds and hunt followers caused chaos in Stalbridge on the last meet of the season.  Residents called the police as hounds chased a fox in the cemetery and gardens in Gold StreetGoldStStalbridgeDorset.JPG[right] with followers in hot pursuit.  They claimed people on quadbikes, horses and hounds ran through Church Path, and hounds ran about in the cemetery as a fox fled into a Gold Street garden.
Gold Street resident Van Brember said: "A peaceful, pleasant sunny Saturday afternoon was shattered when hunt followers on quad bikes hurtled up and down Gold Street in pursuit of a fox that took refuge in the front of my property. Thankfully at the time he managed to escape from his pursuers into a garden across the road. Three uncontrolled hounds then appeared, obviously on the scent, one of which jumped into my garden and then disappeared through the gates of an adjacent house."  She added: "Gold Street is a residential area with homes fronting directly onto the road and a mix of elderly and young householders. It was not a safe place to be on this Saturday afternoon. I felt intimidated in my own home watching this unpleasant experience unfold."
Michael Felton, joint master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt [left, at Castle Cary] said hounds picked up the scent of a real fox and left the trail that had been laid for the final meet of the season on Saturday, 1st March. He said: "The hounds switched BlackmoreValeFH.jpgfrom the trail to a fox and hunt staff immediately tried to stop it. I think it lasted about ten minutes. I am sorry if people were alarmed by it - I would be alarmed too if I suddenly found hounds in my garden."  He added: "There are a lot of foxes around now and this one happened to appear. It wasn’t by design. The fox got away and I’m not aware that any damage was done anywhere but if it was I would be happy to deal with it. One of the problems is that I have no jurisdiction over hunt followers. I preach at them to behave themselves in a responsible manner but I can’t make them. They must, however, obey the highway code. They love to follow the hunt in cars or on quadbikes - it’s their sport."
Mr Felton said around 100 riders had set out from Purse Caundle that day. He was among 30 waiting for the hounds at Stalbridge Park when the incident occurred. A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said at least two complaints were made to them about the hunt. A PCSO went to Stalbridge but the hunt and followers had already moved on. She said: "One of the callers complained about antisocial behaviour and said there were about 15 quadbikes and several motorbikes and claimed people were jumping over walls."  She said the local Safer Neighbourhood Team had been in contact with residents and with Stalbridge Town Council to find out their concerns and resolve them.

S.Down/Eridge thugs acquitted despite overwhelming evidence of vicious attack on sab
Sab driver was seriously injured and Landie badly damaged in attack with weapons
Police and paramedics at scene both frightened of attack by hunt supporter mob

13-3-14   HSA Press Release   Travesty of Justice   On Boxing day 2012, at the meet of the South Down & Eridge fox hunt, the driver of the South Coast Hunt Sabs was the subject of a vicious and sustained attacked by supporters of the hunt. The groups Land Rover windscreen was smashed, the door bent back on its hinges and the keys and an ipad stolen. The driver sustained seven deeps cuts to his hands when he was hit with a rock, and subsequent swelling of the hands as he tried to protect his head. The wounds were so bad that the first police officer on the scene thought they were dog bites.This assault was videoed by a static camera and two men were identified by name to the police. When questioned by the police one of the men gave a 20 page statement identifying two other individuals involved in the attack. There was also clear video evidence from earlier in the day identifying the same men by their clothes as being part of the attack.
Earlier in the day police had been called as some of the same group were firing stones from a catapult at hunt saboteurs and the police questioned and videoed these men, although no arrests were made. The police at the scene refused to take any action until a statement was made, stating that they were too scared to enter the meet where the hunt was packing up due to the threat of attack by hunt supporters. A statement was made by the driver even though he was suffering from severe cuts and bruising to his hands and possible concussion and before he received any medical treatment (the ambulance service had refused to attend the scene due to the nature of the incident and the danger to their staff).
Eventually three arrests were made and two men charged. They were given bail conditions not to attend the hunt. One of the men broke these conditions but no action was taken against him. Charges of Criminal damage, theft and ABH were dropped and the two men were charged with common assault by battery. The maximum sentence is 6 months in jail.
After two visits to court where the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had failed to hand over evidence, the case finally went ahead on the 12th March 2014. All the above evidence was heard including the damning 20 page statement made by one of the two defendants naming his co-defendant as being part of the attack and also being a paid terrier man for the hunt. One the three magistrates admitted to stabling her horses at the same location as one the men named in the paperwork (but not in court) but did not excuse herself. The defendants did not take the stand. Even with all this evidence the magistrates found both men not guilty.

Lee Moon of the hunt Saboteurs Association said "Once again we see hunt saboteurs being the subject of a violent attack and the police doing everything possible to avoid getting involved. Even with clear evidence of the perpetrators guilt magistrates refuse to convict. It seems that no matter what level of evidence hunt saboteurs present they are destined not to have justice from our legal system, which also fails time and again, to prosecute and convict hunts for breaking the Hunting Act. Luckily for the hunted wildlife this travesty of justice just makes hunt saboteurs more determined to protect our wildlife as it is clear we are their last line of defence".
The attack in progress:-

Note month shown on pic is wrong. Should read 12 not 01.
Video of the start of the attack is here [action starts 2m25s in].

Monitors and sabs separately claim to have seen Cattistock hunting fox

12-3-14  Western Morning News  Fox-hunting is wicked cruelty   [On Sat March 1st] my monitoring partner Graham Forsyth and I were filming the Cattistock Fox Hunt at Abbotsbury near Merry Hill. We could hear the guttural shouts of the hunters and the sound of the hunting horn coming closer when I heard a cry of a single hound in the bushes beside me, I looked just as a fox shot like a rocket past me, not six feet away and within a few feet of Graham. I watched and filmed helplessly as that poor little wild dog ran for its life up the steep hill to the top of the ridge and out of sight.
The full pack of hounds came streaming out of the trees and along the road, and on the line of the fox not more than a minute or two later. We shouted at the hounds to stop as they wove at speed between us and into the fields and on up the hill.  They did not hesitate, and ran effortlessly exactly on the line of the fox.  I felt sick with fear and anger, fear for the fox and anger at the despicable cruelty of those who train dogs to hunt and kill another dog – the Red Fox.
A while later, we parked our car, after a few minutes, masked members of the hunt drew up on a hunt quad bike, more cars with male hunt followers joined them. I felt alarmed as the men walked towards me (we were not near enough to get into our vehicle) Graham rang the police, but we felt we had to leave the area for our own safety.
We later learned that the police had several calls from the public making complaints of illegal hunting, and one from a motorist who had witnessed the chase and felt threatened by hunt followers who used their vehicles to block his way.  I do not know what happened to that poor little running fox that haunts my mind, but I know only a miracle could have saved it. One of the hunt members even tried to tell me that most foxes chased get away!
Only a change of government will stop this wicked cruelty, and one that will not be afraid to strengthen the Hunting Act. I am writing this letter because I feel I owe it to that poor fox to bear witness to its terror and pain. Please God, it did not die in vain.   Helen Weeks, West Coker, Somerset   

1-3-14   Facebook - Dorset Hunt Sabs   Dorset Sabs were visiting the Cattistock hunt today at Abbotsbury... The JM of the Cattistock is...Charlotte Townshend.  She owns most of Abbotsbury which includes the Swannery.  Townshend was forced to stand down as patron of the Dorset Wildlife Trust last year.... 
Townsend was not near her beloved Swans today though but out galloping over the Abbotsbury hills chasing foxes. Along with 60 riders and at least 25 hounds, the hunt raced over the top of Abbotsbury hill, near the coast road, and then along the ridge and down across the village. We could see from our vantage point , many riders galloping up St Catherine's Chapel, causing sheep to bundle on the hill for safety. Then they headed towards the reed beds all along West Fleet.

Atherstone FH take hounds across busy A5 and sab allegedly assaulted

11-3-14   Facebook - W.Midlands Hunt Sabs    Today we returned to the Atherstone and soon found them at Manor farm where a fox was put up which we captured on video. Due to our presence they were forced to leave it and move on. Next the hounds and field crossed the A5 a busy dual carriageway which leads to the M69, holding up the traffic in the process [pic below]. Again showing little concern for the welfare of their hounds.  A second fox was then put up but again due to the sabs presence they were forced to leave it , at this point the Huntsman completely lost it and assaulted one of the sabs by repeatedly riding into her. Good video footage was taken of this incident and we are seeking legal advice.
Leicestershire police then showed up in their Tactical Support Unit riot van even though we were in Warwickshire (usually used for big public order situations like riots or football matches not three sabs in a car) but they didn't stick around for long. We were also threatened by one of the hunt support who wanted us to take down a previous post about the hunt from our Facebook page, so hello to any Atherstone supporters reading our page I hope you enjoy this write up.

Melbreak FH hounds allegedly kill fox in front of horrified tourists

9-3-14 Cumbria Hunt Watch - Press Release  Fox savaged by hounds in front of distressed tourists   Cumbria Hunt Watch has received several calls this afternoon complaining about the killing of a fox by a pack of hounds at Peggy's Bridge, Buttermere. The incident, which was allegedly witnessed by numerous people out enjoying a days walking, caused considerable distress for those who witnessed the killing and dismay to those who believed this kind of cruelty ended 10 years ago with the passing of the Hunting Act 2004.  Hunt Watch investigators believe the only hounds in the area this afternoon were those belonging to the Melbreak Foxhounds....
Much land in the Buttermere area is owned by the National Trust and this incident once again puts the spotlight on the appropriateness of such an organisation to issue licences for what are described as drag hunts. Many of the Cumbria Hunt Watch investigators have been monitoring hunts in the area since the 2004 ban on hunting and have never witnessed a trail being laid or any form of drag hunt amongst the county's foxhound associations.

LACS tells 'coward' Cameron to bring on Hunting Act repeal vote

5-3-14  Western Daily Press   League Against Cruel Sports urges Cameron to 'stop being a coward, bring on the hunting repeal vote'   Animal welfare charity, the League Against Cruel Sports has today called for David Cameron to "stop hiding behind back room politics" and bring on a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act 2004, after ChrisWilliamsonMP.jpgthe Prime Minister indicated that a proposal to amend the Act was being considered during today's Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Chris Williamson [left], Labour MP Derby North and League Trustee, who asked the question during Prime Minister's Questions commented: "Its time for Cameron to stop being a coward, if he wants a return to hunting, he needs to be open and honest about this and have a democratic vote on repealing the Hunting Act."
The Hunting Act banned hunting with dogs for sport in 2004, however a promise to hold a free vote on the matter of repeal has been maintained as part of the Coalition agreement. Today's comment from the Prime Minister confirmed rumours that the Government is considering amending the Act, rather than going for full repeal, meaning that MPs would be whipped to follow the party line and no longer be able to vote as a matter ‘of conscience'.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: "An amendment to the Hunting Act is nothing but repeal by the back door, and would be a devious attempt to bring back hunting to please a small minority. The proposal would render the Act effectively useless. We know that 80 per cent of the British public do not want to see a return to fox hunting, and Cameron knows he will not win a vote on full repeal." At present, the Hunting Act allows a maximum of two dogs to flush a fox to waiting guns. The amendment would allow a full pack of up to 40 dogs to be used. This move is believed to follow a report commissioned by the Federation of Welsh Farmers Packs which the League has condemned as flawed anCameronandCharlieB.JPGd unscientific.
Joe Duckworth concludes: "On this occasion the Countryside Alliance and the League are allied; its time to resolve this issue once and for all, lets bring on the repeal vote and put this issue to bed once and for all."
The question asked and answer given are below:-
Chris Williamson MP Derby North:  "Will the Prime Minister end the speculation over the future of the Hunting Act by firstly confirming if the Government intends to amend the Act by an Affirmative Statutory Instrument to remove the limit on the number of dogs used to flush out an animal so it can be shot? Secondly, can he confirm when in this parliament there will be a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act as in the Coalition Agreement?"
Prime Minister [seen right with Heythrop Point-to-Point Committee Chairman Charlie Brooks, currently on trial at the Old Bailey]:  "Well this will quite properly be a matter for the House of Commons as he will know what has happened is a group of Welsh and other members of parliament have looked at the particular problem of pest control in upland areas of Wales and other parts of the country, they are making a proposal, that proposal will be properly examined by the Department, and in the end the house of commons will be able to decide.

Two Devon & Somerset SH JMs charged by CPS with illegal hunting

4-3-14 LACS Press Release   Joint Masters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds charged with Hunting Act offences    Two Joint Masters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds have been charged for offences under the Hunting Act 2004.  A report was made to Avon and Somerset Police by the League Against Cruel Sports following an alleged incident at a hunt meet at Warren’s Farm, Simonsbath, on September 14 2013, following investigations conducted by the League.  David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews from the Barnstaple area have been charged with Section 1 Hunting Act and are due to appear before Taunton Magistrates Court on 11 April 2014.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League Against Cruel Sports said: "At a time when the Government is rumoured to be considering an amendment to the Hunting Act, this case is a timely demonstration of the illegal hunting that continues to take place. The Hunting Act works; with one person on average, every week prosecuted under its provisions, and of these two-thirds are found guilty. We are hopeful that this case will add to the number of successful prosecutions. Chasing a wild animal for sport in this day and age is simply unacceptable, and we continue to do all we can to expose and end this cruel activity."
A previous case was brought against three members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, after Joint-Master Maurice Scott, Huntsman Donald Summersgill, and Whipper-in Peter Heard were charged with illegally hunting in 2006, but was later dropped by the CPS in March 2009. The case marked the first in which a police force had brought about a criminal prosecution against huntsmen for allegedly breaching the Hunting Act.
Pics below - some of the activities of the D&S SH before the Hunting Act 2004;-

DEFRA Minister confirms Govt considering bringing in 'flushing' amendment

2-3-14  Guardian   Hunting ban in danger of being undermined, say animal welfare groups - Government signals willingness to amend Hunting Act to relax restrictions on number of dogs permitted to flush out foxes  The ban on hunting foxes and deer with GeorgeEusticeMP.jpgpacks of hounds is in danger of being undermined, according to opponents of blood sports, after the government signalled its willingness to amend the 2004 Hunting Act. In a little noticed parliamentary exchange last month, the rural affairs minister, George Eustice [left], confirmed that his department was considering relaxing restrictions on the number of dogs permitted to flush foxes towards guns.
IFAW, the RSPCA and other organisations fear any increase on the current limit of two will make enforcement of the ban on hunting mammals with hounds impossible.... Animal welfare groups fear that if a whole pack of hounds is permitted to take part in such an exercise, while one person stands nearby holding a shotgun, it will be difficult to prevent a fox being torn apart and to prove subsequently it was intentional.
On 13 February, Bill Wiggin, the Conservative MP for North Herefordshire, asked whether "it will be very popular with farmers when we amend legislation to allow more than two hounds to flush foxes to guns". Eustice replied: "The government have had representations from ... WelshRobbieMarslandIFAW.jpg farmers about the problems of predation, and there has been a proposal that the legislation be amended to increase the number of dogs that can be used for flushing out. We are looking carefully at the issue, and we will let [MPs] know when we reach any conclusions."  Lifting the restriction on the number of dogs would not require new legislation but could be altered through a statutory instrument that would, according to government sources, require votes in both Houses of Parliament.  Concentrating on such a narrow aspect of the legislation might be a way of finessing the prime minister's promise that MPs will be given a free vote on hunting before the end of this parliament. The Tories' failure to obtain a majority at the last election and the arrival of a small number of Conservative MPs opposed to hunting has resulted in the vote being repeatedly delayed...
DavidBowlesRSPCA.jpgRobbie Marsland [right], the UK director of IFAW, which has been monitoring attempts to repeal the hunting ban, said: "Any attempts by the Conservatives to bring back hunting with dogs via an obscure amendment are merely to please a minority of his pro-hunt supporters and ignore the views of the vast majority of the UK public who rightly demanded this cruel activity be consigned to the history books. Ministers appear to be using underhand methods to make the Hunting Act unenforceable rather than calling for an honest vote on repeal that he surely knows he would lose.... "
David Bowles, the RSPCA's head of public affairs, said: "This is the first indication that the government are finessing their position which was going to be to allow MPs a free vote. They want the situation as in Scotland where there's no limit on the number of dogs. This would be a wholesale amendment of the Hunting Act. It would drive a coach and horses through the ban... " ...


..... 25th February - RSPCA CEO who authorised Heythrop FH prosecution steps down
..... 24th February - Sabs reveal vicious assaults/damage by S.Shrops followers in 2012
..... 23rd February - Atherstone FH riders, support repeatedly threatened/ assaulted us say sabs
..... 23rd February - Sab compensated for police assault/unlawful arrest at S.Shrops FH meet
..... 22nd February - Meynell FH follower smashes sab brake light right in front of police
..... 17th February - 3 York/Ainsty S. followers interviewed by police after dig-out allegations
..... 14th February - Horrified Gloucs residents see fox mauled to death by hounds in their road
..... 13th February - Warks Hunt apology after hounds rampage in village, scaring little kids
..... 12th February - Over 7,000 sign petition re. the Llandeilo Hunt terriermen atrocity
.....  6th February - Ross Harriers chase deer into private garden where hound has a fit
.....  3rd February - Horrific slaughter of fox cubs by Llandeilo Farmers FH terriermen alleged
.....  2nd February - Sabs 'attacked' by Wilts Hunts as police ignore this & illegal hunting
.....  2nd February - York & Ainsty S. terrierman fined for abuse and threats to monitor

RSPCA CEO who authorised Heythrop FH prosecution steps down

25-2-14  Guardian   RSPCA chief executive steps down    Gavin Grant [below right], the chief executive of the RSPCA who has faced attacks for his vocal criticism of the badger culls in England and for successfully pursuing a prosecution against David Cameron's local hunt, has stepped down.  The animal welfare charity said he had leftGavinGrantRSPCA.jpg because of concerns over his health, and John Grounds, its deputy CEO, would stand in while a successor was recruited. Grant... said it had been a "huge honour" to hold the post at the RSPCA, which he took up in January 2012.... He was an outspoken figurehead for the charity, helping it to prosecute two huntsmen from David Cameron's local hunt in Oxfordshire for unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs. The charity was criticised for the £326,000 legal costs of the Heythrop case, but Grant defended it and said those who accused the RSPCA of political motives were "plain wrong". I would have liked to have saved that money and could have done so if these huntsmen and the Heythrop [hunt] had obeyed the law. They did not, and you cannot put a price on justice," Grant wrote in the Guardian at the time. He was also one of the fiercest and most high-profile critics of the cull of badgers by farmers and the government to tackle bovine TB....
Jay Tiernan, an animal welfare campaigner and spokesman for the anti-badger cull group Stop the Cull, said: "One of the constant criticisms is that he was taking the RSPCA in a different direction [from their founding position]. I would argue he was taking it back to back it was set up to do. [William] Wilberforce set up it to prosecute animal cruelty cases. He [Grant] was doing exactly what the RSPCA was set up for. It's not there just as a sanctuary for people who can no longer look after their dogs and cats." He said the number of media attacks on Grant were "a sign he was being very effective" and "we shouldn't be surprised that the head of the RSPCA comes out against something illegal, such as fox hunting".
Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said: "We do not comment on individual appointments, but we do hope that this is a signal that the RSPCA is going to focus on the laudable work it has traditionally undertaken in promoting animal welfare rather than using charitable donations for pursuing a political agenda."
POWAperson adds:-  Gavin Grant is owed a debt of gratitude by the whole anti-bloodsports community for having the courage to authorise the RSPCA to step in where the CPS had been derelict in its duty and to prosecute a Hunt that, evidence suggests, had been repeatedly and blatantly flouting the law of the land for years. The monitors who collected the proof that forced the Heythrop and two of its members to plead guilty to 12 charges of illegal hunting had, over the past several years, provided police and CPS with what they say was equally good evidence against them on no fewer than 30 occasions, repeatedly suffering obstuction, harassment, threats, property damage and assaults from Heythrop followers for their pains. Most of these illegal hunting cases were rejected out of hand and none were brought to court. This, perhaps, was the real 'political' aspect of the whole affair.
Both Grant himself and the RSPCA attracted a torrent of vitriol from the Countryside Alliance and the hunting fraternity as a result of taking on 'the Prime Minister's Hunt'. We trust his regrettable resignation is not a result of this vicious propaganda and that his successor will show equal courage in standing up to those hateful bullies who arrogantly believe the law should not apply to them and their cruel pastimes. We wish him well for the future.  

Sabs reveal vicious assaults, damage by S.Shrops supporters in 2012
They claim police once again took the side of the hunt aggressors

The following information has been released by sabs only now, because the principal victim was the same person who was assaulted and wrongfully arrested by W.Mercia police a fortnight earlier [see two stories down]. The events below could not be publicised until her court case against the police had been settled [in her favour].

24-2-14   Facebook - W.Midlands Hunt Sabs   Subsequent events after the wrongful arrest and assault by the Police at the South Shropshire Hunt.  In early March 2012, exactly two weeks after the police wrongfully arrested one member of our sab group and behaved in a totally unacceptable manner, sabs from various groups paid another visit to Otis Ferry's South Shropshire Hunt. The sabs had a very successful day, repeatedly stopping the hunt from hunting, right up until the end of the day, when they were ambushed and attacked by a large group of masked men.
The same sab that had been arrested previously was singled out and punched in theSShropsFHSabpunchedinfaceandhospitalised3-12.jpg face by one hunt supporter, which knocked her unconscious and resulted in her having a broken nose and fractured cheek bone (see attached picture). Other sabs were repeatedly attacked and the van they were using that day was smashed up in a frenzied and unprovoked attack by the hunt followers.
The man who hit the female sab was identified by three separate people to the police, but was never arrested. He was only ‘requested' to go in for an interview. Not surprisingly for West Mercia Police and the CPS, no charges were brought against this man or any of the others that carried out this attack. The injured sab was taken directly to hospital, where the police informed the hospital that she was dangerous and should have a security guard with her at all times, even during triage. She was barely coherent and the victim of a vicious assault, yet the police still acted in a totally unacceptable way, as if she was the criminal.
Meanwhile another female sab, who had been driving the van for most of that day, was being harassed by the police. They threatened and came very close to charging her with driving a dangerous vehicle. It had been smashed up by the hunt supporters and had had to be used to get the sabs out of danger. If it hadn't been used in this way, more of the sabs would have undoubtedly been seriously hurt in the attack and more than likely would have been hospitalised. Again the police were determined to harass the victims, whilst letting the vicious thugs make their escape....the redacted incident report from the hospital.... also wrongfully marks down the incident as a police arrest of the injured sab. The injured sab had to subsequently fight quite hard to obtain this document.  And there is still more to follow!

Atherstone riders/support repeatedly threatened/assaulted us, say sabs
23-2-14   Facebook - W.Midlands Hunt Sabs   Yesterday a small group of people from the West Midlands sab group visited the Atherstone Hunt. The meet was at the Bull's Head pub in Witherley. As the sabs turned up, the hounds were in a covert and It didn't take long for the sabs to be spotted by the hunt. The hunt and their supporters then threatened and assaulted the sabs and hunt supporters blocked in the sab vehicle as the hunt escaped, but it didn't take long for the sabs to find the hunt again. This violent start to the day was just the beginning though, as the hunt constantly rode at, threatened and attacked the sabs. They even grappled with female sabs and tried to steal their cameras on more than one occasion. Our female sabs are a tough bunch however and managed to not only hold on to their cameras, but kept up with the hunt, moving them on constantly.
Then on a busy main road and along a thick hedgerow near the road, the hounds started to speak and show interest. The sabs managed to lift the hounds heads by rating them and they were again ridden at for their efforts. The hunt even blamed the sabs for the hound's actions at this point. The hunt moved away again, pursued by the sabs and this continued for the rest of the day. The sabs finally watched as the hunt packed up before five o'clock, with it still being light. A good result considering the antics of the hunt and their supporters all day and the fact that this hunt had not been sabbed in a long time. Video footage of the day will follow.

Sab compensated over assault/unlawful arrest by police at hunt meet
Say police stood by as sabs spat at/assaulted by S.Shrops FH supporters

23-2-14  HSA Press Release   Hunt saboteur receives payout after police assault   On 25th February 2012 members of West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs and Northampton Hunt Saboteurs attended a meet of Otis Ferry's South Shropshire Foxhunt at the Mytton and Mermaid public house in Atcham near Shrewsbury.  The attached film shows the totally unprofessional and biased approach the police took during this incident and the subsequent violent arrest of one of the female sabs. The sab in question later successfully sued West Mercia police for assault and unlawful arrest and received significant financial compensation. The release of this footage was delayed whilst this legal action took place. During the whole incident sabs were assaulted and spat at by hunt supporters in clear view of the police without any action being taken. 
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "This incident is a shocking example of West Mercia Police’s pro-hunt leanings. The force have a justified reputation as one of the most biased in the country and we hope this public shaming, and financial penalty, will force them to modify their behaviour. 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."

Pics below show sab being manhandled during unlawful arrest by police:-


POWAperson adds;-   The Senior JM of the S.Shropshire FH, Otis Ferry, on whose behalf West Mercia police appeared to be acting on this day, has at least six criminal convictions or police cautions and has publicly expressed his willingness to break the law in order to carry on hunting.

Meynell FH supporter smashes sab brake light right in front of police

22-2-14  Facebook - Nottingham Hunt Sabs    Another good day for Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs and Manchester Hunt Sabs at the Meynell and South Staffs Hunt. We stuck with them all day and the huntsman didn't seem like he was really in the mood, spending much of the day riding along the road and appearing to have little country to hunt (possibly due to the countryside being so wet and farmers not wanting the hunt on their land). Sabs stood their ground in the face of early aggression from the riders and despite the constant stream of angry hot air from Andy the terrier man there were no further problems from the hunt.
A local farmer took exception to our van and smashed one of our brake lights with a bottle of orange juice!! Unfortunately she did this right in front of the police who had no choice but to take her details and we look forward to hearing about a successful prosecution. Only one more week until the Meynell finish their season and the local foxes can breath a sigh of relief for a few months.

Three York& Ainsty S. FH followers hauled in for interview by police

17-2-17   Facebook - Sheffield Saboteurs   North Yorkshire Police have today confirmed that they have interviewed under caution, three members of the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds in relation to the events of 28/12/13 at Escrick Park.   Here is one of these men struggling to separate his terrier from the face of a fox during the incident [bottom right of pic].


Horrified residents see fox mauled to death by hounds in their road
13-2-14  Wilts & Glos Standard
   Residents in Chesterton, Cirencester horrified to see fox mauled to death by hounds     ANGRY residents have hit out after a fox was mauled to death in front of shocked witnesses and the body left to rot. Other residents of the ironically-named Foxes Bank Drive in Chesterton, Cirencester later found the ripped-apart remains of the animal on Monday afternoon. Fitness instructor and resident David McKinnon took to social media site Facebook to express his concerns, posting a picture of the dead fox [left] he had found almost on his front doorstep.
"Who said that fox hunting was banned?" he asked. "Over 20 hounds came into Foxes Bank Drive and cornered and mauled the fox before dropping it in my neighbour's front garden. "We know it is illegal which is why no huntsmen followed," he continued. "They can claim they were not following it and the hounds must have ‘picked up the scent'."
Facebook friends of David's showed their disgust at what had happened by commenting on the photo. Users described it as "horrendous", "horrific", "traumatising" with one user asking: "Imagine if the kids saw it happening?"  David said the Master of the Hunt came to apologise on Tuesday for the incident. It is unclear yet which hunt was involved in the incident. 

POWAperson adds;-   Sources tell POWA that the Hunt concerned was the Vale of the White Horse FH. Just listing known incidents since the Hunting Act:- on 5-1-14 one of their supporters was cautioned for an attack on a female monitor. In Jan 2011 their hounds were all over a mainline railway and at least one hound was killed by a train. In Feb 2006, a  supporter was given 2 cautions for attacking an OAP female monitor in her car and for causing it over £500 worth of damage. In Nov 2006, a landowner complained when the Hunt invaded, she said clearly fox hunting, and 'terrorised' her sick horse. In Feb 2006, police said they were investigating after hunt members admitted to several instances of illegal hunting to a BBC film crew.  In Dec 2005 a supporter was reported to police for abusing a monitor and damaging their car.
There will be no prosecution in this case because the Hunting Act contains more loopholes than a crocheters' convention. The resident of Chesterton perceptively identified what the problem is here. Unless one of more hunters are seen [in practice, filmed] 'engaging or participating' in the pursuit by the hounds, there's not a hope in hell of convicting anyone. Indeed, they may not even have committed an offence.
In 2009, the High Court determined that 'searching' was not 'hunting' under the Act - though up to then DEFRA had believed it was. This left Hunts completely free to take hounds right into places they know they are likely to find foxes. Then, whoops, the dogs start chasing the fox. It's an 'accident'. The hunters can then ride after the hounds and, unless they're unlucky enough to be filmed doing it, they can have a jolly nice Hunt just like always. Even if they are filmed, they can usually get away with it by saying it was an 'accident' and they were trying to stop the hounds.
Hunts escape prosecution by claiming this time and time and time again. Though they're not even under any legal obligation to stop hounds who have found a fox, they can let the hounds get on with it as long as they themselves don't 'engage or participate'. To further cover themselves, they'll also pretend they were 'trail hunting' - chasing a pre-laid fox-based scent. 'Trail-hunting' is actually just a cunning ruse to make it even more difficult to prove they were chasing foxes. If, as often happens, the fox goes to ground they'll bring in their vicious terriermen to terrorise and kill it, or maybe flush it out so hounds can start 'accidentally' chasing it again.
The Act's loopholes enable not just fox hunters but also those who get their kicks from chasing and killing hares, deer and mink to carry on with their brutal 'sports', against the spirit and letter of the law and flouting the will of Parliament and people.  The Hunting Act desperately needs strengthening to make it easier to enforce and more of a deterrent. Protect Our Wild Animals is campaigning for just that. For details of why and how see 
elsewhere in this website.
When criminals circumvent the law, it must be strengthened to stop them, not repealed to reward them, as Cameron and his hunting cronies want. Thanks to the Wilts & Glos Standard for publishing the pic of the mangled fox remains - showing the reality of hunting as opposed to the chocolate box images of riders and hounds which is all we normally get from the media.
Warks FH apology after hounds rampage in village, scaring small kids

13-2-13  Banbury Guardian  Hunt apology after hounds go on the run    A Hunt Master has apologised after hounds ran through a village garden and towards a nursery school, in possible pursuit of a fox.  Sam Butler, of the Warwickshire Hunt, offered the WarksFHvillageinvasionDavidJones10-2-14.jpgapology in response to strong criticism after the hounds picked up the scent of a fox in Farnborough on Monday.
The hounds ran through one garden and towards Little Grasshoppers kindergarten in Main Street.  Villager David Jones [left], 71, said "I saw the dogs racing around. I immediately saw red and raced to shoo them away when they were in my neighbour's garden. It's an absolute disgrace. I saw children cowering inside the school."  Rachel Morgan, manager of the Little Grasshoppers, added "I have never seen anything like this before. We know what the Hunt does but it is very different seeing it close up, especially when the men were trying to keep the dogs away." 
In response, Hunt Master Sam Butler said "If this caused any distress or concern, we offer our sincere apologies. We laid a trail in one of the fields outside the village and I'm afraid the dogs must have lost the smell and caught scent of a fox in the village. One of our members went out to the nursery to apologise in person on Monday and again on Tuesday to speak to concerned residents. Something like this should not happen. It is not what the Hunt is about and we offer our sincere apologies."  Warwickshire police were made aware of the incident and have confirmed that investigations are ongoing.

Over 7,000 sign petition re. Llandeilo FH hunt terriermen atrocity

12-2-14   Carmarthen Journal    7,200 in call for action after hunt group claims    MORE than 7,200 people have signed an online petition calling for a Towy Valley hunt group to be investigated and prosecuted for allegedly breaching UK hunt laws.  The petition on Change UK, which was set up by Action Aid for Animals, has so far seen 7,272 people sign it. The online campaign claims that the incidents of alleged animal cruelty took place on February 1, after a ridden hunt was cancelled for a hunt on footLlandeiloFarmersFHterriermanDaiBourneandfriend1-2-14Foxcubremainsinl.hand.jpg to take place because of extreme weather conditions.

Action Aid for Animals, a UK registered charity based in Staffordshire, said they were notified of the "atrocity" by the hunt group by an eyewitness on the same day it happened.  A spokeswoman for the group said: "Time again we see hunting groups around the UK basically doing what they wish, reports are made time and again yet hardly any reach the courts' doorstep, we must ask why this is the case?  Whether someone breaks into a house, steals a car or hunts foxes with packs of dogs and encourages them to kill that animal they all are breaching the law of the United Kingdom."  She added: "These people must be made accountable for their actions, these peoples influence over politics and law must be stopped both on a local and national level. There are numerous arguments on both sides of the fence from the Hunters and the Animal rights groups."

A spokesman for Llandeilo Farmers’ Hunt group said: "The persons in the photos had no official position within Llandeilo Farmers’ Hunt." The spokesman also said one of the men in the photograph had been incorrectly publicly named as Gwynfe councillor Colin Evans. Now Dyfed-Powys Police has confirmed it is investigating the allegation of unlawful hunting in Carmarthenshire.  A police spokeswoman said: "Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that an investigation is underway into allegation of unlawful hunting in the east of Carmarthenshire. This is alleged to have happened on Saturday, February 1." Any witnesses to the incident are being urged to contact officers on 101.

POWAperson adds:-  The Gwynfe councillor mentioned above is a JM of the Llandeilo Farmers FH. 

Ross Harriers chase deer into private garden, one hound has fit there
Landowner threatened by hunters when wanted to take fitting hound to vets
Police instruct landowner to return hound to the Hunt
WARNING  -  Readers may find some of the pics below in this item upsetting
6-2-14   HSA Press Release   This video shows hounds from the Ross Harriers Hunt rioting through a private garden in Gloucestershire, illegally chasing a deer.  The disturbing footage shows one of the hounds fitting, presumably after being run to exhaustion by the hunt.  The concerned land owner tried to take the distressed animal to the vets for urgent treatment but was threatened by members of the Hunt and forced to return the hound to them.  He called the police due to the threats being made against him and was told to return the hound as it was the hunts property. Footage of the hounds illegally chasing the deer is being looked at by solicitors and will be presented to the police in due course so that the hunt can be prosecuted.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "Sadly we see illegal hunting like this all too often. Our immediate concern in this instance is the future of the fitting hound. If the Ross Harriers decide it is no longer fit for hunting they may well shoot it in the head as it no longer serves a purpose. We demand the Ross Harriers Hunt hand it over to an appropriate animal welfare organisation so that it can be re-homed and enjoy a well earned retirement."
Pics below:-    1/   Hounds invading garden     2/   Fitting hound
   RossHarriersinvadegardenchasingdeer2-14.JPG RossHarriershoundfittingingarden2-14.JPG

POWAperson adds:-   This incident raises a number of issues, illegal hunting and hunt trespass [possibly aggravated] amongst them, but certainly the abuse of hounds by Hunts.  This is one of the great scandals surrounding the hunting debate, but one that is rarely aired. Hunts make public declarations of how much they love their hounds every time their 'sport' is threatened.  But the reality of how they treat them is very different.  They are simply highly expendable 'tools of the trade'.  Any that fail to make the grade as hunters, in a variety of ways concerning their age, fitness, behaviour etc., are ruthlessly disposed of, usually with a bullet in the head.
At the Burns Inquiry, an MFHA representative admitted that affiliated fox hunts ''drafted' around 3,000 hounds per year and acknowledged that most of these were destroyed. But POWA has calculated, based on various data supplied by hunters themselves, that all UK Hunts must deliberately kill, at least, between 5 and 7,000 of their own hounds every year. See page on this website for more detail.  The bulk of these are perfectly healthy hounds that have reached 6/7 years and are being replaced by the new, young 'entry'.  But, almost from birth and as they grow, any hounds deemed unfit to join or continue with the pack are likely to be ruthlessly disposed of.  Certainly, no Hunt is likely to want to carry a hound that is prone to fitting. It seems likely that this dog is already dead.
In the field, hounds are carelessly exposed to all sorts of dangers - barbed wire, precipitous drops, roads and railways amongst them - and are not infrequently injured, maimed or killed.  Injured hounds are likely to fare poorly at the hands of their loving masters, as are any that misbehave. Quite why canine welfare organisations never seem to campaign on behalf of hunt dogs is a mystery. See also this page, and the pics below, for some specific instances of hound abuse.


Horrific slaughter of fox cubs by Llandeilo Farmers FH terriermen alleged

3-2-14   Investigate and prosecute Colin Evans and his Hunt Group llandeilo for breaching UK Hunt laws and committing Animal Cruelty    On the 1st February, because of the weather, the regular Hunt organised by the Llandeilo Hunt Group was cancelled by the Hunt's Master and Councillor , a Mr Colin Evans.  On his FB page he added " Unfortunately our ridden meet on Saturday has been cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions which have caused the fields to be waterlogged. However, we will be hunting on foot... 
Disgustingly, they did go hunting on foot with terrier dogs, they came upon a young vixen who had just given birth to two young fox cubs.  She was too weak to defend the cubs, and against the thugs of this hunt group and the dogs she did not stand a chance.  The vixen whilst battling to defend herself as she was being torn to pieces would have had toLlandeiloFarmersFHterriermanDaiBourneandfriend1-2-14Foxcubremainsinl.hand.jpg watch as her two young newly born cubs were also dragged from the den she had made safe and secure to give birth and feed these two sweet little cubs, the dogs then tore the vixen to pieces and killed her.  Not satisfied with this cruelty the "huntsman" teased the terrier dogs with the newly born defenceless cubs and allowed the dogs to take chunks from them.
In the photo [right], the cubs are alive in the guy's hands. After the photo was taken they then threw the cubs to the terriers and laughed and jeered as the dogs tore the pups limb from limb.  We have a witness and evidence of the above facts.  A photo of this "Proud achievement" was posted on the 'Walls of the Hunts',  cowardly members showing two members of the hunt club involved in this sickening barbaric slaughter holding the terriers and one disgusting individual smiling as he teases the a terrier dog with the newly killed fox cub.  The older man teasing a terrier dog with a fox cub [obviously the poor thing is still alive though covered in blood] is Dai Bourne.  The local police are more than aware of this Hunt Group's continual breaching of UK laws, of the cruelty this hunt group revel in causing.  Yet they do nothing, they do not act upon this hunt group even though they are well aware they do not drag hunt but actually dig out the foxes and chase them to exhaustion with their pack of hounds, where they then watch on laughing and grinning as they watch a poor defenceless animal being savaged by their hounds.
POWAperson adds:-  We don't know of the 'Walls of the Hunts' referred to above. The, apparently self-posted, photo above, however, speaks volumes. A screen shot of this was apparently grabbed before it and other pics were removed by the poster. Note the heavy scarring on the muzzles of the poor terriers. It certainly appears that the Hunting Act - not to mention basic morality and humanity - must have been breached here, but proving it may be another matter. The Hunt concerned would seem to be the Llandeilo Farmers FH, an MFHA registered pack. 
A few months ago the Federation of Welsh Farmers Packs acted as the spearhead for a Countryside Alliance inspired campaign to lift the restriction on the number of hounds that can be used to flush quarry to guns, under Schedule 1.1 of the Hunting Act. Though this was evidently a ruse to further weaken the Hunting Act by making it more difficult than ever to distinguish exactly when the law is being broken, the Prime Minister said he was 'sympathetic' to the proposal and, for certain, the fanatically pro-hunt DEFRA Secretary, Owen Paterson, will favour it. Nothing has been heard of the idea of him amending the Act accordingly by Statutory Instrument since, however. This may be because they think it would be voted down in the Commons or because it is judged to be voter-toxic. If the above incident is an example of how Welsh farmers' packs go about their grisly business, bringing forward the proposal might seem an even worse idea than ever.

Sabs say they attacked by Wilts Hunts as police ignore this and illegal hunting

2-2-14  Facebook - Bristol Hunt Sabs    Illegal hunting and violence from the Tedworth and Avon Vale, indifference from Wiltshire police   We paid a trip to the Tedworth Hunt who just so happened to be having a joint meet with the delightful Avon Vale.  As soon as we arrived Southampton Sabs let us know that their window had been smashed by hunt scum as they left the kennels.  We went and picked up their footsabs, put them in our vehicle and caught up with Swindon Sabs who were hot on the tail of the hunt.
As soon as we found the hunt we were ridden at and shoved around which set the tone for the day.  We pushed on and caught up with the hunt and they vocally let others know that a fox had been spotted.  Hellbent on killing, a terrier man tackled a female Sab to the floor badly injuring her knee.  They failed to get on the fox and took off....
On catching up with them again hounds were in full cry and we saw a fox exit a cover with the hounds about 20 seconds behind.  We stepped into action, rating the hounds and sending them in the other direction as our fox friend got away.  Not liking us stopping them kill, we were then ridden at and attacked by members of both hunts.  All was documented and when we came across the police they told us ‘they’re drag hunting and you shouldn’t be here’. In all my years of sabbing I have never come across such pro-hunt policing.  Absolutely sickening.  One copper even lashed out at a Sab for holding his camera up.
We did our best to catch up with the hunt again who, alongside a canal were desperate to kill. We stepped in whenever we could and kept pushing them on.  The police, still milling around, were not interested in the slightest.  The hunt were stubbornly out until 5.30pm as darkness had well and truly kicked in.

3-2-14  Facebook - Southampton Sabs   Sat First of Feb - Joint meet Tedworth and Avon Vale    We started the day sat outside the Tedworth kennels around 10am.  The horse box (with no hounds in) left the kennels with the huntsman Mike Lane following in his hairdresser car.  He pulled up along side the sab's landy, banged on the side twice then smashed our passenger side window with the bottom of a hunting whip handle, leaving our navigator with cuts too his face from the broken glass.... So the driver and the navigator sat and waited over two hours for the police (who when they showed up were genuinely very helpful and thankfully were nothing to do with the other police at the meet) but the rest of our group were quickly picked up by Bristol and Swindon sabs in what can only be described as an anti-hunt shuttle bus service.
The day was very hostile with sabs being kicked and punched by hunt support and ridden at by field riders, but groups of sabs not phased by any of the violent tactics employed by the Tedworth or Avon Vale carried on with the job at hand taking the hounds off a fox on several occasions.  Shortly after one violent incident, one sab tried to report to the large group of police officers present that they had been assaulted but the officers reply was "I don't care. You were trespassing".  He clearly couldn't read a map.
Later in the day the rest of the group, after having spent all morning waiting for the police, joined the rest of the sabs after giving statements and found the huntsman of the Avon Vale in a wood surrounded by riders on point in a similar style to cubbing. This was so blatantly not a trail and was not even the actions of a hunt looking for a chase but the actions of a hunt looking for an easy brutal kill. They left the wood when they realized our presence had also attracted large numbers of police.

York & Ainsty S. FH terrierman fined for abuse and threats to monitor
2-2-14   Facebook - Manchester Hunt Sabs    Hunt terrierman threatens monitor    Pro-hunt North Yorkshire Police must have been in real turmoil after we handed them some video evidence showing Dicky Tonks (hunt terrierman of York and Ainsty South FH) verbally abusing and threatening a sab. Incredibly they didn't manage to lose the footage (which we had obviously made copies of) and Tonks received a criminal record and a £90 fine for his aggressive outburst.
More recently Dicky Tonks was caught attempting to dig out a fox at Escrick park.  Fortunately sabs were there to intervene.  Please politely contact Escrick Park and ask them to ban the York and Ainsty South FH from their land: .  Video of Tonks' criminal behaviour is here.

.....   January -    Monitor witnesses hare chased and killed by East Anglian Hunt
..... 28th January - Monitor sees vixen dug-out and shot by Flint& Denbigh FH terriermen
..... 26th January - Modbury Harriers slaughter two foxes at dig-out in front of young kids
..... 25th January - E.Kent sabs say tiny toddler taken by terrierman to intended dig-out scene
..... 25th January - Monitors say Flint & Denbigh FH servants slashed tyres of 2 of their cars
..... 25th January - Llangeinor FH follower accused of punching 2 female sabs in face
..... 23rd January - Leics woman slams Hunt that chased terrified fox to her house
..... 21st January - Crawley & Horsham terriermen cleared as prosecution mess up dig-out case
..... 20th January - Cumbria police set to continue monitoring hunting in 2014
..... 19th January - Sabs say cops stopped them getting into the field under false pretences
..... 18th January - S.Durham FH hound killed after running out on to A167, a major road
..... 18th January - Sabs claim they stopped Melbreak terriermen digging out a hunted fox
..... 18th January - 100 sabs descend on Dartmoor to celebrate HSA's 50th anniversary
..... 13th January - Tiverton FH rider accused of recklessly endangering his hunt horse
..... 12th January - Sabs say were assaulted by whip/terriermen as N.Cotswold tried to hunt
..... 11th January - Croome FH sabs report fox hunting and hounds in garden scaring alpacas
..... 11th January - Sab ridden down as Curre & Llangibby FH followers and riders turn on antis
..... 11th January - Mid-Devon/Lamerton FH's hounds rioted on main road, say sabs
..... 11th January - Veteran Devon hunt monitor cleared of fail to stop after clash with hunt rider
..... 10th January - Royal Artillery FH supporters allegedly attacked sab alone in car
.....  5th January - Haydon FH hounds rip fox apart in front of visitors at Tynedale NT tourist site
.....  5th January - Vale of the White Horse FH supporter cautioned for attack on female monitor
...... 4th January - Witnesses see hare dismembered by Somerset beagle pack - police refuse to act
.....  4th January - Report claims that fox was ripped to bits by Border FH hounds
.....  4th January - Sabs say they found artificial earth in York & Ainsty South hunt country
.....  2nd January - Sabs appeal for boycott and lobbying of Escrick Park after more hunting there
......  1st January - One injured as sabs flee Cleveland hunt thugs rock-throwing attack
Monitor witnesses East Anglian Hunt chase and kill hare
Jan '14    ACIG News Bulletin     Hunt monitoring     Early this January I was out the hunting fields, this time with an infamous beagle pack....with the weather conditions appalling I was a bit late finding them... the hounds were in full cry through an area of rough scrubland. It was hard to imagine any "trail" being laid through there. Hunted hares run in circles as they are reluctant to leave their known territory. They cannot hide below ground to escape hounds – as rabbits would – nor can they climb trees as mink might. Their best hope of survival is for another fresh hare to get up and lead the hounds Harerunning.jpgon and for that hare to pass the hounds to another fresh hare so that in effect the hares run in a series of relays and the hounds get exhausted and catch nothing.
Seeing the curve the hounds were running in I moved to the ideal position to film the hare passing by and waited with cameras ready. Sadly she never reached me. During my long days of undercover work within hunting I have watched many hares hunted by packs of beagles or bassets. In my experience the hare if fit and on good ground could complete two full circles but if after that she had not shaken the hounds off she started to tire and panic. Then she would break out of her circle, run in a straight line and would most likely be overwhelmed by the pack and ripped to shreds. When, at this hunt I was observing the hare ran off in a straight line I feared the worst. I ran up the road by some houses and saw the hunt staff and whips gathered in a huddle at the side of a field of crops and their hounds milling about nearby. There was no vocal encouraging of the hounds and no blowing of the "kill" but I suspected the worst. Lashing rain made it all but impossible to use cameras from a distance but a view through my binoculars confirmed my suspicions. This was another victory for the squalid world of hunting as they flout the Hunting Act.
I had been asked by the colleagues who had passed me the meet details to get proof that the hunters were hunting hares. We were under no illusion that any prosecution might result – virtually no matter what evidence I might gather. We have to prove with our film that the Huntsman and/or his staff could see the quarry and then either encouraged his hounds to hunt that quarry – or did nothing to stop them. We also have to identify who the hunters are and the location and time of the hunting. To try and escape any charges hunters will typically argue that they could not see what their hounds were hunting – that they believed it to be a "trail" or rabbit. Any hunter filmed near enough to see the quarry typically claims it was not them and if it clearly was them then that it was filmed years ago – long before the ban; and if since the ban then beyond the six month time limit for prosecution under the Hunting Act.
Couple this with the sad fact that police officers have advised all hunts that an effective way for them to avoid any prosecution for illegal hunting is to film themselves lay a "trail" before any hunting starts and you can see that it is not so much shameful that so few hunts have been prosecuted but a miracle that any have been prosecuted let alone convicted of illegal hunting. When our coalition Government took power it can be surmised that they apologised to their hunting friends ... . they couldn’t repeal the Hunting Act, but they would make absolutely certain that it was not enforced – certainly not by the police.
 Repealed or not enforced – is there really any difference to our wildlife that pays such a high price for this barbaric entertainment? .... Until we get a change in Parliament that produces a Government prepared to act on the demands of the public and both strengthen the Hunting Act by closing the loopholes and instruct our police to enforce the law relating to hunting then in the meantime the best and perhaps only way to enforce the Hunting Act is by the lawful actions of Hunt Saboteurs.

Monitor witnesses vixen dug out and shot by Flint & Denbigh FH terriermen
Claims she was then pushed down a ten-foot bank

28-1-14   Witness account, by email from Judi Hewitt, Wales Against Animal Cruelty   Today I witnessed the execution of a beautiful and petrified vixen dug out by terrier-men connected to the Flint & Denbigh hunt.  They had put three nets up to prevent her from escaping.  She was so traumatised that she never made a sound as they dragged her out of her refuge and shot her at close range using a double barrel shotgun.  I heard the awful dull thud as the shot violently took her life.
But what is going to haunt me was the glimpse I had of her just before she was murdered. I have this image in my head of a gorgeous vixen rigid with fear being held by the scruff just moments before these evil men put out her lights and she flopped like a rag doll. It was truly horrific and I don't know if I am ever going to get over the sight of her going limp like a marionette doll. It's an image that will live with me....
After the vixen's body was taken away by one of the terrier-men on the quad ... I was then pushed down the 10ft muddy bank after trying to sit on the earth to try to stop the possibility of another fox suffering the same harrowing fate... My film will be going onto YouTube for all to see when I'm ready ...  I need a day or two to try to get over the violence to that poor animal...
I have a feeling that there may have been another fox in that earth and a dog fox close by because when we revisited this area two hours later to get a GPS location of where it happened we arrived just in time to see riders and hounds coming through and the hounds went into full cry as they entered scrub next to the earth.  The hunt went ballistic when they saw us back and told us that the police had told them that if we came near this earth again, we would be arrested.  I was shoved around by their devoted hunt supporters who continued to film me...  This is the Flint & Denbigh hunt, all they understand is how to inflict suffering onto innocent and defenceless animals - they insult and abuse anyone who hates their sadistic cruelty.
POWAperson adds - The film now uploaded to YouTube shows the execution of the fox, though from a track below the earth, so there is no clear view of it in the clip.  However, the monitor's claim on the soundtrack that the terriermen were breaking the law does not seem to be borne out by the film, unless the earth can be shown to be an active badger sett. POWAperson attended many dig-outs while sabbing the New Forest but never ceased to find them highly traumatising, as Judi clearly did in this case.
Schedule 1.2 of the Hunting Act creates what is called the 'Gamekeepers' Exemption', allowing for the use of a single terrier to be entered into the underground refuge of a wild mammal in order to bolt it.  Once bolted the fox is supposed to be shot dead as soon as possible.  This may only be done for with the landowner's permission [which the gunman the monitor spoke to appeared to have with him] in order to prevent 'serious damage' to game or other birds being preserved for shooting.  The Act does not require anyone to actually show that there was any real danger of such 'serious damage' from a resident fox, nor define what constitutes 'serious damage'.  The matter has never been tested in court. 
Neither the Act nor the Code of Practice attached to it [which has the force of law] prohibit the use of nets over earth entrances to catch the fox when it is bolted.  The BASC Code of Good Practice, which does not have force of law but was annexed to the binding Code of Practice issued by DEFRA, says that 'no other obstacle other than nets to prevent a fox from bolting or escaping after bolting.'  The Act requires the bolted fox to be shot dead asap after it was bolted.  This requirement was observed in this case. They would doubtless argue that use of nets is more humane and safer than trying to shoot a free-running fox.
The BACS Code of Good Practice says digging should only be done to rescue a terrier, which the gunman claimed had been the case here. But neither the Act nor the legally-binding Code of Practice mention digging at all. This suggests that digging into an earth for other reasons is not actually illegal. 
POWA devoutly wishes that all forms of terrier-work were banned. However, antis should be aware that there is little chance that even a future Government that was willing to bring in a greatly needed Hunting Act Amendment Bill would be willing to outlaw terrier-work for 'pest control'.  The DEFRA Minister who piloted through the Hunting Act 2004, Alun Michael, introduced the 'Gamekeeper's Exemption' Code of Practice with this sentence - "The Government accepts that pest control on shoots is necessary to ensure that serious damage to game birds or wild birds is minimised.".
POWA is campaigning to obtain a number of amendments to the Hunting Act which will significantly strengthen the law, make enforcement easier and increase deterrence. If a ban on terrier-work is not achievable, POWA will seek the tightening of the 'Gamekeepers' Exemption' to insist that use of terriers must be shown to be necessary, that digging is allowed only to rescue a trapped terrier and that terrier-work may not be used in conjunction with any 'sport' that simulates the hunting of wild quarry.
Modbury Harriers slaughter two dug-out foxes as young kids look on
Anti-hunt farmer says saw full pack chase fox through 2 fields, trespassing in one of his
26-1-14  Daily Mirror   Sick fox hunters slaughter animal as children as young as five watch on    Three young children look on as a fox is dragged from a hole and shot in these shocking pictures released by anti-hunt campaigners.  The images show the kidsModburyHarriersDig-outwithkiddiesPixed28-12-13.JPG standing just yards away [right, faces obscured] as the helpless creature meets a grisly end at the hands of vicious terriermen and their dog.  A farmer who witnessed the incident was appalled to see youngsters being taken on a hunt.  He said: "How could those guys think any of what played out was fit for small children to see?"
The incident happened after a hunt by the Modbury Harriers, which rides in south Devon, and was reported to the League Against Cruel Sports. The RSPCA is now investigating to see if it breaches the laws which govern huntsmen.  The 2004 Hunting Act, which banned hunting foxes with a pack of hounds, doesn’t cover the use of dogs to flush out animals underground.  In the picture, taken over the holidays, the hounds have picked up the scent of the fox and trapped it down a badger sett.  They then left and the terriermen arrived with their dog, spades and a gun – and the three children.
The farmer said: "I watched in horror as a whole pack of hounds poured into our neighbour’s field then piled into our meadow. They made that hideous blood-curdling squealing – known as ‘speaking’ – which means they are on the scent of a fox.  I saw a beautiful vixen flash across the meadow and disappear into an old badger sett on my neighbour’s farm. At the top of the hill I saw a couple of guys carrying spades and a terrier on a lead.  They were going to dig her out and kill her right then and there." The men came down and filled in the exit holes to stop the fox escaping and then called the children over to watch as they dug out and killed the young vixen – and a second fox found cowering inside the hole.
ModburyHarriersFoxesafterdig-out28-12-13.jpgThe farmer described how the older men looked into the sett as the children craned their necks to see, before shooting.  They began digging before firing two more shots into the hole.  They then dragged the body of the fox out and dumped it on a hedge for the children to see. "Then the younger guys sprang back into action and started digging furiously again," he said.  The gunman then fired another shot into the hole and they pulled out a second fox and laid it next to the first. The farmer said: "This is the dirty underbelly of fox hunting, the bit they don’t like even their followers to see. But I was disgusted to see the terriermen had brought three youngsters to watch – one was only about five years old."
The sheep farmer is strongly anti-hunting and has complained about them trespassing on his land.  But he doesn’t wish to be named for fear of reprisals.  He said: "We’re proud of the fact that with good husbandry we have not lost a single lamb to a fox in over 17 years.  The local foxhunt is not welcome here. We have asked them countless times to not hunt or send hounds onto our land but they have never heeded or respected this repeated request."
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "This horrific incident of animal cruelty shows not only a total disregard for the dogs and foxes but also for the welfare of the ­children. Terrier work is abhorrently cruel."
Pic above left - Both shot foxes are dragged away by terrierman.  The terrier still has hold of one.

POWAperson adds;-  The incident occurred on 28-12-13. The League published a much more detailed, and moving, account from the farmer on its website. The 
extracts below add both information and colour. The scenes and feelings he describes will be only too heart and gut-wrenchingly familiar to anyone who has  sabbed or monitored hunts :-

We have asked them countless times to not hunt or send hounds onto our land but they have never heeded or respected this repeated request.  Time and again over the years they have sent their hounds over our boundaries trespassing into our lower meadows with the aim to try and flush out one of our foxes so to chase them across neighbouring farmland for the day.  As a result their hounds have caused more damage to our sheep flock than any fox ever did.  The worst incident being three years ago when they sent their hounds through our flock of heavily pregnant ewes, a week later we had 9 stillborn lambs and a ewe that had died trying to give birth prematurely.  Of course, the hunt master dismissed these deaths as nothing to do with the fact their 20 plus hounds had petrified our sheep so much the ewes had run head long into our stock fences trying to get away from the dogs.
This Saturday sadly saw the latest episode in this long running saga. I knew the hunt was meeting on a nearby farm.  Once again it’s that time of year where we have heavily pregnant ewes in fields.  So I chose to check our flock at about the same time I knew the hounds and riders would be setting off, just in case they came our way.  I didn’t have to wait long before I heard the first hound.  A few minutes later to my horror the whole pack poured into our neighbour’s field charging directly for our bottom boundary hedge, without breaking step they piled into our meadow.  On entry to our land they made that hideous blood curdling sound.  A sound I hate.  It’s a high pitched squeal, which within the hunting fraternity is known as “speaking” it means they are on the scent of a fox… one of our foxes. I was already running,  Sadly I know the route they would take all too well; this is a frequently played out battle.  It would take me 5 minutes running full pelt to get down to them, tears running down my face all that time as I could hear their peels and squeals.
I knew one of our foxes was now running for it’s life and I was too far away to help it.  Finally I got down to where the hounds were; usually there are at least two of us to try and stop them but that Saturday I was by myself.  I did everything I could to get them off that scent, but it was all too late.  To my left I saw a beautiful young vixen flash across the meadow aiming directly for our boundary hedge – I heard myself scream as I watched the hounds pile behind her and she disappeared over the hedge into our neighbour’s diary farm.
She was now off my property. They’d got their quarry and she was now by herself.  Feeling helpless and that I’d completely let her down, I slowly walked up the hill I couldn’t bring myself to look across and see her being chased.  But as I got back to where the sheep were I could still hear hounds barking close by.  I looked back and my heart sank even more as I realised what had happened.  Just past our boundary on our neighbours side there is an old badger earth, the young vixen must have taken cover within it because there were the hounds milling about all over it looking a bit lost.  The hunt foot followers were already walking down the neighbours land to investigate the sett but worse still at the top of the hill I saw a couple of guys carrying spades accompanied by an older man with a terrier on a lead.  They were going to dig her out and kill her right then and there.  
Legally I could not stop this now, if I went onto my neighbour's land I'd be trespassing. But if they were going to kill the vixen, I decided I'd make sure her death was not completely in vain. I walked back home grabbed my camera and moved into a position where I could clearly see what was happening and started taking photos."

He describes in awful, graphic detail what he could see and hear of the dig-out:-

"It took the men a good while to locate where the terrier and vixen were underground; once they had, they started digging. As they dug, even from where I was sat I could hear distant screaming, this was the vixen in distress as the terrier underground was attacking her. After what seemed like an age digging and stopping to listen down the hole followed by more digging, their spades were thrown to the side and one of the younger guys called over to the children to come watch. I knew why, it was to watch the vixen being shot.
The older men lent into the hole as the children on the hedge craned to see what was happening; then I heard a muffled shot. I tried to comfort myself by thinking well at least that poor little vixen was out of her suffering now, but then they carried on digging. I hope, I really hope, that old guy missed her completely on that first attempt because the alternative doesn't bare thinking about. The 3 men busily dug again deeper and deeper . I could hear her screaming again then the older guy picked up his gun. I heard 2 muffled shots and then silence. He reached inside the hole dragged out her body and dumped it on the hedge for the children to see.
Then without warning the younger guys sprang back into action and started digging furiously again. My heart sank. What now? As they dug down and removed the earth so I heard more of that same screaming, there was another fox down there. This time the screaming was very clear. It's so incredibly distressing to hear an animal that scared and undoubtedly in pain. If there was one small mercy, the second fox was shot far quicker than the first. Once again the old guy lent in and dragged out the body, carried over and dumped it down by the first fox for the children to view. Soon after, the lad in pale trousers lent in and dragged the terrier to the surface by the scuff of its neck. If there was any doubt about it's intent toward those foxes it was quickly eliminated by the dog's immediate lunge, grab and shake of one of the fox bodies draped on the hedge.
I sat there is disbelief, how could those guys think any of what had played out was fit for young children to witness? In fact, in the eyes of even my most pro-hunt neighbour, what those men showed those kids that afternoon crossed an unacceptable line. I felt numbed by the whole sorry affair. Nearly an hour had past from when I first started taking photos, my tears had stopped. Yet the saddest sight for me were those lifeless bodies more resembling orange rags being dragged up the hill at the end. That was the last I saw of our foxes, but I really hope by telling this story some awareness may come from their plight."

Sabs say they stopped dig-out of fox chased by E.Kent/W.Street FH hounds
Terrierman took tiny toddler along to dig-out scene, they claim

25-1-14   Facebook - E.Kent Sabs    Sabbing the East Kent with West Street FH    The hunt were out at Barham, a difficult meet due to all the woodland for them to hide in.  When we arrived, the hounds were already in cry - not for long though, as the huntsman quickly moved on.... The hounds had run a fox to ground. On hearing the yapping of terriers, we entered the woods, and sure enough, there were two terrier boys, spades and nets at the ready.  And one of them had decided to bring his Terriermanwithtoddleratdig-out.jpgtiny little girl along to watch (see pic, left).  This guy is constantly calling us paedophiles, yet his idea of how to bring up his child, is to drive her around on a quad, and then to make her watch while they bait a fox underground with terriers, only to dig it out and shoot it... or whatever else they had planned... No dig out here - they took one look at us, and pissed off in quite a hurry, telling us they would "come back and dig it later".  They didn't - we checked twice.  This strip of wood was surrounded by notices saying-"No Animal Access Allowed - Private Wildlife Survey Area".
Not long after that, the hounds were back in cry- they came streaming out of the woods obviously onto a fox, so we sprayed the line, and with whips cracked and voice calls, we turned 'em back the huntsman.... another charlie that got away.  By now, they were getting a bit pissed off, so they moved on quickly, but we managed to keep up.  Not long after, they were onto another fox, and we resorted to using the gizmo on them (an amplified tape of hounds in cry), and this did the trick - they moved off quickly again.
For the next couple of hours, we had a gruelling on foot journey through the Forestry Commission area, where the huntsman openly cast his hounds through each set of woods, whilst the "trail layer" (a rider with an extra long whip), sat and smugly watched.  The hounds did give tongue a couple more times, but we rated them where possible, and no kills that we know of.

Llangeinor FH follower accused of punching two female hunt sabs in face

25-1-14   Facebook - South Wales Hunt Sabs     Today on the Llangeinor hunt, this braveLlangeinorFHfollowerSabssaypunched2ffemales24-1-14.jpg gent [man being sought, right] punched two female sabs in the face, hitting one of them so hard he knocked her off her feet, leaving her needing hospital treatment.  He apparently objected to the women having their faces covered.  He also shoved another sab so violently that is looks like he needs hospital treatment too.  We had joined with sabs from Bristol and Bath to pay a visit to the Llangeinor.
The Hunt were blatantly hunting from the off.  Foot sabs jumped out of the vehicle to spray up after a fox crossed the road in front of us.  Hunt followers were incensed that their 'sport' was interfered with and began to attack foot sabs.  Many sabs were punched and violently shoved by about ten 'boys'.
We picked up our injured sabs and got right back after the hunt.  They took the hounds up to the high ground but had foot sabs with them all the way making sure there was no kill. They packed up at 2.30pm - off to celebrate their hunt ball.
POWA person adds:- We understand that the Llangeinor website and FB page have disappeared since the incidents alleged above.

Monitors claim Flint & Denbigh FH servants slashed tyres on two of their cars
25-1-14  Wales Against Animal Cruelty website   Cowardly hunt scum slash tyres on two of our vehicles - Today the cowardly hunt workers connected to the Flint & Denbigh slashed three tyres on two of our vehicles...  The criminal damage to our vehicles was reported to the police and will be kept on file as yet more abuse by this fox hunt. All data is important to prove how this hunt are becoming more and more menacing. All that this criminal behaviour will do though, is force us to enlist the help of sabs from Liverpool, because now we are going to have to enlist at least one person per car (with surveillance) to stay on guard at all times - but loads of sabs turning up is not the route we want to take! But whatever happens, it will not stop us from doing our best to gather yet more evidence of cruel and illegal fox hunting, and if we can save the life of a single fox then that is a real bonus. But these hunt barbarians have no empathy for anyone, or indeed any animal, not even their own horses because if they had, they would not take them out onto boggy fields and cover where they are likely to be hurt and crippled.
Leics woman slams Hunt that chased terrified fox to her house

23-1-14  Leicester Mercury    If you must chase terrified creatures around, at least try obeying rules    Last Saturday afternoon, at about 4 o'clock, I was feeding my eight-month old daughter Florence in our sitting room.  I thought I glimpsed something flash past the front window..... something caught my eye again.  I stopped and stared at the window.  Suddenly a terrified fox started jumping up and scrabbling at the glass.  Four or five times it leapt up (over 4ft from a sitting position), clearly desperate and apparently riddled with fear.  My first thought was that it was after our two rabbits (who were in the back garden...).  I ran outside and shouted for Chris to get them in their hutch, which he did.  We then shooed the fox away and it jumped over our front fence, looked back at me, and then darted down the side of my neighbour's house and into her back garden.
After about 10 minutes... a car stopped outside and one of the occupants (whom I believe were hunt followers) asked if we had seen the hounds?  I know that hunts people use that line to try to justify entering a residential area illegally, while pursuing foxes with dogs - possibly also illegally.  I told him that I had not seen the hounds and that the actions of the hunt had just caused a terrified and traumatised fox to try to enter my house.  I made it very clear that I was also not in favour of hunting.  He told me he was "an animal lover" and that "most people are happy with what we do".  Had I not been so enraged I might have laughed.
A few minutes later a redcoat (huntsman) on horseback came trotting down the centre of our road, closely followed by five or so of the "lost" hounds.  Funny how close they were to him though and how they came up from the same direction as he did and towards the fox.  The redcoat also received a piece of my mind, after which he offered an apology, saying the dogs had "gone off the trail".  I informed the hunts-folk that in the 13 years of living at my present address, I have never had issues or concerns regarding foxes and had never even seen one in the village until that day.
If, after all of my previous encounters earlier in my life, I wasn't already anti-blood sports, I certainly would certainly be so after today's events. The hunt had put animals under my care at risk and, had any of my doors or windows been open, it is conceivable that their actions might have endangered my baby daughter.  I feel incredibly guilty and upset about the whole thing and can't get that image of the poor fox at the window out of my mind.  I just hope it got away and outran the hunters on their horses.  Just how terrified must it have been to have jumped and clawed at a window like that?  The look of fear, desperation and helplessness in its eyes will forever haunt me.  I had to make a snap decision in order to protect the animals in my care and of course my daughter, and so I shooed it away. Had I been alone, I would have offered it a safe haven in the back garden or garage: I feel awful that I wasn't able to do this.
I know what I'm talking about from my own experience. In the days before I knew better, I have ridden with a Leicestershire hunt and I saw what goes on at first hand. Since then and over the years (25 of which I owned horses of my own), I have endured inconvenience, upset and stress as the result of activities of hunts.   Jenny Begley, Husbands Bosworth.

Crawley & Horsham terriermen cleared as prosecution mess up dig-out case

21-1-14   Countryside Alliance website    Case against Crawley and Horsham was ‘an abuse of process’, court rules     A prosecution against two men connected to the Crawley and Horsham hunt has been branded an abuse of process by Sussex magistrates.  Former countryman [euphemism for terrierman] for the hunt Daniel Howick and Jonathan Light, a gamekeeper, appeared at Horsham Magistrates Court yesterday (20 January) to face allegations that they had interfered with a badger sett.
Animal rights activists Simon Wild, Jaine Wild and Terry Hill had accused the men of digging in an active sett when the hunt met at Balcombe on 15 January 2013.  The men, who had been carrying out terrier work legally under the Hunting Act, denied the charges against them, and yesterday magistrates threw the case out after ruling that unacceptable delays in the prosecution case meant they would not receive a fair trial.  Despite the prosecution’s expert having examined the site of the alleged offence two days after the incident his report was not disclosed to the defendents for several months.  This meant the defence’s expert could not visit the site until June.  Even by the trial date some evidence had still not been seen by the defence.
Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance said: "The hunt had been asked to remove a problem fox by a local estate.  There was never any doubt that Mr Howick and Mr Light were carrying out pest control perfectly legitimately or any suggestion that the earth was an active badger sett.  However totally unacceptable delays in the prosecution case meant that they did not have a fair chance to prove this in court.  "We are very pleased that the trial has been dropped and both men completely exonerated, but it is a great shame that such a groundless case was allowed to hang over these men for more than a year."
And Antony Sandeman, joint-master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, added: "It seems that this group of antis has the ear of Sussex Police and any allegations made by them, no matter how spurious, are taken very seriously. I’m delighted that the magistrates saw sense and threw out this allegation."
POWA person adds:-  The CA will naturally make the most of the fact that the CPS have - again - mucked up a case against hunters and claim that the charge was spurious and that it wasn't a badger sett. But, it seems from their report, that the accusers were not allowed the chance to show the justice of the charges because of official incompetence.

Cumbria police set to continue monitoring hunting in 2014

20-1-14  Westmoreland Gazette    Police operation monitoring illegal hunting to continue in 2014    Since the introduction of the Hunting Act in 2004, Cumbria Police say they have consistently received reports of illegal hunting and suspicious activity. They have also had complaints about associated offences including intimidation and harassment, assault, public order, obstruction of the highway and driving offences. The Hunting Act made it illegal to hunt a wild animal with a dog, with certain exceptions. Trail/ drag hunting, was introduced to replace the hunting of foxes by dogs. Cumbria Constabulary will liaise with non-government organisations which hold views on the Hunting Act and liaise with agencies such as the National Trust, Lake District National Park and United Utilities, who are the major landowners and operate a licensing system to allow trail or drag hunting activity under their own protocol and procedures. Officers will be deployed to carry out high visibility patrols at various meetings throughout the season, making use of overt recording equipment.

Sabs say Leics police stopped them getting into the field on false pretences

19-1-14  Facebook - West Midlands Hunt Sabs    Yesterday, West Midlands Hunt Sabs again joined up with Northants to visit a hunt in the Leicestershire area.  The day was a complete non-starter, as just minutes after meeting up with our Northants colleagues, and whilst still in Market Harborough, Leicestershire Police decided to pull us over.  They insisted that none of us were insured to drive our vehicle, which is totally untrue and wouldn't let us continue.  Whilst in conversation about this, one of the officers let slip that Leicestershire Police have an ongoing operation against our group.  No one would elaborate as to what this was about, except it was something to do with violence.  Here and now, we can categorically state that during the season so far, we have not attacked members of any hunt, or their supporters, or carried out any violent act.
We have however been assaulted ourselves by the Albrighton Hunt, whilst Staffs Police looked on and jostled and threatened on many more occasions.  If Leics police are investigating us for any violent act, it can only be that they have totally believed hunt lies about a totally fictitious incident. This is not the first time in our history that this has been the case.... its funny how the police can find the resources to launch an operation against, and investigate, a couple of sab groups, but always claim they don't have the resources to investigate illegal hunting.  Hunts are illegally hunting just as much now as ever before and the police are showing very little inclination to do their jobs and enforce the act. Instead they victimise and harass those that are having to do something about it, because the police won't do their jobs....

South Durham FH hound killed after running on to major road

18-1-14    POWA has now obtained from a monitor who was at the scene some details of an incident that occurred on December 28th.   She says that the Sedgefield-based pack was hunting in Mill Wood, adjacent to the A167, when a single hound ran out on to the road, was struck by a car and killed.  Police and a rescue vehicle attended, but it is not known whether the vehicle that hit the hound, or any occupants, were damaged or hurt.  The monitor attempted to obtain local media coverage of the incident, but nothing appeared.  Pics of the dead hound and the vehicles involved are below.

POWAperson adds:-  Yet another dog sacrificed to provide its masters with 'sport'. Presumably the S.Durham would claim they were 'trail hunting' - albeit right by a major highway. Though press reports of hunt havoc incidents like this seem to have declined in number in recent years, this may be due to the lamentable decline in the quantity and quality of reportage by local newspapers rather than any significant drop in their numbers.  POWA is aware of a number of incidents in recent years that failed to gain the expected coverage, though we know press were informed by local sources and, sometimes by ourselves and/or LACS as well.

Footage, from 2012, also obtained by a local monitor which appears to clearly show the S.Durham FH hunting a fox in a quarry can be seen here. The footage was apparently forwarded to LACS but it seems no action against the Hunt resulted. 


Sabs say they stopped Melbreak FH terriermen digging out a hunted fox

18-1-14   Facebook - Cumbria Hunt Sabs     Three sabs attended a meet of the Melbreak earlier today. Arriving in the Lorton Vale area around 10am they quickly began to encounter support who were looking over towards the direction of Thackthwaite... sabs headed over there and immediately located the pack in the fields just off Galloway Farm. Out of the vehicle with haste, amid abuse being thrown at them by support, two sabs began to work their way along the road spraying citronella as they did so. This worked a treat as minutes later the pack, onto a scent, crossed over the freshly sprayed road before disappearing into Redhow woods....
For the next hour Liddle, who was positioned up on Cold Gill, tried with little success to gather the pack in as they were having great difficulty crossing a swollen River Cocker. When he'd eventually managed to gather the hounds to him he set off up high onto Dodd where the pack appeared to run a fox to ground. Scum up on Dodd now attempted a dig-out but this was stopped when sabs made them aware, in no uncertain terms, that they were being watched and filmed.
Liddle, on the move again, now led the pack over Sand Hill in the direction of Gasgale Gill! Anticipating this the two sabs in the vehicle moved down there whilst the third sab, who was now also on the fell-side, pursued on foot. Little more happened after this...

100 sabs descend on Dartmoor to celebrate HSA 50th Anniversary
Say witnessed blatant fox hunting by the South Devon FH
Sab vehicles rammed by hunt quad bikes
18-1-14   HSA Press Release   On Boxing Day 1963, four people sabbed the South Devon Hunt in what was the first official act of sabotage by the Hunt Saboteurs Association.  On Saturday 18 January 2014, just over 50 years later, over 100 hunt saboteurs from across Southern England and Wales descended on Dartmoor National Park to sabotage the same Hunt. In the 50 years that we have been in existence there have been many changes, most notably the Criminal Justice Act, that aimed to make hunt sabotage illegal, and the Hunting Act, which came into force in 2005, but the one thing that has not changed is that they still hunt wildlife and we still save it.
Saturday's events were testament to that, as the South Devon illegally tried to hunt foxes only to be repeatedly stopped by the large numbers of saboteurs. Despite acts of aggression from the support, who rammed our vehicles with quad bikes, and the awful weather conditions, the saboteurs ensured a kill free day. There was a large police presence but they took no interest in the illegal hunting or acts of aggression from the hunt. One officer's reply to the question: "Are you here to prevent them from illegally hunting?" was: "No. Hunting is an issue for DEFRA, not the police"....

Tiverton FH rider accused of recklessly endangering his hunt horse

13-1-14  Mid-Devon Gazette    Hunting snap polarises opinion    A MID Devon hunt has defended its actions after a photograph appeared to show a huntsman with Tiverton Foxhounds riding his horse through deep floodwater.  The image, which has prompted criticism from anti-country sport campaigners, was taken during the recent bad weather.  Campaigners have criticised the Tiverton Foxhounds rider who can be seen atop a horse with its head and body submerged.  Only the tip of the horse's ears and part of its back can be seen above the waterline.
The photograph first appeared in an equestrian magazine last week, and was subsequently distributed on social media, but the photographer who took the picture refused to grant permission for it to appear in the Gazette.  After viewing the image, an anti-country sports group claimed hunters showed "little or no regard for animal welfare" while a leading vet said although he thought the horse was unlikely to have suffered any ill-effects, the action could be seen as "reckless".  A hunt representative told the Gazette that the photograph had been misinterpreted: "It was not as deep as it looked...."
John Blackwell, president elect of the British Veterinary Association and a large animal and equine specialist... questioned the wisdom of venturing into water.  Rebecca Taylor, spokesperson for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "It is extremely distressing to see a horse being put into such a situation. We can only hope that on this occasion the horse recovered from the ordeal. Hunters appear to have little or no regard for animal welfare, and it's not just the hunted animals which suffer."

POWAperson adds:  The photo has appeared on various sites on the web, for instance here.   Sab groups say the rider was George Humfrey, a Tiverton JM. He apparently put out a message on social media asking if anyone had a horse they could lend him.

Sabs claim they assaulted by whip & terrier-men as N.Cotswold FH tried to hunt

12-1-14   Facebook - W.Midlands Sabs     Yesterday, W.Midlands Hunt Sabs teamed up with Northants for another visit to the N.Cotswold Hunt.  We found them at about 11.30 when they were putting their hounds into a covert.  We immediately went into the field and started to try and disrupt the hounds by both horn and voice calls.- the hunt supporters and terrier men didn't care for this much and immediately started confronting the sabs but we stood up to them.  This set the atmosphere for the day, which was more confrontational than is usual at this hunt.  We continued on and soon afterwards whilst walking down a pathway, the whole mounted field rode past us.  One red coated individual, with the yellow collar of the North Cotswold Hunt, thought it was OK to hit several of the sabs with his whip handle as he rode past...  Then, as the afternoon moved on we again got up to them as they were drawing a covert. At this particular place a fox has been put up on both of our last two visits, so we again disrupted the hounds with voice and horn calls.  The huntsman moved out of the wood... gathering his hounds back to him as he went.... a group of their terrier men approached us, trying to delay us and assaulted a couple of our sabs before departing.  The hunt ran whilst this was going on and we spent the last hour of the day pursuing them over quite a large area. They finally packed up as it was almost totally dark.....


Croome FH sabs report fox hunting and hounds in garden scaring alpacas

11-1-14  Three Counties Sabs 'Hit Report'    We sabbed the Croome today from their meet at the Wheelbarrow Castle pub at Radford... The huntsman called hounds out of cover as it was FoxfleeingCroomeFH11-1-14.jpgobvious that they were hunting no trail, the fox was left be.  On they went to Abberton where first one fox ran (helped by a quick witted sab who sprayed the line).  A very cross man ran over the field.... he grabbed the spray and broke the top off emptying some of the contents just where they were needed!  The second fox [left] then followed his mate to safety filmed on 3 cameras and so far too risky for them to hunt so close to a village.
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 a sab.....  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.... she had only got a cutting whip so had nothing to lay one with…then it was the vicar's 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.

Sab ridden down as Curre & Llangibby FH supporters and riders turn on antis

11-1-14   Bristol Hunt Sabs website   Sab ridden down at the Curre and Llangibby    This morning we ventured over the Severn and into Monmouthshire... with S.Wales Hunt Sabs, new group Somerset Hunt Sabs and a few from Bath and Swindon.  The hunt of choice was the Curre and Llangibby, who have only been visited once by sabs in recent times.  When they were visited by sabs this time last year, we were welcomed with threats of violence upon arrival.
This year the story was similar, with terrier boys and supporters trying to stop sabs getting near the hunt from the off, promising of violence to come and engaging in a bit of argy bargy.CurreLlangibbyFHSabbeingriddendown11-1-14.JPG We ignored their attempts at intimidation and moved on, trying to intercept the hunt further along the road.  As we pulled up, we saw the pack of hounds already in full cry, leaving a covert and following a fox's scent.... The Hunt's thuggish terrier boys and supporters were back in action shortly afterwards, when we were calling hounds out of the same wood, which the huntsman was now drawing.  They broke a wing mirror on one of our vehicles, made more threats and got pushy with sabs, with the help of a few mounted followers doing the same.
Again we carried on undeterred, entering into the woodland and following up behind the huntsmen and the pack.  Soon after we faced more violence, again after we called hounds out on the other side of the wood.  In a concerted effort, two of the hunters rode down a saboteur with their horses [right].  Somehow the sab narrowly avoided injury.  There is a video of this attack.....
A little while after sabs in one of the vehicles spotted a fox cross a road, quickly followed by hounds in cry.  We don’t know the fate of this poor animal, but we can only hope that it got away.  Despite a difficult day not helped by the bad access, we refused to back down in the face of hunt violence and made sure that a hunt that rarely gets visited got the attention that they deserve.

Sabs see Mid-Devon/Lamerton FH's hounds rioting on main road
One sab allegedly assaulted by man with gun at pheasant shoot

11-1-14   Facebook - Devon Hunt Sabs Hit Report    Joint meet between Mid Devon Hunt and the Lamerton Hunt     The hunts met on north west Dartmoor...  Within minutes of leaving the meet, a female rider suffered a very heavy fall from her horse whilst the hunt rode at speed up an extremely slippery and muddy hillside.  Foot sabs' offers of assistance.... were haughtily declined by those attending to the fallen rider.  An air ambulance arrived and the rider was eventually evacuated to hospital.  Despite this accident, the rest of the riders, including her husband, continued hunting into the moor followed by the sabs.
Bullying tactics were then used towards sabs, in an effort to stop our pursuit, with the alleged land owner using his horse to prevent sabs' progress.  Although this didn't deter the sabs, they were unable to keep up with the hunt on foot as they rode off across the moor.  Soon after this sabs in the Landy witnessed all the hounds running across the main A386 Tavistock road, forcing traffic to stop in order to avoid hitting them.  The huntsman eventually managed to control his hounds and took them back onto the moor. So much for trail hunting.....
Whilst this was going on, foot sabs on the moor spotted a fox in the vicinity the hunt had been in previously, and managed to cover its scent with sprays and it got away safely.  The hunts seemed very keen to put as much distance between them and us, heading way south into the country of a neighbouring hunt.  Whilst looking for them, we came across a pheasant shoot in progress and put a stop to the killing, unfortunately one of our sabs was assaulted in the process, but we are happy to report no real damage was done.

Veteran hunt monitor cleared of fail to stop after clash with hunt rider

11-1-14  Western Morning News   Hunt monitor accused of striking a £90,000 racehorse with his Land Rover on Dartmoor has been cleared    A hunt monitor has been cleared of failing to stop after a confrontation with a woman rider on a narrow Dartmoor lane.  Hayden Macey, 68, had his conviction overturned on appeal at Exeter Crown Court after a Judge ruled he had been prosecuted under the wrong law.
The 68-year-old campaigner was taken to court after an accident in which huntswoman Michelle Westcott was thrown off her thoroughbred in a lane at Gidleigh while following the Mid Devon hunt in November 2012. Macey, of Aller Park Road, Newton Abbot, had already been cleared or assaulting the rider at an earlier hearing before magistrates at Exeter but had been found guilty of failing to stop and supply details at the scene of an accident.  He was cleared on appeal by Recorder Mr Kevin de Haan, QC, after he ruled that Macey should have been charged with the different offence of failing to report the accident to a police station within 24 hours.  He said this offence would have needed the rider to have asked him to report the accident, and there was no evidence this had happened.
The horsewoman was thrown off her mount, a £90,000 former racehorse named According to Lawrence, after it was spooked by Macey’s Land Rover in the lane near Gidleigh, near Okehampton.  The two sides gave different accounts to the original trial. Mrs Westcott said Macey, who was carrying a group of hunt monitors, rammed his car into her horse from behind causing it to throw her into the road.  She said he then got out and put his hands around her throat before leaving without saying a word.  He said she had spooked her own horse by lashing the roof of his vehicle with her whip as he edged past and he had stopped to make sure she was all right and given her his name during an angry exchange.
At the appeal hearing at Exeter Crown Court James Taghdissian, prosecuting, dropped the Crown’s case after Rupert Taylor, defending, pointed out the legal anomaly.  The Recorder, sitting with two lay magistrates, said he agreed that if Macey were to be charged with any offence, it should have been of failing to report the accident to police within 24 hours and brought under section 170.3 of the Road Traffic Act.  He said it would not be right to hear the evidence again in the circumstances and upheld the appeal immediately. 
He said: ”The complainant appears not to have asked him for his details at the scene. As very often happens, tempers were frayed on both sides. He was not charged under 170.3 and we are stuck with the information which was before the magistrates’ court. This allegation dates back to 2012 and has taken a long time to work its way through the system.” The Recorder awarded Macey costs out of central funding.
POWAperson adds:-   An account of the original incident and trial can be found 

Sab alone in car allegedly attacked by Royal Artillery FH supporters

10-1-14   Facebook - Berkshire Hunt Sabs    This Saturday gone, Berkshire sabs went to visit the Palmer Marlborough beagles who were planning on teaching their pupils how to illegally hunt hare in Buckleberry near Reading, thankfully the bad weather meant it was called off, so we then went to see Wilts & Infantry beagles who were going to hunt in the Salisbury plains... thankfully they too had second thoughts and cancelled, so finally we popped over to see the Royal Artillery fox hunt, who where defiantly hunting, just around the corner on the plains.
This hunt were rather p'ed off to see us and a group of their boys, with their faces covered, decided to try and attack a lone sab and try to break into their car. No major injuries were sustained, apart from a bit of whiplash and back-ache and a slight repair to the vehicle key drum where they tried to rip out the keys. We called the police to inform them of this assault and they didn’t care at all and decided instead of finding the person that had attacked the sab, they decided to search our vehicles for a firearm.... I have to say many thanks to the new sabs that joined us! This week we really could have done with radios, our old ones don’t work over 95% of the terrain we work on meaning we can’t communicate with any of our sabs, if you could spare a pound or two in our click here!

Haydon FH hounds rip fox apart before visitors at Tynedale NT tourist site
5-1-14   The cutting below was published today on the North Tyne Hunt Sabs FB page, but with no date or attribution. It is from the Hexham Courant, 4-1-14.

NTHS are now requesting people to protest the incident to Northumbria Police Wildlife Co-ordinator Don Churchill. They also say they have received a report of the Border FH killing a fox last week. No further detail at present.

Vale of White Horse FH supporter cautioned for attack on female monitor

5-1-14    POWA has been informed that a hunt follower, a Mr. Collingwood, has been cautioned by police. The VWH was being monitored on December 23rd. Collingwood, a middle-aged/elderly man, had apparently been ranting at monitors earlier and police had been advised.  Later, Collingwood's car and a monitoring vehicle met in a lane.  The hunt supporter is said to have got out and reached in through the monitors' car window. He then apparently grabbed an inexperienced female by the throat and tried to seize the camera from round her neck. A male monitor, also in the car, managed to stop him getting away with it, but the camera strap was broken in the struggle.
Another monitor says her car was whipped by a redcoat and the same man later tried to whip the male monitor from the incident above, but missed.

POWAperson adds;-  Collingwood becomes the 340th member, servant or follower of UK organised Hunts known to POWA to have been convicted of, or cautioned for, a criminal offence since 1990, totalling 795 offences between them.  175 of these convictions or cautions have been for violent offences, 54 of which have been committed against hunt monitors and 77 against sabs, some with multiple victims. 43 offences of criminal damage to the property of monitors or sabs are also recorded.

Witnesses say they saw beagle pack 'dismember' a hare in Somerset
Police refuse to record incident as a crime or investigate further

4-1-14    POWA has now received, via the Hare Preservation Trust [HPT], details of an incident on 14-12-13, first reported here on 22-12-13,  in which two independent witnesses say they saw an entire pack of beagles 'dismember' a hare.  Unfortunately, they were unable to film or photograph the incident, or obtain names of any hunters or the reg. nos. of the hunt vehicle. Because of this, and though police, RSPCA and LACS were informed, they have been told that no prosecution is possible. The police believe the Hunt in question was the Ilminster Beagles. The witness account below is reconstructed from various communications between the witnesses, police and the HPT. 
"On the afternoon of 14th December, my husband and I were walking near the River Yeo between Long Road and Langport. We knew hares frequent the area and were hoping to see some. The one we did see was two fields away, running for its life from a pack of around 40 dogs, who soon caught and dismembered it. There were five men watching the chase. They made no attempt to call off the dogs.  We ran up to the dogs and my husband tried to intervene to save the hare, but it was too late. One hunter then blew a horn and the dogs immediately ranHarerunning.jpg back to the men, carrying pieces of the hare. It was the most gruesome thing I have ever seen in my life. We were both very upset.
We then ran up to the men and accused them of coursing, though we now understand it was actually hare hunting that we had witnessed.  One hunter was carrying a long leather whip and banged it menacingly against his palm as we spoke. He claimed they were just exercising the dogs, that they had put up and chased the hare by accident and that they'd tried to call them off with the horn. This was untrue, as the horn had not been blown until after the hare was caught and killed.  He admitted that they knew hares frequented the area but could not explain why they would choose to 'exercise' their dogs there.
The men then loaded the dogs into their van. The Huntsman refused to give us his name. Unfortunately, we did not have a phone or camera with us. We went straight to Yeovil police station and reported what we had seen. Though we repeatedly asked for the matter to be recorded as a crime, they refused, saying this was because we had been able to get names or number plate details. We were just given a 'Log number'." 

POWAperson adds:-  In a communication with Avon & Somerset police, the HPT were told that the incident had been 'no crimed' because it was not a 'recordable' offence. Such an offence is one deemed by statute to be serious enough to warrant being placed on the offender's criminal record on  the Police National Computer. Hunting Act offences are, indeed, not 'recordable' - one of the weaknesses of the Act POWA would like to see remedied as part of a strengthening amendments package.  However, there is another category of offence called 'reportable', which means details have to be provided to the Home Office for statistical purposes. Since the Government regularly issues reports of the number of Hunting Act offences convicted, it would seem that HA offences are 'reportable'. It is unclear, however, whether they become so on initial report, arrest, charge, prosecution or conviction, or whether or not a potentially 'reportable' offence should be 'crimed'.
This incident, and the police response to it, which may or may not have been procedurally correct, is a stark illustration of some of the weaknesses of the Act, and of the way it is enforced resulting, at least partly, from those weaknesses.
Albeit they were unable to provide any photographic evidence or the identities of the perpetrators, two credible, independent witnesses of good character did provide detailed information about what they'd seen and of their encounter with the Huntsman. By their account, it appears that the dogs were intentionally being used to hunt and kill the hare. A court would have to decide whether the hunters were 'engaging or participating' within the meaning of the Hunting Act.  However, the fact that this wording of the Hunting Act creates a very grey area when it comes to enforcing the Hunting Act would likely help deter police from proceeding.
It seems to have become the rule that, unless the offenders are seen by a law enforcement official, video evidence of Hunting Act breaches is essential. This is not, of course, the case with most other crimes, where eye-witness evidence often forms the major, if not the only, plank in the prosecution's case. Here, the police seem to know which Hunt was involved and probably the witnesses would have been able to identify at least the Huntsman to whom they spoke. But, depending on your standpoint, it would seem that the wording of the Act, and, in particular the low degree of seriousness accorded to illegal hunting under it, have either prevented the police from acting or given than an excuse not to do so.  It would seem that the Hunting Act is so weak that it effectively allows an organised Hunt to flagrantly chase and kill wild mammals in front of witnesses and get away with it, and that the authorities are unlikely to take any meaningful action.

Report of fox chased and killed by Border FH hounds

4-1-14    N.Tyne Hunt Sabs have told POWA that they have received a witness account of a kill by the Border FH today.  The witness says that a male fox was run down to the rear of Barrowburn and was ripped to pieces by hounds in the Upper Coquet Valley, which is in Northumberland, not far from the border with Scotland.
Sabs say they found artificial earth in York & Ainsty South hunt country

4-1-11  Facebook - Sheffield Hunt Sabs   We had a successful day sabbing the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds with other sab friends today. We surrounded the hunt for much of the day, with them having to move at speed to avoid us and we stopped the hounds when they were hunting a fox through some woods half way through the day. There was interestingly no sign of any terrier men for the first time ever, and the hunt hired security guards from (for the second time) to follow us around, so are going to be even more skint than normal soon. We also found another artificial earth in Everingham Park - used to encourage foxes to live in the area to be hunted.

Sabs appeal for boycott of Escrick Park estate after yet more hunting there

2-1-14    Following their report the events in Yorkshire of 28-12-13 [see report below of that date], where they say they again witnessed foxes being hunted and had to save one from a dig-out, sabs have launched a campaign asking people to boycott and lobby the large estate, near Selby, demanding that they ban the Hunt from their land.  Police and RSPCA are both apparently keen to prosecute the Hunt, and there is a rumour that theYorkandAinstySFHRemainsoffoxkilledby9-3-13.jpg estate have sacked their gamekeeper for his possible links to criminal acts.  Go to 'Boycott Escrick Park' for further info on the campaign.
Last winter, in an incident then unknown to POWA, sabs say they witnessed a kill by the Y&AS, also at Escrick Park. Their report from then follows.  A month later police told sabs they would be taking no action against the Hunt.

6-4-13   Facebook - Manchester Hunt Sabs     This [right] is a sab holding what was left of the remains of a fox killed by the York and Ainsty South hunt on March 9th near Moor Farm, Stillingfleet, which is part of the Escrick Park estate North of Selby (see previous post).  You can see the cops are already thinking 'how the f**k do we get out of this one’ , right? The hunt managed to get the body away but with sabs very close to the kill they were unable to remove all evidence of their crime. Anyway today we found out North Yorks police will take no further action and have accepted the hunt’s ‘it was just an accident officer’ line despite the huntsman blowing for a kill and ignoring that ALL day and ALL season the hunt were clearly drawing coverts, picking up scents, chasing foxes with no evidence of a trail or any of the other bullshit excuses that they try....

One injured as sabs forced to flee from Cleveland Hunt thugs attack

1-1-14   You Tube - 'Mad Fox'    The North Tyne Hunt Sabs decided to visit the Cleveland Hunt New Year's Day meet for a change. Due to the vile weather they appeared to pack up early? We knew however the hard core of the hunt was still out there so we decided to look for them to see if they were illegally hunting?  What we found at the top of the hill was camera shy rock-wielding cavemen wearing game keepers ties & jumpers having the usual violent mood swings (Santa mustn't have given them their fix of cruelty for Xmas). As if the weather wasn't vile enough they called in another 2 cars outnumbering us by 4:1, during our escape one of our sabs had to slide down a ravine to avoid the rocks that were being thrown at him. One of the rocks hit him indirectly causing a minor injury if they had hit him directly or on the head it could have been a lot worse. We had a lucky escape once again. 


..... 30th December - Sabs save fox from York & Ainsty S FH dig-out after terriermen assaults

..... 30th December - Sabs say they were assaulted and stopped dig-out at Albrighton FH meet

..... 30th December - Police seem unconcerned that 20 hounds were rampaging on main road

..... 30th December - Oakley FH called in police air support to protect them from us, say sabs

..... 28th December - Monitors say Cattistock FH supporter threw explosive device at their car

..... 27th December - Old Surrey Huntsman gets slap on wrist after vicious assault on sab

..... 26th December - New poll shows 80% of urban AND rural dwellers want fox hunting ban kept

..... 23rd December - Hare pursuit, disembowelment by Holcombe Harriers witnessed by sabs

..... 23rd December - 'Made in Chelsea' young stars help make real drag hunting look cool

..... 22nd December - Police apologise to hunt sabs after Berkeley Beagles try to fit them up!

..... 22nd December - Sabs say hare killed at joint meet of Waveney and North Norfolk Harriers

..... 21st December - Fox seen being chased past house thought killed by Flint & Denbigh hounds

..... 19th December - RSPCA to review prosecution policy after hunting lobby criticism

..... 17th December - Pro-hunt Tory MPs press Cameron to bring in 'flushing' amendment

..... 14th December - Sabs accuse Old Surrey & Burstow FH followers of assaults & theft

.....  9th December - LACS disappointed at acquittal of Ashford Valley FH terrier man

.....  8th December - Sabs claim Isle of Wight FH hunt blatantly as police turn blind eye

.....  7th December - Sabs claim that police provided large forces to 'protect' Old Surrey FH

.....  6th December - Warwickshire FH accused of repeated trespass and damage by landowner

.....  5th December - Tetbury residents 'terrified' as Beaufort FH hounds run amok in town

.....  3rd December - Sabs say 2 women boxed in, intimidated by Tetcott FH supporter mob

.....     December - Barlow FH accused of invading land and killing pet alpaca


Sabs say they saved life of fox at York & Ainsty South FH dig-out after struggle
Claim a sab hit in head with pistol and knocked down by terriermen's truck

30-12-13   Sheffield Saboteurs    Fox Saved From Death At Dig-Out    On Saturday December 28th, hunt saboteurs from Yorkshire attended a Pony Club meet of the York & AinstyYorkAinstySTerrierrescuedfromdig-out28-12-13.jpg South Foxhounds at Escrick Park.  Three foxes that were deliberately hunted were aided in their escape by the sabs through the course of the day and, as the sun was going down, three terrier men were found just as they were about to finish digging the second fox out of an active badger sett.
The sabs began to obstruct the men from continuing this illegal activity and the situation began to escalate, with about 8-10 more men with spades soon arriving at the scene.  One sab was smashed in the head with the pistol the men planned to shoot the fox with and was also knocked down in a field by the men’s pickup truck.  The sabs were not deterred by this, fought off the attackers and stood their ground.
On stopping the dig-out the sabs had to prise a terrier [right] from the fox as it had locked on to the fox’s face.  Sabs then YorkAinstySfoxsavedbysabsdigout28-12-13.jpghad to help the fox [left] free from the earth as the earth around it had been caved in, leaving only its head exposed.  The fox escaped with little visible injury, the terrier’s face was badly wounded from fighting the fox.  The group are now preparing to prosecute the hunt for their actions and ask Escrick Park to stop facilitating these criminal activities. Anyone concerned by the activities of the Y&AS hunt should contact Escrick Park ( to ask that they refuse the hunt access from now on.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:  "Only two days after Boxing Day we see the real face of fox hunting.  Boxing Day is the sanitized, media friendly press stunt that the hunting community use each year to pull the wool over the eyes of the British public.  This is the grim reality of what occurs the rest of the time when the media spotlight is elsewhere. Escrick Park are a major supporter of the York and Ainsty South Hunt and are just as guilty as they allow these illegal acts to take place on their land.  We call on them to ban the hunt from their estate before they become embroiled in any legal action taken against the Hunt."

However, the Hunt have strongly denied any involvement in illegal hunting:-

3-1-14    Minster FM News   Hunt Denies Claims of Illegal Fox Hunting in Escrick    The Hunt Saboteurs Association claims three foxes were hunted on the Escrick Park estate last weekend...  But a spokesman for the York and Ainsty South Hunt has refuted the allegations and gave Minster FM this statement.  "The York and Ainsty South Hunt have recieved allegations of illegal hunting via social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We totally refute these allegations. There is no police investigation into any of the alleged incidents.  We refute absolutely any transgression of the Hunting Act 2004."
In a statement on Facebook, Charles Forbes Adam, who runs the Escrick Park Estate said:- "Escrick Park is an award-winning estate which takes its responsibilities towards conservation extremely seriously. The York & Ainsty South Hunt, together with the York and Ainsty S Pony Club, enjoyed a family day out here exercising hounds within the law on December 28. The meet passed off without any problems. After the hunt had finished, there was an alleged incident on the estate involving a fox, which we are currently investigating.  It is very important to stress that Escrick Park Estate deplores any illegal killing of animals."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said:- "We are aware of a number of incidents which took place at Escrick Park in the Selby District on Saturday 28 December 2013.  They include the arrest of a 33-year-old man from Sheffield and a man aged 46 from Doncaster, who were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and assault.  In a separate incident, there is also an allegation that another man was assaulted.  Both of these incidents are being investigated. Also under investigation is a report of a badger sett on the site being disturbed.  To confirm, no complaints have been received by North Yorkshire Police regarding interference with fox dens at Escrick Park on the same day.

POWAperson adds:  This is the second time in a couple of years that Sheffield sabs have said they've had to engage in a life-or-death battle - for the fox - with terriermen and supporters from this Hunt. They won that one too, God bless 'em.  Video of that encounter here.

Sabs say they were assaulted and stopped dig-out at the Albrighton FH

30-12-13   Facebook - W.Midlands Hunt Sabs   TERRIBLE PRO-HUNT BIAS BY STAFFORDSHIRE POLICE!   Yesterday West Midlands sabs visited the Albrighton hunt.  We found them soon after they had moved off from the meet, waiting in a field by a road. As the sabs decamped from the van we noticed a terrier boy with a spade on a brow of some adjacent raised ground.  We immediately went to see what was going on and found that the AlbrightonFHterrierman30-12-13.jpghunt's terrier boys had blocked up a couple of holes of a badger set and were putting a terrier down another hole.  A fox must have gone to ground and they were attempting to dig it out.  We intervened and stopped them, but we can't say anything more at this time due to legal reasons.
While this was happening the hunt had left so we returned to the road to find them again.  Our vehicle was being blocked in by hunt supporters but we managed to extricate it quite quickly.  We managed to find the hunt again soon afterwards as the hounds were on cry pursuing a fox.  We managed to first split the pack and then called all of them over to us for several minutes as the fox escaped.  The hunt then ran.  At this point several large hunt supporters advanced across the field towards us, clearly not happy, but we returned to the sab vehicle to find the hunt again.
On our way back we were temporarily stopped by two officers from Staffordshire Police, who displayed a complete bias towards the hunt.  They weren't interested in the dig out or illegal hunting but instead tried to claim that we were interfering with a legal activity.  They clearly wanted to arrest us but knew we knew our rights. Soon after this we found the hunt again on a bridleway, but as we advanced along it the were challenged by riders from the field.  Firstly they claimed it wasn't a bridleway and then stated that you can't walk down a bridleway, but only ride.  They were clearly very angry and then the sabs were ridden at and assaulted.
Meanwhile the police had turned up and simply watched as this happened.  One of the riders was heard to say to the police that we were spoiling their fun that day and the police replied that they knew we were.  This whole incident reflects very badly on Staffordshire Police and yet again showed a pro-hunt bias.  The Sabs were ok to carry on, but the hunt packed up early.  Overall it was an excellent day, but we could have done without the assault or the terrible policing.

Police show no concern that 20 hunt hounds had been rampaging on major road

30-12-13   Scunthorpe Telegraph   '20 hunt dogs run loose on A15 dual carriageway'    AROUND 20 dogs, believed to be from a Hunt, are understood to have strayed onto a busy dual carriageway near the M180, police have confirmed today.  Humberside Police received reports of 20 dogs running loose on the A15 near Barnetby, on Saturday (December 28).  The call came at around 1.45pm, with a member of the public saying horse riders could be seen nearby the hounds.  The riders and dogs were re-united off the carriageway, and there is no suggestion that any animals or motorists were involved in a collision.  Police say when they arrived there was no danger at the scene and no action was taken.

POWAperson comments:-   How on earth could a pack of hounds no doubt supposedly 'trail hunting' end up running all over a busy dual-carriageway?  And why would the police, who would either have known which Hunt they were from or could easily find out, not at least reprimand them? 

Oakley FH called in police air support to protect them from our activities, say sabs 
30-12-13   HSA Press Release    Northamptonshire Police, Money to Burn?    Hunt saboteurs from the Northants and W.Midlands groups visited the Oakley hunt on Saturday 28/12.  On their arrival the hunt were clearly hunting foxes and the sabs had to intervene to enable an animal to escape.  Shortly after this a police helicopter [right] arrived, which it laterOakleyFHairsupport28-12-13.jpg transpired was called in from Leicestershire expressly for this incident.
The helicopter repeatedly flew very low over the sabs heads and purposely placed itself between the sabs and the hunt to enable the hunt to get away.  The helicopter continued to follow the sabs in this way for some time, always trying to stop them from following the hunt and then they decided to land.  Once on the ground the police from the helicopter tried to detain people, but when challenged had no answer as to why they were doing this.
The sabs continued to follow the hunt and eventually the police helicopter left about forty-five minutes later. Simultaneously six police cars were also surrounding the sab vehicle and members of the public were stopping to see what incident had led to such a high police presence.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "It beggars belief that in times of austerity the Police are willing to waste so much public money protecting illegal hunting. We can only assume that members of the Oakley Hunt have friends high up in Northamptonshire police and we wonder how local residents feel about their council tax being misused in this way."

Cattistock FH hunt thug throws explosive device at monitors' car
Another, separate, monitor reports similar terroristic attack

28-12-13  Western Daily Press   Hunt monitors say masked man threw explosive device    An incident in which a masked man allegedly threw a bird-scaring device which exploded near a hunt monitor's car is being investigated by police.  Hunt monitors Helen Weeks and Graham Forsyth have reported the incident, which they claim took place while they were monitoring the Dorset-based Cattistock Hunt on a public road near Yeovil on Boxing Day.  They said they were travelling together in one car when they encountered the man, among a small group of people, whom Mr Forsyth and Mrs Weeks believe were supporting the hunt, standing near quad bikes near Hardington Mandeville. The hunt was in nearby fields.
A video taken by the monitors shows the man who is alleged to have thrown the device standing with the hood of his jacket up, with what appears to be a scarf masking his face.  The film does not show a device being thrown but yesterday Mrs Weeks said she saw smoke from the rook-scarer, which she believes may have landed under the car.  "It is concerning, we were Cattistockhuntsupporters26-12-13.jpgon a public road, and this is intimidating behaviour, made worse when a person is in effect wearing a mask," she said. "It does concern me that people are determined to stop us and that violence can be used."  Mr Forsyth was driving and Mrs Weeks had a camera with which she was monitoring the hunt.
Monitors nationwide say their role is vital to ensure that there is no breach by hunts of the Hunting Act of 2004 – but some hunt supporters object to being photographed or filmed. 
Mr Forsyth and Mrs Weeks believe their cars have been the targets of vandals in the past because of their role but are determined to continue with their work, which they say is entirely legal.
Will Bryer, joint Master of the Cattistock Hunt, who did not witness the incident, said in a statement last night:  "The Cattistock Hunt enjoys huge support throughout our rural community and is a central part of the lives of many of us. We understand that there are some who for whatever reason object to what we do and we respect their right to hold that view, as we hope they respect ours to carry on hunting within the law.  Unfortunately there are a tiny number of people who are not so tolerant and who operate a campaign of harassment, causing trouble and making endless allegations.  This latest story is as spurious as those that have come before and it is a shame for all of us that these people waste so much police time and resources."

POWAperson adds:-  An IFAW monitor, who was also, though separately, monitoring the Cattistock [and who has been seriously assaulted by other hunters several times in the past], has also said he had a firework thrown at him, earlier in the day. He has also reported the matter to the police.
Like most hunt monitors, Mrs. Weeks and Mr. Forsyth, who are both POWA Associates, have been frequently subject to harassment, threats and sometimes violence and thefts by hunt supporters.  A rider from the East Devon hunt was imprisoned for using his horse as a weapon against Mrs. Weeks, who is in her '60s.  A few months ago a group of hunt thugs menaced them and snatched and stole their video cameras. One received a small fine for assaulting Mrs. Weeks but, astonishingly, the CPS dropped the theft charges, though there was overwhelming evidence of the youths' guilt. This move was later condemned by a senior CPS official, but the charges could not be reinstated and the pair received no compensation for the damage to their cameras.

Old Surrey FH Huntsman gets slap on wrist for vicious assault on sab
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, snapped greeting him at Boxing Day meet

27-12-13   HSA Press Release   Vicious Assault on Hunt saboteur by Huntsman and chum of Nigel Farage during a meet of the Old Surrey FH at Fordcombe, Kent on 14th December
Huntsman Mark Bycroft launched an unprovoked assault on a hunt saboteur.  Despite calling 999 Kent police failed to take any action on the day.  Following complaints they reviewed the video evidence and, although he has a previous conviction for assault on a hunt saboteur, decided that a warning would suffice as Bycroft freely admitted the assault. The video clearly shows Bycroft looking around to see if he is observed, and then viciously punching the hunt saboteur in the face with no warning or provocation.
Roll on two weeks to Boxing Day and the same hand is shaking that of Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP.  It seems Farage not only welcomes a return to the slaughter of our native wildlife but is also happy to shake the hand of a man who uses violence against anyone who intervenes to stop him illegally killing animals.  Is this the face of the new politics that UKIP is promoting?
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "Are the hunts feeling so betrayed by the Conservatives and their years of broken promises that they are willing to climb into bed with this insignificant, minority political party? We celebrate this alliance between two groups that share such outdated, unpleasant ideas that are despised by the majority of the British public."
Pics below:                    
                          Bycroft hitting sab                                    Farage shakes hands with Bycroft
       MarkBycroftOldSurreyHuntsmanhitssab14-12-13.JPG   MarkBycroftandNigelFarage26-12-13.jpg

27-12-13  Daily Mirror   VIDEO: Shocking footage shows Nigel Farage's friendly Boxing Day huntsman appearing to strike protester in the face    The Boxing Day huntsman photographed being welcomed by UKIP leader Nigel Farage is a thug who attacked an anti-hunt protester just two weeks ago, the Mirror can reveal.
The shameless MEP went hunting for voters on Thursday at a legal chase and greeted those involved in the hope he could count on their allegiance.  But, in an embarrassment for the former Tory, the huntsman he was seen sharing a handshake and a joke with was cautioned by police for attacking a protester earlier this month.  A YouTube video claiming to show the assault was posted online yesterday.  The short clip shows kennel-master Bycroft lashing out at the masked saboteur, hitting him in the face from on top of his horse before riding off. The Hunt Saboteurs Association claim police were called after the December 14 incident but failed to take any action at the time. Following complaints they later reviewed the video evidence and arrested Mr Bycroft.
Mr Bycroft, 42, admitted accepting the caution and told the Mirror: "It was an incident where a lot of saboteurs are under investigation at the moment. The evidence is still ongoing and police are investigating people wearing balaclavas and attacking hunt followers so I can’t say more."
Kent Police said they had received counter-allegations against the protesters, adding:  "We can confirm a 42-year old man from East Grinstead was arrested on suspicion of assault and was issued with a caution."
With his Countryside Alliance badges on show, Mr Farage showed his sympathy for lifting the 2005 ban on hunting with foxes.  David Cameron has also said he favours relaxing the law. But 80% of Brits are against the idea, according to a poll by The League Against Cruel Sports and RSPCA this week. Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: "Are the hunts feeling so betrayed by the Conservatives and their years of broken promises that they are willing to climb into bed with this insignificant, minority political party? "We celebrate this alliance between two groups that share such outdated, unpleasant ideas that are despised by the majority of the British public."
New poll shows 80% of urban AND rural dwellers want fox-hunting ban kept
26-12-13   LACS PR    Eight in ten people believe fox hunting belongs to the past    New polling shows majority of British public remain opposed to hunting with dogs for sport.  A new survey released on Boxing Day, a major day in the hunting calendar, from the League Against Cruel Sports, RSPCA and IFAW, shows 80 per cent of the Great British public think that fox hunting should not be made legal again; 85 per cent think deer hunting should not be made legal again; and 87 per cent think hare hunting/coursing should not be made legal again.
The survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI for the animal welfare charities, also revealed there to be no difference in the view held by those living in rural areas versus those in urban areas on the issue of legalising fox hunting. 80 per cent of rural dwellers thought fox hunting should not be made legal again; the same per cent for urban dwellers, highlighting that this is not a town vs country issue.
The Coalition Government was quite clear in its agreement that it wanted to hold a free vote on whether to repeal the Hunting Act.  The notion of returning to a time of cruelty, where hunting animals with dogs for sport was legal, is one clearly rejected by the majority of the British public.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, says:  "Hunting is a sickeningly cruel blood sport, which, like us, the majority of the British public do not want brought back. Voting for repeal would be political suicide. We need to move forward as a nation, not backwards on matters of animal welfare, which is why we recently launched our national ‘No Joke' online and cinema campaign to remind people of the sheer horror and animal cruelty hiding behind the ‘traditional spectacle'."
Gavin Grant, Chief Executive of the RSPCA comments: "The fact that 80 per cent of the public oppose the return of this ‘bloodsport' comes as no surprise to me. As a rural dweller I have always known that opposition to hunting with dogs has never been an issue of ‘town versus country'. This poll proves it once and for all. The message to MPs is loud and clear. Hunting wild animals with dogs is unethical, inhumane and cruel. The British people will simply not allow a totally unrepresentative elite to re-introduce it."
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said:  "The hunts will be making their annual choreographed Boxing Day appearance with a few die-hard hunters making the usual call for repeal of the Hunting Act.  The truth is the vast majority of the British public, whether they live in town or country, share IFAW's view that bringing back a blood sport is a repugnant idea that has no place in the 21st Century."

Hare pursuit, disembowelling by Holcombe Harriers hounds witnessed by sabs
23-12-13   HSA Press Release    Local hunt kills hare at Brindle     In the run-up to hunting's big traditional Boxing Day show piece, anti hunt protesters from Manchester and Liverpool witnessed first hand the reality of post ban hunting at a meet of the Holcombe Harriers this Saturday 21st December.  The Hunt, who traditionally mostly hunt hares, met at Brindle at noon, just off the junction of the M61 and M65. The hunt saboteurs followed closely for two hours both on foot and from the road.  At around 2pm hounds from the pack got on to the scent of a hare, chased and killed it. The protesters, whilst close to the kill, were too far away to have time to intervene to save the poor animal.
The traditional hunt apologist line that hunted animals are killed swiftly by a quick nip to the neck was, as always, proved a complete lie as the hare was seized by two hounds and torn open. Footage and images from the day were taken and the crime reported to Lancashire Police. The hunt last year was involved in controversy when at their Boxing Day meet at Rivington, a horse knocked down a 64 year old woman and trod on her head just before they were due to set off.
A spokesperson for the Manchester protesters said: 'We see again and again while out following hunts that they regularly ignore the law. Here the Holcombe Harriers were making a feeble attempt to stay within the law by hunting a nominal trail. The reality is the complete lack of control the huntsman exerts over his pack makes this redundant. We will continue to follow this hunt and others, filming their illegal activities and, when necessary, intervening to save the hunted animal. We urge Lancashire Police to take a long hard look at what happened on Saturday and at the activities of this hunt generally. If the hunt cannot or will not properly follow a trail, maybe it's time they disbanded completely.'

Pics below:-      1/   The poor bloody hare     2/    JM Martin Kirby
      HaredisembowelledbyHolcombeHarriers23-12-13.jpg HolcombeHarriersJMMartinKirby.jpg

'Made in Chelsea' young stars help make real drag hunting cool

23-12-13   Horse & Hound    Made in Chelsea go hunting     The stars of pseudo-reality show Made in Chelsea had the opportunity to show off their equestrian credentials when they spent a day with the South Downs Bloodhounds.  Cheska, Binky, Lucy, Louise and Spencer all took to horseback for an episode of the show.  The hirelings were provided by James Allway and Jon Casemore and behaved impeccably for their TV debuts.  “Although none had ridden for a while, all the girls were pretty proficient, particularly Cheska and Binky,”  said Mia Woodford from the Vintage Tack Room who dressed the stars.  “Spencer was a little less at home on the back of a horse, although he did look pretty handsome once dressed in his vintage hunt coat and waistcoat.”  The footage from their day with the South Downs Bloodhounds will be part of the Made in Chelsea Christmas special, which will be show on E4... 
Pics below:-    1/   Proudlock & Jamie act as the quarry     2/   The real stars of the show
     MadeinChelseadraghunting.JPG SDownsBloodhounds.JPG

Police apologise to sabs after Berkeley Beagles try to fit them up !

2-13   Facebook -Berkshire Hunt Sabs   This Saturday Berkshire sabs went to see the Berkeley Beagles. We arrived at the kennels in Aylesbury and it seemed they were just loading up upon our arrival.  They were not particularly happy to see us unfortunately. They came out surrounded one of our cars, one of them told us they where a police officer so he needed our names and addresses.  They then tried to get in the car - I am sure this is because they are so jealous of us and want to join our group, unfortunately we had no spaces, we also have standards!
After this, they called the police to say that 5 people in balaclavas where trying to break in to their property. 2 police cars with flashing lights came to save them from us.  After we explained the law to the police and showed them the video showing our accusers of trying to break into our car and them actually wasting police time, the police apologised to us then they scurried off back to their master.
The Hunt then tried to leave the kennels whilst evading us. They thought they would be really clever and shoot off leaving one of our cars facing the wrong way, they gave us a cheeky wave as they thought they had got away. However the last laugh was on them as we actually had several cars plotted up around the area so not only did we still easily follow them to the meet in case they went somewhere different, but we also had a car waiting for them at the meet as we knew where they where going anyway ho ho ho!!  Upon arrival to the meet and them seeing us there again, the hunt didn't even unload the and van drove straight back home. ... All in all a very good day as no kills!! If you want to help us to put a stop to there killing, and are serious about joining please get in touch, we need more sabs!!

Sabs say hare killed at joint meet of Waveney and N.Norfolk Harriers

22-12-13   Facebook - Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Sabs   They [Waveney Harriers - right]WaveneyHarriers22-12-13.jpg were at a joint meet with the N.Norfolk Harriers on Tuesday [17-12] where a hare was killed (Langham).
Norfolk/Suffolk sabs today have been out on the cliffs at Benacre Hall (just off the A12), saving Foxes, Deer & Hares from the jaws of the hounds. We have also rescued hounds from the marshes at Benacre, and also one sab managed to stop a rider less horse which could have caused major problems for other road users. What did we get? One thank you and a few bumps with their horses.  We had police vehicles out with us most of the day, but when it came to the end of the day and a fox was being dug out they were no where to be seen. The WLCO again turned a blind eye to what was going on he went and hid in his car when he saw camcorder, and as usual sent a WPC to ask stupid questions. We stopped the dig out much to the disgust of the terrier prats on their quad bike... 

Hounds from Flint & Denbigh Hunt seen pursing fox immediately outside house
Monitor who was not far away is certain fox was killed
21-12-13   POWA has been told that, a few weeks ago, a child witnessed a fox being chased by hunt hounds immediately outside their house. The parent was initially reluctant to report the incident, but later said:- "My little boy saw the fox run across the field and shouted me excited that he'd seen a fox. I'd seen the horses earlier but going up the road and some in boxes so thought it had finished. When my little boy shouted me I looked out and saw the hounds in the next field. They ran after the fox and the riders didn't appear for about another 5 mins by which time the hounds had got the fox and were out of sight onto their next target.  3 of the hunt people got off their horses to lookFlintandDenbighFHhoundskilfox3-12-13.JPG at the fox then got back on and had to wait 15mins to get the hounds back.  I was watching all of it from our landing window. The hounds don't stay with the hunters so they don't even see what they get never mind call them off."
It subsequently emerged that Judi Hewitt of Wales Against Animal Cruelty was monitoring the Flint & Denbigh FH that day and was close by when the incident occurred. She gives the following [slightly edited] report:-

'The day monitoring the Flint and Denbigh FH was uneventful until about 3.15pm when I heard squealing in the distance and the sound of hounds and the hunting horn. I drove to where I thought I could get closer and parked up. As I climbed over a stile riders rushed past me below.  I felt they were panicking because I was there with my camera.  I walked along the hedge to follow the sound of highly excited hounds then climbed up another stile, it was perched up on a steep muddy slope leading to a barbed wire fence.  A hunt worker in camo gear urgently requested to by-pass me to get over.  I tried to follow him but he crossed the field quickly and climbed over another barbed fence to get to where the hounds were still baying.  The riders went through an open gate between two dwellings in a small hamlet. I thought they might be a hunt supporter's dwellings because there was a horse box parked up.  I could tell that the riders appeared worried that I would arrive to see the fox being mauled or by this time ragged about.  I couldn't see what was happening because I was too far away but my camera did pick up the sound of a man shouting 'Back, back', and I thought I also heard a man saying drop it, but my camera doesn't appear to have picked that up.  I felt compelled to get into that third field but the hounds and riders were already leaving by the time I reached them.  At this point I wasn't sure that a fox had been killed... UPDATE -  After monitoring the Hunt on Tuesday 3rd December, I can now confirm that hounds did indeed kill a fox, This was also witnessed by a family whose small child was traumatised after seeing hounds chase and kill a fox. The hunt worker who hurried past me was there to take the body away to remove any trace.'
POWAperson adds:-  The pic above right was taken by the young boy's mother from her landing window. X marks the spot where it is believed that the hounds caught the fox.  
It is not clear whether the Flint & Denbigh were deliberately hunting this fox or not, but, at best, they were derelict in not controlling their hounds properly.

RSPCA to review prosecution policy after criticism from hunting lobby

19-12-13     RSPCA announces independent prosecutions review   The RSPCA has announced that it is to undertake an independent review of its prosecution work with the help of a former chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. But it has denied that the move was triggered by criticism of its controversial decision to prosecute the Heythrop Hunt.
The review will look at the context in which the RSPCA works as a charity and how prosecution decisions are taken, as well as the conduct of criminal cases in meeting the standards of a reasonable, competent and objective prosecutor. The charity attracted heavy criticism from The Daily Telegraph after it chose to prosecute the Heythrop Hunt last December.
Ray Goodfellow, chief legal officer at the RSPCA, said: "The RSPCA has a very long history of investigating alleged cases of animal cruelty, bringing private prosecutions for animal welfare offences as part of its charitable mission.  "We strive to be a reasonable and fair-minded prosecutor and this independent review will provide an effective external measure of our performance and highlight any area of potential improvement."
The review will be undertaken by Stephen Wooler CB and will begin early in the new year. Findings will be published later in the year when the review has been completed. The RSPCA's prosecution policy was criticised after it decided to bring a £326,000 private prosecution for fox-hunting against the Heythrop Hunt in David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency last December.....  A spokesperson from the Charity Commission said: "The Charity Commission welcomes the RSPCA's announcement that it has commissioned an independent review of its prosecution work."

Pro-hunt Tory MPs press Cameron to bring in 'flushing' amendment
Neil Parish blunders, saying this 'to do something for country sports'

17-12-13   Western Daily Press    Cameron told to relax hunting ban or lose grass-rootsNeilParishMP.jpg voters     Conservative backbenchers have warned David Cameron that the party could 'squander' a chance to strengthen grass-roots support as polling shows easing the hunting ban could help win back swing voters. David Cameron risks "squandering" an opportunity to win back disgruntled Conservative voters unless he moves quickly to introduce a partial relaxation of the hunting ban, backbenchers claim.
At a meeting attended by more than 40 MPs in Westminster last week, backbenchers accused party whips of being overcautious and dragging their feet over the proposal which farmers say would help them protect flocks without an acrimonious attempt to repeal the ban
 altogether. It came as new polling showed that the move could help the Tories retain or regain support from up to one in seven swing voters, including those attracted by UKIP.
Mr Cameron recently signalled support for the idea of allowing farmers to use a full pack of hounds, instead of just two, to flush foxes which have been attacking flocks out from cover to be shot. The change, which would bring the law in England and Wales into line with that in Scotland, would be the first change to one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in modern times. But it would require only a technical amendment to the Hunting Act, introduced by Tony Blair, rather than a full vote for repeal. The Tories have a commitment to allowing a free vote on repealing the act, but hunting campaigners see a partial amendment as a more realistic goal.
Houndpack.jpgYet Conservative whips have voiced reluctance to pressing ahead with the change, amid fears that it could threaten the party's support in marginal urban constituencies at the next general election in 2015.  But supporters of a change now point to polling showing that most voters would not be affected either way by such a change but that swing voters on the right might be drawn to the party if it made the change. Neil Parish [above right], the Tory MP for Tiverton and Honiton, who was at the meeting, said backbenchers had voiced "frustration" at reluctance by some to press ahead quickly with the change. "I think it is an opportunity to show the people who want a firm policy from Conservative government that we mean business," he said.....
The polling, commissioned by the Federation of Welsh Farmers' Packs, which is campaigning for the relaxation, showed that hunting did not figure in the list of key issues likely to determine most voters' support, a list dominated by health, the economy and immigration. But the Orb International poll of 2,000 voters found that 36 per cent of swing voters would be more likely to vote Conservative if the Government relaxes the hunting ban, against 22 per cent who would be less likely – a potential net gain of 14 per cent. More than a third of those who said they are likely to vote UKIP but could be open to persuasion said relaxing the hunting ban could attract them to the Conservatives.
Mr Parish said this proved that some in the party were "unduly frightened" by the political fallout from one side of the debate while antagonising those on the other side. "I am keen – and a lot of backbenchers are keen – to get this amendment put before Parliament quickly in the New Year, otherwise if we leave it too late in the year it could be deemed too close to the election," he said. "What worries me is that the longer we leave the more it will become an issue which is seen as too hot to handle. We need to deliver something for country sports which we haven't delivered up until now. I think it is fair to say that there is a reservation."

POWAperson comments:-  POWA has written to the WMN and three other West Country papers in which similar articles were published pointing out what, as revealed by Parish's gaffe, the 'flushing' amendment is really about and the ridiculous way Parish has spun the polling data to make it look favourable when the key result was that, nationwide, nearly twice as many voters said enacting the proposal would make them less likely to vote Conservative than those who said it would make them more likely - and in Wales 5 times as many!  POWA's reply can be read here. Neil Parish is a livestock farmer and very strongly pro badger-cull and hunting for 'sport'. Bizarrely, he is also Chair of the All Party Animal Welfare Group in the Commons. 

Sabs accuse Old Surrey & Burstow FH followers of assaults and theft

14-12-13   South Down Hunt Sabs blog    With the Southdown hunt apparently out of action, we headed again to the Old Surrey and Burstow hunt for another fun filled day of MarkBycroftOSBWKFHHuntsmanHowdareyou.jpgsabbing. We found them at Chafford Park near Fordcombe, starting the day late and with a long walk along the road.  There was no trail layer in sight and the hunt did a lot of pointless trotting in circles, in between trying to run off and lose us, unsuccessfully.  A boy who is often riding as a whipper-in today decided to wear a balaclava and follow us around on a quad bike. The quad bike had a terrier in the box, which suggests they were planning to dig out foxes illegally. Most digging out is now illegal and there is no other reason to subject a terrier to a day being bounced about in a small dark box.
Toward the end of the day the same boy in a balaclava tried to kick one of the sabs which led to a bit of a scuffle, with several hunters behaving very badly, including assault and theft.  Despite the police being pretty rubbish, we expect to be taking legal action.
After that, the huntsman, Mark Bycroft [left], scurried straight back to the meet, making it a very short day's hunting. The disinterested police response showed a stark contrast to last week when Surrey police managed to deploy about 8 officers and a helicopter to follow us and actively prevent us from interfering in illegal hunting, while ignoring that illegal hunting entirely.

Ashford Valley FH terrier man acquitted of badger digging charge

9-12-13   LACS PR   League disappointed after Ashford Valley hunt member escapesAshfordValleyterrierman2013.jpg conviction    Leading animal Welfare charity, the League Against Cruel Sports has expressed ‘bitter disappointment’ in Folkestone Magistrates Court today, after William Staines [right, LACS film]  believed to be a terrier man with the Ashford Valley Hunt was found not guilty, after being charged with an offence of interfering with a badger sett following evidence submitted by the charity.
The League’s Investigations Team obtained evidence of what was considered to be an illegal activity during a Hunt meet near Ashford, Kent on 5th January 2013.  The footage was given to Kent Police who conducted further investigation and submitted the file of evidence to the CPS.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League Against Cruel Sports said: "We are surprised and extremely disappointed by today’s verdict. We believe the footage captured by our investigators out in the field that day, showed evidence of digging at a badger sett, which was believed to be in use.  Our team of investigators remain committed to catching those who subject animals to cruelty and bringing them to justice.  Badger persecution is a serious wildlife crime and we will not tolerate the abuse of animals for sport."   The League has reported to have seen a steep rise in reports of badger persecution to its Wildlife Crime watch line over the past couple of months.

Sabs claim Isle of Wight FH hunt blatantly because police turn blind eye

8-12-13   Facebook-W.Sussex Hunts Sabs  Travelling over land and sea we went to the Isle of Wight to visit their fox hunt.  We managed to keep with them all day, witnessing some blatant hunting even though they were aware of our presence.  Unfortunately Hampshire's police reluctance to enforce the law makes this hunt feel above such matters. We witnessed no kills.  For most of the day hounds did not pick up on any scent confirming the sad absence of foxes due to there persecution.  It costs us a fair bit to get to the Island due to the ferry & fuel so any donations as usual are greatly appreciated.
POWAperson adds:-  Video accompanying the sabs FB post shows the Huntsman dismounting, casting hounds, then chasing after them as they appear to set off in cry.  Monitors [not sabs] on the Island have often remarked on the perceived bias of the Island's police toward the Hunt and have even complained, fruitlessly, to the Chief Constable of Hampshire about it.  See video 
here, and other videos showing the behaviour of the Hunt and its supporters in videos uploaded to YouTube by 'megatextingqueen' and 'huntchaos'.

Sabs complain that police protected Old Surrey FH while hunting illegally

7-12-13    Hunt Sabs have uploaded a video which they say shows Surrey police deploying significant forces, including a helicopter, to 'protect' the Old Surrey, Burstow and W.Kent FH from a group of around 20 sabs and obstructed the sabs attempts to film what they believed to be illegal hunting.  Watch it and make your own judgement.

Landowner 'furious' over Warwickshire FH repeated trespass and damage
Hunt admit they use fox-scent trails and 'may' chase foxes 'by accident'

6-12-13   Leamington Spa Courier   Warwickshire Hunt admits foxes may be chased in error    A south Warwickshire landowner is furious after horses and hounds in the WarwickshireFHriderabouttohitITVcameramanwithhiscrop2006.JPGWarwickshire Hunt ventured on to his land. Nicholas Trigg, who owns several acres of land between Knightcote and Fenny Compton, says the hunters - who had travelled from Southam last Thursday (November 28) - disturbed a wildlife reserve and damaged some fences.  He was also concerned that the group may have harmed some foxes.....Mr Trigg said: "We have written to the Hunt to say we don’t want them coming on to our land. They don’t control what the hounds do so they end up running all over the place. We have let them know many times that they are not welcome."
Mr Trigg, whose wife called the police to report the trespass, said that he has not found any fox remains, but he is still concerned that the dogs were chasing foxes.  He said: "They are meant to be trail-hunting, but if they were doing that, they would be able to control their hounds."
Sam Butler, chairman of the Warwickshire Hunt, said: "I am extremely sorry that anyWarwickshireFHfollowerkickingpassingcar2006.JPG hunters got on to this private land and I extend my apologies on behalf of the Hunt." He said he was not aware of any damage done, but added: "If there was, we would expect to put that right. Our records show that our hunters went on to this private land in 2001, but this was the only time since then that this has happened."  Mr Butler explained that the hunters - typically around 80 people on horses - follow fox scent-soaked rags, meaning that sometimes the hounds may chase actual foxes by accident.  He said: "If this happens, then it is our job to make sure that they stop hunting that fox as fast as possible. That is what happened on Thursday. Every effort was made to get the hounds off the fox and this was successful.  We run a transparent organisation and we are happy to hear from anyone who has concerns or WarksFHriderabusingfemalehuntmonitors.JPGqueries,"

POWAperson adds:-  Though don't even think about turning up to see what they're really doing if you're a hunt monitor. In the late 80s, a farmer's son accused the Warwickshire of causing the death of his father, who he claimed had collapsed and died while berating them for repeatedly trespassing on his land, though they denied any responsibility.  Stephen Hester, the CEO of the mostly state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland until June this year, was also an ex JM of the Warwickshire until a couple of years ago. In his time as CEO he was paid millions from the public purse. The RBS now stands accused of deliberately driving some of their business customers to the wall so that they could seize their assets.
Examples of the past behaviour of Warks FH riders and followers can be seen in an ITV Central News item here.  Stills from the film are above, as follows:- 

Top left - Rider about to hit ITV News cameraman with his riding crop
Mid right - Supporter on quad bike kicks passing car
Bottom left - Rider hurling volley of abuse at female hunt monitor


Residents 'terrified' as Beaufort FH hounds run amok  in Gloucs town
Police investigating complaints that fox was being hunted

5-12-13   Daily Telegraph  Royals' favourite hunt probed by police    A hunt which is popular with Princes Charles, William and Harry is being investigated over claims its hounds were after a live fox... it charged through a sleepy Cotswold town.
Residents in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, claim about 40 horses from the Duke of Beaufort’sPeterMartinTetburyresident.JPG hunt went speeding after a pack of hounds, which was pursuing the wild animal, a practice outlawed in 2005.
Terrified shoppers said they were forced to leap out of the way when the 15 dogs thundered through residential streets and gardens last Monday. Peter Martin [right, in road where he saw hounds], 51, claims he saw a fox run past his garden gate, chased by the hounds.   He said: "I was on the phone looking out the window and saw a fox legging it past my gate closely followed by a pack of hounds thundering down the road. I spoke to a lady who had seen them soon after by St Mary's Church.  They had gone all the way into town. She said she had been absolutely terrified."  He said neighbours were too frightened to report the hunt to police, after they came off a field and into the village....  "I spoke to a clearly frightened, distressed woman who had seen the hunt, but she didn’t want to leave her name."    Jamie Smith, owner of Bath Bridge Barbers, said: "As I was walking out to get our sign at the top of the street, I had to get out the way. There were about 15 dogs at least."  BeaufortFHinpursutofhoundsinvadingTetbury3-12-13.JPGAnother resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said the hounds jumped over her garden wall. "They leapt into my garden from the field and then ran into the road," she said. "I’m surprised they didn’t get run over. I was quite frightened for them."
ut members of the hunt... insist there was no fox.  They claim they were trail hunting, where the hounds chase down a scent that has been dragged over a planned course before the hunt... A spokeswoman for Beaufort Hunt admitted the hounds had run loose in the centre of the village because riders were held back by an "unexpected wire".  She said: "It seems some hunt staff were delayed by unexpected wire but soon caught up with the hounds and collected them all."... Police confirmed they were investigating after a member of the public reported seeing an alleged fox hunt....
The story was also reported in the Wilts & Glos Standard, which has a video clip of the Hunt pursuing the hounds towards Tetbury town centre.  Still, above left.

Sabs claim 2 women boxed in and intimidated by Tetcott FH mob

3-12-13   Facebook - Kernow Sabs     An attempt to monitor the Tetcott fox hounds suffers intimidation by hunt supporters.  Just before 11am, two female sabs were boxed in by 3 hunt vehicles and intimidated by at least seven hunt supporters who interfered with a car tyre, tried to open the car door, shouted abuse and even got out a box of eggs!  The sabs managed to squeeze the car out of the situation by reversing, despite the hunt followers efforts to keep them boxed in by further moving their pick up.  The two female antis had done nothing wrong, nothing illegal.  They were parked in a lay by out of sight of the meet looking at maps and drinking coffee. We shall not be bullied or manipulated by aggressive and illegal hunts and their supporters.  We shall continue to use legal, nonviolent action to bring these thugs to justice.

POWA has also seen an uncorroborated report that the Flintshire FH pursued a fox close to houses and that a small child was upset by seeing this.

Barlow FH accused of invading land and killing pet alpaca

POWA has come across a disturbing report, but we can't trace it in it's supposed original location. Nor can we find any other report of the alleged incident, except a reference that it's now being investigated by police. 

December, date uncertain    Sheffield Forum    
  Barlow Hunt rode over my friends land on Saturday ... some of the riders stopped, watched and jeered as the pack of hounds ran down and savaged my friends pet Alpaca ..... One women rider was heard shouting " rip the little <REMOVED> to pieces".   His cries of pain and distress could be heard from the next farm. The hunt then carried on .. leaving the poor animal dying and my friend desperate and upset .. my friend is a vet nurse and said she's never seen such horrific injuries. The little fellow died. What an utter and total disgrace .. this happened yards from a public foot-path where family's walk there dogs!!  The hunt have taken responsibility for this and offered to pay for the animal!! THIS MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!!!!! Can someone please remind me what century this is?? My friend's husband is talking about this tomorrow morning on radio Sheffield.".

UPDATE - POWA has since received a little further information about the incident. The Hunt, when challenged, claimed not to have seen the hounds savaging the alpaca.  There is a further allegation that the hunt dogs had been worrying sheep a little earlier. The story was apparently covered on Radio Sheffield and Look North TV news. but not, it seems, in any print media. Given the past record of the police in investigating allegations of hunt wrongdoing, we shouldn't hold our breaths waiting for a positive outcome in this case.



..... 25th November - LACS launches hard-hitting new ad campaign against Hunting Act repeal

..... 23rd November - Sabs say S.Durham hunt thugs menaced and tried to drive them off road

..... 21st November - Former Cheshire hunt groom fined £1500 for throwing crop at passing car

..... 21st November - LACS riles CA by reasserting that MPs would vote down HA repeal bid

..... 20th November - LACS report undermines calls for full-pack flushing amendment

..... 13th November - DEFRA Minister seems to rule out Hunting Act repeal vote in this Parliament

..... 12th November - CPS drop case against RAC Beagles Huntswoman as fails to appear again

.....  7th November - RSPCA drop illegal hunting case against Ledbury FH Huntsman

.....     November - 'Red' survives the Autumn stag hunting season on LACS sanctuary


LACS launches hard-hitting new ad campaign against Hunting Act repeal

25-11-13   LACS PR    'It's no joke' - Charity launches new anti-hunting ad campaign starring Dave Spikey     Leading anti-hunting charity, the League Against Cruel Sports is today launching a national awareness campaign featuring comedian Dave Spikey [left], to highlight the importance of the Hunting Act in protecting wildlife.  The 'No joke' campaign, which aims to reach five million people, will see adverts run across video-sharing website DaveSpikey.jpgYouTube and in over 400 cinemas up and down the country alerting the public of the threat to this landmark piece of animal welfare legislation.  The League's hard hitting campaign aims to remind the British public of the cruel reality of hunting with dogs and the need to keep cruelty history in light of current moves to weaken the Hunting Act, and the Coalition Government's continued promise to hold a free vote on repeal during their term in office.
The campaign also seeks to target the younger generation unlikely to be aware of the hard fought campaign to bring about a ban.  The adverts open with Dave Spikey starting to tell what appears to be a joke; however when the time comes for his delivery of the punch line, the comedian's face straightens as harrowing pre-ban footage of hunting with dogs fills the screen [still, right, hound savaging deer].  The 30 second adverts will be supported by an integrated online and social media campaign running on Facebook and Twitter.  Online banner ads featuring Dave Spikey will also appear across several national online newsHoundsavagingdeer.JPG sites including; the Mail Online, Metro, London Evening Standard and Independent, directing users to the campaign landing page situated on the charity's website to view and share the full length film and to contact their MP to ask them to vote against repeal.
Dave Spikey on lending his support to the campaign said: "It is shocking to think anyone would want to turn the clock back to a time when chasing animals to exhaustion and encouraging them to be ripped apart by a pack of dogs for sport was legal. If you, like me, believe this barbaric practice should never be allowed again, please support the League's campaign to keep cruelty history."
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League Against Cruel Sports said: "We are delighted that Dave Spikey has joined our campaign to help raise awareness of this important issue. After fighting tirelessly for over 80 years for hunting with dogs to be banned, we are not about to let the threat of repeal become a reality. We know that the majority of the British public do not want to see a return to hunting with dogs for sport. However a vocal minority do, and so it is important that we remind people, both young and old what a return to this barbaric cruelty would look like if this important piece of wildlife legislation was to be overturned."

Sabs say S.Durham hunt thugs menaced and tried to drive them off road

23-11-13    Facebook - N.Tyne Hunt Saboteurs  North Tyne Hunt Sabs Not Welcome At The South Durham Hunt Either!    The North Tyne Hunt Sabs decided to visit the South Durham hunt [pic below, on the day] on Saturday, we managed to find the hounds sniffing around a covert looking for a scent so we sprayed around to prevent them picking up anything.  When the hunt spotted us they called them in for about 20 minutes, during that time they called in hired thugs to get rid of us with the usual violent threats & intimidation, along with mood swings.
This is the first time this hunt has resorted to hiring such violent thugs from the outside to outnumber us. It was down to our quick wits & cool heads that we were not hospitalised by these nasty pieces of work.  Later on in the day the hunt master Gareth Watchman lost control of his thugs when 3 vehicles with them behind the wheel of each one tried to kill us by attempting to run us off the road in full view of the hunt.  The rest of the footage cannot be posted because of pending legal reasons at this time.
I doubt however that they got a kill on that day due to our determination not to be deterred & the skill of our driver (who deserves a medal for her driving & quick reaction) for saving our lives.  Make no mistake if they would have blocked us on the road the thugs would have smashed the car windows, dragged us out of the car, hospitalised us & smashed all of our cams.  They were extremely paranoid in case I captured footage of them from the first encounter, which I did.  If we would have been killed or seriously mangled there would be no one at all sabbing in the North East.

Former Cheshire hunt groom fined £1500 for throwing whip at car

21-11-13   Irish Independent     Road rage horse rider fined after throwing riding crop at Audi    A horse rider has been fined for throwing her riding crop at a businessman's Audi after he hooted the car's horn as she rode down a country lane. Then when he tried to overtake her in his A5 she hurled her riding crop at the car in a fit of anger. However, Mr Knox pulled his car over further up the road and claimed the crop had caused £1,700 worth of damage to the windscreen and bonnet. He told the police Jessica Mills had used the crop as a weapon against him and asked them to arrest her. Mills, who used to work as a groom for a hunt kennels in Cheshire, was ordered to pay £1,500 compensation after admitting criminal damage.
The incident - described as "meeting of minds" - occurred on June 1 when Mills and a friend Samantha Chesters were riding their horses side-by-side along the narrow lane near the wealthy village of Mottram St Andrew. Knox, who lives locally with his parents in a barn conversion, had just been to a garage when he drove up behind the two horses. Debbie Byrne, prosecuting, told Macclesfield Magistrates' Court: "He drove behind them for around 30 seconds before trying to overtake. "He then saw the horse move towards the middle of the road blocking his route. He beeped his horn to make sure the rider was aware of his presence, but Mills began shouting. "He tried to pass the horses and he saw Mills grab the whip. He accelerated as she threw her whip and shouted. The whip cracked his windscreen and bonnet."... Mr Knox, who runs and whose parents run a shopfitting firm, said it cost him £385 to repair the windscreen plus a further £1,486 in repairs and labour....
Magistrate Ian Cawley: "Jacob Knox was measured in his response and was consistent and credible. Jessica Mills admitted to being more concerned about the horse so we therefore don't find her evidence as compelling." After the case Mills who lives on a farm in Woodford said: "I have been made to feel like a criminal for protecting my horse and myself. At the time I asked him if he knew the High Way Code and suggested he go back home to learn it. I was only protecting my horse and I am very upset at what's happened. I haven't ridden since, I have tried to sit on a horse but I can't. I am now at a point where I am that scared of something happening I can't ride....

POWAperson adds:-  Newspaper photographs show Ms.Mills to be, like so many hunters, grossly overeight, so her horse must be relieved she's not riding it any more.

LACS upsets CA by reasserting that MPs would vote down HA repeal motion

21-11-13  Western Daily Press    MPs will vote against Hunting Act repeal, says League Against Cruel Sports     Repeal of the Hunting Act seems a long way off, as a detailed list of MPs' voting intentions published by the League Against Cruel Sports showed the scale of the challenge faced by hunt supporters.  The League claimed a total of 322 MPs - enough for a majority in the Commons - have said they would vote to keep the Hunting Act, while only 257 have announced their intention to vote for repeal.
The League Against Cruel Sports has claimed that the pro-hunt lobby needs to change or settle the minds of 50 MPs if it is to secure repeal of the Hunting Act. The Countryside Alliance dismissed the claims last night, saying the league was making itself "look stupid" by making such claims, but the League said it had researched the voting intentions of all MPs thoroughly.  
Its findings indicate that only 27 MPs have said they are still undecided, the views of 21 MPs are not known and 13 said they would abstain.  That means the pro-hunt lobby will need to change or make up the minds of around 50 MPs to have any chance of winning a vote on whether the ban should be repealed.
The League research - which has been challenged by the CA - goes some way to explain why government ministers in charge of the hunting issue have said it is unlikely there will be a vote on repeal in this Parliament, which runs for another 18 months, even though ministers and the majority of Tory MPs are said to be in favour of repealing the ban....  Pressure for a vote - which was promised in the Coalition Agreement back in 2010 - intensified earlier this month when the WDP revealed the CA had sent its toughest message yet to David Cameron, claiming the matter was "now a matter of trust" between his Government and rural folk.  That was answered by new Environment Minister George Eustice, who said he - even as a pro-hunting MP - was reluctant to hold a vote his side was unlikely to win....
CA campaigner Tim Bonner dismissed the League's claims to know how MPs would vote - the alliance is confident it could sway any wavering MPs and those undecided to vote in favour of repeal if there was a more in-depth debate in the run-up to such a vote, and said they would relish the chance to argue their cause to MPs.  He mocked the league in a tweet, telling them: "Nothing makes you look as stupid as telling MPs they're going to do something that they are not."
But the League Against Cruel Sports stood by its figures, and invited MPs to either make clear their position on hunting if it wasn't known, or correct the league if they had got it wrong. "Since the beginning of the coalition Government, the league have again and again highlighted the fact that nether the public nor the majority of MPs want to see a return to the cruelty of chasing and killing animals with dogs," a spokesman said.

LACS report undermines rationale for full-pack flushing amendment idea

20-11-13  LACS Press Release    Pro-hunt myths exposed as new report debunks claims made for change to Hunting Act    The League Against Cruel Sports has today written to all party leaders, ministers and shadow ministers in DEFRA to expose the reality behind recent calls to amend the Hunting Act. Fundamentally questioned from the start, the call from the Federation of Welsh Farmers Pack (FWFP) to widen an existing exemption in the JoeDuckworthLACS.jpgAct, and the accompanying research, was branded 'flawed' by the leading animal welfare charity, and has led to the new report released today and which has been sent to key parliamentarians.
Widely reported calls for a weakening or relaxing of the Hunting Act last month were based on research which aimed to show that more foxes could be shot if more dogs were used to flush them out.  However this call ignored any justification of the need to kill more foxes, and the League commissioned a report to look at the key assumptions made in it, namely that the fox population had increased since the hunt ban; that fox predation on lambs is a major problem for upland farmers, and that killing foxes helps control numbers. All of the assumptions, none of which were examined by the FWFP research, were proved to be unfounded on examination.
Joe Duckworth [left], Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, stated: "The report clearly debunks the rural myths peddled by the pro-hunt lobby when it comes to the need for fox control. Existing independent research and studies, brought together here, clearly shows that there is no real case for a change to the Hunting Act in terms of allowing farmers to kill more foxes. This is, and was always, nothing other than an attempt to open up an amendment process to the Act, and we have written to key parliamentarians to expose this move for exactly what it is - repeal by the back door."....

DEFRA Minister seems to rule out Hunting Act repeal vote this Parliament
13-11-12   Plymouth Herald   No vote on hunting says new Environment Minister    The Government is set to break its promise to let MPs vote on repealing the hunting ban. George Eustice, the new Environment Minister, has told the Western Morning News parliamentary time is "increasingly precious" so there would be "reluctance" to put a vote to the Commons if it did not reverse the Hunting Act.  The Conservative minister made clear he "wouldn't rule (a vote) out", but it is the first time a Government figure has signalled time is almost up.
Pro-hunting MPs - principally Tories - have to date failed to secure parliamentary supportGeorgeEusticeMP.jpg for ditching Labour's ban, so the prospects of the balance swinging back in their favour 18 months from a general election seems unlikely.  Not having a free vote in the Commons would break the coalition Government agreement between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and is likely to anger pro-hunt Tories.
Mr Eustice, pictured right, MP for Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall, said: "We're at the stage of the Parliament now where parliamentary time becomes increasingly precious. Governments have to focus their time on things they can actually deliver. There will be, I suspect, a reluctance to having a free vote in this Parliament on the issue of repealing the Hunting Act if there is no feeling that there would be any change. There's a danger you could spend quite a lot of time discussing something when it was clear from the outset that there wasn't a consensus in Parliament to have a repeal.  The danger is you therefore lose parliamentary time on an exercise that doesn't result in any change."  He added: "It's still very much the view of the Conservative Party that we would make available time for a free vote in Parliament on this issue, and it would be a free vote and there would be different views from different MPs."
Pro-hunting Tories say coalition with the largely anti-fox hunting Lib Dems has been the road block to a vote.  In January, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg told the WMN the Conservatives did not have the "slightest hope of changing the law".  Some Tory MPs are also against the repeal, however....
The ban on hunting foxes with dogs divides Westcountry communities where hunts are an everyday part of rural life.  Tory ministers have repeatedly insisted a vote would happen despite lingering doubts.  Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the WMN last December the question was about finding the right time for a vote.  "The intention is to find time at the appropriate moment," he said. "If a vote fails to materialise it will do little to shore up wavering support for the Conservative Party among voters in rural areas."
A Countryside Alliance poll earlier this month revealed support for the Tories from people living in the country-side has fallen by more than a fifth under the coalition Government amid concerns that rural views on issues like hunting, planning and the high-speed rail line to the north of England are "not being listened to".

CPS drop case against RAC Beagles Huntswoman as fails to appear again

12-11-13   LACS PR +video   College Huntsman fails to answer illegal hunting allegations   Former Joint-Master and Huntsman of the Royal Agricultural College Beagles, ElizabethRACBeagleshuntswomanLibbyGilbertpursuinghareandhounds20-2-13.JPG (Libby) Gilbert [right, pursuing hare and hounds]  has today evaded punishment after failing to return to the UK to face an allegation of illegal hunting, in a case based on evidence gathered by the League Against Cruel Sports.
21 year old Libby Gilbert was alleged to have hunted a hare with dogs, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004, whilst she was a member of the Royal Agricultural College Beagles. Despite summons being served, Miss Gilbert's lack of attendance in court caused the CPS to withdraw the case.  Miss Gilbert is believed to have returned to her home country of the USA after failing to appear at Swindon Magistrates Court on 16th October 2013, which resulted in the case being adjourned until today to allow time for the Police to track her down and serve a summons requiring her to enter a plea.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League said: "It is despicable that Miss Gilbert and the college hunt pack have again failed to face up to the allegations brought against them. Not only does Miss Gilbert's absence in court today reinforce a total disregard for the Law in this country, it leaves unanswered questions as to why she might not want to at least defend herself. We will not tolerate the abuse of animals for sport, and make no apologies for trying to get those who are alleged to have broken the law to court."

RACBeaglesHarefleeinghounds20-2-13.JPG12.11.13   Wilts & Glos Standard  Former Royal Agricultural University student, charged with illegal hunting, escapes punishment by failing to show up for trial at Swindon Magistrates Court - A FORMER student of the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester has evaded punishment after failing to return to Britain to face an allegation of illegal hunting. Elizabeth Jean Gilbert, 21, formerly of 6 Mount Street, Cirencester, was due at Swindon Magistrates Court on Tuesday, November 12 to face trial after being charged with hunting a wild mammal with dogs. Despite a summons being served, Miss Gilbert's lack of attendance in court caused the Crown Prosecution Service to withdraw the case. It is now thought that she has returned to the USA, her home country...
Pic left - Hare fleeing from the RAC Beagles

RSPCA drop prosecution against Ledbury FH Huntsman William Goffe
Lawyers decide LACS video inadequate to identify huntsman or what being chased

7-11-13   Western Daily Press     RSPCA drop Will Goffe prosecution, huntsman from Ledbury hunt    The Countryside Alliance ramped up the pressure on the RSPCA again tonight after another controversial prosecution against a West huntsman was dropped by the charity.  They claimed the RSPCA brought the case because it involved a hunt in an area linked to the Gloucestershire badger cull zone, and was ‘naked political campaigning' from the charity. Will Goffe, the huntsman for the Ledbury hunt, which operates on the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire borders, appeared in court yesterday to discover that the RSPCA was dropping its charge of breaching the Hunting Act.
Using video evidence from League Against Cruel Sports hunt monitors [still right, hound circled in red, alleged fox in blue, rider images obscured], the RSPCA had claimed Goffe had led his hounds to illegally hunt a fox on March 4 this year near Malvern.  The case was the latest to be brought by the RSPCA only to be dropped after the first few appearances in the dock, andLedburyallegedlychasingfox3-13.JPG sparked renewed condemnation of the charity by the pro-hunt lobby yesterday.  For the past year or more - ever since the RSPCA were the first to successfully obtain a corporate conviction of a hunt in the West when they prosecuted the Heythrop Hunt and four of its members - the Countryside Alliance and pro-hunt MPs have lobbied against the RSPCA and its powers to bring private prosecutions against hunts.  The Taunton-based solicitor who defended Mr Goffe claimed dropping the case showed the RSPCA was politically-motivated in bringing hunting prosecutions in the first place. "The RSPCA claims to apply the Code for Crown Prosecutors when making charging decisions, but it is quite clear that in this case there was never sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution," said Tim Hayden. "It is difficult to see how the RSPCA could determine a prosecution in these circumstances to be in the public interest," he added.
It is the fourth time this year the RSPCA has brought prosecutions against huntsmen, only to drop them before any trial.  Several other prosecutions have continued and resulted in successful convictions, with the RSPCA increasingly taking on cases initially brought LedburyFHBoxingDaymeet2011.jpgdirectly to them - rather than the Crown Prosecution Service and the police - by animal rights groups like the League Against Cruel Sports and IFAW.  Both those groups, and the smaller Cotswold-based POWA, have monitors watching and filming hunts, and are using increasingly sophisticated technology to gather evidence of illegal hunting.
But the Countryside Alliance still claim the RSPCA should not be allowed to bring such prosecutions in the first place, if the CPS and official authorities are not prepared to. "Once again the RSPCA has been exposed using the courts for naked political campaigning," said Tim Bonner, the Alliance's director of campaigns. "This prosecution was nothing more than harassment dressed up as legal process. The combination of a high profile hunt operating in and around the Gloucestershire badger cull zone was too much for the RSPCA to resist," he added. "The taxpayer will pick up the bill for this farce and despite clear warnings having already been given to the Government there remains absolutely no process by which it can control or regulate this behaviour.  The RSPCA is abusing the criminal justice system for political ends and the Government seems unwilling to do anything about it," he added.
But Ray Goodfellow, the RSPCA's chief legal officer said they dropped the case after reviewing enhanced video footage. "A prosecutor is under a duty to keep the conduct of the proceedings under continual review," he said. "The RSPCA has concluded that, having thoroughly examined the enhanced footage which fails to depict clearly the animal that was being chased, together with the other evidence in this case, there is insufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of a conviction," he added.
The RSPCA posted the original video of the hunt allegedly breaking the law online yesterday, and admitted that difficulties in identifying Mr Goffe from the recording had led to the case being dropped. "Mr GoffeLedburyFHhoundskillingfox23-11-12.JPG had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charge brought under the Hunting Act 2004 at a preliminary hearing held on 3 October 2013 at Worcester Magistrates court. No trial date had yet been fixed," said an RSPCA spokesman. "The prosecution had been instigated by the RSPCA on the strength of eyewitness evidence and camcorder footage concerning an incident where an animal, believed to be a fox, was chased by hounds in the vicinity of Castlemorton Common in the Malvern Hills. The incident was captured on a camcorder by hunt monitors employed by the League Against Cruel Sports. The footage shows the hounds searching an area of gorse scrub where they come across the animal, which bolted close to four riders, with the hounds in pursuit. The riders turned and then followed the hounds, without any obvious effort to call them back. The hounds are then seen shortly afterwards searching another area of scrub in an effort to pick up the scent. "Mr Goffe declined to be interviewed by investigators but did provide a written statement in which he stated he was not able to identify himself on the camcorder footage or to see any wild mammal or any evidence of a pursuit. The RSPCA sought to enhance the footage, using a firm of digital forensic specialists, to determine whether this would provide a clear image of the incident. After this was reviewed, it was decided that it failed to clearly depict the animal being chased. During the 2012-13 hunting season, the RSPCA also received a number of other complaints alleging that the Ledbury Hunt had been illegally fox hunting, including footage of hounds tearing at the body of a dead fox in someone's garden which had been posted on You Tube. The RSPCA separately considered those complaints and had similarly concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the institution of a private prosecution," he added.

7-11-13   Daily Telegraph      RSPCA accused of 'naked political campaigning' after Ledbury Hunt case collapses     The RSPCA has been accused of "naked political campaigning" after its lLedburyhuntsupporteratfoxkil23-11-12.JPGatest case involving a hunt collapsed. The charity accused Will Goffe, 33, of hunting a fox with a hound while out with the Ledbury Hunt, near Malvern in Worcestershire.
However, the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence. It is the fourth failed RSPCA hunt prosecution this year. It comes a year after a judge questioned the "quite staggering" amount of money - £333,000 - the RSPCA spent pursuing the prosecution of the Prime Minister's local hunt, the Heythrop hunt. Mr Goffe, who is married with two children, was allegedly filmed hunting a fox at Castlemorton Common on March 4 this year as part of a covert surveillance operation by the League Against Cruel Sports.
 Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, said: "Once again the RSPCA has been exposed using the courts for naked political campaigning.". The Ledbury Hunt, whose members include Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond, regularly operates in the Gloucestershire badger cull zone. Campaigners say the RSPCA is using the Badger Act as a "back door" way to get to hunts after a series of failed prosecutions in which they have been accused of interfering with badger setts.  Mr Bonner added: "This prosecution was nothing more than harassment dressed up as a legal process. The combination of a high profile hunt operating in and around the Gloucestershire badger cull zone was too much for the RSPCA to resist. "The taxpayer will pick up the bill for this farce and despite clear warnings having already been given to the Government.".
Ray Goodfellow, the RSPCA's chief legal officer, said: "The RSPCA has concluded that, having thoroughly examined the enhanced footage which fails to depict clearly the animal that was being chased, together with the other evidence in this case, there is insufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of a conviction.".

Pics above:-   Top right - Still from video evidence in dropped case against Goffe
Upper left - Ledbury FH Boxing Day meet, 2011      Lower right - Ledbury hounds killing fox, 23-11-12
Lower left - A Ledbury supporter at the scene of the fox kill

POWAperson adds;-   If further illustration were needed of the often insuperable difficulties presented by the evidential demands of the Hunting Act to those seeking sufficient to gain a realistic prospect of convictions for  illegal hunting, this provides it.  Presumably,  the RSPCA decided to launch proceedings in this case believing they had a realistic chance of conviction, despite the apparent weakness of the video evidence provided by LACS. What changed between times to persuade RSPCA lawyers to drop the case is hard to know.
The Huntsman accused in this case, William Goffe, was, in 2008, one of the first two persons from any organised hunt in England to be convicted under the Hunting Act, when he was with the Minehead Harriers.   Last November, sabs 
filmed the Ledbury hounds savaging a fox to death in a private garden at Eldersfield, Gloucestershire.  The Ledbury FH was prominent in efforts to prevent the Hunting Act becoming law. In September 2004, Johnny Holliday, then Huntsman, Andrew Eliott, then Whipper-in and David Redvers, a rider, all took part in the invasion of the House of Commons, led by Otis Ferry, while pro-hunt demonstrators were rioting outside in Parliament Square. All three were convicted of disorderly conduct and Redvers, additionally, of an unrelated firearms offence.

'Red' survives the autumn stag-hunting season on LACS sanctuary

November   LACS website   Red' survives the autumn stag hunting season 2013  by Paul Tillesley, Head of Investigations   ... Red [right] has become a symbol of the animals that suffer prolonged and terrifying deaths as a result of the hunts that are determined to continue hunting animals in the name of sport.  By highlighting Red's story we hope thatRed.jpg we can shed light on the devastating decline in stag numbers in the Quantocks area as a direct result of hunting. It is more than 8 years since the Hunting Act came into force, but the three red deer hunts in the West Country continue to hunt and kill deer, even though there have been 3 successful prosecutions of hunt staff as a result of evidence provided by League investigators....
The hunts focus on the big, mature male red deer, called stags.  This time coincides with the annual rut, when the best stags compete for the right to mate with the female hinds.  By the end of October the stags are exhausted, having barely eaten or slept for the past month.
This season was highlighted by the story of ‘Red', one of the last remaining adult male stags in the Quantocks that has taken up residence on League owned sanctuary land. Throughout the season we have been monitoring Red to ensure his safety from the Quantock Staghounds who continue hunting despite the low number of stags.  This is despite our call for a moratorium on stag hunting at the start of the season.
The Quantock and the Devon & Somerset Staghounds have been determined to hunt as close to land where the League owns the sporting rights as they can.  From August onwards a number of stags have escaped with their lives by fleeing onto protected League land, despite hunt supporters doing all they could to prevent the terrified stag from reaching safety.  Unfortunately, there has been a number of harrowing incidents involving stags that didn't quite make it.
QuantocSHhoundtrespassonLACSsanctuary10-13.JPGRed is one of the few lucky stags that did escape the hunt and made it onto the League's land.  Red had been a target for the Quantock Staghounds, but when he found himself on the League's fields unchallenged, amongst a large number of mature females, he decided to stay.  Hunt supporters tried to force him off the land, but the League employed security guards to keep unwelcome visitors away.  Another incident seen an out of control hunting hound [left] trespass onto our sanctuary causing havoc amongst the resident deer [video]....
The League remain very concerned by the shockingly low numbers of adult male stags now left in the Quantocks.  We utterly condemn the Quantock Staghounds for continuing their crusade in chasing a wild animal to exhaustion, and then killing it for sport despite the worrying low population figures.  We will continue to monitor the situation in the Quantocks going forward and keep a close eye on Red because although the hunting season may be over, hunt supporters may be determined to kill Red for the symbol he has become.


 ..... 31st October - Cheshire Forest FH whipper-in fined for assaulting female employee

..... 30th October - Countryside Alliance Chair Kate Hoey fined for jumping red light
..... 26th October - Sabs claim Waveney Harriers killed hare while police stood by
..... 24th October - D&S SH filmed killing stag by LACS monitors - CPS later drop charge, again
..... 18th October - Sab film further questions impartiality of magistrate in C&H illegal hunt case
..... 16th October - Beagler fails to appear in court to answer illegal hare hunting charge
..... 15th October - CPS wrong to drop theft charges against Cattistock thugs - Chief Prosecutor
..... 13th October - Government preparing backdoor move to further weaken the Hunting Act
..... 10th October - Eton College hare hunt training day plan condemned by LACS
.....  9th October - Sabs say they saved fox from the hounds of the Blencathra FH
.....  9th October - Police investigate man's threats and abuse at Blencathra FH gathering
.....  7th October - LACS and Hunt dispute stag numbers after deer fence built round sanctuary
.....  7th October - HSA to use drones to monitor hare hunting festival in Cumbria
.....  7th October - Quantock SH hound drives 'Red' off sanctuary - another hunted stag escapes there
.....  3rd October - LACS says Quantock SH supporters trying to drive stag off League sanctuary

Cheshire Forest FH whipper-in fined for assaulting female employee

31-10-13   Knutsford Guardian     Sexual assault charges dropped on day of trial    AN Ollerton farmer has expressed his relief after charges he faced for allegedly sexually assaulting two women were dropped when prosecutors found new evidence. Andrew Callwood, of Manor Farm, Seven Sisters Lane, was due to stand trial at Chester Crown Court on Monday charged with common assault and two charges of sexual assault on women who cannot be named for legal reasons.
As the trial was about to begin evidence was supplied to the court about the two women who had made the allegation. Prosecutors told the judge, Roger Dutton, about the new evidence, which was in the form of Facebook messages and text messages, and the judge said: "You have made me aware of a body of new material, that I have seen, that rightly puts a different complexion on the case." As a result the two charges of sexual assault were dropped.
Callwood admitted the charge of common assault, which the court was told involved him pulling the hair of one of the women. The assault occurred on January 16 when one of the women was doing work at the livery yard at Manor Farm and asked Callwood not to be there. However he ignored that request, and when she turned up she got out of her car and locked it. The defendant grabbed her by the hair and dragged her inside the house, where he ordered her to take off her shoes..... Callwood was fined £250 and was ordered to pay £90 in costs.... 

Countryside Alliance Chair Kate Hoey fined for jumping red light in London

30-10-13    MP who called cyclists "law-breaking Lycra Louts" fined for driving through red light - Former Sports Minister Kate Hoey cops £240 fine for ignoring traffic signal    Labour MP and former Minister for Sport Kate HoeyKateHoey.jpg [right], who once launched a diatribe in a national newspaper against cyclists she described as "law-breaking Lycra Louts," has been fined £240 – for illegally driving her car through a traffic signal while it was red.  Hoey, an MP since 1989, was stopped by police after driving her Mini through the red light on London’s Victoria Embankment on 3 July this year, reports BikeBiz.
The 67-year-old pleaded guilty by post to City of London Magistrates’ Court, which imposed the fine.  In a 2003 article for the Mail on Sunday, Hoey claimed that "The real menance on Britain's roads are selfish, aggressive, law-breaking and infuriatingly smug Lyrca Louts." .....
An opponent of the hunting ban introduced by her party when it was in power, Hoey, who is MP for distinctly non-rural Vauxhall in inner London, is chair of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, which has its offices in her constituency.

Sabs claim Waveney Harriers killed hare while police stood by
2 monitors return home to find dead fox dumped on doorstep

26-10-13    Facebook - Norfolk Suffolk Hunt Sabs    Today we were at the vile killing estate of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk. We were in great company with the Essex sabs, who were fantastic. We stayed with the hunt all day, and kept them contained to a much smaller area than they are use to hunting. The police as usual were only concerned about the sabs, which was very maddening as the hunt killed a hare, with the police just round the corner who did nothing. The huntsman was that worried that we would get the dead animal, that he dismounted & proceeded to walk up the field hedgerow trying to hide it.  If that's not showing guilt, I don't know what is. More complaints to be made.
And just to make a bad day even worse, 2 monitors returned home to find a mutilated fox on their driveway yet again. When are the police going to get their priorities right? One hare/fox is 2 to many.

LACS investigators say filmed D&S SH illegally hunting and killing stag

Hunt claimed using 'Research' exemption and CPS dropped charge

24-10-13  LACS Press Release   League Against Cruel Sports investigators filmed the Devon and Somerset Staghounds (DSS) Hunt and kill at least one stag. The police investigated and suspects were charged despite claiming they were hunting legally under the ‘Research and Observation’ exemption, but later on the CPS dropped the case. 

Sab film further questions impartiality of magistrate in C&H hunt case

18-10-13    W.Sussex hunt monitors today uploaded this film clip to YouTube, with the following text:-
Zsa Roggendorff chaired a bench of magistrates that passed sentence on Nick Bycroft, huntsman of theZagRoggendorff.JPG Crawley and Horsham Hunt, on 17 Sept 2013.  This was for a Hunting Act offence.  
She admitted being a neighbour of the defendant , but earlier footage showing hunting on "her land" indicates that she might not have been unsympathetic.  She gave him only a conditional discharge!
The clip shows a monitor challenging Ms.Roggendorff [right], from a footpath on her land, while the Crawley & Horsham FH are nearby. The monitor claims there is clear audible evidence that they are fox hunting.  A fox is then filmed at close range being chased [below], first by what appears to be Ms. Roggendorff's own dog, then, very soon after,  by hounds. They are either on or just behind the magistrate's farm, and sabs attempt to divert them away from the fox.   At one point Ms.Roggendoff is apparently heard to say of the hounds 'Oh, look. Wonderful.'  She refuses the monitor's pleas for her to investigate or challenge what the Hunt was doing.
The second half of the clip [from 5.09] is film of the illegal hunting for which Crawley & Horsham FH Huntsman Nick Bycroft was convicted on 17-9-13.  Ms. Roggendorff was lead magistrate for the case and, though she stated she knew the defendant and was his neighbour, she failed to recuse herself. Bycroft pleaded guilty, possibly to avoid being asked under oath who the other hunters seen engaging in the illegal hunt with him were, but was given the extraordinarily lenient sentence of a Conditional Discharge.

     FoxfleeingCandHhounds.JPG CandHhoundschasingfox2013.JPG 

Beagler fails to appear to answer illegal hare hunting charge in court

16-10-13  LACS website    Police working to track down US huntswoman accused of illegal hare hunting     21 year old Libby Gilbert, former Joint-Master and Huntsman of the Royal Agricultural College Beagles, is believed to have returned to her home country of the USA after she failed to appear at Swindon Magistrates Court today to face what the CPS Prosecutor called a ‘very serious allegation' of illegal hunting.  Police are now trying to track down Miss Gilbert so that a summons can be served requiring her to attend court on 12th November 2013 at the same court to enter her plea.
Miss Gilbert is alleged to have hunted a hare with dogs contrary to Section 1 of theHarerunning.jpg Hunting Act 2004.  The case is based on evidence gathered by the League Against Cruel Sports.  The footage filmed by undercover League Investigators allegedly shows Miss Gilbert illegally hunting a hare with a pack of beagles, although the college pack claim to only participate in legal hunting using artificial trails.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League said: "We hope that Miss Gilbert will return to this country and will appear before the court to answer the charge.  If she does not agree to return voluntarily, we would hope that a warrant will be issued for her arrest so that she is brought before the court when she next comes to the UK.  It is extremely disappointing to see a young person facing criminal charges.  It is the prosecution case that that illegal hunting occurred on this occasion and If the hunt pack had stuck to their word and used artificial trails, Miss Gilbert would not have found herself in this serious situation".
The League has undercover investigators who work across the country monitoring cases of suspected illegal activity. This case follows two other successful prosecutions from the same hunting season based on League evidence.

CPS wrong to drop theft charges against Cattistock thugs - Chief Prosecutor

15-10-13    Western Daily Press    Assault charges drop wrong in hunting case     A senior Crown Prosecutor has admitted that theft charges against two men who took camcorders CattistocksupporterPaulBennettmenacingHelenW.JPGfrom hunt monitors should not have been dropped. But the charges cannot be reinstated and hunt monitor Helen Weeks says she has been left disillusioned. "1 think the Dorset CPS are afraid to take on any cases with Cattistock Hunt connections," she said yesterday.
Mrs Weeks and fellow monitor Graham Forsyth were incensed that the theft charges were dropped when three supporters of the Cattistock Hunt appeared before Magistrates at Weymouth last August.  The men, gamekeepers Lee Mabey and Lewis Longstaff, and Paul Bennett [left, menacing Helen Weeks],admitted using threatening words or behaviour when Mrs Weeks and Mr Forsyth were monitoring the hunt from a stationary car at Portesham.  Mabey and Bennett had also been charged with theft of the camcorders, but those charges were withdrawn after the court. was told that the men simply confiscated the equipment and planned to hand the camcorders in at a police station.  Both camcorders were damaged. For using threatening words and behaviour the three were given a one year conditional discharge...  Bennett, who took a camcorder from Mrs Weeks roughly that one of her fingers was left painful and bruised, admitted assault.
Mrs Weeks and Mr Forsyth complained about prosecutor Simon Clarke's handling of the case. John Montague, chief crown prosecutor for the region told them in a letter: "I have reviewed the file and consider that the decision to drop the charge of theft was wrong....


Government  preparing back-door move to weaken Hunting Act further
Want to allow use of full packs in Exempt flushing to guns hunting

13-10-13   Sunday Telegraph    Pressure mounts to ease the hunting ban     A full pack of hounds would be allowed to help kill foxes in England and Wales under a relaxation of the Hunting Act being considered by ministers.  Under the proposals the law banning farmers from using more than two dogs to flush out foxes and shoot them would be scrapped allowing them to use a full pack.  The move, which is backed by a cross-party alliance of MPs, would be the first change to one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in modern times.  It is certain to reopen the furious debate between supporters of fox hunting and its opponents, who are bound to see any relaxation of the rules as reintroducing hunting "by the back door".
Farmers say attacks on lambs have been on the increase, signalling that limited pest control measures allowed under the Act are not working. Hill farmers, who suffered devastating losses last spring as a result of the late snow, say a change in the law is desperately needed to fend off a growing threat to their livelihood.  Rules already in place allow farmers to flush foxes out of their dens and shoot them in order to protect flocks but it is a criminal offence to use more than two dogs.  However MPs from the Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Plaid Cymru parties, are joining farmers groups in pressing the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to scrap the limit.  The change, which is likely to require a vote in Parliament but not a fresh bill, would bring the law in England and Wales into line with that in Scotland.
It comes after a study demonstrated for the first time that deploying a full pack of hounds to flush foxes from cover can be almost twice as effective as using a pair of dogs.  The study also concluded that it could even improve animal welfare, because using a full pack of hounds can draw foxes out of their dens to be shot much more quickly rather than enduring a lengthy pursuit.  More effective shooting could also reduce the use of snares, which have been condemned as cruel.
Last night the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that it had been receiving evidence of an apparent growing threat to flocks from foxes and would study the research "with interest".  Although Mr Paterson [left], a long term supporter of lifting the hunting ban, has made no commitment to the change, a spokeswoman said he was "aware" of the calls from farmers.  The Coalition Agreement between the ConservativesOwenPatersonDEFRASecofState.jpg and Liberal Democrats contains a commitment to giving MPs a free vote on repealing the Act which was introduced by Tony Blair in 2004 after a gruelling stand-off between Commons and Lords.  But many Conservatives accept that they might not have enough support to secure a repeal and see amending the pest control provision as a way of helping farmers.... But it comes at a time when Defra is already facing anger from animal rights protesters over the badger cull.
Farmers backing the calls said the losses last spring were the "last straw" and a spur for action. In addition to the thousands of newborn lambs which became stranded and froze to death amid the late snow, some farmers lost up to 50 to foxes, which were themselves short of food because of the deep drifts. The Federation of Welsh Farmers’ Packs – a group representing huntsmen who shoot foxes under the current law – commissioned the study to assess whether lifting the limit on dogs would make a difference.  A team led by Dr Jeremy Naylor, a vet and racehorse trainer, spent four months comparing the effects of pairs of hounds and full pack at 80 sites in Scotland.  David Thomas, the federation’s secretary, said that while many still hoped for a full repeal, the amendment could ease pressure. "We feel that this is something that could be very easily done," he said. "It is necessary for sheep farmers, it is not going to cost the Government or the country any money at all, it is just a win-win situation."
Roger Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, said: "This is a debate that must be had. I hope that they take it seriously … Glyn Davis, the Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, and himself a former farmer, said: "Whether you are in favour of a ban on hunting or not, if you accept that you can have dogs to flush foxes out, to limit it to two has no logic."  Kate Hoey, the Labour MP Vauxhall in London, said: "I think what this deserves is a very sensible and dispassionate look at the research and for some way of being able to allow the extra number of hounds to be used. Unless you are someone who does not believe that a fox should ever be killed I cannot understand why in terms of welfare this is not something that could be supported by a broad range of opinion." Jonathan Edwards, of Plaid Cymru, said: "I am very much on the left of the political spectrum, I don’t see this as a left-right fight. We have a duty as politicians to have laws that work. It seems common sense to me that we would use best practice.... "
Derek Morgan, chairman of the Farmers’ Union of Wales’s hill farming committee, added: "The hunting ban was aimed at what Labour saw as posh people on horses, but the people who have suffered most are working class hill farmers whose incomes are already well below the UK average. If Government increased the number of hounds we are allowed to use it would significantly reduce the number of lambs we lose. It’s a small step the Government can take to show they really support hill farmers and it would not change the basic principles of the Hunting Act."
A spokeswoman for Defra said: "We have been receiving reports on increased predation of lambs by foxes and the burden this has placed on hill farmers in what has already been a tough year. We will look at all research into this with interest."
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said that while it would continue to campaign for a repeal, it understood the "urgent need for the only effective method of fox control in many upland areas to be reinstated." A spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports said: "The Hunting Act is a successful piece of legislation and it works – ultimately we do not want to see it weakened. If the Farmers’ Union of Wales are supporting this do they not have anything better to do with their time? This would ultimately be changing the legislation quite considerably."

14-10-10   LACS website    Moves to repeal Hunting Act by 'back door' condemned - Research, and need for change, fundamentally questioned    Calls for an ‘easing’ of the restrictions of the hunt ban were today branded as ‘repeal by the back door’ by the League Against Cruel Sports, following reports of a proposal to increase the number of dogs allowed to flush out foxes to guns.  The research underpinning the call was fundamentally questioned, as it is commissioned by hunting interests, has not yet been peer reviewed, and seemingly presents a problem for upland farmers were the proposed solution would be rolled out for all hunts.  At present, the Hunting Act 2004 allows a maximum of two dogs to flush a fox to waiting guns.  The Federation of Welsh Farmers Packs is now calling for a full pack (approx. 40 dogs) to be used, and for this to be achieved by an amendment to the Act.
The Act itself was passed on a free vote, and the Coalition Government continue toKateHoey.jpg promise a further free vote on repeal, although Owen Paterson, Secretary of State at DEFRA, was quoted last year as saying no move would be made until a vote could be won on the matter.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, stated ‘This is nothing but an attempt at repeal by the back door, as the pro-hunt lobby know they can’t get a majority to repeal the Act overall.  This call for a return to the ways and means of hunting pre-ban comes from hunting interests, is for hunting interests – and is supported by clear pro-hunting MPs such as Kate Hoey [right], who just happens to be the Chairman of the Countryside Alliance.  We will be writing to Owen Paterson in order to understand the conversations which already seem to have taken place on subject – and with a clear offer to join them.’
He continued ‘Whilst foxes may take lambs in certain circumstances, lambs by no means make up the majority of their diet and we fundamentally question the need to control foxes in this way.  The Federation cite large losses of lambs in spring this year, but that in the main was due to an unseasonably cold snap when lambs were in the fields.  Yet again foxes are the fall animal, and hunting them the easy solution, when in fact we need to look at the wider reality of how animals and man interact.  Any attempts to move to weaken the Hunting Act will be resisted by both us, and the majority of the public who don’t want a return to hunting after a hard fought campaign to get a ban after some 80 years of campaigning.’

19-10-13    Western Morning News   WMN readers say 'no' in fox hunting poll    In a close run race, WMN readers have rejected the idea that fox hunting with a full pack of hounds should be allowed. The online poll was launched after the paper revealed Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was coming under pressure from a cross-party alliance of MPs to scrap a law prohibiting farmers from using more than two dogs to flush out foxes. More than 10,000 people voted in the poll and it was neck and neck throughout between those who supported hunting with hounds and those who did not. In the end the no camp triumphed by the merest of margins with 5,257 people, or 52 per cent of the vote.

POWAperson adds;-   Several other papers covered the story, including the Daily Mail, who reported, unsurprisingly, that the Prime Minister 'has sympathy' with the idea. We have been waiting for the pro-hunt to come up with some 'cunning plan' to further undermine the Hunting Act, given that they know they don't have the votes to actually repeal it. The Secretary of State is empowered by S.2 of the Act to make an order by Statutory Instrument amending Schedule 1 [the flushing exemption], but this can be annulled by a vote in either House of Parliament.
Needless to say, POWA utterly opposes the proposal and will do everything we can to prevent it being effected. The danger is that enough of the 'soft' anti MPs and abstainers might be persuaded that this is a modest and reasoned change that will not fundamentally affect the Act. It is, of course, a Trojan horse, designed to blur the line between 'pest control' operations and hunting for 'sport', will make what Hunts are allowed to do even harder to distinguish from pre-ban hunting and, provide them with yet more opportunity to pass off chasing wild animals with dogs as 'accidents'. It will also give them carte blanche to cub hunt within coverts with full packs.  The Act's existing weaknesses [and, of course, weak enforcement] already present abundant opportunities for Hunts to bend and break the rules with little fear of the consequences, but this proposal will make it even easier for them.

Eton College hare hunt training day plan slammed by LACS


10-10-13   LACS website    Charity condemns plans to hold hunting training day at Eton College    Plans for Britain's most prestigious public school to host a hare hunting event this Sunday 13th October 2013, have been condemned by leading animal welfare charity, the League Against Cruel Sports.  The Young Hare Hunters' Day will see impressionableEtonCollege.jpg school children being shown how to hunt and kill hares by huntsmen from around the country, despite the barbaric practice being prohibited under the Hunting Act 2004.
The motive behind the college's event, which has its own pack of hunting beagles, has also been questioned by the charity.  It is the League's belief that law breaking is wide spread throughout the hunting community.  One of the invited packs, the Royal Agricultural College Beagles are due in court next Wednesday 16th October to answer a Section 1 Offence under the Hunting Act.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League commented: "Why would a school host an event based on an illegal activity? It is totally unacceptable and of great concern that an establishment responsible for helping to teach children right from wrong, is encouraging children into criminality by showing them how to cause cruelty to animals and in turn to break the law."  The charity has written to the college urging them to rethink the day's events to ensure that all practices presented on the day are legal, whilst also offering to host a session on the League's work on the hare hunting issue.

Sabs say they saved fox from the hounds of the Blencathra FH
9-10-11  Facebook Cumbria Hunt Sabs   Cumbria and Lancaster groups joined forces on Saturday to pay a visit to the Blencathra's 'Coledale Inn' coffee morning. With 12 sabs out they utilised their numbers by splitting into groups giving them the option of arriving at the meet separately, the scum had their spies out and about in Keswick earlier in the day so best to keep them guessing eh!
BarryTodhunterleadingthBlencathraFH.jpgBy 10.00am all sabs were in place, two groups were positioned alongside Coledale Beck, another was up in the hills with a fine view of the valley, and the final group patrolled Newlands in the vehicle. Barry [Barry Todhunter, Huntsman since 1988], the pack, and a few support were walking in the shadow of Barrow heading towards Stile End.
For the next half an hour or so the sabs made their way along Coledale Beck towards the disused quarry watching Barry [left, leading the Blencathra] the whole time as he slowly hunted the pack on. At 10.30am they realised something was amiss, a terrierman was spotted chest deep in ferns acting very suspiciously, then some of the pack began heading towards them following a line.  Within minutes a fox was spotted running along the banks of Coledale Beck the hounds, now becoming excited, had also picked up the scent and were getting far to close for comfort. With no time to waste the sabs began to use voice calls then a gizmo to distract the hounds, which worked a treat as the pack turned and began hurtling towards them. As luck would have it the hounds then ran through an area freshly sprayed with citronella before reaching the well positioned sabs. Thankfully by this time the fox had made it's escape, swiftly disappearing into thick bracken beds and safety.
In the hour it took Barry to get his pack back together the sabs re-deployed, one group remained at Coledale Beck, the others moved to Newlands and Rigg Beck. Hounds finally gathered Barry moved on again this time heading up towards Scar Crags and Sail, unfortunately for him sabs were waiting. On arrival at Sail all Barry could do was ponder his situation and realising he was penned in quit, it was 1.15pm.
All in all a fantastic day for all the sabs involved, at least one fox saved and one very pissed off huntsman. He was even heard shouting at and berating his own support for feeding the hounds, good stuff. Finally a big thank you to all the sabs from the Lancaster group who came up to lend a hand it's very appreciated, cheers.

Police probe man's verbal threats and abuse at Blencathra FH gathering

9-10-13   Carlisle News & Star    Man's verbal abuse and threats at foxhound gathering    A man bombarded two men and a girl with verbal abuse and threats at a foxhound gathering in Cumbria.   The incident happened at around 11am on Saturday on a path leading to Force Crag Mine, Braithwaite, west Cumbria.  Members of the Blencathra Foxhounds were exercising their dogs and a number of spectators were in the area.
Police are interested to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the abusive and threatening behaviour from the man who was aged about between 35 and 40 and was with two women and a child aged around 13.  Although nobody was injured, the actions of the man - and the two women who were also very vocal - left the people involved upset and it was particularly distressing for the young girl, whose father had the main threats directed at him.  He is a 52-year-old man from Penrith.  Police are keen to speak to anyone who may have been on the fell at the time who can provide further information.

POWAperson adds:-  POWA understands that, in separate incidents, complaints have recently been made against the Blencathra FH and the Cumberland Farmers FH by members  of the public, though the substance of these is not known.

LACS and Hunt dispute stag numbers after deer fence built round sanctuary

Daily Telegraph   7-10-13    Hunt supporters 'build fence around Sir Paul McCartney's land to stop deer escaping'     Stag hunt supporters have built a 6ft fence around an estate owned by Sir Paul McCartney to prevent animals escaping onto land where they cannot be shot, anti-hunt campaigners have said.
The League Against Cruel Sports voiced concerns that the number of adult red deer stags on the Quantock Hills in Somerset was in decline.  It cited the most recent annual count of the animals, carried out in March, which found there were 38 young stags and nine stags aged four or older on the hills.  The anti-hunting group raised fears that one particular adult stag, nicknamed "Red", which is currently on League-owned land, will be in danger when he leaves the area.  The League said it knew of two incidents within the last monthQuantockSHinvadLACSMacCartneysanctuary9-09.JPG where stags being chased by huntsmen escaped by running onto land where hunting is banned.  The charity also reported that another stag that tried to flee onto woodland on Exmoor owned by Sir Paul failed to get away because hunt supporters had erected a high deer fence around his estate.  
The former Beatle, a prominent opponent of hunting, bought the 87-acre pine wood near Bampton, Somerset, in 1991 with the purpose of protecting the wild deer by providing an area where the staghounds could not enter.
Paul Tillsley, the League's head of investigations, argued that there was "no doubt" that hunting had contributed heavily to the decline in stag numbers in the beauty spot.  He added: "Red came onto our land for the annual rutting season, where he would usually be competing with other males for the right to mate. However this year he has no competitors.  This is an alarming realisation of just how small the area's stag population has become."
However, James Hawthorne, a joint master of the Quantock Staghounds, strongly rejected the League's claims that stag numbers were in decline and said hunting in fact helped to maintain the population of healthy deer in the area.  He said it was normal for only a small number of mature stags to be recorded in the spring. "At that time of year the stags aren't on the hill.  They creep off quietly into the vale, and come back to the hill now for the rut. We've got more mature stags on the hill than we have had for years," he said.
Under the Hunting Act 2004 it is illegal to hunt deer with a pack of hounds, although in certain circumstances it is permitted to flush an animal from cover using no more than two dogs as long as it is shot dead as soon as possible.  Sir Paul was not available for comment because of work commitments, his spokesman said.
Pic above right - Quantock SH trespass on McCartney sanctuary, September 2009


Hunt Sabs to use drones to help monitor hare hunting festival in Cumbria

7-10-13   HSA Press Release    Hunt Saboteurs to use 'Spies in the sky' in battle to save victims of illegal hunting     HUNT protesters are to use 'spy in the sky' technology in the on-going battle to stop hunters flouting the ban on hunting with dogs.  The Hunt Hare.jpgSaboteurs Association says it will be using 'drones' mounted with cameras to gather evidence during a week-long 'hare hunting' festival, set to take place in the Pennines later this month.
During the Alston Hare Week, which starts Monday, October 14, hunters with packs of beagle hounds, bred and trained to hunt hares, will travel from across the country to hunt the moors outside the market town of Alston. The HSA, which promotes non-violent direct action to save hunted animals, is concerned that the event, which is open only to hardcore hunt supporters and takes place in remote terrain, could provide an opportunity for illegal hunting.  It says a team of 'unmanned aerial vehicle' operators will be at the event helping to locate hunters and capture vital evidence of any illegal hunting.
HSA spokesperson Lee Moon said: "Our new camera 'drones' will ensure people are always in the best tactical position to try to stop hares being ripped to shreds by packs of dogs. This week the hare hunters of Alston will find there is no hiding place for any illegal activities."
The recent convictions of the Heythrop, Middleton and Seavington hunts prove that hunts across the country are continuing to use packs of dogs to hunt and kill wild animals despite the practice being banned in 2004.

Quantock SH hound invades sanctuary, scatters hinds, drives 'Red' off
But another stag being hunted makes it on to LACS sanctuary

See article below this one for context
7-10-13  LACS website    11am - The Quantock Staghounds are out today and determined to continue hunting the last remaining stags in the Quantock hills.  Our investigators are also out in the field and have reported that Red [right] is still safe on our sanctuary. They will continue to monitor the situation and we will keep you posted on any developments throughout the day.
12.30pm - Our investigators have reported that another stag that the Quantock
Red.jpg Staghounds were hunting has fled onto our sanctuary, and by definition should now be safe.  A hunt hound in pursuit also came onto our land, frightening and scattering the deer already present.  This has caused Red to move, which is hugely concerning as we currently do not know his whereabouts.  We are attempting to evict the hound from our land, to prevent further movement of the animals.
4pm - Our investigators managed to get the hound to leave the land and the deer have returned to the field...  however at this time we still do not know the whereabouts of Red.  We are very appalled that at an out of control hunt hound has trespassed onto our land, frightening the animals that are protected here.  We will be contacting the Hunt to complain about this, and of course will update you once we have located Red.
We will keep you updated on any further developments but at present we are very worried for the safety of Red and other deer on our sanctuary, and this is precisely what the hunt want - to move Red from our land so that they can target him in the chase... We're doing all we can to locate him, and will update asap.
4.45pm - The Quantock Staghounds have packed up for the day and are leaving the area. There is still no sign off Red however we hope he will reappear during the night. We will keep you updated on any more developments.

LACS says Quantock SH supporters trying to drive stag off sanctuary
'Red' is one of only nine red deer stags left on the hills according to deer count survey

3-10-13   LACS website    Grave concerns for 'Red'     At the peak of the autumn stagRed-threatenedQuantockstag2013.JPG hunting season, the League has grave concerns for the future of ‘Red', [right, on LACS sanctuary] one of the nine estimated adult red deer stags left on the Quantock Hills, fearing that he could be the next victim of the local Quantock Staghounds hunt after hunt supporters were heard saying that if they couldn't find a stag to hunt on the hills, they would come after him. Red is currently residing on League owned sanctuary land during rutting season but as you can see from this video he has no competitors from other males. We will continue to monitor Red and keep you updated on the situation.
4.30pm - Just this afternoon, our investigators have reported that a group of hunt supporters came down to our sanctuary as the hunt was ending. The weather was quite bad on top of the Quantock Hills and evidently the hunt wasn't successful in hunting a stag. The men in the video pulled up beside our sanctuary and used the types of shouts commonly heard during a stag hunt with the aim of scaring Red and getting him to run off the sanctuary. We immediately challenged them and started filming them. This made them stop shouting but they became mildly abusive and then left.


.....   September - Weston & Banwell JM/Huntsman and Whip in court on Hunting Act charges

..... 27th September - Ledbury JM present when 2 cull protesters assaulted by group of men

..... 17th September - Crawley & Horsham FH Huntsman let off with Discharge after guilty plea

..... 13th September - LACS investigators film D&S SH hunt and kill stag - CPS drop charge later

..... 13th September - Seavington FH Huntsman is convicted of illegal hunting
Weston & Banwell JM/Huntsman and Whip in court for illegal hunting
September 2013   LACS Protect magazine, No.6     Weston and Banwell Harriers    WestonandBJMHuntsmanGeorgeMilton.JPGHuntsman George Milton [left] and Whipper-in Toby Lee face charges of illegally hunting a fox in October 2012.   Milton faces an additional charge under the Protection of Badgers Act.  The League surveillance operation involved a number of investigators. There will be a case management hearing in September at Taunton Deane Magistrates Court and preliminary dates set for trial in October.
We have three other case files with police and CPS units awaiting charging decisions and are optimistic that even more summonses will be issued.
POWAperson adds:-  George Milton was prosecuted in April 2013 on a charge of illegal hunting in February 2012, but was acquitted.  The magistrates found that there was 'without a shadow of a doubt evidence of hunting', but that they could not be certain that Milton, who  claimed to  have been 200 yards away at the time, rounding up stray hounds, was among the hunters seen to be breaking the law in the video evidence provided by a lone LACS monitor. None of the other hunters were charged.

Gloucs badger cull protesters allege late-night assault by group of men
One man arrested.  A  Ledbury FH JM is said to have been present at the incident

27-9-13   Independent    Badger cull protester claims she was assaulted    Gloucestershire police have arrested a man after a late-night incident in which one badger cull protester is alleged to have been assaulted and another’s car wing mirrors were ripped off.  Meg Jones, 34, an anti-badger cull protester, told The Independent she was with a group of two other activists who were monitoring a badger sett when they heard LedburyJMRogerWarnercheckshirtamonggroupaccusedofassaultingcullprotesters9-13.jpgshooting in the area.  The group split up to look for the marksmen, with the aim of disrupting the shooting.  Ms Jones, from Gloucestershire, said she was following a public footpath when a car with four men in it pulled up beside her. "Two men got out the car and were shouting and screaming at me," she said.  She alleges that the men started screaming at her and tried to stop her calling the police. "One of the men was shaking my shoulders and hitting my arm, trying to prevent me from making a call to the police," she said. "I backed away, screaming my lungs off. I was pretty scared. I was on my own; I thought I was going to get beaten up."  When she got back to her car, parked on a nearby road, she found that it had been vandalised.  "It had its wing mirrors pulled off and had been dented," she said.
When Ms Jones and one of the other activists tried to photograph the incident, they were assaulted by one of the men in the car, she claimed.  "We tried to take photos of the men and I went towards their car with a male companion. A man with a beard jumped out of the car to try and get our phones. He was attacking my friend, had him in a body lock bear hug, punching him in the head. I was totally terrified."  Roger Warner, master of theLedburyFHhoundskillingfox23-11-12.JPG Ledbury Hunt [pic above left,  2nd from left], who is alleged to have been present at the altercation, has declined to comment.
The badger cull pilots aim to tackle tuberculosis in cattle by shooting about 5,000 badgers over a six-week period in two areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Gloucestershire Police said officers working as part of Operation Themis, the policing response to the badger cull, were called to an incident around 11.30pm on Thursday in the Tirley area. A 38-year-old man from the Gloucester area, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of common assault. He has been bailed until 4 November.
POWAperson adds:-   Roger Warner was a JM when the Ledbury FH refused an invitation from the local radio station to debate and explain the Hunt's role in the killing of a fox by their hounds in a private garden on 23-11-12 [see pic, right], which was filmed by sabs.    One of Warner's fellow JMs, David Redvers, was convicted of Disorderly Conduct, for being one of the group, which also included his then Huntsman and Whipper-in,  which invaded the House of Commons in September 2004 whilst other pro-hunt protesters were rioting in Parliament Square.  He was also fined for a separate firearms offence.  William Goffe, huntsman of the Ledbury FH, is currently awaiting prosecution for illegal  hunting.

Crawley & Horsham FH Huntsman let off with Discharge after guilty plea
Magistrate was his neighbour, but decided this wasn't prejudicial
Did Bycroft keep shtum and plead guilty to avoid implicating the rest of his Hunt?
Film of the illegal hunting to which Nick Bycroft pleaded guilty can be found here, from 5.09
19-9-13  Brighton Argus    Sussex man admits illegal hunting    Huntsman Nicholas Bycroft, a member of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, was filmed by at Angmering Park, near Arundel, on February 19 this year.  Wildlife monitors – volunteers who are against hunting – filmedNickBycroftHuntsmanCrawleyandHorshamFH.jpg Bycroft hunt a fox with a dog.  On Tuesday Bycroft appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court where the 48-year-old, of Huntsman’s Cottage, Kennel Lane, West Grinstead, near Horsham, admitted one count of "hunting a wild mammal with a dog" contrary to the Hunting Act 2004.
Speaking after the hearing Simon Wild, of West Sussex Wildlife Protection, said: "He was filmed from more than a mile away by a wildlife monitor – he obviously thought he could not be spotted. "But there was clear evidence he was hunting and the police agreed."  Mr Wild revealed how officers from Sussex Police’s wildlife crime unit recruited a university professor from Bristol to examine the video.  He agreed there was clear evidence of illegal hunting, and this was put before the court.  "It’s full-blown hunting; there is no getting away from it. Bycroft is a professional huntsman – he is a hunting servant."  He said he did not know if the fox involved had died. The League Against Cruel Sports added: "This is the second time members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt have been prosecuted for offences under the Hunting Act."
The Crawley and Horsham Hunt said yesterday: "Nick Bycroft has taken the decision not to contest the allegation made against him of illegal hunting. The Crawley and Horsham carries out trail hunting and exempt hunting and from time to time it is inevitable that the hunt will come across a fox. On this occasion it does seem the hounds did find a fox in cover. The fox was not hunted and was not caught by hounds. However, the Hunting Act is a draconian and complex law and Mr Bycroft has decided to plead guilty rather than go to trial. The Crawley and Horsham Hunt continues to carry out legal hunting through autumn and winter."

HSA Press Release 17-9-13  Are the Crawley & Horsham the guiltiest Hunt?   Nick Bycroft, professional huntsman with the financially troubled Crawley and Horsham Hunt appeared today before Worthing magistrates court charged with a Hunting Act offence dating from January 2013....  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a conditional 12 month conditional discharge, £150 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.... The magistrate is a neighbour and knows Mr Bycroft but this was not considered a conflict of interest.
The compelling footage of the incident was taken from more than a mile away by a hunt saboteur using state of the art equipment, and presented to Sussex police who commissioned Professor Stephen Harris of Bristol University to examine and report on the footage.  It is understood Bycroft refused to answer questions at interview and gave only a prepared statement: this could be because he was concerned Sussex police were keen to bring a body corporate prosecution under the Hunting Act (this could have included the Directors and Masters of the hunt)....  Sussex police successfully prosecuted three members of the same hunt in 2012 for Hunting Act offences – they were convicted of five offences and fined a total of £10,000 fines and costs. The indications are that Bycroft’s refusal to answer questions was intended to ensure he did not reveal who was present. The guilty plea and the corresponding paltry sentence indicates the plan has been successful.
Bycroft also pleaded guilty earlier this year to Criminal damage during an unprovoked attack on a hunt saboteurs land rover on the 3rd November 2012.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs Association, stated: "With numerous convictions against him it will be interesting to see if the financially troubled hunt will continue to employ their criminal huntsman, or is illegality now just a part of modern day hunting? The convictions of the past year strongly suggest collective wrong doing at the Crawley and Horsham and we urge Sussex Police to consider a corporate prosecution of the Hunt"




UPDATE -  W.Sussex Hunt sabs subsequently posted the following on their FB page on 18-10-13:-   Our local Huntsman was recently in court for illegal hunting. The lead magistrate that sentenced him can be seen in this film with the hunt behind her property. Do you think she was impartial?

POWAperson adds:-   Records show that at least  21 persons associated with the Hunt have been  convicted, cautioned or given formal warnings by the police for a wide range of offences, all hunt-related, since 1990. This is the most for any single Hunt.


LACS investigators say filmed D&S SH illegally hunting and killing stag

Hunt claimed using 'Research' exemption and CPS dropped charges

14-9-13  LACS Press Release   League Against Cruel Sports investigators filmed the Devon and Somerset Staghounds (DSS) Hunt and kill at least one stag. The police investigated and suspects were charged despite claiming they were hunting legally under the ‘Research and Observation’ exemption, but later on the CPS dropped the case.


Seavington FH Huntsman David Parker is convicted of illegal hunting
IFAW investigators' video evidence leads to guilty plea
13-9-13  Bridport News     Seavington huntsman fined for illegal West Dorset foxhunt   The RSPCA mounted the prosecution against the Seavington huntsman.  THE HUNTSMAN of the Seavington Hunt has admitted an offence of hunting a fox with dogs. Huntsman David Parker [left], 39, of Seavington St Mary, Ilminster, pleaded guilty before Yeovil Magistrates yesterday to the offence under the Hunting Act.
SeavingtonFHhuntsmanDavidParker.jpgThe court heard the offence took place in the area around Causeway Lane, Winsham on the West Dorset/Somerset border in January.  He was ordered to pay a fine of £500, a £50 victim surcharge and £500 costs.  District Judge Lynne Matthews dismissed the defence’s plea for a conditional discharge and made the point that Parker had admitted the offence of fox hunting by his own guilty plea.
The court heard that two wildlife crime investigators from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) were filming the hunt when they saw a fox bolt from where hounds were searching scrub area.  The huntsman then blew the horn and engaged the hounds in pursuing the fox.  The hounds were not called off and the pursuit ended at an earth where the fox apparently managed to escape. The footage showed the fox fleeing across the field, with the hounds following shortly after.
The IFAW investigators presented the footage to the RSPCA and the decision was taken to prosecute.  The case cost the RSPCA a total of £4783.38 to bring to court.  The charge was one of hunting a wild mammal, namely a fox, with dogs contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.  The offence is made out by the deliberate pursuit of a fox with dogs – the fox does not have to be killed or maimed.
RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel said: "The footage, provided by IFAW, clearly shows the members of the hunting party searching the area, along with the hounds, before the fox fled and the huntsman pursued it. "We cannot stand by whilst laws which are there to protect wild animals are broken and if sufficient evidence is provided to us we have an obligation to act to prevent further such offences from occurring."  Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: "Hunting a fox with hounds is a cruel and illegal activity and IFAW’s monitors will remain vigilant to ensure anyone committing such offences is brought before the court."

12-9-13  IFAW website  A successful prosecution against illegal foxhunting in Yeovil Magistrates’ Court   In the video we see key footage obtained by Wildlife Crime Investigators for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) which led to a successful prosecution (taken by the RSPCA) against the huntsman of the Seavington Foxhounds in Dorset, UK, for illegally hunting a fox with dogs (an offence under the Hunting Act 2004), on 26 January 2013.... This is not unusual in itself. There have been more than two hundred successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act 2004 since it became illegal to chase foxes with dogs in England and Wales [though only a fraction of those against organised Hunts - POWAperson].  Also huntsmen (the member of a Hunt who is in control of the hounds) pleading guilty when facing overwhelming evidence of their illegal activities is an outcome that often happens [this is factually incorrect. I know of only 4 such instances - POWAperson].
However, what makes this case special for us is that the evidence that led to this conviction was obtained by IFAW Wildlife Crime Investigators working as part of IFAW’s UK Enforcement Team, whose role is to gather evidence of illegal hunting to aid public or private prosecutions.  Our professional Wildlife Crime Investigators run intelligence led operations when they haveSeavingtonFHillegalhunting1-13.JPG information that makes them suspect that a particular hunt may be engaging in illegal hunting somewhere.
This is what they did on 26 January 2013, when they monitored the Seavington Hunt, and managed to film them on the Dorset/Somerset border searching a scrub area from which a fox bolted.  When the Huntsman was made aware of the presence of the fox by other people assisting him he then blew the horn and engaged the hounds in pursuing it, which is in itself a breach of section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 regardless of whether the fox is eventually caught in the end.  The footage clearly shows the fox fleeing across the field, with the hounds following "on line" shortly after for several fields and then stopping at a spot where the fox probably hid underground [right].  The huntsman then inspected the spot, other people joined him and some who carried spades started to dig, and eventually the huntsman and the remaining riders left.  The whole recorded chase lasted more than 12 minutes and covered a distance of about a third of a mile.
The evidence of the event had to be properly recorded, handled and stored, and after analysing it a case had to be built from all the footage and additional evidence to professionally assess if there was a potential for prosecution.  In this instance, after such an assessment was made a few weeks after the incident took place using all the best state of the art equipment and forensic techniques at the disposal of IFAW’s Enforcement team, the case was handed over to the RSPCA for consideration, who then accepted it, carried out further investigations and eventually successfully prosecuted the huntsman with the evidence we produced.
For us, this was a "mission accomplished" moment and as UK Director of IFAW I am very proud of the work of the team involved (particularly the investigators on the ground who obtained the evidence), as this case proves that our new methods and approach are working well despite all the obstacles the hunting fraternity is throwing at us, and also because our close work with the RSPCA is bearing fruit.  Having achieved a guilty plea in the first hearing, which is always a good indication of the strength of a case, was the icing on the cake.
In a few weeks the hunting season will begin again, and our enforcement team will be feeling highly motivated on the back of this success. It is very hard to obtain evidence under hostile conditions, enduring the harsh weather of the British winter, and to do it at the highest level of professional standards we are aspiring to. But enforcing wildlife crime legislation is important anywhere in the world, whether the victim is an elephant, a rhino or a fox, and we at the International Fund for Animal Welfare take this very seriously.

POWAperson comments;-   Many congratulations to IFAW for obtaining the evidence that led to this conviction. I've known the primary monitor who took this footage for more than 20 years and have monitored with him. I have an immense level of respect for his courage and dedication - as for all hunt monitors.  I know hard it is not just to be in the right place at the right time, but also to evade the obstruction, threats and violence of the hunters.  It seems churlish not to be wholly positive about any conviction, but the fact is that hundreds of Hunts all over the country get away with hunting live quarry every day of the season, and the occasional prosecution, with derisory fines [and, as in this case, only one of the guilty parties being prosecuted], just aren't going to deter them.
Not for the want of trying, but this is IFAW's first successful prosecution in the eight years since the Act came into force.   The wording of the Hunting Act and the loopholes it contains make it incredibly difficult and rare to gain enough evidence to secure convictions.  The hunters will carry on regardless until the legislation is strengthened to make it much easier to enforce, and the sanctions are increased to be in line with other animal welfare legislation - which will both provide greater deterrence.  The police and CPS will then be more inclined to investigate and prosecute - and the immense burden of trying to obtain adequate evidence, which currently falls entirely on a few employed, and a relatively small number of volunteer, monitors will be reduced.
Hounds from the Seavington FH chased a fox along a mainline railway track in September 2011, and three of their dogs were killed by vehicles on the busy A303 in February 2010 - both events pretty inexplicable if they were, as they claimed, 'trail hunting'. 


..... 30th August - Four Cumbrian men admit illegal hunting after report to LACS crimeline

..... 23rd August - Holderness FH 3 acquitted after hounds chased bloody fox through garden
..... 23rd August - Cattistock FH huntress killed in fall was wearing inadequate helmet
..... 22nd August - Ex- RAC Beagles JM to be prosecuted for illegal hare hunting
..... 16th August - Call for NT to extend ban on Meynell FH hunting on its land
..... 15th August - Four Middleton FH hunt servants convicted of illegal hunting
..... 14th August - Norfolk/Suffolk sabs complain re. police response to hunter assault/theft
..... 13th August - Police publish pic of Old Berks rider just a week before prosecution deadline
..... 13th August - Ledbury FH Huntsman faces prosecution in first joint RSPCA-LACS case
.....  2nd August - Ross Harriers JM/Huntsman acquitted of racist abuse on appeal
.....  1st August - LACS call for stop on stag hunting as very low mature stag numbers on Quantocks
Men admit illegal hunting of foxes after report to LACS Crimewatch line
North West Evening Mail   30-8-13    FOUR CAUTIONED FOR ILLEGAL FOX HUNTING     FOUR men have received a police caution for illegal fox hunting with dogs on Broughton Moor.  The men, understood to be from Barrow, Kirkby, Bardsea and Little Urswick admitted to the offence under the Hunting Act 2004.  The cautions followed an investigation by the League Against Cruel Sports in to illegal hunting methods in the area.  Local residents saw the group hunting with dogs on March 17 and reported the incident to the league via their wildlife crimewatch helpline.  After an investigation, the police interviewed the men who confessed to illegally hunting a wild mammal with dogs. Cumbria police confirmed that four men had been given official cautions for illegal hunting.

POWAperson comments:-
  It is unclear whether these guys are members of the lurcher fraternity or have a private hound pack. Either way, they are likely to be actual or quasi-criminal already, anyway.  In general these bloodsporters have a completely different attitude to being charged with illegal hunting than do organised Hunts, viewing it as a mere occupational hazard and rarely worth the hassle and expense of fighting the charges.  Especially now the police have the easy option of getting them to plead to a Hunting Act offence, when they can be almost certain of getting a caution or a small fine, rather than risking a stiffer penalty either denying the HA charge [and possible vehicle confiscation] or facing a harsher sanction for a poaching conviction or a much greater one from criminal, or even armed, trespass. As a criminologist, years ago, I once found myself interviewing a guy in Stafford prison who told me he'd been given 3 years for armed trespass after being caught deer poaching.
But those offences are harder to prove and the harsher sanctions give the offenders more reason to fight them.  Using the Hunting Act, everyone's a winner - except their animal victims and, in the case of illegal coursing and  poaching gangs, the landowners.  The police get their nice easy convictions, the courts have to spend little or no time on them, the lurcher men carry on almost unscathed and unabashed and everyone can be assured about what a tremendously 'effective' piece of legislation the Hunting Act is.  Note here that the offenders haven't even been named and shamed, in keeping with what now seems to be the, inexplicable, police protocol of not releasing the names of cautioned individuals.
There have been suggestions that reports of illegal coursing have increased significantly in recent years. It's a horrible thought, I really hope I'm wrong - but I'm afraid that the effective replacement of other, stricter legislation by the weaker Hunting Act as the police's first-line prosecution tool for such cases may be in part responsible for any such increase in offending.


Holderness FH 3 acquitted after hounds chased bloody fox through garden
Judge says that the Hunting Act is hard to interpret, apply and prosecute

23-8-13   Yorkshire Post    Three cleared of hunting fox with dogs in garden     The Hunting Act has been described as difficult to interpret and prosecute after three members of Yorkshire's Holderness Hunt were cleared of illegal hunting.  Charges were HoldernessFH.jpgbrought against master of foxhounds Charles Clark,  former huntsman David Elliot and amateur whip Philip Walker after complaints of hunting in the village of Aike, near Driffield, on January 21, last year.  Each was accused of hunting a wild mammal with dogs but at the start of a trial at Beverley Magistrates Court the prosecution offered no evidence against Elliott, of the Gatehouse, Market Weighton Road, North Duffield.District.
Judge Daniel Curtis [below right] said the legislation was not easy and it was a classic example of the difficulties the Crown have in prosecuting such cases.  After hearing from villagers about events on the day concerned Allan Armbrister for the remaining two defendants submitted there was no case to answer and Mr Curtis agreed. Clark, 32, of Elm Tree Farm, Wistow, Selby, and Walker, 26, of Westlands, Hornsea Road, Sigglestone, East Yorkshire, were both cleared.  Mr Curtis said the Hunting Act 2004 was a piece of legislation that had caused much controversy. It was debated in Parliament JudgeDanielCurtis.JPGfor a disproportionate length of time and was eventually brought in by a free vote.  But he said: "It is difficult to interpret and apply and difficult for the CPS to prosecute.
There was evidence that in the morning a rider was trying to marshal hounds away from an area, which is contrary to directing them towards prey, the judge added.  In the afternoon, he said, CCTV evidence showed six or seven hounds pursuing a fox through a garden, from a pack of around 30.  Mr Curtis said importantly there was no evidence that they were directed there. "It was a scene of chaos, disorganisation, little organisation and little leadership."
Andrew Vaughan prosecuting had said: "We say what was going on throughout the day is illegal foxhunting and the legal trail hunting is something of a smokescreen." 
Ian Sargent told the court he called the police after he saw hounds in one of his fields, having previously written to the Hunt and told them they were not entitled to be there. One of two huntsmen wearing red jackets had gone into the field to try to get the hounds out.  Mr Sargent said he spoke to a Hunt Master and was assured they would not return, but in the afternoon he heard hounds nearby again and went out to investigate.  This time he saw a fox which ran into his garden.
"It was in the most horrific state I have ever seen a fox, covered from its shoulders to the tip of its nose in blood."  He said it headed off between his house and his neighbour's and he said he then saw hounds come from the same direction as the fox had.  He had there were about seven hounds in his garden, adding: "I was in fear of being bitten."  When he subsequently saw three riders coming past he put his arms up to stop them but one just accelerated and he had to jump out of the way.  Mr Sargent agreed under cross-examination by Mr Armbrister that the hounds in his garden "were not under the control of any human or being directed there"
After the case was dismissed Clark said: "We are relieved this ordeal is finally over." Tim Bonner, director of Campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, said: "The judge's comments and the results of this case are further evidence that the Hunting Act is a failed law."

POWAperson adds:-  This case is an absolute exemplification of the sort of behaviour that Hunts can get away with, day in, day out. It highlights a major weakness of the Hunting Act and why it desperately requires strengthening. 

Leading Cattistock FH huntress killed in fall was wearing inadequate helmet
23-8-13  Daily Telegraph    Huntswoman killed after falling from horse wearing flimsy helmet offering no protection     A prominent huntswoman was killed after she fell from her horse after deciding to wear a flimsy helmet offering no safety protection, an inquest heard.  Despite suffering serious head injuries in a previous fall, 43-year-old Fiona Vigar was wearing a flimsy riding helmet at the time of the accident that killed her. The headgear was made of linen and carried a safety warning notice that it offered the rider no protection.  Mrs Vigar, a former leader of the Cattistock Hunt in Dorset, was riding one horse and leading another when one of them lost its footing on the slippery manhole cover and fell.  She was knocked unconscious and airlifted to hospital where she was put into an induced coma and underwent brain surgery.  But her injuries were too severe and Mrs Vigar died 17 days after the accident in the village of Loaders, near Bridport.....

Former JM of RAC Beagles faces prosecution for illegal hare hunting
22-8-13  LACS website    LACS Court alert for hare hunting case   The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised proceedings against Libby Gilbert, former Joint-Master and Huntsman of the Royal Agricultural College Beagles, for allegedly hunting a hare with dogs on 20th February 2013, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. The case is based on evidence gathered by the League Against Cruel Sports, which was passed to Wiltshire Police. The case against Gilbert is listed for hearing by Swindon Magistrates’ Court on 16th October 2013 at 10.00am.

Call for NT ban on Meynell FH hunting on their land to be extended

Burton Mail  16-8-13    Decision due on further ban for fox hunt group     A WITNESS who helped convict two members of the Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt for illegal hunting has asked Calke Abbey to extend a ban on its land.  Roger Swaine, one of the JohnnyGreenallMeynellFHJM.jpgprotesters who filmed the hunt, has written to the National Trust which owns the South Derbyshire estate, to keep the hunting party off their land for another three years claiming its members have shown no remorse for their actions.
The Honourable Johnny Greenall [left], son of the Baron of Daresbury, and Glen Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, were secretly filmed by anti-hunt protesters trying to kill foxes near Hilton.  Footage played at South Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court showed members of the hunt surrounding a wood [still, below right]. The hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes. One fleeing fox was scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen who were clapping their hands.  Following the conviction, the National Trust banned the trust from hunting on its land, which includes Calke Abbey.
As the trust is now reconsidering all licences, Mr Swain has asked them to extend the ban, saying: "They have shown no remorse for their actions but appear to simply regret having been caught. They have been adamant that they wereMeynellillegalcubhunting10-11.JPG legally trail hunting despite the video evidence showing them clearly ‘holding up’ coverts as in traditional ‘cubbing’ and deliberately driving foxes back to be killed by the pack of hounds.  I consider the hunt to be carrying on as before, rather than making a significant change in policy to legal trail hunting.  Even if they are now compliant with the law, it takes approximately five years for a pack of hounds to be replaced by a new generation of hounds trained to follow a trail and therefore I suggest extending the ban another three years would reduce the risk of the hunt killing wildlife on your land."
A spokesman for the National Trust said: "We are currently reviewing whether or not we will grant the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt a licence for the 2013/2014 season and expect to reach a decision in the next four weeks."   Mike Jones, a joint master at the hunt said: "This is the time of year when we review all our landowners and try to seek permission to cross their land exactly like we will do with all the country that we cross and we will await their response."

Four Middleton FH hunt servants convicted of illegal hunting

3 given pitifully small fines, the other discharged 

Daily Mail  15-8-13   Grisly footage shows blood-thirsty hounds tear fox apart after huntsmen force it from hay bales during illegal hunt     The huntsmen look on as a baying pack on hounds rip a fox to shreds.  And then the horn is sounded: the fox is dead.  This harrowing video has been released after four members of the Middleton Hunt, based in North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to hunting with hounds.  The men were finedMiddletonFHiillegalhunting18-12-12A.jpg between £85 and £200 each, but despite being caught, investigators doubt their case will have any impact on their future behaviour.
Paul Tillsley, head of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports, and one of the team that filmed the incident, said:  'While we are pleased with this result, and the admission of guilt from the hunt staff concerned, we doubt it will change their behaviour going forward, or that the hunt themselves will admit illegal hunting and change their ways.' The grisly video shows the terrified fox taking refuge under bales of hay for 25 minutes before hunt staff use terriers, sticks and hounds to force it into the open where the pack of dogs bring it down and tear it apart  A triumphant huntsman then sounds his hunting horn - the traditional call for a kill when hunting was legal.  He then picks up the fox carcass and holds it over the hounds so that they can better attack and 'rag' it. The shocking clip, filmed at Full Sutton, near York, last December, was handed over to police.
Huntsman Tim Holt, of Leavening, North Yorkshire, whipper-in Shaun Marles, of Titley, Hertfordshire, terrierman Lee Martin, of Birdsall, North Yorkshire, and amateur terrierman Brian Cuthbertson of Norton, North Yorkshire, all pleaded guilty to hunting a wild mammal with a dog, at York Magistrates Court. Holt was fined £200, Marles was fined £100 and MiddletonFHillegalhunting18-12-12B.jpgMartin was fined £100. All three had to pay a £20 surcharge and £85 in costs. Cuthbertson was granted a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
After the case, Mr Tillsley said: 'We know that many hunts are regularly out there breaking the law, and that's precisely why we have a team of professional Investigators in the field - to capture illegal activity and work with the relevant authorities to bring about prosecutions.  This case is one of several from our work during the last hunting season (2012/13), but a new season is just beginning.  We can only hope that successful cases like this will make hunts think twice about continuing to blatantly flout the law, and start adapting their practices to hunt false trails, leaving animals well alone. This was the will of the British public when the Hunting Act 2004 was passed, but sadly it didn't save this fox.  The successful outcome of this case today is a clear example of how the Hunting Act 2004 can, and does, work when enforced.'
Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, said: 'The Middleton Hunt has accepted that the fox should have been shot in accordance with the exemption rather than killed by hounds. 'Whilst the Hunting Act remains a ridiculous and illogical law, pleading guilty to minimise the time and money wasted on this case, was the sensible thing to do.'

13-8-13    LACS website    Guilty! Four hunt staff admit illegal hunting after trapped fox flushed to waiting hounds    Case shows Hunting Act 2004 can, and does, work. Four members of the Middleton Foxhounds, a registered fox hunt based at Malton, in North Yorkshire, today pleaded guilty in respect of the illegal hunting of a fox in December 2012, following footage obtained by the League Against Cruel Sports during a hunt meet at Full Sutton,MiddletonFHillegalhunting18-12-12C.jpg East Yorkshire. Huntsman Tom Holt, Whipper-in Shaun Marles, Terrierman Lee Martin, and Amateur Terrierman Brian Cuthbertson all pleaded guilty in respect of Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 – the offence of Hunting a Wild Mammal with a Dog.
The case concerned an incident which was video-recorded by members of the League’s Investigations Team, who saw a fox take refuge from the hunt in a stack of hay bales. The animal was trapped in the bales for over 25 minutes, with hunt staff using terriers, sticks and hounds to force the fox to flee into the open.  Eventually it did attempt to escape, and was brought down and torn apart by the waiting pack of hounds.  The huntsman could then clearly be seen, and was filmed, using his hunting horn to blow the traditional call for a kill (used when hunting was legal).  He then picks up the fox carcass and holds it over the hounds so that they could better attack and ‘rag’ it.
Paul Tillsley, Head of Investigations at the League and one of the team that filmed the incident, stated; ‘Whilst we’re pleased with this result, and the admission of guilt from the hunt staff concerned, we doubt it will change their behaviour going forward, or that the hunt themselves will admit illegal hunting and change their ways. We know that many hunts are regularly out there breaking the law, and that’s precisely why we have a team of professional Investigators in the field – to capture illegal activity and work with the relevant authorities to bring about prosecutions.’  He continued ‘This case is one of several from our work during the last hunting season (2012/13), but a new season is just beginning. We can only hope that successful cases like this will make hunts think twice about continuing to blatantly flout the law, and start adapting their practices to hunt false trails, leaving animals well alone. This was the will of the British public when the Hunting Act 2004 was passed, but sadly it didn’t save this fox. The successful outcome of this case today is a clear example of how the Hunting Act 2004 can, and does, work when enforced.’

Several other papers covered the case including the Daily Express and the Mirror.

POWAperson comments:-    Whilst thoroughly congratulating the LACS on bringing these Middleton hunt servants to book, and acknowledging that the League is doing the best they can in trying to achieve prosecutions, POWA cannot agree with the assertion that the Hunting Act can and does work, at least with respect to organised Hunts. The capturing of such utterly conclusive evidence as in this case is a rare event and, very much more often than not, hunters are able to avoid investigation, prosecution or conviction due to the weak wording and numerous loopholes of the Hunting Act. There simply is no practical means of enforcing this defective legislation against nearly 300 hunts, a large proportion of which we have reason to believe regularly engage in illegal hunting - and there never will be.
There have been getting on for 100,000 hunting days since the Act came into effect, but the number of convictions of organised Hunts remains minuscule. Nor is there evidence that those convictions have had any deterrent effect.  A notable feature of this latest case was the absolutely paltry size of the sanctions. The largest fine was £200, just 4% of the maximum allowed, 2 were £100 [2%] and the other offender got away with just a discharge.  None of the riders who can be seen in the film participating in the illegal hunting were prosecuted.  No thought seems ever to have been given in a case against an organised Hunt to using the powers of confiscation of equipment, dogs and vehicles used in offences - though this happens quite often in cases involving the, largely underclass, lurcher brigade.
But true deterrence will only come when maximum sanctions are harsher, in line with other animal welfare acts, [prison and/or +£20,000 fines] and when the Act is sufficiently strengthened to make enforcement much easier. In the meantime, we do, of course, applaud the brave and arduous work of monitors from whatever organisation - but monitoring alone is never going to achieve the end of organised hunting of wild animals for 'sport'. 
These convictions bring to 334 the number of separate persons from organised Hunts who have, according to POWA records,  been convicted or cautioned since 1990, committing between them at least 782 offences.


Sabs slam police for response to hunter assault and theft from them

14-8-13 Facebook - Norfolk Suffolk Hunt Sabs    Update on investigation    I would like to congratulate the Norfolk Police force/IPCC for dealing so poorly with the assault and theft taken against us during the end of last session.  Not only was an older colleague punched, but another was beaten on the floor and had his camera stolen off him.  The Police response was pathetic at best and they didn't know what to do, which resulted in only one person (out of at least 5) being questioned and eventually let off without even a slap on the wrist.
This so called investigation took around two months to have a full conclusion. Our complaints to the IPCC about the slack and unprofessional attitude towards the seriousness of our situation, as well as illegal hunting was dismissed, prolonged and eventually ignored. Ironically, this second 'investigation' took a long time and still haven't heard anything. Policing in this country only happens by the will/agenda of the individuals involved. "Our Priority is you" is their slogan, but doesn't state what their priority is. We can guess that it's protecting pro-hunt violent psychopaths.

Police publish pic of Old Berks rider who hit monitor - just a week before prosecution deadline

Oxford Mail   13-8-13    Hunt monitor wants action over ‘whip assault by rider'     A WOMAN whipped by aPennyLittle.jpg horse rider in a "nasty" assault has asked witnesses to help make sure her attacker does not go "unpunished". Penny Little [a POWA Associate] claims shewas knocked forward after being hit around the head by a man on a horse while monitoring a hunt in Clanfield earlier this year.
But police have told the wildlife campaigner they only have until August 20 to find and prosecute the man.  Mrs Little [right] last night said: "I was struck hard around my left ear and it knocked me forward. It felt horrible. It made me feel sick. It was a ringing blow and it was very unpleasant. Some people seem to think it's the medieval times and you get on a horse and go around whacking the peasantry. It's staggering, disgraceful and unforgivable and there is no excuse for it."
Police last week released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in connection with the assault in February [below left]. Thames Valley Police spokesman Naveenat Sahota said as the case could only be heard at a magistrates' court the force had a six-month time limit to begin a prosecution.  Mrs Little, who runs the Little Foxes wildlife sanctuary from her home in Great Haseley, said she wanted to make sure that her attacker was prosecuted. She said: "I would like him brought to book because it was an unforgivable, mean spirited, nasty thing to do. He could have caused serious damage. I was lucky I was not hurt more than I was. Clearly he wasn't bothered. He OldBerkshunterwhippedPenny2-13.jpgwas lashing out. That sort of behaviour should not be allowed to go unpunished."  Mrs Little said she was one of five people monitoring more than 40 members of the Old Berks Hunt when she was assaulted. She said her attacker said: "Oh, so sorry" sarcastically before riding off.
The former personal assistant set up Little Foxes in 1997 and the sanctuary takes in orphaned wildlife including foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, and birds. She said foxes were "misunderstood and badly treated", adding: "They are the most delightful, fascinating creatures. "It's my life's aim to try to help get the persecution levels down." The assault happened in Mill Lane at 11.50am on February 20.
Pc Philip Wood, of Chipping Norton police station, appealed for witnesses to come forward. He said: "Unprovoked assaults of this nature are taken very seriously by the police and we are hoping the release of the CCTV image will aid the investigation. We would appeal to anyone with any knowledge or recognises this individual to come forward".

Ledbury FH Huntsman William Goffe faces prosecution for illegal hunting

13-8-13   LACS website   UK Huntsman charged with illegal hunting as a result of joint League and RSPCA case     The League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA are working jointly on a Hunting Act prosecution. Following an operation by the League’s Investigations Team, footage was submitted to the RSPCA prosecutions department, the RSPCA has served a summons on Will Goffe, huntsman for the Ledbury Hunt, for allegedly breaching the Hunting Act 2004. A preliminary hearing will take place at Worcester Magistrates Court at 2.30pm on 3 October 2013.  Having carefully considered the available evidence, the RSPCA has decided there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to instigate a private prosecution in this case.  This decision was taken having regard to the guidance to prosecutors set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

POWAperson adds:- Sabs provided the RSPCA with a great deal of footage of the Ledbury FH in the second half of last season, some of which they believed was evidence of illegal hunting. The footage included the incident at Eldersfield on 23-2-12 [below] when hounds ripped a fox to pieces in a private garden and sabs managed to retrieve the carcase. It has only recently come to POWA's knowledge that LACS investigators have also obtained footage of possible Hunting Act breaches by the Ledbury.  It is not currently clear which evidence will be used or how many charges Mr. Goffe might face.  He was one of the first men from an organised Hunt in England to be convicted of illegal hunting, with the now deceased Gary Bradley, when they were both servants of the Minehead Harriers in 2008. 

Ross Harriers JM/Huntsman acquitted of racist abuse on appeal

2-8-13   Hereford Times     Ross-on-Wye hunt master wins appeal over racist abuse charge     A Huntsman has spoken of his relief after he was cleared of hurling racial abuse at an anti-hunt demonstrator. David Lee Peters, master of the Ross Harriers Hunt, had been found guilty of using a racist term during a hunt at the Pennyfarthing Inn at Aston Crews in January last year. He was fined a total of £720, ordered to pay Ms Hassan £200 compensation and £2,000 in court costs after being found guilty following a trial at Hereford Magistrates’ Court in November. But a panel of judges overturned the verdict at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday after concluding that there were inconsistencies in the story, which meant there was reasonable doubt. "I am relieved that justice has been done, because it should have been done firstly at Hereford Magistrates’ Court," said Mr Peters, of Castle Brook Kennels, Coughton.

Very low number of stags on Quantocks leads to LACS call for halt to hunts

1-8-13   LACS Press Release   League call for moratorium as new staghunt season threatens to wipe out Quantock stags     Leading animal welfare charity, the League Against Cruel Sports, today called for a moratorium on stag hunting on the first day of the new stag hunting season, as figures show that there are only 9 adult males left onQuantockSHgrallockingstag1981.jpg the Quantock Hills.  Despite the Hunting Act 2004 prohibiting hunting deer with a pack of hounds, exemptions allow the animal to be flushed from cover using two dogs as long as it is then shot, and for the purpose of ‘scientific research’ only.
However, the League believes hunting continues for sport alone, and will result in the loss of all adult males from the area once the Quantock Staghounds, the pack local to the area, begins hunting from 1st August.  Figures released by the Quantock Deer Management and Conservation Group show that the overall population of red deer on the Quantock Hills has shown a downward trend since 2006, resulting in less than half the population now present (386 vs 800+ commonly recorded in the period 2002- 2005).  The count of 386 deer represented the lowest count since 1996, and it contained just 9 adult males (4 years and upwards).
Paul Tillsley, Head of Investigations at the fleeingstag.jpgLeague and based in Somerset, stated ‘This count gives real cause for concern, not just for animal lovers, but for anyone who cares about the beauty and diversity of the Quantock Hills. These male stags will be lucky to make it through the next few months, as the hunters will have them in their sights. Officials from the hunt have already been successfully prosecuted twice for illegal hunting, and we were disappointed that the yet another case was not taken up by the CPS concerning a case from last season.’  He continued ‘Despite claims of ‘scientific research’ we know the reality is that it remains all about the entertainment of chasing a wild animal to exhaustion, and then killing it for sport. If they at least had a care for the survival of these animals they would agree with our call for a moratorium until the deer population can recover from such a decrease in numbers. But as that would put a stop to their fun, we doubt they will even acknowledge the problem.’
POWAperson adds:    This is the breakdown of this year's count figures:-  Red Deer : 386 (312 Hinds & calves of both sexes / 27 Prickets / 38 Young stags / 9 Older Stags 4yrs+). 
Nobody really knows how reliable these counts are.  In the mid-90s a census came up with the very low figure ofdeadstag.jpg 317, yet just 4 years later they claimed to have counted 802.  'Prickets' are 1 to 2 year old stags, whose antlers have not developed beyond two straight points.  They usually live with the hind/calves herd, while older stags live on their own or in smallish 'bachelor' groups, only re-joining the main herd for the few weeks in early autumn of the rutting season.  'Young stags' are 3 year olds and may be hunted along with other youngish stags in the 'spring stag' season [late winter/early spring].
The deer hunting season began yesterday, with the hunting of 'autumn' [mature] stags. The longer the chase and the more 'points' a stag has on its antlers [indicating a strong stag in its prime'], the happier the hunters are with their day's fun and their 'trophy'.
They will go out hunting regardless of how hot the August weather is, and engage in the same highly prolonged chases [sometimes more than 7 hours] just as readily in high summer as in the cooler parts of the year, showing no concern for the welfare of their own dogs and horses  I once saw a hunter's horse collapse and die in August from what clearly seemed to be heatstroke. Hind hunting is conducted in mid-winter. Don't get me started on that vileness, which often involves the forcible splitting away of a calf still at a hind's foot so they can hunt and kill the mother - for 'sport'.
In my experience deer hunts seem keen to introduce and inure their children to their cruel, gory pastime even younger than do fox hunts. Pic right above is of the Quantock SH 'grallocking'  a stag they have just killed [removing its internal organs]. Note the toddler being allowed to watch this gruesome process from just a few feet away. The Quantock Staghounds are the only one of the three West Country deer hunts to have been successfully prosecuted for illegal hunting [twice].
All three hunts are using loopholes in the Hunting Act to carry on chasing and slaughtering red deer. There is no realistic prospect of stopping them other than via a significant strengthening of the Hunting Act 2004, which should also involve making the sanctions available under it the same as under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 - up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to £21,000.

JULY 2013

..... 26th July - Veteran hunt monitor to appeal conviction for fail to stop and report accident

..... 23rd July - Two Crawley & Horsham FH terriermen in the dock soon
..... 21st July - Gavin Grant urges hunters to create cruelty-free 'trail & drag hunting' body
..... 19th July - RSPCA, LACS, IFAW issue statement re. danger of repeal of the Hunting Act
..... 18th July - Sabs upload film of Mid-Devon FH incident after CPS drop assault charges
..... 17th July - LACS reports dramatic increase in wildlife crime reports over the last year
..... 15th July - Two dead foxes dumped near sab's house in south Norfolk
..... 10th July - Carmarthen foot pack escape prosecution after 'horror attack' on main road
.....  5th July - New YT clips show violence, intimidation, abuse, obstruction by Old Berks hunters
.....  3rd July - Pendle Forest & Craven JM killed in early hours car crash in Yorkshire Dales
Hunt monitor to appeal conviction for fail to stop and report accident
Court dismisses Mid-Devon rider's claim of assault after fall from horse

26-7-13   Exeter Express & Echo    Hunt monitor plans appeal after being found guilty of driving Land Rover into £90,000 racehorse     A hunt monitor has been convicted of failing to stop after a road accident in which a huntswoman was injured.
Haydon Macey, 68, had been accused of driving his Land Rover into the back legs of a £90,000 thoroughbred racehorse which hunter Michelle Westcott was riding on Dartmoor. Exeter magistrates court heard Ms Westcott was hurt after she was unseated from the horse when it reared up in the incident in a narrow lane at Gidleigh on the Devon moor last November. Macey, from Newton Abbot, was also accused of assault as the prosecution claimed he grabbed the stricken rider by the throat. Magistrates cleared him of assault but convicted him of failing to stop and give his details after the clash.
Chairman of the JPs Brian Balsdon said that as a result of his driving Macey unseated the rider who was out with the Mid Devon Hunt.  He said Macey had a duty to give the rider his details even though Miss Westcott was 'in mood to accept them according to your evidence'.  Mr Balsdon said Macey should have reported the incident to the police but he did not do that and drove off.  On the assault charge, the chairman said: "We cannot be sure beyond reasonable doubt that your actions were intentional or reckless."  Pensioner Macey was fined a total of £560 including costs and had five points put on his driving licence.
Prosecutor Sonia Croft told the court that Macey was driving a two tonne Land Rover with a group of animal right supporters in the back, monitoring the hunt when they saw Miss Westcott in the lane in front of them.  She said the horse called According To Lawrence was being ridden down the wet and narrow lane and Macey tooted his horn on three occasions before calling out to the huntswoman.  The court was told he drove the vehicle into the back legs of the horse which was then shot forwards and sideways and was pinned against a stone wall.  The spooked horse then reared up and Miss Westcott was thrown to the ground where, she claimed, Macey came up to her in silence and grabbed her by the throat.
Macey denied being frustrated and impatient by the actions of the rider who he said was deliberately riding 'unnecessarily slowly' along the track.  The vice chairman and secretary of the South Devon Animal Rights Group said he had been monitoring hunts for 30 years and had been the victim of attacks in the past.  Macey and his colleagues in the vehicle told the court that Miss Westcott spooked her horse when she banged loudly on the roof of their vehicle with her whip.  They also denied there was any physical contact between driver Macey and the fallen rider.  Macey said the Land Rover was at a standstill when she went past on the horse and denied pinning her against the stone wall.  He said: "The whole thing is utterly absurd, ridiculous and preposterous."  Fellow protestor Sarah Wheeler told the court Miss Westcott swore at Macey saying 'not to f***ing touch her or I will f***ing kill you' and claimed she raised her riding crop towards Macey who got back in the vehicle and drove off.  After the case Macey said he would appeal against the conviction.

Two more servants of the notorious Crawley & Horsham FH in the dock

23-7-13    Facebook - West Sussex Hunt sabs    Two terrier men associated with theWestSussexhuntsabslogo.jpg Crawley & Horsham Hunt are appearing at Crawley magistrates court next month. It relates to the Protection of Badgers Act Badger 1992 & is due to evidence gathered by our group.

POWAperson adds:-  The C&H have a record of appalling behaviour over the years and must surely be the leading Hunt in the country in terms of the number of officials, servants and supporters to have criminal sanctions recorded against them. Only last year, a JM, the Secretary/Whip and a former Huntsman were convicted of illegal hunting. POWA has no fewer than 17 members or supporters of the Hunt recorded as having committed offences  [all but one in the hunting field].  8 have been convicted in court of criminal offences [including the Hunt's highest profile supporter, former Conservative Defence Secretary Nicholas 'Fatty' Soames, the current MP for Mid Sussex], 6 have received cautions [including 2 unnamed persons], 2 Fixed Penalty fines and 1 was served with a Harassment Order.

RSPCA urges hunters to create cruelty-free 'trail & drag hunting' organisation

21-7-13   Sunday Express    RSPCA offers an olive branch to country set over fox hunting ban  - The RSPCA wants to set up its own "fox hunt" to drive cruel and illegal blood sports from the countryside.  Having come under fire for its high-profile prosecutions under hunting-with-dogs laws, the ­society is looking at joining forces with the country set.  It wants to set up a hunting association that has all the pageantry and traditions of fox hunting but without the death and gore.  The independent "trial and drag hunt" association would be able to ride with hounds across the countryside following laid down scents but keeping within the law.
GavinGrantRSPCA.jpgHunting remains one of the most divisive countryside issues with critics claiming the law is unfair and ineffectual and anti-blood sport campaigners saying it has not stamped out the killing.  Earlier this year the RSPCA caused outrage among the country fraternity with its successful private prosecution of David Cameron’s local hunt, the Hey­throp, at a cost of £326,000.  RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant [left] has called on countryside groups to join forces and create a new self-regulating association, which would have greater access to private land.
Speaking at the CLA Game Fair, Mr Grant, who has become the nemesis of the huntin’ and shootin’ set with his determination to enforce the hunting-with-dogs laws, said: "I seek common ground with all those who share our passion for enjoying our countryside, respecting our wildlife and obeying the law while out with their dogs and horses. I passionately believe the form­ation of an independent trial and drag hunt association would build confidence that people can enjoy riding out in the countryside without subjecting wild animals to unacceptable suffering."
Last night Sir Barney White-Spunner [right], executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said: "We are quite happy to talk to the RSPCA in the interests of animal welfare when the RSPCA drops its increasingly radical and politicised animal rights agenda."
POWAperson adds:-  The only people who placed the RSPCA's prosecution of theBarneyWhite-Spunner.jpg Heythrop 'under fire' or were 'outraged' by it are those who get their kicks by tormenting and killing defenceless animals and are furious that anyone should have the temerity to seek to expose their ruthless and blatant breaking of the law and prosecute them, like the common criminals they are. Unfortunately they have many friends in high places, from No.10 to, in places, the judicial authorities and the police, who are only too happy to connive at and often cover up their crimes.
The manifest weaknesses of the Hunting Act, some of which were just blunders, but others clearly the 'sabotage' Tony Blair admitted to in his memoirs, make it easy for the hunters to ride roughshod over the will of Parliament and people. The Hunting Act and its sanctions must be toughened so that what the League Against Cruel Sports has called a 'national criminal conspiracy' can no longer get away with brutalising and slaughtering wild animals for fun.
Far from offering some compromise to the hunting lobby because he feels 'under fire', as the article above suggests, Gavin Grant was simply advising them how they could best go about avoiding future prosecutions by the RSPCA and other authorities. That is, to 'hunt' within the law and be seen to be doing so. In effect he was, unlike the Godfather, making them an offer he knows they are highly unlikely to accept, the refusal of which will provide yet further evidence of their continued desire to carry on hunting wild quarry regardless


'Big 3' issue statement urging everyone to act to defend the Hunting Act

19-7-13   RSPCA website    Hunting Act statement    There has been speculation about the coalition government's commitment to allow a free vote on the issue of repeal of the Hunting Act.  With strong backing from the British public, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA campaigned tirelessly for the Hunting Act.  We are extremely alarmed at any moves to withdraw the ban and bring back cruelty to the countryside.
The three charities have issued the following statement:-     We believe that repeal of the Hunting Act would be barbaric and a backward step for a civilised society.  Hunting with dogs was consigned to the history books because the majority of the public found it abhorrent.  Those calling for repeal of this law are effectively calling for a return to cruelty.  We will vigorously defend the law with all available resources, the backing of our one million-plus supporters and the vast majority of the public. We are calling on people to contact their MPs asking them to vote to protect the Hunting Act. The public has consistently opposed the cruel and unnecessary chasing and killing of foxes, deer, hare and mink by dogs, and does not want any return to killing for fun.

POWAperson adds:-   The voting figures in the Commons remain stacked against any attempt to repeal theOwenPatersonDEFRASecofState.jpg Hunting Act [slightly more so now than at the start of this Parliament] and this is clearly why the 'Indicative Vote' on repeal, promised by David Cameron soon after he became Prime Minister in 2010, has not been actioned and why no date for it has been offered.  The closer the next election comes [22 months and counting] the less likely the Government will surely be to embark on such a highly controversial and unpopular process.
However, the enthusiastic wildlife killer Owen Paterson is now Secretary of State at DEFRA. There are rumours that he is looking at the possibility of amending the Act via Statutory Instrument, a power granted to him by Section 2 of the HA,  to [further] neuter the legislation, rather than try to repeal it.  This, thankfully, is less alarming than it sounds, since Statutory Instruments have to be approved by Parliament in a manner not all that different from a Bill, and it seems very unlikely that he could get away with trying to squeeze  this through on a quiet day, as some seem to fear.
Notwithstanding this, POWA would still not completely rule out some cunning attempt to repeal or neutralise the Hunting Act during this Parliament and we fully endorse the 'Big 3's' call for everyone to make their support for the Act known to their MP, whatever their party or known stance on the issue.  We would, however, have preferred them to adopt a rather more proactive stance, by stating the desirability of not just preventing repeal but of actually strengthening the Act.
POWA has long believed that if and when an attempt at repeal is made it will come with the promise of an 'Independent Hunting Authority' to oversee the 'sport'.  Being the LordAstorChairmanOldBerksFH.jpgbrainchild of the Committee to Repeal the Hunting Act [Chairman: Lord Astor, Cameron's stepfather-in-law (left)] it seems clear that the IHA would be little more than window dressing, with any animal welfare representatives who might agree to serve on it outnumbered by hunting interests, whether overt or covert.  It would have limited powers, and probably little will, to significantly discipline Hunts, even in the most extreme cases [as is already so with the various hunting 'sport's' existing governing bodies].
In addition to the IHA, we would expect them to bring forward a 'Wild Animal Welfare Bill' to replace the Hunting Act. This would be along the lines of the one originally proposed - in a failed attempt to head off  banning legislation - in the early 2000s by the bloodsports-loving Labour peer Lord Donoughue. The turncoat Barrington, now styling himself as 'Animal Welfare Consultant' for the Countryside Alliance [a contradiction in terms, surely?] frequently trumpets this as a final solution to the hunting controversy.
Though perhaps initially and superficially attractive to the uninformed, this Bill is, in reality, a smokescreen.  It would restore the status quo ante and would not render illegal anything that hunters and their henchmen were previously permitted to do to their quarry - that is, pretty well anything they liked, other than the limited number of extreme and highly specific cruelties prohibited by the Wild Mammals Protection Act, 1996. That Act,
disembowelledfox.jpg originating as a Private Members Bill by the Labour backbencher Alan Meale, was only allowed passage by the then BFSS-led Tory majority on condition that anything that might ordinarily occur during hunting activity be excluded from its prohibitions, extending even [truly] to their insistence on the removal of a planned ban on 'torture'.
Prosecuting organised Hunts under such a 'Wild Animal Welfare Act' for 'causing unnecessary suffering' to an individual animal would be, de jure, possible, but, de facto, would prove extraordinarily difficult.  As the RSPCA can testify, the burden of proof required in such cases as it currently applies to domestic and captive animals is very high, generally requiring, among other things, the production of the particular animal to whom the suffering has allegedly been caused, or its corpse, and a full veterinary report unequivocally stating that the animal was caused 'unnecessary' suffering.  The prosecution then has to show that this suffering was caused, without lawful justification, by the actions of accused and, under the 'Wild Animal Welfare Act' they would have to be one or more named hunters.  In practice this would present near insuperable problems.
Since hunting wild animals with dogs for 'sport' would once again be legal, presumably anything that happens ordinarily to the quarry in its course - prolonged chases or being disembowelled by one or more dogs for instance - would not be deemed as 'unnecessary', and only really extreme cruelty cases might then be prosecutable at all.
IDSSHDOUBLEKILL.jpgt seems that the 'corporate' liability of a Hunt, present in the current Hunting Act, would no longer exist. Even this is extremely hard to prove and has been attempted only once [the conviction of the Heythrop] in the eight years of the HA's existence.  Identification evidence to tie individual hunters to breaches of the HA is always crucial, but is very often highly problematic, especially given hunters' apparent readiness to cover for one another.  Several HA prosecutions have foundered on this difficulty, even where it was clear illegal hunting had taken place. Many other potentially sound cases could not be brought at all because the particular perpetrators could not be definitively identified.
Hunting usually takes place in sparsely populated locations and there are generally few, if any, non-hunt witnesses to the hounding of the wild quarry, let alone to its bloody conclusion.  Monitors and sabs can never hope to cover more than a tiny proportion of hunts, and even in cases where blatant illegal hunting is being conducted, they are mostly unable to collect evidence sufficient to mount a prosecution and are often actively prevented from so doing by hunters.  Also, the re-legalisation of hunting wild animals for sport would place monitors and sabs at a significantly greater disadvantage vis-a-vis the hunters than at present, never mind negating the few comprehensive achievements of the Hunting Act, such as the elimination of organised hare-coursing, and the extra weapon it has given the police in prosecuting the 'lurcher brigade', who trespass to conduct their vile activities. 
Anyone even slightly familiar with how organised Hunts actually operate, including common tactics of violence, intimidation, obstruction and theft or destruction of equipment toward anyone who tries to gather evidence ofHeythropwhipassaultingfemalemonitoratsceneofPeaswellWoodkill.jpg wrongdoing by them, will readily understand that, under such a 'Wild Animal Welfare Act', both the legal and the logistical obstacles to bringing any prosecution, let alone to obtaining a conviction, would be enormous - far greater even than under the present, sadly flawed, Hunting Act.
Even in the unlikely event of a 'Wild Animal Welfare Act' conviction being obtained against some hunter for 'causing unnecessary suffering' to his wild quarry, this would probably have even less deterrent effect on his own or other Hunts than does a conviction under the current HA - and that seems precious little.  They would probably just carry on hunting in exactly the same way, since their chances of being convicted for a similar offence would be minuscule. Any precedent set by the conviction would be unlikely to have much applicability to future cases.  Nor would it be likely to have much influence on the convicted offender who, as now, would be regarded in hunting circles as a 'martyr', would probably have any fine and costs paid for him and would almost certainly retain his position in the Hunt.
Many POWA Associates are highly active monitors who work bravely, tirelessly and unpaid to document and expose wrongdoing by organised Hunts.  They witness breaches of both the spirit and the letter of the law on virtually every outing, but, despite their knowledge, experience, dedication and the enormous number of [wo]man hours expended, the very high evidential burden imposed by the Hunting Act 2004 means they are still only rarely able to collate video evidence adequate to mount successful prosecutions.
In their case, overcoming the near-universal reluctance by the local criminal justice authorities to take on cases against such well-resourced, high-status, defendants proved impossible, which is why they had to ask the RSPCA to take on the Heythrop prosecutions - cases so solid that they eventually resulted in several guilty pleas, despite the hunters' original, outraged denials. Though there have been a couple of successful CPS-handled HA cases in the last few years, recent instances, where other anti organisations have handed over HA cases to the CPS only to see them lost or simply abandoned, are scarcely encouraging.
Attempts by monitors to expose HA breaches and have the law enforced will continue, but it must surely by now be evident to all that the Hunting Act, though much better than nothing, is in many ways unfit for purpose as applied to organised hunting with hounds -  and that it requires significant strengthening to make it both more readily enforceable and a much greater deterrent to the ruthless legion of hunters who are currently willing, and mostly able, to ride roughshod over the will of both Parliament and people.
Legislative means must be found to place 'clear blue water' between what organised Hunts are permitted to do and what they need to do to successfully hunt wild quarry. Because  these margins are currently so close, hunters are, far too often, able still to get away with wilfully chasing and killing wild animals - escaping investigation or prosecution, time after time, by employing the 'accident while trail hunting' defence or citing some other HA loophole.
Strengthening of the Act, together with sterner sanctions [comparable to those already contained in other Animal Welfare legislation], should make it much easier for witnesses and monitors to provide robust testimony of breaches, render the police, CPS and others more willing and able to investigate and successfully prosecute [or, at least, provide them with many less excuses for not doing so], and create a significantly greater deterrent to would-be law breakers. 
POWA is not so naive as to believe that this will be at all quick or easy to achieve, even given a potentially sympathetic future government, but it seems to us essential. We believe it is a goal for which all antis should now begin to campaign, so that the aim of the Hunting Act's promoters - to properly safeguard wild mammals from the enormous suffering caused to them by hunting with dogs for 'sport' - can be much more properly achieved in the, hopefully not too distant, future.
POWA's original ideas on how the Hunting Act needs to be amended to try to achieve these goals can be found on our website, starting 
. Developments since have led us to believe that amendments need to be somewhat more extensive and sophisticated than this and we will be publishing revisions in due course. In the meantime, we would welcome constructive dialogue on the subject. Contact us here


Sabs upload Mid-Devon FH incident film after assault charges against rider dropped

18-7-13  You Tube     In March 2012, sabs attempted to prevent the Mid-Devon FH carrying out what theyMid-DevonFHinjuredsab3-3-12.JPG claimed was an illegal dig-out of a fox on Dartmoor.  During the incident, they alleged that a hunt rider, Will Chanter, 'lost it' and assaulted three of them, causing injuries [one wounded sab pictured right].  Complaints were made to the police, who prepared assault charges against Chanter, though he was eventually indicted with just one.

Nine months later, the CPS abandoned the prosecution, claiming that there were problems with the rules of evidence regarding the film of the incident. This was far from the first time that the Devon & Cornwall criminal justice authorities have either failed to act on serious, evidenced complaints against Hunts or found some reason to abandon prosecutions.  Obtaining clear and coherent film in such situations is very difficult, but you can now view this aspect of the evidence at the YT link above and draw your own conclusions.

League says reports of wildlife crime have increased tenfold in the last year

17-7-13   LACS website    Report shows ten fold increase in reporting     The League Against Cruel Sports today releases a new report into wildlife crime in the UK. The charity, which runs the UK’s first and only dedicated confidential wildlife crime reporting hotline, is publishing the Wildlife Crime Report 2012/13 which sees a ten fold increase in intelligence reporting last season.
The report encapsulates information gathered from 848 calls and 207 online reports made to the Wildlife Crimewatch service between July 2012 and April 2013.
64 per cent of the reported incidents related to fox hunting and 12 per cent of all reported incidents contained ‘hunt havoc’, a term used to describe the undesirable impact and consequences of hunting on individuals, families, businesses and communities.  Other reports to the line included; artificial earths being used to encourage foxes to breed to ensure a steady supply to illegally hunt, foxes being captured from the wild for later release before a hunt, badger persecution, urban dog fighting, and gangs using dogs to fight wildlife and other domestic pets such as cats.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said:  "The League is committed to exposing wildlife criminals operating in the name of sport, as well as related crimes which impact humans. We will stop at nothing to ensure those breaking the law and inflicting cruelty to animals are held accountable for their actions. Our report shows how urgent that need is, and how wildlife bears the brunt of hidden criminality."  The report will be launched this evening at a House of Commons event, hosted by Angela Smith MP and an attendance of cross party MP’s and celebrities, including conservationist Bill Oddie, who is a Vice President of the League Against Cruel Sports.

Two dead foxes dumped near sab's house in south Norfolk

15-7-13   Facebook - Norfolk Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs     Two foxes that were left near our colleague's house in late June.  These were found in the Geldeston area of south Norfolk.
POWAperson comments:-  No prizes for guessing who might have done this.  It's a common tactic used by hunt thugs to try to upset and intimidate anti-hunt activists.

Carmarthen foot pack escape charges after 'horror attack' on main road

10-7-13   Carmarthen Journal    Prosecution dismay after horror attack    THE League Against Cruel Sports says it is disappointed that no-one will be prosecuted after a fox was ripped apart by hounds on a busy Carmarthen road.   The Crown Prosecution Service has told the Journal this week that following a joint investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police and the RSPCA, there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against the owner of the dogs. At the time witnesses described how they watched in horror as hounds caught a fox and began "tearing it to pieces" on the A40 between Abergwili and Whitemill on February 16. It is believed one of the dogs was killed after colliding with a car.
The incident was witnessed by bus passengers, one of whom took a picture that wasCarmarthenshirehoundskillfoxonA40.jpg widely circulated at the time.  The League's chief executive Joe Duckworth told the Journal this week the incident was not isolated in Wales, which he dubbed a hotspot for "hunt havoc".  Mr Duckworth said: "We are disappointed this incident has not resulted in a prosecution. Sadly these cases are not rare, both Wales and the Welsh borders are hotspots for hunt havoc."
During their inquiries police officers are understood to have visited the Morris Travel depot in Alltycnap Road, Johnstown, to watch CCTV footage taken from the front of the 280 Carmarthen to Llandovery service bus. In February, investigators confirmed they had identified the foot hunt which owned the dogs.  But an RSPCA spokeswoman this week said: "This was a joint investigation between the police and the RSPCA. The evidence was transferred by the police to the CPS and they took a decision there was no reasonable prospect of securing a conviction."
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: "A file of evidence in relation to this incident was passed to the CPS by Dyfed-Powys Police. We reviewed the case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and concluded that there is insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges against the owner of the hounds. All parties have been informed of this decision."
The Hunting Act 2004, which bans the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in Wales and England, came into force on February 18, 2005. But Mr Duckworth said the charity receives reports to its Wildlife Crimewatch line "all the time from members of the public up and down the country who have been victims of 'hunt havoc'".  He added: "A high volume of hunt havoc reports we receive concern roads being blocked by out of control hunt hounds and vehicles; hounds left caught on barbed wire fences, impaled on railings and private property damaged.  All of the reported incidences of hunt havoc and so called 'accidents' by the Hunts concerned indicate that some Hunts in that area are going out intentionally to hunt wild mammals with dogs.

POWAperson comments:   Yet another example, I'm afraid, of how ineffective the Hunting Act so frequently is and/or how reluctant many authorities are to make use of it to prosecute even blatant offenders. 

New YouTube clips show the truly ugly side of the Old Berks FH
Violence, intimidation, abuse, obstruction to hunt monitors
5-7-13    Two film clips have recently been uploaded to You Tube by two different hunt monitors, both from the same group that provided the video evidence that led to the conviction of the Heythrop FH, its former huntsman and a former JM last December.  Both show the kind of treatment monitors have to put up with from the Old Berks FH.  It was from the jaws ofOldBerksriderusinghorsetoassaultmonitor3-13.JPG the Old Berks hounds that a monitor rescued a young fox early last season. 
The first clip,  from a meeting on March 9th, begins with a hunter approaching a male monitor on a country road, and repeatedly calling him a paedophile. The monitor attempts to engage him in rational conversation. The rider then turns his horse to crowd the monitor, bumps him with its flank and starts shouting at him. Hunt supporters then try to block the other monitors filming the incident. A female monitor joins the male one and is also harangued. The rider then kicks the male monitor in the stomach. Soon afterwards he deliberately pushes his horse's chest into him [right], before riding off. 
The second clip shows another meet in March. Monitors had reason to believe that a fox was being hunted and were approaching the scene by road.  Hunters then deliberately rode at the monitors to prevent them going further and block their view of the action OldBerksridersblockingmonitor3-13.JPG[left].  Hounds are heard going into cry and the hunters start making noises to try to cover the sound. A supporter is recorded saying 'One went straight down by the canal.'  Riders and supporters surround one monitor, briefly preventing her getting back in her car, while one male rider accuses her of being a 'paedo' and, for good measure, a 'lesser'. 
The Old Berks is one of the country's most prestigious Hunts.  Its Chairman is Lord Astor, the stepfather-in-law of Prime Minister, David Cameron. Astor is also Chairman of the Committee to Repeal the Hunting Act. 

Pendle Forest & Craven Harriers JM killed in early hours car crash
Female driver of the vehicle arrested at the scene

3-7-13   Horse & Hound     ‘Champion of rural life' killed in car accident     Warm tributes have been paid to pointing supporter and Pendle Forest and Craven joint-master Tom Bannister, who has died in a road accident at the age of 48.  He was a passenger in a Range Rover that left the road near Bell Busk, North Yorks, in the early hours of Saturday, 22 June.  Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.  The driver of the car, a 41-year-old woman, was arrested and released on police bail.
Tom's parents Michael and Ethne described him as "a true champion of rural life" who was PendleForestandCravenHarriers.jpg"passionate about all country pursuits". He was master of Stowe Beagles while at school and studied at the Royal Agricultural College before joining his family on the Coniston estate, where he ran the hotel and opened the farm shop and fishery.  Tom was the northern representative of the Point-to-Point Authority and clerk of the course at Pendle point-to-point.  The Coniston Hotel has been a major supporter of pointing in Yorkshire, sponsoring the restricted final for the region.
He was one of three members of the Bannister family in the mastership of the Pendle Forest and Craven, along with his father Michael (also hunt chairman) and brother Nick.  H&H pointing columnist  Jacqueline Coward said: "Tom was "a huge character, loved by everyone, who did so much for our sport."  His sentiments were echoed by local MP Julian Smith, who said he was "a charismatic, funny and life-loving person who has died far too young".  Tom is survived by his 11-year-old daughter Louise.

POWAperson adds:-   Commiserations to family and friends.  Pendle Forest and Craven Harriers [above left] operate in a pretty remote area spanning the Lancs/Yorks border and are rarely, if ever, visited by sabs or monitors.  Harrier packs are designed to hunt both foxes and hares, on horseback.  Like all Hunts, the Pendle claim they now operate within the Hunting Act.  In November 2011, some local people claimed they had clearly seen the Pendle hunting a hare. The Hunt denied this and, in the absence of video evidence, a police investigation came to nothing. 


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