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

WARNING   Likely to contain images you may find distressing


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JUNE 2012

..... 27th June - 
Crawley & Horsham convict trio reported to have decided not to appeal
.....  8th June - Will Chanter, Mid-Devon FH mounted follower, denies assaulting sabs   
.....  7th June - MFHA chickens in flap over foxy monitors in the coop as bite back begins in earnest
.....  7th June - Leading fox expert blames hunting lobby for spate of media urban-fox scare stories
.....  1st June - Tiverton SH Huntsman's victim goes public to tell how Hunt rallied round evil rapist
Crawley & Horsham trio decide not to appeal their Hunting Act convictions

27-6-12    West Sussex Hunt sabs say that they have heard that the three members of the Crawley & Horsham FH who were found guilty of illegal hunting in May are not intending to appeal the verdicts, purportedly for 'personal reasons'. Presumably they have been advised they would have little chance of acquittal. Neil Millard, a Joint Master, Rachel Holdsworth, Hunt Secretary and a whipper-in and Andrew Phillis, former C&H Huntsman and now Master of a fox hunt in Devon, were convicted of breaking the Hunting Act by using hounds to chase foxes at meets in January 2011. They claimed they were 'trail hunting' but the Judge who found them guilty at Haywards Heath Magistrates Court on May 14th described this as a 'charade'.

Mid-Devon FH mounted follower appears in Court and denies assaulting sabs

A rider with the Hunt, Chartered Surveyor Will Chanter, appeared today at Barnstable Magistrates Court, where he pleaded not quilty to charges of assaulting three sabs at an alleged dig-out site during a meet on Dartmoor in early March. The matter will now go to trial, expected to be in 2/3 months time.     
The picture below shows Mr. Chanter enjoying another of his hobbies  It needs a real man to take on such a fierce creature..

MFHA chickens in flap over foxy monitors in the coop

7-6-12   Horse & Hound    MFHA tells hunts they must record evidence of legal activities     Hunting within the law is not enough - Hunts must make sure they carefully record evidence of their legal activities.  That was the central message from this year's Master of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) annual meeting (29 May) in the light of recent prosecutions and efforts by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) toMFHAmobAGM2009JacksonLambertHartHague.jpg step up its campaign against hunting.   Addressing the meeting at Cheltenham racecourse, MFHA chairman Stephen Lambert said: "The pace of our opponents' endeavours has risen by several gears in the last few weeks. Therefore we must ensure that at all times we have full evidence that we are hunting within the law."     Three members of the Crawley and Horsham were convicted of Hunting Act offences last month, while the RSPCA issued 52 summonses against the Heythrop.    Meanwhile, LACS recently appointed an additional eight "investigations officers" - making a total of 10 - who will work in pairs around the country. At the AGM - which was also addressed by Countryside Alliance chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner and Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames - Mr Lambert issued a stark warning to Hunts. "The RSPCA has adopted a scattergun approach [against the Heythrop]," he said. "This tactic could snowball unless hunts diligently keep daily records to demonstrate their legal activity with hounds."
Masters were warned by Mr Lambert that covert camera operators have been at work in the majority of hunt countries, attempting to catch Hunts out.  And that covert surveillance is set to increase next season.  Louise Robertson of LACS told H&H that most of the investigations officers were ex-policemen or RSPCA inspectors. "We have revamped our whole intelligence system and everything we do from now on will be intelligence-led," she said. "They [the officers] won't just pick a hunt we don't like and go after it; they'll go anywhere we've got intelligence that there is suspicious activity."   But in his closing comments to the AGM, Mr Lambert urged Hunts not to be disheartened by the heightened activity of antis. "The all-out attack by the opposition gives us an opportunity to demonstrate what a ridiculous law this is," he said.

POWAPerson says;- Mr. Lambert, also a subscriber to the PM's own Hunt, the Heythrop, seems strangely camera-shy, and we can only find one picture of him online. Above, he is seen at the MFHA AGM in 2009. From left are Alistair Jackson, then MFHA director;  Lambert himself;  Simon Hart, then CEO of the Countryside Alliance, who helped orchestrate the 'Declaration' campaign prior to the Hunting Act in which a purported 50,000 hunt supporters were recruited to pledge to break any hunting ban, and who is now a Tory MP; and William Hague, one-time VanessaLambertJMHeythropFH.jpgConservative Party leader [that went well] and now fellow bloodsport-lover Cameron's Foreign Secretary. Lambert's daughter, Vanessa [left], aka 'Nessie', is a Joint Master of the Heythrop FH and is one of the five people from that Hunt recently charged by the RSPCA with illegal fox hunting. 
It is clear that the Crawley & Horsham convictions - especially as this was the first Hunting Act case for years brought by the police/CPS against an organised hunting gang - and the 52 charges by the RSPCA against the Heythrop, have seriously spooked the hunters, who had become so complacent in their arrogant belief that the law would rarely, if ever, indict them. 
Now LACS's big new wildlife crime investigation programme appears to have tipped them into a mini-panic. Doubtless the countermeasures advised by Lambert [which some Hunts already practice] will not be their only response to the enhanced dangers posed by monitoring.   Expect also increased obstructiveness and aggression towards hunt observers - and, probably, enhanced attempts to gain some measure of assistance from their political friends in high places.  
Since the Conservative hierarchy cannot presently deliver a Commons majority for Hunting Act repeal, the least their pals, activists and donors in the hunting fraternity are going to expect is a bit more protection from prying eyes, not to mention sabs.   
After all the financial and campaigning help they have given the Conservative party in recent years, including the 'undercover' canvassing conducted in the last three General Election campaigns by hunters in the constituencies of anti-hunt MPs and candidates, organised by the Tory front group 'Vote OK', they surely believe they are entitled to some favours. 
From Cameron himself perhaps, who is extremely close to the beleaguered Heythrop FH, which Hunt is also supported by some of the Tory Party's biggest donors and the now infamous 'Chipping Norton set'...  or maybe from DEFRA Minister Jim 'Shoot the badgers' Paice, a known bloodsports fanatic, to whom the PM did not just give the Agriculture brief, but even appointed as our first ever Minister for Hunting and Shooting.  Then there's always William Hague, now Foreign Secretary, notably pally with the MFHA.... or Cameron's policing [!!!] Minister, Nick Herbert, who was a hare hunt Master for many years as well as Political Officer for the CA... or Solicitor-General Edward Garnier, who has long been very close to the Leicestershire Hunts.  Both the latter served on the Committee to Repeal the Hunting Act [still chaired by Cameron's step-father-in-law, Lord Astor] before being so deservingly elevated to high office. 
Thankfully, though, all these men can clearly be trusted to act entirely objectively in the public interest and not show any more partiality to their dear friends in the hunting community than Paice has demonstrated towards his cattle-farmer colleagues with his badger-cull policy, or Jeremy Hunt did to the Murdoch empire.  So that'll be all right then.
Leading expert says hunting lobby probably behind spate of media fox scare stories

7-6-12 Guardian    Stop hounding Britain's urban foxes    By Professor Stephen Harris [left] of Bristol University.     Drummed up by the hunting lobby, news reports of giant, baby-threatening foxes are little more than myths and nonsense.   They are as big as Alsatians and getting bigger. Their numbers are ProfStephenHarris.jpgincreasing and are out of control. They foul our gardens, they rip cats apart, they are getting bolder. It is simply a matter of time before they kill a baby. City-dwellers cannot let toddlers play in the garden for fear they will be mauled or killed.     It's incredible how much hysteria the British press can generate about such a small, and largely inoffensive, animal as the fox. In the war on the urban fox [West London resident, below right], truth is not so much a casualty as irrelevant.  The fox "cub" recently pictured sitting on a child's bed in London was actually an adult in the terminal stages of mange. It had crept into the house to try to keep warm (foxes with mange lose most of their fur): it caused no problem and was removed by the RSPCA. A non-story and an everyday occurrence with stray cats.    Similarly, the fox in the wardrobe. Having entered a house, it panicked and did exactly what foxes do when scared: it looked for somewhere dark to hide. Again it posed no threat and hardly warranted newspaper coverage.
In March the press hailed a fox shot on a Scottish farm as the biggest ever killed in Britain, claiming that such large foxes were unthinkable a few years ago.   Yet foxhunts were killing foxes much the same size a hundred years ago.     Every urban fox story quotes an "expert", most of whom have little or no expertise on urban foxes. Here an expert was quoted as suggesting that foxes are getting bigger because they are better fed in urban areas. All the more remarkable that the fox killed in rural Aberdeenshire was about as far away from urban influences as is possible in mainland Britain, and none of the recent reports of big foxes have been from cities.   Extremes occur in all species, even humans. Since the biggest man in the world was five times taller than the shortest, why are we surprised to see a fox twice as big as normal? With the anticipated climate changes in Britain, foxes are likely to get smaller, not bigger, something not reported in the "giant fox" stories.     The first claim that foxes will kill a baby appeared in the Sunday Urban-fox-in-west-London.jpgTimes in 1973: 40 years on, this still has not happened. While twins attacked in Hackney in 2010 sustained nasty injuries, much about this incident puzzles me. Their injuries were unlike anything I have ever seen from foxes.
Yet despite being such an atypical event, it is repeatedly referred to in the press.   In comparison, the seven children and five adults killed by dogs since 2005, and the hundreds more disfigured, receive far less coverage.  Nor are urban fox numbers increasing, despite claims made by yet another "expert" on the recent Channel 4 programme. In many cities fox numbers have declined due to sarcoptic mange, an extremely unpleasant and fatal disease. In Bristol, the fox population is still recovering from the 1994 mange outbreak, which killed more than 95%.
The same expert also claimed that Channel 4 had undertaken "the biggest fox survey ever"; previous surveys have involved vastly more people. Nor is there any basis for Channel 4 to claim there are now 40,000 urban foxes in Britain: this figure will undoubtedly dominate the press even though the only scientifically based estimate is 33,000.  With all this misinformation, it is hard to believe that we know more about British urban foxes than foxes anywhere else in the world. We even know more about urban foxes than most other British mammals: just about every aspect of their lives has been studied in minute detail.  The underlying problem is that anything to do with foxes has been politically charged since the upsurge of the hunting debate in the mid-1990s. Until then press stories about foxes were largely balanced. However, influencing public opinion on the need to kill foxes has been a key goal of the hunting lobby. Yet despite the subsequent 15 years of press hype, the vast majority of British people still like foxes, particularly urban foxes. The anti-fox campaign hasn't worked, and it's time to return to more factual, and balanced, reporting.

Tiverton SH Huntsman's victim tells how Hunt rallied round her evil rapist

1-6-12    Jenni Southwood [below left], the woman who was brutally raped by John Norrish [below right], long-time Huntsman of the mid Devon-based deer hunt, has waived her right to anonymity in order to give further, disturbing, details of her NorrishrapevictimJenniSouthwood.jpgordeal at his hands and to recount how she and her husband have been ostracised by the local hunting community since making the accusation and her attacker rallied around and feted by them. Her lengthy account was first published in the 
Daily Mail, and later reprinted in part by the Daily Telegraph and some West Country newspapers. Below are the extracts from the piece in the Mail which relate to Norrish's fellow-hunters' behaviour.
".... Hardest of all to cope with, however, was the reaction she and Ian faced from the hunt. ‘Not one person came down here to see us,' says Ian. ‘They've been absolutely gutless.' To add insult to injury, senior members of the Tiverton Staghounds pressed ahead with a testimonial ‘meet' to mark Norrish's retirement last month. That event was attended by hundreds, as was a dinner at the Tiverton Hotel that raised £3,500 - presented as a parting gift to Norrish at the end of the evening. ‘Rubbing salt in our wounds' is how Ian [Jenni's husband] describes it. He has banned the Tiverton Staghounds from crossing his land." 

POWAperson adds - Behaviour like this by the Hunt, especially one with as violent and ruthless a reputation asNorrishtherapist.JPG the Tiverton Stag Hounds should come as no surprise - but remains shocking. I can do no better in reaction to it than to quote from West Country anti-hunt activist Chris Tasker, who posted the following on the Facebook page of the documentary film A Minority Pastime , which exposes the anti-social behaviour and ruthless aggression underlying hunting with hounds, Chris's use of the term 'redneck' to describe these hunters is, in the experience of POWAPerson, who monitored them several times in the '90s, excessively generous. As further accounts of their past behaviour detailed later here will suggest, most of them are callous, sadistic brutes, pure and simple. 

".... the hunts in the area ( they all sent reps) thought that it was a good idea to fete this fella despite the fact that he was going to stand trial for rape within three weeks. Did they think he was innocent, or that the victim brought it on herself because she was drunk? Did they not realise the implications of celebrating this rapist's career while he was on a charge of rape ? Were they that remote from normal sensibilities that it just didn't occur to them ? Or is the social glue that the Hunt provides so strong that even as a rapist, Norrish is still a master Huntsman? This isn't the Appalachians - Tiverton is 1 hr and 40 minutes from London by train, three hours by car. Most of the hunt riders are outsiders with jobs in the city - they aren't locals. yet they still thought it would be OK to go to a fund raiser so the b*****d could be given a golden goodbye. Weird, just plain redneck weird."

One of the many human victims of Hunts featured in the 'Minority Pastime' film, was Samantha Dunning, who used to run a small goat farm in Tiverton SH country. She claims that her livelihood and family's life were both ruined by repeated incursions by and aggression from the Hunt. She also recently posted on AMP's Facebook page as follows:-

"That's what they're like, they backed him 'cos it's normal for them. They threatened similar to me to the point I stopped going out and always had my guard dog with me on the farm. I had bull whips cracked at me and when they found out they'd made 32 of my goats abort they laughed. The police said they'd only help if I videoed them - straight after they'd put a LACS man in hospital for doing the same. They destroyed my business and drove me and my elderly parents out of our home. They think they're above the law and mostly they are."

And finally, POWAPerson has his own story illustrating the irresponsibility, mendacity and callousness of which the Tiverton SH [left] are capable:-. 

"In 1997/8 my partner and I lived on the LACS main wildlife sanctuary at Baronsdown, on the eastern edge of Exmoor, where we often assisted with monitoring the local Hunts, especially those victimising TivertonSHNorrishsupporters.jpgdeer.   The Tiverton SH usually hunted south of the major link road between Tiverton and Barnstable, itself several miles south of our location.   One spring Saturday morning, though, we got word that they been spotted north of the link road, and, with others, left home to monitor them.   We contacted and stayed with them for some time, but around lunchtime found many of them packing up and going home.  Very unusual, since they usually hunt till late afternoon, if not early evening.
We followed them back to their normal country, expecting them to restart hunting there, but they just dispersed. It was not until later that we found out what had happened.  A panicking stag had fled across the dual-carriageway, high-speed, link road and been struck and killed by a car being driven by a tourist about to start his holiday at Barnstable.  He had his wife and baby in the car with him. Fortunately, though badly shocked, they were unhurt, but the car was quite badly damaged.
As the driver recounted to the local paper, while parked at the roadside waiting for assistance, , a 4x4 pulled up behind him. They thought a kind motorist had stopped to offer help. Instead, the passenger got out, picked up the deer carcass and slung it into the boot, then just got back in. The vehicle drove off without even acknowledging them, though, the holiday maker said, that it must have been obvious it was they who had collided with the animal and that they needed aid.  The Tiverton had the gall to deny that they had anything to do with the stag or the incident. Few people seemed to believe that this deer just happened to decide to gallop across a busy main road in broad daylight while the Hunt just happened to be in the vicinity. There was a small furore about it in the local media - but that was the full extent of the sanctions suffered by the Hunt for causing this dreadful accident which did kill a stag and, only by fortune, spared the lives of an innocent human family.

Sources tell POWA that the Tiverton SH, who no longer, as with most Hunts, publicise their meets, have been continuing to hunt deer, generally using about a dozen hounds, in the guise of 'trail hunting', but that, with Norrish as Huntsman, they would make sure they stayed well back from the pack, making it very difficult to obtain adequate evidence of illegal hunting. POWA cannot, however, verify these reports.
MAY 2012

..... 28th May - Mid Devon FH rider accused of assaulting three sabs in March to appear in Court soon

..... 22rd May - LACS Wildlife Crime Unit launch as report claims very high 'suspicious hunting activity'

..... 21st May - Long-term Huntsman, ex-JM, of Tiverton Staghounds gets 4 years for rape at Hunt Ball

..... 20th May - Young Worcestershire FH huntswoman faces jail after admitting burglaries

..... 20th May - Obstructive cyclist who provoked action from 'ninja' girl sab revealed as Heythrop JM

..... 17th May - N.Devon farmer banned after caught over double drink drive limit coming back from Hunt

..... 16th May - Paice restates Government will hold 'Indicative Vote' on Hunting Act, but not when

..... 14th May - All 3 of remaining Crawley and Horsham 'Gang' convicted of illegal hunting

..... 14th May - Rape trial of former Tiverton Stag Hounds JM and Huntsman John Norrish begins

..... 13th May - Mid-Devon FH rider summonsed after assaults on 3 sabs trying to stop dig-out

..... 6th May - Heythrop FH faces corporate hunting case. PM's Hunt friends to answer multiple charges

..... 3rd May - Fitzwilliam FH terrierman John Bycroft heavily fined for Welfare and Hunting Act breaches

...... 2nd May - Surrey Police/CPS drop aggravated trespass cases against two Brighton hunt saboteurs

..... 1st May - Crawley & Horsham 3 face two-week wait for verdicts as Judge retires to review evidence


Mid Devon FH rider charged with assaulting sabs to appear in Court
28-5-12  That rider can now be named as Will Chanter [right]. HeWillChanterRiderMidDevonFH.jpg was educated at a minor public school and works as a surveyor in the Agricultural Department of Devon firm Seddons' Tiverton offices.  As reported earlier, he allegedly assaulted and injured three sabs at what the latter believed to be an illegal dig-out on Dartmoor early in March.    POWA has been informed that he is to appear at Barnstable Magistrates Court on 8th June to answer a single, relatively minor charge, to which it is believed he is likely to plead guilty. The injuries which the sabs claimed to have suffered at his hands included black eyes, a sprained wrist and various cuts and bruises.

LACS Wildlife Crime Unit launch -report claims very high 'suspicious hunting activity'

23-5-12   LACS website     Bill Oddie launches Charity's new investigations team     MPs were last night  BillOddie.jpggiven the opportunity to rub shoulders with wildlife expert, TV presenter and League Vice President, Bill Oddie [left] at a prestigious event to launch the League Against Cruel Sports’ new investigations team.    The outspoken conservationist posed for pictures with elected members who were signing a declaration pledging their support to tackle wildlife crime.     The reception hosted by MPs Kerry McCarthy  [right] and Adrian Sanders [left], also Vice Presidents of the charity, was to raise awareness among parliamentarians of the growing problem of crimes committed against wildlife and showcase the League’s newly recruited investigating officers.     Among the speakers at theKerryMcCarthyMP.jpg event were shadow DEFRA Minister, Mary Creagh MP [below right]  and Professor John Cooper QC [below left], the League’s Chairman.   Over the next three years a massive investment of £1 million will be ploughed into the League’s operational activities to help stamp out wildlife crime.     The event was also used to publish the charity’s annual hunting report which highlighted an overwhelming increase in suspicious hunting AdrianSandersMP.jpgactivity being reported to the League.     Speaking at the event Bill Oddie said: "I am delighted to support the League as they launch their new investigations team. There is a tendency to think of animal cruelty and crime as 'not a British problem'.  Britain is by no means immune or innocent. Illegal hunting, poisoning of birds of prey, stealing of eggs and chicks, are all still rife and if anything are increasing. This is crime and they are criminals. To track them down, investigators must take risks and face danger. The investigations team may sound like a Nordic TV drama, but I am afraid it is very much a reality show, and it is British."

24-5-12   Western Morning News     Campaigners report rise in breaches of HuntingMaryCreaghMP.jpg Act    Anti-cruelty campaigners have revealed a surge in reported breaches of the Hunting Act, which they claim proves the controversial legislation is outperforming other wildlife protection laws.    The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) said it logged 295 reports of "suspicious activity" on its hotline last year, up from 133 during the previous season.    It claims only 42% of these allegations were passed to the police and points to this as proof that wildlife crime is under-reported.    But opponents who want to see the Act repealed say 97% of the 200 convictions since the law came into force in 2005 were casual hunters and poachers – unconnected JohnCooperQC.jpgwith registered hunts – who could have been charged under earlier legislation.     Campaign group the Countryside Alliance has highlighted the absence of a single conviction in Devon and Cornwall – where police recorded just four crimes in the whole of 2009 and 2010 – as evidence that the Act has "failed".      The details appear in the league’s annual report, which was praised by Torbay Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders at a House of Commons launch on Tuesday.   Mr Sanders said the sharp rise in activity was "worrying" and revealed a "darker side" to hunting. TV presenter and conservationist Bill Oddie, the league’s vice-president, added: "Illegal hunting, poisoning of birds of prey and the stealing of eggs and chicks are all still rife and if anything are increasing."     The Hunting Act effectively bans hunting with dogs, but allows the hunting of a trail.     The league said it focused most energy on hunting with hounds this past season, but observedTimBonner.jpg only two trail hunts out of 55 days.    Its annual report said there is a marked difference between suspicious hunting incidents reported to the League and successful convictions.    It defines "suspicious" as activities it says are inconsistent with hunting a trail, such as terrier men following hunts, hounds chasing foxes and the digging-out of foxes.    The report said sources were "extremely concerned that their information is treated with sensitivity.   They have cause to be concerned – animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse," it claims.     The Countryside Alliance says a dozen police forces, including Devon and Cornwall and Dorset, have not issued a single caution, proceeded against, fined or convicted a single individual associated with a hunt registered with the Council of Hunting Associations.    Its campaign director, Tim Bonner [right] said the convictions "simply aren’t coming" and urged readers to take the report with a "pinch of salt.  This report is a classic case of creative accounting, designed to reach conclusions that simply don’t exist," he said.

Long-term Huntsman, ex-JM, of Tiverton Staghounds is jailed for rape

21-5-12    Daily Mail website    Huntsman found guilty of raping drunk woman he gave a lift home after black tie ball is jailed for four years  -  John Norrish, 68, convicted after taking advantage of married mother  - Court hears victim, 33, may have passed out after downing 20 drinks at ball  -   Judge says woman was 'too drunk to exercise a free choice JohnNorrisharrivesatCourttohearverdictinrapetrial.jpgto events'  -   He told married Norrish: 'This was a grave abuse of a vulnerable woman'  -  Victim said after sentence: 'I've been violated in the most horrendous way'        A huntsman who raped a drunk woman after a black-tie ball was jailed for four years today.   Former huntsmaster John Norrish [left, arriving at Court to hear verdict], 68, took advantage of the 33-year-old married mother when he offered to give her a lift home in the early hours of the morning.   Norrish, who has been married for 46 years and has two children, claimed she had already removed her knickers and lifted up her ball gown once they were in the vehicle.   But the victim, who was a stranger, denied his claims and said she had told him she did not want to have sex.   She told the court that she may have passed out in his car after downing 20 alcoholic drinks that night at the annual Tiverton Staghounds hunt ball last July at Chawleigh, Devon.     Exeter crown court heard Norrish raped her in the front seat of his 4x4 at around 2.30am.    A jury took more than eleven hours of deliberations before finding Norrish [right, leading the Tiverton SH], 68, guilty of rape by a majority of ten to two.    The trial judge, Mr Justice Field, said it was a 'grave abuse of a vulnerable woman',JohnNorrishleadingivertonSH.jpg adding that the 'effect of what you did will endure for her for years'.     After the case, the victim told how she had been 'violated in the most horrendous way'.  She said: 'I would like to say that this has been the most difficult ten months of my life. A community has been divided and I would like to think that we can now put this behind us and rebuild our lives. John Norrish was seen as an upstanding member of the community and he abused that trust.    This result means that no-one else will be subjected to this type of abuse from him.'     There were gasps and tears in the packed public gallery from friends of Norrish who had attended the court every day for his trial.   He had his head bowed as the judge told him: 'It was in the early hours of July 2 last year when you invited the victim to take a lift home with you. She was drunk. I have no doubt that you appreciated that. Instead of simply giving her a lift home as you should have done, you took advantage of her as she sat in the front passenger seat of your car. She did not consent to your advances, early on she told she did not want to. You did not reasonably believe that she was consenting and proceeded to have sexual intercourse. This was a grave abuse of a vulnerable woman.'    The judge said the victim was 'too drunk to exercise a free choice to events'.    
Norrish remained impassive as the sentence of four years was passed, of which he will serve half behind bars before he is considered for released on JohnNorrishTivertonSHHuntsman.jpeglicence.     His victim was said to be 'beside herself with relief' at the jury verdict and thanked her husband, friends and the police for their ‘support and professionalism'.   She said that after the rape she ran from his car and spotting a car’s lights in the field used for parking - it was a car carrying her husband who had gone to fetch it to give her a lift home.  She said she was 'hysterical' and her husband wanted to track down Norrish who drove off with her shoes, knickers and handbag in the foot-well of his vehicle.   
Det Con Paul Feeney said: 'She is beside herself with relief at the jury’s decision and now wants to get her head around it.'     Norrish, who has no previous convictions, has a caution for an assault during a hunt altercation.   His lawyer Robert Linford told the judge that his client had led an outdoor lifestyle all his life and a custodial sentence will be hard for him to bear.    Norrish, who is now retired from is job as huntsman with the Tiverton Staghounds, is still married.    He will be placed on the Sex Offenders’ register for life.
Norrish was described by one of the people serving behind the fully stocked bar as 'the star of the show' that night.  It was said he stood proudly at the entrance to the Cobley Farm event wearing his red hunting jacket, collecting tickets off the 300-400 people who were attending the Tiverton Staghounds ball last July.    Norrish, who has two grown-up sons, was a big part of the West Country hunting scene.   During his lengthy career, which dated back to the 1980s, he had been associated with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, the South Devon Foxhounds, the Minehead Harriers in Somerset and latterly the Tiverton Staghounds.    He lived at the kennels where he looked after the hounds that took part in the hunting over Exmoor.

'Popular' young Worcestershire FH huntswoman faces jail after admitting burglaries
20-5-12   Sunday Mercury  Bromsgrove huntswoman facing jail for burglary    A POPULAR young huntswoman is facing time behind bars after pleading guilty to two burglaries.    Victims of Natalie Tongue [left], 21, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, claim she stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and family heirlooms from their homes during a crime spree last year. They said the former WorcsFHhuntswoman-natalie-tongue.jpgSouth Bromsgrove High school student then pawned the stolen goods and used the cash to go on boozy nights out as well as pampering sessions at local beauty salons.     Her unsuspecting victims gave Natalie free rein in their homes, where she would help them with odd jobs around the house or with tasks on nearby farms. They had no idea she was stealing from them under their noses as many of the items she took were so valuable they did not wear them every day.     Tongue, who is a keen horse rider and is believed to have ridden with the respected Worcestershire Hunt, systematically stole priceless family heirlooms.    The victims said items she lifted included diamond rings and necklaces which had been given to them as wedding gifts or as inheritance......    Her victims, who did not want to be identified, are said to be "distraught" at her betrayal.....     "Part of the problem was that it took a long time to realise that anything was missing. The items she had stolen were hidden away, the types of things that you would never wear on an everyday basis, because they were so precious. But as the victims looked around their homes they gradually realised what had been taken, and they had to come to terms with the fact that someone they had trusted, so implicitly, had betrayed them, so completely...... It is a really sad tale. Nobody can believe this young girl could have stooped so low."      Tongue pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and two counts of dishonesty and making false representations to make a gain at Hereford Crown Court earlier this month. She is due to be sentenced next month.
UPDATE   15-6-12      Bromsgrove Advertiser       ...  Tongue pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and two of fraud, by representing that the stolen items were hers to sell.  She was given a 51-week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

'Obstructive' cyclist who provoked action from 'ninja' female sab is JM of Heythrop FH

It is a standard tactic of Hunts to use their vehicles to obstruct the progress of both monitors and sabs along country roads, sometimes blocking them in from both ends.  Indeed some Hunts make use of flashing orange lights, of questionable legality, on their car tops to show their friends where the antis are.    Occasionally, theyChristopherCoxHeythropJM.jpg will even use their vehicles in more aggressive and dangerous ways - and a  number of sabs have been seriously injured in the past as a result.     But hunters normally rely on their 4x4s, or sometimes their horses, to carry out their acts of obstruction - not their bicycles!
Christopher Cox [right],  discovered the unwisdom of the bicycle tactic in January.   As the video clearly shows, he was riding in the middle of a country lane and not moving over to let the cars behind him past. The first of these, in what seems highly unlikely to be co-incidence, was occupied by hunt monitors. Then, suddenly, a petite black-clad young woman, not known to the monitors, rushed past their car and demanded Cox move aside. When he did not, she grabbed his bike and started shoving it and him towards the side of the road. She is then seen reacting to Cox apparently shoving her in the chest by swinging a boot at his bike, at which point the monitors are able to drive past and the clip ends.  After the film was posted on YouTube it attracted much attention - and police and media alike have been trying to find out who the cyclist and the young woman are. Today the M-o-S revealed their names, and much more..... 

20-5-12  Mail on Sunday    UNCOVERED: The foxy face of the irate hunt saboteur in THAT road rage attack ON first viewing, it seemed like a bizarre case of rural road rage.  A video released by police last week EmilyMarshNinjahuntsab.jpgshowed an irate woman jogging up to a cyclist and assaulting him after he appeared to hold up traffic on a quaint country lane in the Cotswolds.   But as police appealed for help tracing the woman and her victim, wearing a flat cap, waxed jacket and wellies, speculation grew that there was perhaps more to the altercation than the 60-second YouTube sensation initially suggested....   The M-o-S can reveal that the cyclist is Christopher Cox, a joint master of David Cameron’s local hunt and a descendant of William the Conqueror, while his red-haired assailant is 5ft 2ins saboteur Emily Marsh [left].   She is known to use a variety of pseudonyms, among them Emily Fox. But to her admirers, including the huntsmen she harangues – and they are said to be numerous – she is known as Foxy Lady or simply The Fox.   Her agility, striking good looks and uncompromising manner have drawn comparison with fiery video game adventurer Lara Croft....   She is one of the Guildford Hunt Saboteurs ‘Whippet Squad’ – two girls who, because of their speed, run with the hunt, monitor it with video cameras and ‘do what we can to protect foxes’.    Her clash with Mr Cox on theEmilyFoxyLadyMarshpushingCox.jpg B4425 near Bibury in Gloucestershire, was a flashpoint in a quietly simmering war being played out in the countryside because of the hunting ban.....  Both sides try to gather video evidence to prove the other breaks the law. The ‘antis’ seek to show that hunts pursue foxes not scents while supporters try to demonstrate that saboteurs use violence and intimidation.    Miss Marsh, a part-time nude model for artists, comes from three generations of saboteurs and is only too familiar with the nuances of one of Britain’s most divisive issues.    While some moderate campaigners believe the ban can be successfully enforced, others – Miss Marsh included – believe that tougher ‘direct action’ is needed because, she says, illegal hunting still continues.    In the video the 23-year-old can be seen apparently attempting to push Mr Cox over [right] – though she denies this – kicking his bicycle and shouting and pointing at him.    It happened in January when Mr Cox was following the 176-year-old Heythrop hunt – popular with the so-called Chipping Norton set – because his horse was lame. As he trundled along a narrow lane, he is said to have held up a group of activists travelling behind him for ten minutes, though he disputes this....   In an interview... yesterday Miss Marsh was more measured in her ChristopherCoxshovesEmilyMarshinchest.jpgdescription of what happened.  And she insisted she had no regrets.  ‘You have to understand that this was the culmination of months of abuse towards us,’ she said.  ‘They always try to hold us up and on this occasion there were about five cars behind our Land Rover. It was obvious what he was doing. Some of the other sabs asked why I didn’t pull him off his bike – I could easily have done. But I didn’t want to hurt the idiot. I was shouting at him to please move out of the way before I reached him.  It was only when he went for my chest [left] that I saw red and gave him a kick. But even then I only kicked his bike. He was just a foolish man brought up to think cruelty is okay.’    Afterwards she called the police ‘because the blow to my chest was painful and intrusive’ but didn’t follow up the complaint as she eventually decided ‘it wasn’t worth it’.   She added: ‘I rang the police again last week after they put out their appeal. They said they had to investigate because of the video and would see me this week but haven’t.’ Another campaigner uploaded the film to YouTube four weeks ago..... At his farmhouse near Stow-on-the-Wold, Mr Cox, 54, an insurance company director and former Army major, described the incident as ‘nasty’.   He denied using his bike to deliberately obstruct the saboteurs....  Mr Cox, the great-great grandson of an Irish peer, did not report the incident at the time but said he contacted police last week after they issued their appeal. He denies Miss Marsh’s claim that he assaulted her..... Meanwhile privately-educated Miss Marsh, who is studying veterinary medicine, grew up in the countryside on the Hampshire-West Sussex border..... It wasn’t until a few years ago that Miss Marsh... made her mark among activists. ‘She is an incredibly fast runner, strong and fit, the Lara Croft of the antis,’ said one hunt supporter who has encountered her in the field. Many of the hunt find her attractive and try to flirt with her, which she finds terribly annoying.’     Gloucestershire police said yesterday that following their appeal they had received a number of calls from people identifying the man and woman. ‘The enquiry is ongoing,’ said a spokesman.    Earlier this month the RSPCA launched an unprecedented prosecution against the Heythrop for unlawful fox-hunting. It has laid fresh charges against the hunt and four of its members, provoking accusations that the actions are ‘politically motivated’..... 'It is thought Mr Cameron could find the legal action politically sensitive....

N.Devon farmer banned after caught over double drink-drive limit coming back from Hunt 

17-5-12     North Devon Journal    Driving ban for farmer who drank after hunt     POLICE were lying in wait for a farmer who had enjoyed a couple of whiskies and then driven home after a day hunting a court has heard.    David Arthur Evans, 60, was on his way home to Border Farm, Sandyway, South Molton in his Mitsubishi Shogun when he was stopped by police at around 8pm on April 14. He was found to have 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.    He pleaded guilty to drink driving when he appeared before North Devon Magistrates Court on Friday.   
Ben Winzer, for the prosecution, said there were no aggravating features in the case and Evans is a man of previous good character.     Rod Ball, for the defence, said: "Mr Evans farms 50 acres in a glorious spot on the edge of Exmoor. It is four miles to the nearest shop and eight miles to feed supplies."  He said it was the day of the Grand National and the defendant had been out trail hunting.  Mr Ball said at the end of the hunt he gathered with others and whisky was passed around in a hip flask. He said: "He was stopped only a mile or so from his farm. The police were lying in wait for him. Someone had tipped them off who was not particularly friendly with Mr Evans."   
Mr Ball said the defendant had to travel along public roads to reach the fields his animals are kept in and there will be animal welfare issues with him not being able to drive as he will not be able to feed the stock.  He told the court Evans is a single man, there is no one at the farm to help him as he cannot afford to employ anyone.    Evans was banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay a £300 fine, £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Paice:- We will still hold 'Indicative' vote on Hunting Act - but I won't say when
That was the answer given by DEFRA Agriculture Minister Jim 'Shoot the badgers' Paice to a written Commons question asked by Diane Abbott, the strongly anti-hunt Labour MP.  Nothing new here - they are still DianeAbbottMP.jpegprocrastinating because they believe they could not win a Commons vote. Certainly, the Act has many weaknesses, which POWA has pinpointed on many occasions, so many that we strongly believe it requires significant strengthening. It also currently demands a mostly unrealistic level of evidence and lacks adequate sanctions.  But, though offences by Hunts continue to be manifold, and prosecutions rare, one wonders quite how Paice squares his assertion that the Act is 'unenforceable' with the conviction of three members of the Crawley & Horsham FH for illegal hunting just two days before this statement was made. Perhaps he - and the rest of the hunting lobby - are shocked and in denial about that! 

16 May 2012   Written Answers    Hunting Act 2004 Environment Food and RuralJamesPaiceMP.jpg Affairs     Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Labour) [left] -  To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the operation of the Hunting Act 2004; whether she has any plans to (a) review and (b) bring forward proposals to amend the legislation in the next two years; and whether she had any meetings with interested parties to discuss the issue since May 2010.      James Paice (Minister of State (Agriculture and Food), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; South East Cambridgeshire, Conservative) [right]  -  The Hunting Act 2004 was passed under the previous Administration, and remains highly controversial. Many people consider that the Act has not been a success and that it is unenforceable. The coalition Government has said that it intends to put forward a motion enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act 2004 at an appropriate time. This position has not changed. I had a meeting with the Countryside Alliance in December 2011, during which the Hunting Act 2004 was discussed.

3 members of Crawley & Horsham 'Gang' all convicted of illegal hunting
14-5-12    Guardian  Hunt members found guilty of illegally pursuing fox with hounds   Verdict is triumph for animal rights groups as trio from Crawley and Horsham Hunt convicted and fined    Three leading members of a Sussex hunt have been convicted of pursuing a fox illegally with hounds, in a case that will be seen a significant victory for animal rights activists.     The guilty verdicts at Haywards Heath magistrates court are a blow for the hunting community, which is increasingly resentful of close scrutiny by monitors filming their pursuits.     Andrew Phillis [below, left], Neill Millard [right]  and Rachel Holdsworth [below right], who are all members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, were convicted for breaching the hunting ban on differentJamieHawksfieldJMCrawleyandHorshamFHclose-up.jpg occasions last year.    Charges against a fourth member of the hunt were dropped two weeks ago during the lengthy trial.    All three had denied the charges, saying they were out trail hunting ― following an artificially laid scent - and did not plan to hunt or kill any foxes.  They are expected to appeal against their convictions.   Phillis, 50, now of Totnes in Devon, who was formerly the Crawley and Horsham's Huntsman, and Rachel Holdsworth, of Pulborough, the Hunt's secretary, were found guilty for hunting illegally at Marlpost Wood, Southwater, on 18 January 2011.  Phillis, Holdsworth and Millard, 44, of Horsham, were found guilty of offences on 25 January at Shermanbury Place.   Phillis was acquitted of another offence.  Holdsworth was fined £500 for each of the two offences and ordered to pay £2,500 costs. Millard, the founder of a wealth management firm in the City, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs. Phillis [left]  will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
[UPDATE  Phillis was later fined £700, and also had to pay £2500 costs.]     
A Sussex police spokesman said: "The introduction of the 2004 Hunting Act was extremely emotive on both sides of the hunting spectrum and continues to be strongly debated. Evidence was provided that the accused had committed offences under the act and following early consultation with the CPS an investigation commenced and subsequently charges were made.   "As we have seen, District Judge Stephen Nichol has ruled that they are guilty of these offences and we are satisfied with his decision.  It is the duty of the police to uphold the law and wherever offences such as this come to light, we will seek to bring them to justice."    Simon Wild, of the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group, gave evidence at the trial after filming the hunt. He said: "I'm very pleased with the verdicts. These sorts of things take a long time for the police to take them seriously. The next step is to go for hunts as corporate bodies so that there can be confiscation of their assets ― like horseboxes and tAndrewPhillisexHuntsmanCHFHGuiltyx214-5-12nowDartValeHarriersJM.JPGrailers."     MPs have been promised a free vote on removing the 2004 ban on hunting mammals with dogs during the lifetime of this parliament, but the presence of anti-hunting Conservatives in the latest intake means there is unlikely to be a majority for repeal.     During the trial, the Countryside Alliance said: "We continue to campaign for repeal of the atrocious Hunting Act and have great faith in hunting's long-term future."     Since the ban on hunting mammals with dogs came into force in 2005, only eight other hunt members have been convicted of breaking the law. 

15-5-12   Brighton Argus  Guilty: three Crawley and Horsham hunters convicted of illegal fox hunting     Three people yesterday became the first to be convicted of illegal fox hunting in Sussex. .....     Video footage of hounds “in full cry” chasing a fox at hunt meets at Marlpost Wood, Southwater, on January 18 2011 and Shermanbury Place on January 25, 2011 had been shown to the court during a seven-day trial.    The hunt said members were legitimately trail hunting but district judge Stephen Nicholls said he was “not satisfied” that was the case.  Trail layer and “whipper-in” Holdsworth.... and field-master Millard were each fined £1,000.... Phillis... will be sentenced at a later date.    The maximum penalty is a £5,000 fine. It is the ninth prosecution under the Act involving a pack of hounds since the ban came into force in February 2005.      In one of the videos Holdsworth was seen holding a riding crop with a duster on the end as if laying an artificial scent, but Judge Nicholls said this was done “for the benefit of the cameras”..... Phillis was cleared yesterday of an offence at the meet at Shermanbury when a fox was seen dead.     Judge Nicholls told Haywards Heath Magistrates’ Court yesterday that “no effort” wasRachelHoldsworthCrawleyandHorshamFHSecretaryGuiltyx214-5-12.JPG made to call off the hounds at the January 25 hunt.     Yesterday hunt monitors said the verdict would put more pressure on local groups to abide by the law. Simon Wild, who shot some of the footage of the meets that was used as evidence, told The Argus: “This has done our credibility a great deal of good with police. I am sure we will be able to build up the pressure on this hunt and other hunts in the area.”     Animal activist Terry Hill, who also gave evidence at the trial, said: “It’s a good day today, not just for those monitors and observers who dedicate their time in helping to protect wildlife, but also for wild mammals across the UK. Somebody has to stand up for our wild animals.”     The Countryside Alliance said it was “very disappointed” at the result. Tim Bonner, from the alliance, said: “This was a long and complicated trial. We never believed there was the evidence to sustain a conviction and we still don’t believe so.”.....

BBC News website  Three Sussex hunters guilty of illegal fox hunting   Three members of a West Sussex hunt have been found guilty of illegal fox hunting....   The judge did not accept they were taking part in legitimate trail hunting....   District Crown Prosecutor Mark Bishop said: "The defendants claimed that the foxes seen on film being chased by the hunt's hounds were not being hunted intentionally and that the hounds were following an artificial scent. We were able to fully utilise footage from hunt footage from hunt monitors, which clearly showed a fox being pursued by hounds on two separate occasions within a week. Their pursuit and hunting of foxes was not accidental, but intentional."

14-5-12 Horse & Hound    Three members of Crawley and Horsham hunt convicted    Three members of the Crawley and Horsham have been found guilty of Hunting Act offences...... "We are surprised and disappointed by this verdict, particularly because we do not believe there was sufficient evidence to sustain any of these prosecutions," said the Countryside Alliance’s Tim Bonner. "We will continue to support the Crawley and Horsham defendants if they wish to appeal this verdict.".....

See also ITV's News report on Meridian  Here it is reported that the Judge described the 'trail hunting' the Crawley & Horsham claimed to be conducting as a 'charade'. Monitors and sabs have been saying this is the case with many, if not most, Hunts all over the country for years. Maybe now the authorities will take their reports rather more seriously than they usually do.  

The convictions bring to 304 the total number of persons from organised Hunts known to have been convicted, cautioned or received other criminal sanctions since the 1990/91 season, and to 450 the total number of offences so punished. 48 of the 304 were, at the times of their offences, serving or former Hunt Masters and 39 were official Huntsmen.    POWA has no fewer than 17 members or supporters of the Crawley & Horsham FH recorded as having committed offences  [all but one in the hunting field], the most recorded by POWA for any single Hunt.   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.   The list includes

Jamie Hawksfield, the JM against whom charges in the recent Hunting Act case were eventually dropped, was convicted of assaulting an anti a few years ago. Sara Phillis, the wife of Andrew [convicted of 2 counts of illegal hunting on 14-5-12], who was reportedly given a fixed penalty fine for a Public Order Offence a couple of seasons ago - apparently for extreme verbal abuse towards antis].   The C&H famously attempted to 'shut down' monitoring and sabbing of them a few years ago by applying for wide-ranging injunctions. The Judge in the case was scathing about their suit and it was eventually dropped by them - a highly embarrassing and expensive fiasco.  In 2007 LACS published a report on a highly damning 'undercover' investigation of the hunting practices of the C&H, but, despite their obtaining what they claimed was very significant evidence of Hunting Act breaches, no prosecutions resulted. But the persistence, dedication and courage of the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group has, at long last, brought to justice at least some of the C&H for illegal hunting.  

Rape trial of former Tiverton Stag Hounds Joint Master John Norrish begins

JohnNorrishTivertonSHHuntsman.jpegPOWAPerson remembers this particular gentleman [left] from his days helping to monitor the deer Hunts in the mid-90s. Notwithstanding how deeply unpleasant a character he appeared then, he must be regarded as innocent until proved guilty of the grave crime of which he is accused.  Because the matter is not directly hunting related, only a short digest of the trial coverage will be re-printed here.

Daily Telgraph 15-4-12    Huntsman 'raped married woman after black tie ball', court heard   A former hunt master raped a married woman less than half his age after offering her a lift home from a black tie ball, a court has heard. Mr Norrish, a former master of the Tiverton Staghounds from East Worlington, near Tiverton, Devon, has claimed she had consented after kissing him in the car park.... "The jury will hear from her husband who got into the car park and got out of his car to hear screaming and saw her running towards him. She collapsed on the bonnet of his car, crying and distressed and saying Norrish had just raped her.".... Norrish...  initially claimed he could not have raped her because he was impotent but later told police she had consented.

Mid-Devon FH rider summonsed over alleged assaults on three sabs in March

POWA has been informed that a rider with the Mid-Devon FH [Hunt pictured at Belstone, below] is to appear at Magistrates' Court to answer a police summons in connection with alleged assaults on three sabs at the end of a hunt on Dartmoor on 3rd March this year.     It is understood that the sabs were attempting to stop what they MidDevonFH.jpgbelieved to be an illegal dig-out of a fox, when one of the hunters suddenly attacked them.     Reportedly, the three persons injured were a pensioner, a woman and a young man and their injuries included black eyes, cuts, bruises and a sprained wrist.     The behaviour of the Hunt earlier had, apparently, given both sabs and monitors reason to believe they were hunting illegally with hounds.    Also reportedly in the area were the Mid-Devon Huntsman, several hounds, their terrierman, who was filmed extracting his dog from the hole, the landowner and others from the Hunt, but none of these people are believed to have participated in the alleged assault.     A monitor, who was acting separately from the sabs, claims to have seen the Huntsman with hounds around the dig-out site an hour before the incident. She says she has seen film of the landowner saying he wanted to 'suffocate the fox' - and that he later told Redfoxinaden.jpgher he was trying to protect lambs and pheasants.  She also contends that there appeared to be no 'guns' present ready to shoot the fox if it were flushed from underground, as is required by the 'Flushing' exemption of the Hunting Act if a terrier is entered underground after a fox, regardless of whether that fox has been chased there by Hunt hounds or not.     She adds that she responded to sab requests to call police and ambulance, and that police arrived 50 minutes later, who then themselves called for medical assistance.     The sabs, who remained at the site after all the hunters had moved off, apparently saw the fox pop its head out of the hole, and moved away to let it escape, so, hopefully, it survived.
In 2009, LACS complained about alleged poor handling by Devon & Cornwall police and the CPS of film shot by a monitor, which LACS claimed clearly showed illegal hunting by the Mid Devon FH. LACS said the authorities simply appeared to sit on the evidence until the six-month time limit had been reached. BBC's Countryfile then promised to show the footage, but pulled it at the last minute, claiming it contravened guidelines on secret filming, - even though it was not shot covertly, and LACS also complained about this. The footage, which appeared to POWAPerson to be utterly damning, was uploaded to YouTube by LACS at the time, but seems, for reasons unknown, to have been removed  by them fairly recently.
Heythrop FH first pack to face corporate prosecution as RSPCA bring new HA cases
Several members of PM's local Hunt to answer multiple charges

6-5-12   Mail on Sunday    RSPCA accused of political agenda over prosecution of Chipping Norton Set's hunt   David Cameron embroiled in fresh row over his local hunt   Fresh charges laid against the HeythropFHatBlenheimPalace1999.jpgHeythrop hunt and four of its members       David Cameron was embroiled in a fresh row over his local hunt yesterday after the RSPCA launched an unprecedented prosecution for unlawful foxhunting. The animal charity is already taking action against one member of the Heythrop hunt, which the Prime Minister has ridden with and which is popular with fellow members of the so-called Chipping Norton Set in the Cotswolds. But now it has laid fresh charges against the hunt [left, at Blenheim Palace] and four of its members – provoking accusations that the charity’s actions are ‘politically motivated’.    
The four accused of unlawfully hunting a fox with dogs in contravention of the Hunting Act 2004 are Vanessa Lambert [below left], 29, who is a Joint Master of the hunt, Richard Sumner, 67 [right], Duncan Hume, 32, and 48-year-old JulianRichardSumnerExJMHeythropFH.jpg Barnfield [bottom left], a professional Huntsman.    The Mail on Sunday revealed last August that Mr Barnfield was already facing two counts of unlawfully hunting a fox. That case is due to be heard by magistrates later this year.     The new charges have shocked the Heythrop’s supporters, who include Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, her racehorse trainer husband Charlie Brooks, and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who has allowed the hunt to ride on his land.     Critics have questioned how the charity can afford such a move – pro-hunt campaigners believe the case could cost up to £1million in legal fees – at a time when it is planning to make staff redundant.    Ms Lambert said last night that all four defendants would deny the allegations when the case comes before magistrates in Banbury, Oxfordshire, on June 1.   She said: ‘The rural community is amazed that the RSPCA has the VanessaLambertJMHeythropFH.jpgstaffing, the money and the time to pursue what is clearly a politically motivated campaign against a hunt which operates within David Cameron’s community.’     The RSPCA last night confirmed it had laid charges against both the hunt and the four named individuals following a ‘careful examination’ of the evidence. But a spokeswoman declined to comment on claims that its actions had a political agenda. She said: ‘While proceedings are active in this matter, we cannot comment further.’    
Apart from his personal connections with the hunt, which he rode with in 2003, Mr Cameron [below right, with Heythrop secretary Guy Avis] could find the legal action politically sensitive.    The Coalition has promised to hold a free vote in Parliament on the hunting ban introduced by Labour in 2004. Since the law came into force in February 2005, there have been only five successful prosecutions involving more than 300 registered hunts in England and Wales, leading to eight individual convictions.   Seven other prosecutions have failed and a verdict is due in one further case involving theCameronAvisHeythropFH.jpg Crawley and Horsham hunt in Sussex later this month.    According to pro-hunt campaigners, the RSPCA’s decision to step up its offensive suggests that there are internal tensions in the anti-hunting movement. The League Against Cruel Sports had been taking the lead on prosecutions and the RSPCA appears to have been pressurised by its own ruling council to follow suit, following criticism that it was not adopting a sufficiently firm approach.    RSPCA council members include Dr Richard Ryder, who was director of the Political Animal Lobby which donated £1million to the Labour Party before the 1997 General Election. The RSPCA is currently consulting on 130 redundancies because of a serious JulianBarnfield.jpgfinancial shortfall. A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: ‘The RSPCA’s decision to bring such a huge prosecution is a blatant political attack on hunting and an abuse of the court system. ‘It is no accident that the RSPCA, which was a major part of the campaign to ban hunting, only brings private prosecutions against hunts in the Prime Minister’s constituency. We believe that these allegations, like 99 per cent of those made about hunts, are groundless and we are confident that the prosecution will fail.’      In a newspaper article in 2003, Mr Cameron recalled a day he spent with the Heythrop hunt. ‘Nothing had prepared me for the sheer terror of a day’s hunting,’ he wrote. ‘I battled in vain to control my powerful steed and careered through trees and bushes – completely out of control.’ 

It is our understanding that a fifth person from the Hunt is also to face charges, namely Henry Ashton, Lord Ashton of Hyde, who is Secretary to the Board of Heythrop Hunt Ltd.  POWA will make no statement tending to pre-judge the validity of the charges brought against the Hunt and its members and employees prior to their adjudication in a court of law.   However, the hunting community, as represented in articles from the Countryside Alliance website and Horse & Hound [both below], seems not to feel itself bound by such propriety.  POWAperson would swear he can hear the howls of anguished outrage emanating from the CA's inner-London HQ from his own West Country fastness.      They assert that 'police should be left to investigate crime and the CPS to prosecute... '  - knowing that anyone from whatever Hunt who felt inclined to breach the Hunting Act and chase live quarry, as they did pre-ban, would then have virtually free rein.  They seem to forget that the police effectively handed over the investigation and prosecution of nearly all animal welfare matters to the RSPCA years ago. Or, perhaps, the hunting community were perfectly content with this arrangement until they suddenly found it affecting their so-called sports.

The Society has chosen not to invest in its own hunt observers [which the CA presumably approves of], but when independent monitors bring them what they believe to be evidence of illegal hunting, detrimental to the welfare of wildlife, one would surely expect them to look at, and, if they believe it appropriate, act upon it.  Time will show whether or not the charges will succeed.  The CA are absolutely wrong, and wholly self-serving, in asserting that 'The Hunting Act has failed'. But POWA makes no secret of its long-held view that significant strengthening is necessary to make that law much more 'fit for purpose'.  Hunters often whinge about how 'confusing' they find the present legislation, so they should welcome the clarification that strengthening amendments should bring. What is unacceptable to us,  and to the vast majority of decent, civilised people in this country, is the hunters' proposed solution of repeal - which would leave them free to return to the wholly untrammelled, manifold and manifest cruelties of the pre-Hunting Act era.

8-5-12   Countryside Alliance website     The RSPCA has issued summons on 52 Hunting Act charges relating to the Heythrop Hunt, its Masters and employees as part of a private prosecution. The allegations have not been the subject of police investigation or any charging decision by the Crown Prosecution Service. None of those summonsed, nor anyone else involved with the Heythrop Hunt has been questioned by the police or RSPCA over any of the allegations which all allegedly occurred in the 2011/12 hunting season. The Heythrop Hunt operates in the Prime Minister’s Witney constituency and the kennels are just outside Chipping Norton. The CA's view is that “The RSPCA’s decision to bring such a huge prosecution is a blatant political attack on hunting and an abuse of the court system. It is no accident that the RSPCA, which was a major part of the campaign to ban hunting, only brings private prosecutions against hunts in the Prime Minister’s constituency. We believe that these allegations, like 99% of those made about hunts, are groundless and are confident that the prosecution will fail. The expenditure of such huge sums of money on a political campaign by a registered charity, especially one which is claiming to be at ‘breaking point’ is highly questionable. The RSPCA’s campaign will also have consequences for the taxpayer who will have to foot a large part of the bill. “The Hunting Act has failed and that fact will not change however many summonses the RSPCA issues. What cannot be justified, however, is the abuse of the legal system. It should be for the police to investigate alleged crimes and the Crown Prosecution Service to bring cases, not for campaigning organisations to use the courts to make political points.”

10-5-12   Horse & Hound   Anger as RSPCA targets Heythrop as a whole   The RSPCA is being accused of pursuing a political agenda after launching an unprecedented prosecution against the Heythrop. . The animal charity has long spent large sums campaigning against hunting, but now — in a case that is expected to cost over £1million — it has issued summons on 52 charges against four officers of the hunt. The Heythrop as a whole has also been summonsed to face 10 charges — the first time this has happened since the ban came into force in 2005. ..... Tim Bonner, campaigns director of the Countryside Alliance, told H&H that the case was an “abuse of the court system”.... The Heythrop is the only pack hunting in the Prime Minister’s constituency...... A spokesman for the charity defended its actions. “Any agency can bring a prosecution,” she said. “It just happens that we have been provided with the evidence on this one and have taken the decision to prosecute.” Nessie Lambert told H&H that the hunt “firmly rejected” the allegations. “We are amazed that the RSPCA has the staffing, money and time to pursue what is clearly a politically motivated campaign against a hunt that happens to operate within David Cameron’s constituency,” she added.

Fizwilliam FH terrierman heavily fined for Welfare and Hunting Act breaches
3-5-12    Peterborough Evening Telegraph   Hunt terrier man fined over fox ‘in a barrel’    A LEADING member of Peterborough’s Fitzwilliam Hunt [below left]  has been fined for a breach of anti-hunting laws.    Gamekeeper John Bycroft (67), who is the terrier man to the Fitzwilliam Hunt, was found with another man using terriers to flush foxes from underground dens. But he fell foul of the law after putting a live pregnant vixen in a tiny barrel because he "didn’t have the heart" to shoot her.   The Hunting Act demands that foxes flushed out of their dens are immediately shot dead by a competent person.  
Police came across the two men only after being alerted to the sound of shooting in a field in Fen Road, Holbeach on April 25 last year, Spalding magistrates heard. Officers found Bycroft and Jamie Round (24) nearby with an open horsebox with a plastic barrel inside. The barrel measured just 75cms high and 30cms across and contained a live fox.  The court heard Bycroft intended to release the fox elsewhere, but police ordered her to be freed on the spot. Bycroft, of Weston Hills Road, Low Fulney, denied one offence under the Hunting Act 2004 and one under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but both were proved at the end of a two day RSPCA prosecution. He was ordered to pay a total of £2,065 – comprising fines of £525 for each offence, £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.  Jobless Round, of Penny Hill, Holbeach, denied identical offences. He was acquitted of the Hunting Act charge but found guilty of the Welfare Act charge, which involved confining the fox in a barrel with insufficient light, space, ventilation and a suitable environment to exhibit normal behaviour. Round was fined £165 and must pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. 
The court heard that Bycroft had written consent to be on the neighbouring land. Magistrates found neither man breached the trespass element of Hunting Act law, but Bycroft alone breached the provision requiring him to shoot the fox as soon as reasonably practical. FitzwilliamFH.jpgSolicitor Daven Naghen said Round did not have a gun and expected Bycroft to shoot the animal. Solicitor Rachel Stevens said Bycroft is held in high regard as a gamekeeper. She said Bycroft felt shooting the fox would have caused unnecessary suffering to her cubs. There were ground nesting birds on the site where she was captured and he wanted to release her elsewhere. No one for the hunt was available to comment.

Spalding Guardian 3-5-12    £2,065 court bill for gamekeeper who put pregnant fox in tiny barrel....    Beris Brickles, prosecuting, said Bycroft asked for and was denied consent to be on the children’s home land. The court heard the fox was caught on a dyke bank outside the home’s boundary fence.... Bycroft and Round said all that happened on the children’s home land was digging to free a terrier that was trapped underground. ....  [Round's solicitor] Mr Naghen warned against ascribing human feelings to the fox as its ten minutes in the barrel could have been the happiest of its life.  Solicitor Rachel Stevens said Bycroft is held in high regard as a gamekeeper and felt shooting the fox would have caused unnecessary suffering to her cubs. There were ground nesting birds on the site where she was captured and he wanted to release her elsewhere. 

POWAPerson says:- I can trace no previous convictions for John Bycroft, but he has been involved with hunting for decades.  In 2003, the Leicester Mercury named him as being an activist with the 'Real Countryside Alliance', a group which advocated very robust activity to try to prevent the bringing in of a ban on hunting live quarry with dogs  The previous year, in an article about pro-hunt militancy, the Guardian reported an interview with Bycroft and a colleague, in which it claimed Bycroft had admitted breaking the law and which quoted him as saying "That's why we've been [acting like] the IRA... " [see articles below]  

It is a little hard to believe that such a keen and experienced wildlife killer would suddenly 'not have the heart' to shoot a  vixen.   John Bycroft is father to two professional Huntsmen. Mark has been with the Surrey Union for many years, acquiring a conviction for assaulting a sab in 1990/1, when he was whipper-in, and another for inconsiderate driving in 2003.  Nick Bycroft replaced Andrew Phillis - currently 'in the dock' on Hunting Act offences - at the Crawley & Horsham a year or two ago, having previously been Kennel Huntsman with the Avon Vale FH. Must be lovely to have kids this must make you proud.  The convictions of John Bycroft and his oppo bring to 301 the total number of members of organised Hunts known to have been convicted of or cautioned for criminal offences in the last 21 seasons, and to at least 445 the number of offences for which they have been punished.

15.9.03  Leicester Mercury  COUNTRY STRIFE - They are the rural radicals vowing to bring civil disorder to Britain. Lee Marlow meets a huntsman turned Real CA activist. Wherever John Bycroft goes in his big, bad-boy pick-up truck, people pip their horns and wave. "Good on yer mate," they shout, and stick their thumbs up and smile… John was born in Ashby, chases foxes with the Cottesmore Hunt and grew lettuces in a greenhouse the size of a football pitch in Lincolnshire before selling up five years ago....

30-8-02  Guardian     'We've been acting like the IRA'     .... To Kieron Moore and John Bycroft, the confrontation has already begun. As hunt employees, and chairman and committee member respectively of the Union of Country Sports Workers, they are well known, respectable advocates for bloodsports. "Iain Duncan Smith is very supportive," says Bycroft. "I've met him. He tapped me on the shoulder. He said, 'Keep demonstrating. The Countryside Alliance don't do enough.'"

But Bycroft and Moore also move in more reckless circles. Bycroft has admitted breaking the law and has been described in the Field as a "countryside commando". Moore claims his phone is being tapped by the police. "When you hear it trigger," he says, beginning to smile, "you say something like 'Semtex' or 'bombing up the London sewers!'" Bycroft and Moore agreed to be interviewed after several phone calls. They arrive at Huntingdon station, in dustiest Tory Cambridgeshire, in a large, pale-blue pick-up truck with a Real CA sticker on the back. They offer crushing handshakes and drive to a pub on the ring road.

"We're working-class people," says Moore, thickset and deeply tanned, from behind his pint of lager. "We don't want the toffs in the Countryside Alliance representing us." Bycroft, who is more middle-aged but leaner, breaks in: "That's why we've been [acting like] the IRA..." Moore cuts him off with a snigger. Moore leans across the table: "We've written letters and lobbied, and has it affected the politicians or public opinion? Not a jot. Then does there come a time when you say, 'Stuff the public', and create a war? I don't know... But where are the IRA and Sinn Fein now? Round the negotiating table with the government. And where are we?"

When I ask if they are members of the Real CA, Bycroft and Moore become less forthright. "The Real Countryside Alliance is not an organisation," says Moore, exchanging glances with Bycroft. "There are individuals who come up with different ideas." Bycroft adds: "We will assist them... There are things we don't put our names to." The bravado re-enters his voice. "What we've been doing so far is very tame. A shot across the bows." He mentions a hypothetical plan to "send 500 men with briefcases to London and leave them in stations". He and Moore are always going to London on legitimate hunt business anyway. "We can be militant and we can be politicians," Moore says. He nods towards Bycroft: "...and this bloke can be an IRA man!" They both laugh like drains.

Aggravated trespass cases against two Brighton hunt saboteurs dropped

2-5-12  HSA Press Release    The case taken against two Brighton hunt Saboteurs was dropped today      Alastair Cannell of St Pauls Street, Brighton and Gavin Pidwell of London Road Brighton were charged with aggravated trespass while attending a meet of the old Surrey Burstow & West Kent fox hunt. The surreypolice.jpgaccusation from the police was the two has used citronella sprays to disrupt a lawful activity. No evidence was offered against Mr Pidwell and the police and CPS decided it was not in the public interest to proceed against Mr Cannell.    
On that day the hunt was clearly seen to be moving in front of its alleged trail layer and foxes were seen moving away from the hunt. It also transpired that the police approached the land owner only after the arrests had been made.      The two saboteurs were released with bail conditions stating that they were not to consort with any other hunt saboteurs, although the police then called a known hunt saboteur to pick them both up from the police station! These restrictions were later dropped.     
On the same day the police impounded the Brighton hunt Saboteurs land rover claiming that the driver did not have the correct driver's license to carry over 8 passengers. Surrey police have since admitted that this was incorrect and the driver and vehicle was being used legally. It has since been admitted that the vehicle did not need to be impounded and all costs refunded. It was the police's decision to impound the vehicle and to do so which could have left a number of hunt saboteurs stranded in the middle of the hunt, if other groups had not managed to transport them to safety.    
The police also had a number of Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) police officers attending that day who only recorded by video the activities of the hunt saboteurs, regardless of the fact that they have been a number of extremely violent attacks on hunt saboteurs from this hunt over the years and whose huntsman, Mark Bycroft has a conviction for assault on a hunt saboteur. This is also the Hunt whose supporter Martin Maynard allegedly ran over and nearly killed hunt saboteur Steve Christmas.  Although the CPS discontinued the prosecution, Steve was awarded nearly £20,000 in compensation.     
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs Association stated: "Once again the Surrey Police and the CPS have shown that they still consider it their job to persecute hunt saboteurs and view them as the problem, when it is clear to all right thinking people that the prospective criminals morally and legally are the hunt and its supporters. If the police put as much effort into targeting the hunts as they do the hunt saboteurs, we would see many more convictions under the hunting act and the possible end of the flouting of this law, which is supported by the majority of the populace. Until this day hunt saboteurs will take to the field and stop hunts from killing our native wildlife."

Crawley & Horsham 3 face two week wait for verdicts on Hunting Act charges

1-5-12   W.Sussex County Times    Hunt Trial: Day 7     ANOTHER charge was thrown out today, before final arguments were made in the Crawley and Horsham Hunt court case.    Three defendants - Rachael Holdsworth... Neill Millard.... and Andrew Phillis - have pleaded not guilty to a total of six charges under the Hunting Act 2004.    Henry James Hawksfield had the last charge against him dropped today. District Judge Stephen Nicholls ruled that he had no case to answer.     After a day of detailed legal submissions from prosecution and defence,   Judge Nicholls is now considering his verdicts.   With the trial having overrun its original time slot, the case was adjourned until May 14 at Haywards Heath Magistrates' Court.

APRIL 2012

..... 23rd-30th April - 
Long-awaited trial of Crawley & Horsham FH 'Gang of Four' on Hunting Act charges 
..... 19th April   
Welsh 'one man band' Hunt Master, with 'form', heavily fined for firearms offences
..... 17th April - 
Hunting fanatic ex-Minister Tory peer exposed as paid lobbyist for Cayman Islands tax haven
..... 14th April - Hunt terrierman has his badger sett digging conviction quoshed on appeal


Long-awaited trial of Crawley & Horsham FH 'Gang of Four'
JamieHawksfieldJMCrawleyandHorshamFH.jpg23-4-12   West Sussex County Times    Horsham and Crawley Hunt members deny illegal foxhunting     FOUR people are on trial this week, accused of illegal foxhunting in Horsham District.   Henry James Hawksfield, 59, of Bines Road, Partridge Green [left], Rachael Holdsworth of Rock Road, Washington, Neill Millard, 45 [below right], of Dragons Lane, Shipley, and Andrew Phillis, 50, of Halwell, Totnes, Devon, have been charged under the Hunting Act 2004.    Prosecutor Walton Hornsby claimed in court that foxes were illegally hunted at three Horsham and Crawley Hunt meets in January and February last year. At the third meet, he said, a fox was killed by the hunt's hounds.   The four defendants say they were out trail hunting - following an artificially laid scent rather than an animal - and did not plan to hunt or kill any foxes.    Mr Hornsby said the court would have to decide whether the defendants really had been out hunting for foxes, or whether they had been trail hunting ‘where any pursuit or killing of foxes was accidental, and incidental to their purpose'.    The incidents are alleged to have happened on January 18 near Southwater, on January 25 near Shermanbury and on February 15 near Twineham.

24-4-12  Horse & Hound    Crawley and Horsham hunt trial opens  The trial opened yesterday at Horsham Magistrates Court..... The evidence on which the prosecution is based comes from members of a West Sussex animal rights group. On the opening morning of the trial the court heard from the prosecutor Walton JamieHawksfieldJMCrawleyandHorshamFHclose-up.jpgHornsby and saw video evidence filmed by members of the animal rights group - including Simon and Jane Wild and Carole Tibbetts - from 18 January 2011, 25 January 2011 and 15 February 2011.     In the afternoon a site visit to Southwater, Shermanbury and Twineham was arranged, where it is alleged unlawful hunting took place.    The case continues... 

24-4-12   West Sussex County Times      Hunt trial: Day 2     A HUNT monitor has told a court he saw foxes being illegally hunted on three occasions......     Today hunt monitor Simon Wilde, giving evidence at Horsham Magistrates' Court, described three incidents in which he claims the Crawley and Horsham Hunt members were illegally pursuing foxes.     On February 15 last year, he said, he saw a dead fox being picked up by a huntsman before being taken by Hunt Master Phillis  [below, left].    The hunt members' defence is that they were trail hunting - a legal hobby where dogs and riders follow a prepared scent trail. Trail hunters are expected to control their dogs if they encounter a fox.     Although there were times when he saw hunt members trying to call their dogs off, AndrewPhillisDartValeMHHuntsmanexCrawleyandH.jpgMr Wilde said their efforts were ‘half-hearted'.    Cross-examined, he said he had been a hunt saboteur for many years before the Hunting Act came into law.   He accepted that relations between the Crawley and Horsham Hunt and himself were ‘not happy'.    Mr Wilde also agreed that he had never taken part in hunting, and his knowledge of hunting methods was picked up during his time as a saboteur.

25-4-12    W.Sussex County Times     Hunt Trail, Day 3      MORE hunt monitors gave evidence today, in a case where four people are accused of illegal foxhunting.    Today hunt monitor Terry Hill was called to give evidence. He described following hounds and Crawley and Horsham Hunt members into a copse, then seeing a disemboweled fox being picked up and then taken away by huntsman Phillis.    He said that he believed hunt riders had been urging the hounds to chase after foxes.    David Perry QC, representing the hunt members, challenged this evidence and said Mr Hill was misinterpreting the cries and horn signals which hunt riders and followers use to direct hounds.    All four defendants deny any wrongdoing.  

26-4-12 W.Sussex County Times  Hunt Trial Day 4   MAMMAL expert Professor Stephen Harris [below, right] gave evidence in the hunt trial today....   Prof Harris told Horsham Magistrates’ Court that he has been involved in many foxhunts, as far back as the 1970s when he was first studying the animals. More recently, he said he has laid scent trials while experimenting with ‘bio barriers’ - ways to deter animalsProfStephenHarris.jpg from crossing a boundary.     Prof Harris said he had seen the videos, and believed they showed foxhunting rather than trail hunting. The hounds were so fast and so noisy, he said, that they must be following a very fresh trail.   He is due to be cross-examined by the defence tomorrow.    All four defendants deny any wrongdoing.   The case continues. 

26-4-12  Brighton Argus   Huntsman encouraged fox chase, court told  A huntsman encouraged his hounds to chase a fox, a court was told yesterday..... It is the first hunting prosecution in Sussex..... Yesterday, the court was shown footage of a fox apparently being chased by a pack of hounds during the meet on January 18, 2011.    Hunt saboteur Carole Tibbitts, who was monitoring the hunt, told the court she shouted to Mr Phillis to call off the hunt when a fox was spotted. In the video Mrs Tibbitts could be heard shouting: “Call off Phillis, call off.” Terry Hill, environmental and animal welfare researcher, who monitored the hunt at a February 15 meet, claimed Mr Phillis encouraged a pack of about 20 hounds to chase a fox.....

27-4-12   W.Sussex County Times
   Hunt Trial: Day 5    EXPERT witness Professor Stephen Harris had his evidence come under attack today.... Yesterday, Prof Harris gave Horsham Magistrates’ Court his opinion that, based on video evidence and prosecution witness statements, the hounds had been chasing live prey rather than an artificial scent.    Today, defence barrister David Perry QC challenged Prof Harris’ claim that his report was ‘balanced and independent’.   He said Prof Harris had been too willing to take evidence from hunt monitors - former hunt saboteurs - at face value.
You knew that they’d had a long and bitter battle against the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, and had campaigned for the ban,” he said.    He also questioned Prof Harris’ understanding of hunting. The professor accepted that, although he was present at many foxhunts in order to study foxes, he had never ridden with a hunt, or taken part in drag or trail hunting.

30-4-12   W.Sussex County Times    Hunt Trial: Day 6     FOUR out of 11 charges have been withdrawn in the Crawley and Horsham Hunt court case.... With the prosecution case finished, prosecutor Walton Hornsby said he would withdraw four of the counts because the evidence supporting them was not strong enough.    Defence barrister David Perry QC went through the evidence for the remaining seven charges, asking the judge to drop them under a ‘no case to answer’ ruling.    He said much of the prosecution evidence was circumstantial, or from eyewitnesses who had made assumptions based on what they had heard, or the general impression they had of what was happening. "On all the occasions with which we’re concerned, the hunt was aware that filming was taking place, and that suggests that it’s implausible to contend that they would, knowing that their activities were being filmed, hunt," he concluded.    Mr Hornsby accepted that some of the evidence was circumstantial, but said it is ‘perfectly reasonable’ for the court to draw common sense conclusions from such evidence.   The case was adjourned until Tuesday, to give the judge time to review the evidence.

Welsh 'one man band' Hunt Master, with 'form', is heavily fined for firearms offences
19-4-12   Cambrian News   Hunt master fined over gun charges   A LLANBEDR hunt master has been fined £3,500 for ‘losing' two guns and leaving a pistol in his car.   Alan Owen, 63, of Glandŵr Cottages, Llanbedr, who is the Llanbedr Master of the Hounds, pleaded guilty at Dolgellau magistrates court this NantcolValleyFH.jpgweek to three charges of failing to comply with the conditions of a shotgun and firearm certificate regulations.   Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said that on 14 February police officers attended at Owen's home to check that the shotguns and firearms were kept under lock and key and complied with the regulations. The police discovered that a pistol was missing and Owen said that it was in the glove compartment of his car. When the police asked about three other guns Owen said that he knew where they were, one was in the lounge that was due to be cleaned and the other two were upstairs, but when he went to get the two guns upstairs they had gone.   Owen gave the police details of the person he thought had the two guns, but the police enquiries did not sup-port what Owen had said.    The defendant was responsible locally for disposing of unwell animals and had used the pistol that morning to destroy two unwell sheep, the court heard.    Owen said that he felt unwell and on doctors advice went to lie down. He told police that he forgot about the pistol, but reminded the officers that there was no ammunition in the vehicle.
POWAPerson says:-  Alan Owen set up the Nantcol Valley FH [Hunt badge, above left] as a foot pack in 1975, at Llanbedr, which is in NW Wales, between Snowdonia and the west coast. He has about 50 fell hounds. It appears to be a 'one-man band', in that Owen is not just the Huntsman and sole Master, but also Hon.Sec, with no other personnel listed in his Bailys entry.
After his convictions in the mid '90s,NantcolValleyFHincinerator.jpg one must wonder not just why he was allowed to remain in operation, but continued to be recognised by the MFHA. That organisation refused to reply to an enquiry to this effect by LACS at the time.
In November 1993, Owen was convicted of neglecting his own pet lurcher. We don't have details, but Magistrates evidently saw it as serious, because they fined him £450 and banned him from keeping dogs, regrettably only for a year. What happened during this year regarding his hound pack we don't know.
In March 1996, he was in Court again, accused of punching, kicking and threatening with a knife a neighbouring farmer who had shot and wounded a hound that was worrying sheep [itself an offence]. He was convicted of assault and fined.
The next year he apparently appealed unsuccessfully against the police's revocation of his firearms certificate. POWA doesn't know why police had done this, but it may well have been related to his assault conviction. Evidently, though, the certificate was, also regrettably, reinstated at some later date.
In 2005 he caused controversy among his neighbours by applying to extend the incinerator [right] that he used to burn the bones of the fallen stock on which he fed his hounds. Given the severity of the fines, one assumes his latest crimes will result in his firearms certificate again being revoked, hopefully permanently - which should put a major crimp in his odious activities.
These convictions bring to 442 the number of convictions or cautions known by POWA to have been given to members and followers of organised Hunts since 1990, and to 47 the number of Hunt Masters convicted or cautioned in that period. 

Hunting fanatic ex-Minister Tory peer exposed as paid lobbyist for Caymans tax haven
17-4-12   Independent     Ex-Conservative minister Lord Blencathra paid to lobby for island tax haven    . A former Conservative minister with close links to the Government is sitting as a peer in the House of Lords while simultaneously lobbying on behalf of a Caribbean tax haven. Lord Blencathra [left], a former MP and Tory chief whip, is being paid by the Cayman Islands government to represent the DavidMacleannowLordBlencathra.jpginterests of its financial services industry - despite also being able to vote on legislation affecting the territory...  [he] has lobbied on behalf of the Caymans while claiming thousands of pounds in House of Lords attendance allowances. At present there are no clear rules stopping members of the House of Lords effectively acting as paid lobbyists...
Lord Blencathra, who was ennobled in 2011 after standing down as an MP in the 2010 general election, has claimed up to £5,500 a month in attendance allowances in the House of Lords..     Asked if his activities were compatible with the House of Lords code of conduct, Lord Blencathra said: "You have confused lobbying Parliament, which I do not do, with lobbying the Government which I do."...
George Osborne has come under pressure to crack down on tax havens like the Caymans - where many UK companies are based for tax purposes. The Caymans.... is home to 70 per cent of hedge fund registrations worldwide...
Since his appointment Lord Blencathra has contacted Bob Cryer MP, after he submitted an Early Day Motion calling for the Caymans to be closed as a tax haven. Mr Cryer said: "I just got this email from Lord Blencathra asking if I would meet with a delegation from the Caymans who were in London. I had no idea at the time that he was being paid to lobby for them. It is outrageous for him, as a parliamentarian, to be doing that. Members of the House of Lords should not be representing foreign governments.... ".... Shadow Cabinet minister Jon Trickett said: "It can't be right for a member of the legislature, responsible for setting tax policy, to be employed by a well-known tax haven."
18-4-12   Independent
    Watchdog set to investigate Lord Blencathra over lobbying for Cayman Islands   Peer's paidDavidMacLeanexMPnowLordBlencathra.jpg role for tax haven may have broken parliamentary regulations      Parliamentary standards authorities are set to investigate whether a former Conservative minister who sits as a peer while simultaneously lobbying on behalf of a Caribbean tax haven has broken House of Lord rules.    Labour yesterday wrote to the Independent Commissioner for Standards asking him to investigate whether Lord Blencathra [right, wearing a 'Blencathra' sweatshirt] had breached regulations designed to stop lords taking on paid advocacy roles which could interfere with their job as legislators. The intervention is likely to trigger a full inquiry which - if it finds he has broken the rules - could result in Lord Blencathra being censured....
Last night Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, accused the Tory peer of abusing the system and said he would refer him to the Committee for Standards in Public Life.... The President of the Liberal Democrats has also attacked the peer's activities. Tim Farron said: "With all the controversy surrounding lobbying and tax at the moment, it's astonishing that a Tory peer is now the lead advocate in Britain for one of the world's biggest tax havens.... Jon Trickett, Shadow Cabinet Office minister, welcomed the call to investigate Lord Blencathra "... With almost daily revelations of Tory sleaze along with a significantly watered down consultation paper on lobbying it is clear this Government is unwilling to make bold decisions in the national interest but rather maintain the influence of a small circle of elites."

POWAPerson says:-  David MacLean, who stood down as a Conservative MP in 2010 and was a Minister in the Major government, was one of the most fanatically pro-hunt of all Tory MPs. On being ennobled, he even took the name of a leading Cumbrian hunt, becoming Lord Blencathra. For the 2005 General Election he was the Party's co-ordinator of Vote OK, a Tory front organisation that recruits hunters to campaign at constituency level against anti-hunt Labour and Lib-Dem candidates, often some distance from where they live, and without, of course, ever telling the electors the real reason they are campaigning for the, invariably, pro-hunt Conservative candidate.
MacLean is no stranger to controversy. He led an unsuccessful attempt to stop the Freedom of Information Act  being applied to MPs. When the FoI was used to reveal the MPs expenses scandal, it was discovered, according to the Telegraph, that MacLean had spent more than £20,000 doing up his farmhouse under the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) before selling it for £750,000. He was entitled to claim under Commons rules as it was designated as his "second home" with the Commons authorities, yet Mr Maclean did not pay capital gains tax on the sale because the taxman accepted  it was his main home. One might wonder how come this, if true, was not deemed to constitute fraud.   

Hunt terrierman has his badger sett digging conviction quoshed on appeal

14-4-12   Western Morning News    Terrierman wins badger sett appeal      A hunt supporter has been cleared of damaging a badger sett after a judge ruled he may have been the victim of mistaken identity.     Andrew Bellamy [right], 41, had always denied that he was a man caught on film by anti hunt monitorsAndrewBellamyS.DevonFHterrierman.jpeg sending a terrier underground and then digging out and killing a fox which it located. He was found not guilty on appeal at Exeter Crown Court after Recorder Mr Malcolm Gibney said it was impossible to be sure he was the man on the film. The Recorder also ruled that there was no evidence that the badger sett had been active at the time of the digging two years ago. 
After the case terrierman Mr Bellamy said: "I am very glad that justice has been done. This has taken two years of my life and has had a detrimental effect on me and my family. I am just glad it is all over."   Mr Bellamy is the huntsman with the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt where his wife Clare is the hunt master. He was also the terrierman with the neighbouring South Devon Hunt, which has its kennels at Denbury, near Newton Abbot. Mr Bellamy, of The Kennels, Sampford Spiney, near Yelverton, appealed to Exeter Crown Court against his conviction by South Devon Magistrates last year for two offences of interfering with a badger sett.
He was cleared by Recorder Gibney who ruled in his favour on both the main issues in the case, whether he was the man on the video and whether it was an active sett.     During the four-day hearing the prosecution alleged Mr Bellamy was a bald headed man caught on a 31-minute video clip video by hunt monitor Edmund Shephard. The footage showed the man digging into an apparent badger sett during a meet of the South Devon Hunt at Beacon Farm, Bridford, near Newton Abbot. The Recorder SpoonersandWestDartmoorFH.jpgawarded Mr Bellamy costs to cover his expenses in travelling to and from the appeal. 
13-4-12  Western Morning News   I was a victim of mistaken identity, terrierman insists      A hunt supporter has denied damaging a badger sett while trying to dig out and kill a fox. Andrew Bellamy, 41, says he is not the man who can be seen digging in a video which was shot secretly by anti-hunt monitors at a Dartmoor beauty spot.    The terrierman said he had laid three trails for the South Devon Hunt on foot and had not ridden the quad bike which can be seen in the video camera footage.
Bellamy, who is the kennelman with the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt [left]  where his wife Clare is Master, also works with the Denbury-based South Devon Hunt. He told a judge yesterday he was the victim of mistaken identity and that the site of the diggings was not a badger sett in any case...
The prosecution say he is a bald headed man caught on a 31-minute video clip by hunt monitor Edmund Shephard in April 2010 digging into a badger sett during a meet near Tottiford Reservoir at Beacon Farm, Bridford, near Newton Abbot.   They say he arrived on a quadbike with a second huntsman, put a black coloured terrier down a hole into the ground, then dug out a fox which was then shot and taken away. It is alleged he was acting as terrierman and so had the job of digging out the fox when it went to ground and that he did so even though it should have been obvious it had taken refuge in an active badger sett.
A badger expert has testified that the digging was into an active sett but the defence insist it was a rabbit warren.
Bellamy was identified by hunt observers who recognised him from their film after he and his wife were featured in a photo story in Horse and Hound magazine a couple of months later.
During a police interview he admitted he had driven a quad bike on the day of the hunt but he told Exeter Crown Court he had been confused over dates.   Bellamy said he was not the man seen on the quadbike in the footage, that he did not own any black terriers similar to the one shown being put underground, and had not been near the scene at the time.   He said: "When the police came to the kennels they indicated they were looking for a black dog. I was happy to show them all my terriers because I have never owned a black terrier."....   Bellamy plans to call his own expert witness to testify that the sett did not contain badgers......

MARCH 2012

..... 31st March - 
Local press finally covers case of female pensioner punched by CVFH hunt thug

..... 27th March - Cotswold Vale fox hunters launch vicious attacks on three members of the public, says HSA

..... 27th March - Badger group claim that an Essex hunt trashed a badger sett in Halstead

..... 25th March - POWA alert media to fox foetuses find by monitors after Cotswold Vale FH killed vixen 

..... 24th March - Coniston FH supporter mob attack sabs, injure one, then block and abuse paramedics

..... 23rd March - I.o.Wight FH terrierman, notorious James Butcher, loses firearm licences revocation appeal

..... 17th March - Another Ross Harriers follower arrested, one sab injured, as hunt violence erupts again

..... 15th March - Axe Vale FH fox killers escape prosecution by claiming slaughter was 'accident'

..... 14th March - Council rejects attempt to bring Grove & Rufford FH back to Retford on Boxing Day

..... 13th March - Charlie Brooks, leading Heythrop hunter and Cameron pal, arrested with wife in dawn raid

..... 6th March - Four men allegedly digging badger sett apprehended by Wilts police on Avon Vale hunt day

..... 5th March - UKIP leader Farage and I went hare-coursing in 'the good old days' says defecting Tory MEP

..... 4th March - East Kent sabs sure killed fox they retrieved was hunted to death at joint meet near Wye 

..... 4th March - P.M. DID ride police-horse. Got hunting advice from Heythrop pal Charlie Brooks

..... 3rd March - Hunt supporter run over and leg injured as Cattistock FH hunt along and across coast road


Local press finally cover case of female pensioner punched by CVFH hunt thug 

31-3-12  Gloucestershire Echo    Pensioner 'attacked' by Cotswold Vale hunt on own land    PENSIONER Jean Adams claims she was punched in the face by hunt followers as she tried to move hounds off her land. The 67-year-old woman says she was "whacked" as she came to the defence of her son, Tony, at their home in Lower Apperley.   But the hunt say they were only acting in self-defence.    Mrs Adams claimsJeanAdamspensionerpunchedbyCotswoldValethug27-3-12.JPG she was trying to protect her son who she says was knocked to the ground when he confronted the Cotswold Vale Farmers' Hunt after dogs raced onto their property on Tuesday.
Mrs Adams was taken to Cheltenham Hospital with facial bruising, (pictured right), and her 47-year-old son suffered minor injuries.    Mrs Adams said the family had heard "yelping and howling" and noticed the hounds were on their land.    She said her husband John was ignored when he asked the remaining lone huntsman to clear the hounds and a "commotion" erupted when her son got involved.    Mrs Adams said her son ended up being knocked on the ground and punched.   She alleged: "When I tried to pull him off, I knocked a man's sunglasses off and he whacked me full in my face.  "I fell back on the road and there was blood everywhere and some activists helped me."
Mrs Adams, who has previously suffered a brain haemorrhage, said six years earlier the family had "come to an agreement" with the hunt that hunting wasn't allowed on their land. She said: "I'm not an activist but an animal lover and feed foxes on our scrub land."  Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesman Lee Moon added his support to Mrs Adams and her son, who he said were unhappy the hunt was on their land.
Countryside Alliance hunting office spokesman Tim Bonner said: "The Hunt has been very happy to help police with inquiries. It's our firm belief no one connected to or employed by the hunt has acted in any other way than in self-defence. It is unfortunate the hounds were where they weren't meant to be but the hunt was only seeking to move them as fast as possible. He also claimed: "The hunt has been a victim of a campaign of harassment by animal rights activists."  A 47-year-old man from Ashleworth and a 22-year-old man from Longlevens were both arrested on suspicion of affray. They have been released on police bail pending further enquiries until May 4.

Cotswold Vale fox hunters launched vicious attacks on 3 members of public, say HSA
'One hunter arrested, another being sought by police'
CotswoldValeFH20-12-11.jpg27-3-12 HSA Press Release     Cotswold Vale Fox Hunt attack three innocent residents during illegal hunt    The Cotswold Vale Hunt [left] today attacked 3 people, one of them a woman in her sixties, during their final hunting day of the season.   The first attack involved a motorist who they claimed had hit one of their hounds on the B4213 near Apperley, Gloucestershire.   One of the Hunt terrier men punched him in the face despite witnesses saying he had not hit the animal.     Later in the day they attacked a mother and son who were unhappy that the hunt were trespassing on their land. A group of twelve men kicked the son to the ground and then attacked his mother when she tried to help him.
Hunt saboteurs who witnessed the attack called the police and an ambulance.   One member of the Hunt has been arrested and another is being sought by the police.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs association, stated: "For years the Cotswold Vale have been assaulting hunt saboteurs. It is very worrying to see they have escalated their level of violence and will now attack anyone who stands in their way. They clearly believe they are above the law and we urge anyone who sees them hunting to call the police straight away rather than intervene themselves".

28-3-12  Gloucestershire Echo    Fight after claims hunting hound struck   POLICE were called to reports of a fight which broke out between huntsmen and members of the public yesterday afternoon. Officers were called to the B4213 near Lower Apperley, between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, shortly after noon. An altercation had started near to the A38 road to Deerhurst. A police spokesman confirmed officers arrived to find four or five people involved in an argument after claims one of the hounds had been hit by a passing car. The dog is believed to have no major injuries. A police spokeswoman added the people involved did not wish to press any charges and the incident was resolved among themselves.

28-3-12   Gloucs Constabulary Facebook   Two men have been arrested after police were called to reports of a fight in Apperley near Tewkesbury    A woman suffered facial injuries during the incident and was taken to Cheltenham General Hospital for treatment. Two other men suffered minor injuries and were treated by paramedics at the scene. A 47-year-old man from Ashleworth and a 22-year-old man from Longlevens were both arrested on suspicion of affray. They have been released on police bail pending further enquiries until May 4.

POWAPerson says;- The Echo story appears to be a simple reprint of a Gloucestershire Police press release. On reported past performance, it's no surprise this Force might seek to minimise any incident involving the Hunt. But the Cotswold Vale now seems to be completely out of control and serious action is needed by the authorities to restrain them before they kill somebody. They may be an extreme example, but are, of course, only one of hundreds of gangs who are still allowed to roam round our countryside, for no good reason, with packs of trained killer dogs, often blatantly ignoring the law, or evading it by 'cynical subterfuge', and endangering not just our wildlife and their own animals, but members of the public too - and now, it seems, savagely attacking them.

An Essex Hunt's terriermen trashed sett while trying to dig out fox, say badger group

27-3-12  Halstead Gazette    Campaigners blame hunt after badger sett destroyed    ANIMAL campaigners are blaming huntsmen after a badger sett was found dug into and destroyed.  Police are investigating ReneeHockleyByamN.EssexBadgerGroup.jpgreports of a sett allegedly being destroyed by terriermen belonging to an Essex hunt, near to Sturmer Road, New England, in Halstead.   It is illegal to enter or disrupt a badger sett without a licence.
Renee Hockley Byam [left], of the North Essex Badger Group, said: "This is not the first time we have had reports like this, there have always been problems with the Hunts but until we can catch someone red-handed, we will get nowhere."   It is believed a fox had sought refuge from the hunt by going to ground into a sett. "When that happens, the hunt should stop but in this instance, the report is that the terriermen dug in to find the fox," she added. "In doing that, the badgers would have been disturbed and if they feel under threat they will turn nasty and at this time of the year they are defending their young. This sort of thing is going on all the time but it is just that supporters of the hunts, for one reason or another, will not talk about it." 
Mrs Hockley Byam has inspected the sett herself and reported it to the police.badgerHalstead.jpg
Andy Long, wildlife officer at Essex Police, confirmed he was investigating the reports "with an open mind".   "Disturbing a badger sett is illegal as well as being a deplorable thing to do and it is important people know Essex Police take these crimes seriously."  He also urged anyone with information about the alleged crime to contact him at Braintree police station on 101.
The badger group were told of the incident on March 12 after receiving a call from an eyewitness. Mrs Hockley Byam added: "I would urge people who see this sort of thing to firstly call 999 and then call our group to report it.  To contact the group, call 07751 572175. Spokespeople for the East Essex Hunt and Essex Hunt said there has been no contact from police.

Grisly foetuses find exposes heartless pregnant vixen hunters of the Cotswold Vale FH
5-3-12 PRESS RELEASE from PROTECT OUR WILD ANIMALS     Unborn fox cubs ripped from their mother's body as she is torn apart by hounds - Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt filmed at scene of bloody carnage    On Tuesday 6th March 2012, hunt monitors found the bodies of six fox cub foetuses [below right] strewn on the ground in a piece of land which had just been visited by the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt.   The monitors followed the hunt all day in the Gotherington area of Gloucestershire, and in the afternoon sawFoxcubfotusesretreivedafterkillbyCotswoldValeFH6-3-12.jpg the hunt enter their hounds into a piece of wooded covert near Bozard's Farm.  The monitors heard a commotion within the covert, with hounds baying noisily, and then heard the hunting horn blown in a way which traditionally indicates a kill.   Certain that the hounds had killed a fox within this piece of land, the monitors entered the land after the hunt had left, and to their horror found not only blood and fox fur on the ground, but also the pathetic, bloody remains of six unborn cubs. They filmed the remains on the ground, and then gathered them up and took them to the Vale Wildlife rescue centre near Tewksbury. Here the dead cubs were identified as unborn fox cubs.
These were the Vale's findings:   6 fox foetuses, 2 beheaded, one of whom had no body retrieved, some partially eviscerated, some with trauma to their bodies, tooth marks and bleeding, some placental tissue remained and one cub was still attached to it with the umbilical cord still present. Fox fur.  A small piece of liver. A small piece of lung tissue.
One of the monitors present said "The hunt went into the covert, and we heard the hounds begin to speak, and then a gruff grunting noise, and then a kill was blown. We ran towards where the hounds were obviously breaking up the fox within the c the overt. We saw a man and woman retrieving something from the covert, and the woman turned and gave a "thumbs up" sign to the hunt followers, as did the terrierman when he left the wood.  We asked to see what was inside the metal box on his quad bike but he held it closed with his hand. A short while later we returned and found a scene of carnage."
The filmed evidence has been examined by experts, but, due to the ineffectual framing of the Hunting Act, the evidence would not be adequate to secure a prosecution of the Hunt.   Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA] has repeatedly stated that hunts are blatantly evading and breaking the law all around the country, and has campaigned consistently for a strengthening of the Hunting Act.
Penny Little of POWA said : "Hunts always insist that pregnant and lactating vixens are not chased or harmed by them. This is, and always has been, another of their downright lies, and we now see further evidence of the utter barbarity of hunting. Prime Minister David Cameron is strongly in favour of fox hunting, which he wants to re-legalise. It follows that he thinks it absolutely fine for gangs of people to take out killer dogs to chase. attack and tear apart pregnant foxes for 'sport'. Indeed, he has recently made it clear he believes that hunting should be immune from the law*."  The footage has been posted on You Tube,
CotswoldValeFarmersFH.jpgThe Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt [left] is no stranger to trouble. Saboteurs have made several complaints of violent assaults by hunt staff and supporters in recent years and the Hunt have been filmed causing havoc on roads**. Earlier this season, their then Huntsman, Alan Morgan, was convicted of racially abusing a hunt saboteur and fined***. 

Notes for editors:-    * On 13-1-12, in an interview given to the BBC, Mr. Cameron restated his intention to try to seek repeal of the Hunting Act and said that the passing of the Act  ".... was just taking the criminal law into an area of activity where it didn't really belong.".   A former hunter, Cameron is close to the hunting lobby, which provided a great deal of financial and logistical support prior to the last Election.  But he is particularly close to his local Hunt, the Heythrop, including to its Point to Point Committee Chairman Charlie Brooks, recently arrested in the phone-hacking investigation.   At least 8 Heythrop supporters have convictions or cautions for assaulting, menacing, abusing or damaging the property of monitors.
Many of the Heythrop's rich supporters donate to Party coffers, several bountifully so.   Mr. Cameron, whose stepfather-in-law, Lord Astor, is Chairman of the Hunting Act Repeal Committee, talked about fox hunting in his maiden speech in 2001 -  and repeal of the Hunting Act was his first, and for a long time only, firm policy commitment after his election as Party leader.
**  In October 2011 a Cotswold Vale hound was killed by a lorry on the A38, whilst, claimed monitors, they were hunting illegally very close to this major route.  Hunters tried to blame sabs, but, a few days later the Hunt was videoed causing more road havoc.    In February 2011, sabs claimed several of them had been subjected to a sustained and violent attack, during which a camera was stolen, by riders and foot followers, instigated by the Huntsman, Alan Morgan.   It was also asserted that, three years earlier, a female sab was smashed over the head with an iron bar and that previously a sab had been kicked unconscious, several had ribs broken and a number of video cameras were stolen.   In 1997, one of the Hunt's Masters was cautioned for indecently assaulting a young female sab.
***  Convicted at Cheltenham Magistrates, December 2011 of racially abusing Aubrey Burge. Fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation.   Racism is by no means limited to this Hunt though. Since Morgan's conviction, Lee Peters, Master and Huntsman of Ross Harriers, in Herefordshire, has been arrested for racial abuse and footage has been released of a supporter of Mr. Cameron's Hunt, the Heythrop, using the most obnoxious and aggressive racist language imaginable while following that Hunt.

POWA has been sent the following account by one of the monitors out that day. Monitor and hunters names have been removed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Tuesday 6th March 2012, Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt, Hunt Kennels, near Gotherington/Bozards Farm/Bozards Lane OS 190 930/302 (purpose built and new).   We arrived late at the meet noting that hounds had moved off from Fiddington Brake down the footpath. I followed and heard the horn and a holla near Claydon Farm, despite the hounds being near they did not speak and despite the huntsman hunting them on with horn calls. I met the terrier man on my way back to the vehicle and asked him where hounds were, he replied it was a crap day anyway and pointed in the general direction of Tewkesbury. We lost hounds for a short while and concluded it was a very bad scenting day , very sunny and warm. Furthermore the area was surrounded by 2 main roads the M5 and a railway line.
We found the hunt on the A46 near Aston Cross. It was a very busy fast moving road. The field were lining the south most side of the road in the land. As soon as they saw us they ran south east with hounds drawing along hedgerows. They then went out onto the A435 the main Evesham/Cheltenham road and caused a traffic jam in the Cheltenham direction. They turned right from that road into Bozard’s Lane and towards Bozards Farm.   We saw hounds put into a covert near the farm 944/30 and it was quiet. And both terriermen were in the covert on their quad bike.
We then heard hounds begin to speak , a gruff grunting sort of noise and then the kill blown. Myself and my companion looked and one another and said "they’ve killed",   I ran up the on towards where hounds were clearly breaking up the fox within covert.   I was joined by hunt followers who found it all rather amusing.   The Huntsman came out to the road very quickly with hounds and was smiling, in the covert we could see the terriermen and a woman retrieve something and then the quad bikes came out.   The woman was giving a "thumbs up" to the supporters.   One of the terriermen came over to us and we asked if we could see what he had in his terrier box, he replied that he only had spades there, his hands were brown/red.
We drove up the road to Bozards Farm where we were blocked in and he warned us about a faulty brake light, many of the hunt were milling around there.  Eventually we were "released" and noted that the Huntsman was drawing a covert on our left with high speed trains racing past and filmed only meters away in the same field.  He drew blank and finished by the kennels.   We drove down the A 435 and parked up in a safe place.   We then returned on foot to the kill site where we found in the exact same spot as the terriermen had stood the remains of an adult fox and numerous foetuses.  We filmed the scene and retrieved the remains before returning to the vehicle.
Advice was sought from various parties en-route and Vale Wildlife Rescue agreed to identify the species of the foetuses we had retrieved from the kill scene.  We drove 5 miles north to Beckford and met with Vale Wildlife Rescue personnel. We emptied the bag of remains and we all noted the following; 6 fox foetuses, 2 beheaded, one of whom had no body retrieved, some partially eviscerated, some with trauma to their bodies, tooth marks and bleeding, some placental tissue remained and one cub was still attached to it with the umbilical cord still present. Fox fur, a small piece of liver, a small piece of lung tissue.   This is the truth and an honest account of the events of today the 6th March 2012, I am if necessary prepared to be a witness in court.

Coniston FH thugs attack sabs with weapons, injuring one

Allegedly also block and abuse paramedics 

ConistonFH.jpg25-3-12  HSA Press Release    Hunt saboteurs attacked by Coniston Fox hunt    A hunt saboteur was attacked by hunt supporters whilst monitoring the Coniston Hunt  [left]  yesterday. The Hunt who were having their final meet of the season at their kennels near Ambleside had already illegally killed a fox before the attack occurred according to walkers who said they saw the kill. Three saboteurs were set upon by a group of 15 hunt supporters armed with sticks. One of them was left with stick marks to his back and a serious eye injury as the attackers tried to throw him down a ravine. An ambulance was called to treat him but couldn't reach him as it was deliberately held up by hunt supporters vehicles who hurled abuse at the paramedics. Police were called and are investigating the incident.

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs association, stated: "We see the calibre of these people that not only do they illegally kill foxes and seriously harm anyone who tries to stop them, they will even stoop as low as hindering and abusing paramedics whose only concern is helping the injured. We strongly urge Cumbria Police to investigate this incident and bring the guilty parties to justice."
27-3-12   Carlisle News & Star    Police probe attack on Carlisle man during hunt    Police are investigating an alleged assault on a Carlisle man that occurred during a hunt. It is alleged that the victim, who is a man in his 40s, was monitoring the Coniston Hunt on Saturday when he was assaulted by at least two men who hit him with sticks. He suffered minor facial injuries in the attack that happened at about 1.30pm. A spokeswoman for Cumbria police said: "A 72-year-old man from Windermere voluntarily attended Kendal police station yesterday to help officers with their enquiries. He has been released from custody and investigations will continue and the evidence will be assessed." Anyone who witnessed the alleged incident should contact PC Roy Williams on 101 or Crimestoppers.

James Butcher, notorious IoW FH terrierman, loses firearms revocation appeal

23-3-12  Isle of Wight County Press    Firearm licence appeal rejected    The militant hunting supporter who achieved notoriety by dumping a dead horse outside the Labour Party Conference has been banned from keeping guns after being branded a danger to the public.   A judge backed the Hampshire Deputy Chief Constable, who personally revoked 47 year old Butcher's firearm and shotgun licences. Recorder Simon Rainey turned down Butcher's appeal against the ban, branding him a volatile danger to the public JamesButcherIoWFHterrierman.jpgif he had a gun in his hand, and telling him to pay £1,500 legal costs.    Butcher [left] ... was filmed by monitors at an IW Hunt meet on March 12 2011 hurling threats and a stream of abuse - and at one stage having to be held back by three hunt supporters. The Court was told it was Mr. Butcher and an accomplice who dumped a horse carcase and dead calves outside the Labour Conference in 2004....    And the Court was told that it was Mr. Butcher who last year accepted a police caution for shooting fledgling rooks....   The DVD of the March 12 meet showed Mr. Butcher on his quad bike in one exchange telling a protester "I'll tear your head off." 
Mr. Butcher... was associated with the IW Hunt since the early '90s... became a professional terrierman, worked in the kennels and shot foxes with his .32 single-shot pistol after they were flushed out.  He said he was regularly abused by monitors, who he described as 'saboteurs out to wreck our day' and on March 12th he had been spat at three times before he behaved in a way he was "not very pleased with".
Mr. Butcher, who resigned from the IoW Hunt on November 1st, used his shotguns for pest control and his humane-killer pistol for foxes and for putting down injured farm animals.....   But, dismissing his appeal, the Judge said "We believe there is an appreciable and real risk that he might misuse firearms to the detriment of public safety because there is evidence of violent, aggressive and anti-social behaviour during hunting, which forms a large part of his life. "One of his bouts of anger may escalate higher."   After the ruling, Tim Bonner of the MFHA, said "We remain uncomfortable that the Deputy CC can remove a man's... certificates and effectively strip him of his livelihood on the basis of unproven evidence that did not even result in prosecution." 



Two Ross Harriers supporters arrested after attacks on sabs on separate days
18-3-12 Hunt Sabs Association PR   More violence from the Ross Harriers Hunt    Supporters of the RossOrcopHill.jpg Harriers Hunt smashed a vehicle window and attacked hunt saboteurs with an iron bar during a meet at Orcop Hill [right], west of Ross On Wye, yesterday. The victim of the attack suffered injuries to the leg and head.  Throughout the day the hunt had been threatening and assaulting saboteurs.  This LeePetersRossHarriers.jpgescalated until several of their vehicles blocked in the saboteurs near the end of the day and attacked them. Mounted members of the hunt were quick to join in, throwing punches and riding at people. This is just the latest attack from this violent hunt.  Their Huntsman, Lee Peters, is currently on police bail for racially abusing a saboteur and one of their supporters was arrested this week for punching a saboteur in the face.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: " The Ross Harriers [left] continue to act outside the law and think they can get away with it. We are pleased that the police have taken the last two incidents seriously and arrested the aggressors and we strongly urge them to do the same on this occasion. We will not let such violence deter us and we have members throughout the country willing to come and show support "

Axe Vale Harriers escape prosecution - claim Boxing Day fox kill was an 'accident'

FoxkilledbyAxeValeHarriers26-12-11.jpgExeter Express & Echo 15-3-12    Hunt avoids prosecution     THE people who tried to protect a fox from "ferocious" hounds in East Devon have expressed their disappointment and frustration that police were unable to prosecute the hunt responsible because of lack of evidence.    Seaton PC Steve Speariett confirmed that during police investigations the Axe Vale Harriers admitted to being involved in the hunt that killed a fox [left] near Shute on Boxing Day.    As revealed in the Echo, Priscilla Lynch, 52, and her father from Sidmouth, witnessed the group's hounds enter her field and kill the fox.  Metcalf, 31, [below right] a student from Cardiff and his family who were driving past, also witnessed the incident. Mr Metcalf crawled through the hedge and crouched over the animal in a bid to protect it.     However, PC Speariett said that to prove the incident was deliberate police required evidence that a chase had happened over a few minutes rather than seconds.AlunMetcalfMYSTERYMANAXEVALEFOX26-12-11.JPG "Following interviews with hunt members the Axe Vale Harriers was identified as being the hunt involved after they admitted they were trail hunting in the area and their dogs were involved with the incident with the fox," he said. "We collated evidence and witness statements and the file was submitted for a decision on whether there was enough evidence for prosecution to the decision makers. Evidence has to show a hunt and hounds pursued the fox over a distance and prove that the Hunt's master did not take reasonable steps to get the hounds off the fox. If we had evidence over a few hundred yards and a couple of minutes there may have been enough evidence for the case to be put before the courts."     PC Speariett said that the nature of hunting - which takes place outdoors in wide rural areas - makes it hard to obtain sufficient evidence to carry out a prosecution. "We always investigate as fully as possible and if there's evidence of an offence it will be prosecute," he said. "Hunting with hounds is a criminal offence. However, there is a defence of accidental hunting."    Miss Lynch said: "The law needs tightening up - the proof was there."  Mr Metcalf added: "The outcome is of course disappointing. The police need witnesses over several minutes and it is unlikely members of the public are going to be able to follow a hunt for this NeilParishMPChairAPGAWatAxeValeHarrierspuppyshowJune2011.jpglength of time."
POWAPerson says:-  Yet further evidence, were it needed, that the Hunting Act needs serious strengthening to stop hunts getting away with murder. In this case - unlike some we could mention - it does look as if the local police have tried their best, but the Act demands standards of proof so high they are, in practice, approaching impossible.   And, relatedly, here is yet further evidence, were it needed, of just how cosy the country's Hunts are with the Tory party establishment.
The photo [left] shows the local MP, Neil Parish [far left of pic] posing last summer with the Axe Vale hunt at their puppy show. Parish - a former livestock farmer who is avowedly pro-hunt and in favour of badger culling is also... wait for it.... Chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare [APGAW].  Talk about putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop. You couldn't make it up.

Council rejects attempt to bring Grove & Rufford FH back to Retford on Boxing Day
GroveandRuffordFHBawtryBoxingDay2011.jpg14.3.12   Worksop Guardian   Rufford Hunt will not be back   THE Grove and Rufford Hunt [left] will not be returning to Retford town centre for the annual Boxing Day Meet.  Councillor Wendy Quigley presented the motion on the grounds it would help boost tourism and trade in the town. But the proposal was met with fierce opposition from the room at Monday night's budget meeting.  Coun. Ivor Jones said: "I never thought it would come under this chamber again. How men, women, boys and girls can sit on a horse and kill a defenceless animal until it's ripped apart, and then say it's going to bring tourism back into Bassetlaw - you are running an animal to death."
The annual Boxing Day meet attracted more than 2,000 people to Bawtry last year, councillors heard.  And Councillor Annette Simpson added: "Having hunted when I was younger, it's actually illegal to do what people have been told today. I have been on mock hunts and it's terrific, it's fantastic to get out with the horses and dogs and hunt across the country. We were in Bawtry on Boxing Day and it was the most fantastic atmosphere."   
But Coun. Ian Campbell maintained it was inhumane. "I wasn't going to speak on this issue but I felt I had to after some of the comments," he said."I do not want Retford to be known for the hunt. We can come up with some better ideas for Retford and Bassetlaw."  
Coun.Wendy Quigley said she wanted to encourage more people to see what a lovely town Retford is. She added: "People do not hunt foxes - how many more times do we have to say it ? It's a spectacle to bring back an old tradition. I wish people would support this we have got shops closing and we need to bring life back to our town." 

POWAPerson says:- We welcome the Council's rejection of the bid to restore the Hunt's Boxing Day propagandaFoxFancyDressGroveandRuffordB.DayBawtry2011.jpg fest to the district's main town centre. We do not know whether or not the G&R are among the many hunts that persist in chasing and killing foxes under the guise of 'trail hunting' or exploiting some other exemption, but they have come under that suspicion. In November 2010, sabs monitoring the Hunt claimed to have seen at least one fox fleeing from them. Three were arrested for aggravated trespass. The case was dismissed in court the following May when, the HSA claims, "material came to light that showed prosecution witnesses, including police officers, had lied under oath" and the Judge said the case should never have been brought by the CPS.   The Grove & Rufford has had to migrate its Boxing Day meet from Retford, Notts, town centre to Bawtry, a large village just over the Yorkshire border. A 
contemporary report of that meet, in a pro-hunt publication, spoke of attendance 'thought to be in excess of a thousand'. The pro-hunt Coun. Quigley, above, seems to have done their usual trick of taking the number first thought of and doubling it. And certainly one of their younger riders, at least, seemed to think they were still a fox hunt, finding it amusing to combine her hunting gear with a fox head and Santa hat [right]. 

Charlie Brooks, leading Heythrop hunter and Cameron pal, arrested with wife in dawn raid
14-3-12  Daily Mail  Rebekah Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie were arrested in dawn raids yesterday  by police investigating allegations of a cover-up in the phone hacking inquiry. The former News International CEO and her husband - both close friends of David Cameron - were held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice....   Mrs Brooks, the former editor of The Sun and the News of the World, has been on bail since last summer when she was arrested on suspicion of phone-hacking and corruption. That arrest in July was ‘by appointment' but yesterday the couple were woken by a sharp, unexpected, knock on the front door of their Cotswolds mansion.   The dramatic new police action is hugely embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who was flying to the United States for an official visit to President Obama while his friends and neighbours in the so-called Chipping Norton set were being questioned by police.   
Earlier this month Mr Cameron's links with the couple came under fresh scrutiny over the ‘Horsegate' revelation that the Met Police had lent Mrs Brooks a retired police horse. He was forced to admit he may have ridden the horse with Mr Brooks, a friend from their Eton days...
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who was a victim of phone hacking, tweeted: ‘Cameron flees the country as his mates are arrested.'   The extent of David Cameron's close relationship with Rebekah Brooks was exposed when it emerged he had ‘ridden' a retired police horse lent to her by Scotland Yard. The Prime Minister was forced to concede that ex-police horse Raisa was among those he used while out with Mrs Brooks's husband Charlie, aCharlieBrookshasslingmonitorHeythropJan2011.JPGn Eton schoolfriend..
The Prime Minister described Rebekah's husband as a ‘good friend' and ‘neighbour' whom he had known for over 30 years.  Mr Cameron attended the Brooks's wedding in 2009 and Mr Brooks is chairman of the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire, which the Prime Minister has ridden with....    Mrs Brooks, 43, was arrested three days before she was due to answer police bail from her arrest last year and it is understood that she was planning to go to the Cheltenham Festival with her husband*.
In his newspaper column on Monday, Mr Brooks, 49, described queuing for his first pint of Guinness on the first morning of the race meeting as ‘the happiest moment of my year'.... Five of the people arrested yesterday - understood to include Mr and Mrs Brooks - were released on bail last night...
Labour last night called for the Leveson inquiry into press standards to include Mr Cameron's links with Rebekah and Charlie Brooks.  Mrs Brooks was forced to resign last July following the revelation that a phone belonging to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was targeted by her newspaper.   She was introduced to her husband by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, another member of the rich and powerful Oxfordshire set located in and around Mr Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency.   Nicknamed Champagne Charlie and Looks Brooks, Mr Brooks became a racehorse trainer after an accident ended his hopes of being a jockey....  The racehorse trainer, who has dabbled in sports marketing, once ran a mail-order sex-toy company and hit the headlines after sending sex aid brochures to parents at Prince Charles's old school, Cheam Hawtreys, entitled A Little Something For The Weekend.

Channel 4 News included in their evening bulletin footage taken by an anti-hunt activist at a meet of the Heythrop in January 2011, which showed a young female monitor being hassled by Mr. Brooks, who repeatedly invaded her personal space and shoved a camera in her face. Still from this clip is right, above.

Four men allegedly digging badger sett apprehended by police on Avon Vale FH day

8-3-12   Wiltshire Gazette & Herald    Hunt denies disturbing sett at Stockley     Police were called to Stockley after reports that members of the Avon Vale Hunt were digging at a badger sett. A member of the public called the RSPCA claiming four men, accompanied by terrier-like dogs, were digging in a field in the quiet hamlet, near Calne, at about 3.30pm on Tuesday - hunt day in the area. The RSPCA in turn contacted the police who sent units to the scene. PC Hans Monahan, of Calne Police, said: "A member of the public Jonathon_Seed.jpgreported seeing some digging taking place around a badger sett, which straddled the hedgerow between two fields in Stockley. "Units arrived at the scene and examined the area and suspected the offences of disturbing a badger sett. They spoke to four males and took their details. Officers have invited the men for interview. Enquiries are still ongoing."  Police said all four men were from the west.
The Hunt has denied any wrongdoing and said it is helping police with their enquiries. It is thought that, while the men were being spoken to by officers, one of the dogs appeared from within the sett and was wearing a tracking device. The RSPCA was also looking into the incident and police called for a badger expert to examine the scene yesterday so they could confirm it was a fresh, communal sett.  Jonathon Seed [left], senior joint master of the Avon Vale Hunt, said: "I am aware of a difficulty near Stockley yesterday. "I wasn't present at the time but I understand that the police attended. As far as I am aware, all parties left the scene and the police want to talk to one of the individuals to clear up matters some time next week."
The Avon Vale Hunt has been established since 1888. RSPCA spokesperson Jo Barr confirmed they had received information about the case but that it was no longer their investigation. She said: "I can confirm we received a complaint from a member of the public on Tuesday in relation to a badger sett in Stockley. But we were told police were on their way to the scene and the investigation is now in their hands." Enquiries are now being carried out by Wiltshire Police's rural crime team and any witnesses to the incident, or anyone with information, should contact them on 101.

UKIP leader Farage and I went hare-coursing in 'good old days' says defecting Tory MEP

5-3-12    Roger Helmer, the hunting fanatic Tory MEP for East Midlands, who has recently defected toNigelFarage.jpg UKIP, has revealed that he and that Party's leader, Nigel Farage [right], used to go hare-coursing together. In an article in the 
Derby Telegraph, Helmer stated that in what he called 'the good old days before the Hunting Act' he and Farage would visit the notorious Waterloo Cup together. 
POWAPerson says:- It came as no surprise that Helmer, always on the extreme, especially extreme Euro-sceptic, wing of the Tories should defect to UKIP. Presumably he felt that the Party that is seeking to dismantle and privatise much of our public services and wants to re-legalise hunting with dogs isn't far enough to the right for him.    We had known that UKIP's Harecoursingevent.jpgpolicy was pro-hunt, but not that Nigel Farage had any personal involvement in bloodsports.   POWAPerson once attended a protest at the Waterloo Cup [left] and remembers it being like stepping back into a primaeval past, perhaps the eighteenth century when crowds would gather for bull or bear baiting, or dog or cock fights - or some vision of hell painted by Bosch.
He recalls seeing both richer and poorer elements mixing freely among the mob of several thousand, united by their common love of seeing animals terrorised and killed for 'sport' - much as in any hunt - but in much vaster numbers and coarsened still further by the all pervasive drink andWaterlooCupbank.jpg gambling. Most striking were the banks packed with, mostly urban, low-lifes [right], who would burst into joyous cheering whenever a hare was caught by one or both greyhounds. A policeman said to him that if they could just arrest all the spectators on that bank, Liverpool's crime rate would halve overnight.
One wonders how many of UKIP's voters, or viewers who see him in his regular appearances on Question Time, know that that he gets thrills from seeing a terrified animal fleeing for its life and from being literally torn apart by dogs.   Participants in bloodsports constitute a tiny proportion of the population, yet we now know that two of our leading political parties are led by such depraved individuals - the other, obviously, being the Party from which Roger Helmer has defected. 


East Kent sabs sure disembowelled fox they retrieved chased and killed at joint Hunt meet

9-3-12    Faversham Times    Huntsmen blamed after East Kent hunt campaigners find savaged fox    
ANTI-HUNT campaigners have discovered the mutilated body of a fox they claim was savaged during anKentfoxfoundbysabsafterjointmeet4-3-12.jpg illegal fox hunt. The disembowelled carcass [right] was found after a joint meet of Faversham-based West Street and Tickham Hunt and East Kent Foxhounds on Saturday at Crundale estate, near Wye.    East Kent Hunt Saboteurs secretly filmed the event after suspecting that foxes were being hunted illegally.   But when the Times contacted the hunt, members said they had not seen any foxes and were trail hunting (following an artificially laid scent) which is legal.  Members of the saboteur group described hearing a huntsman blowing his horn to signal a kill. They later discovered a mutilated fox with its tail removed in woods near a public footpath. They claim it was killed by hounds and the tail would have been kept as a trophy. The body was handed to the RSPCA.
A spokesman for East Kent Hunt Saboteurs said: "Hunting of this kind has MallorySpensJMEKentFH.jpgonce again become commonplace. Our wildlife is still being tortured for these people's amusement. Due to our proximity, we couldn't save the fox in this instance, but we just hope that the image of its poor mutilated body will wake the public up to what hunting really is under the ban. The legalities and loopholes of the Hunting Act need to be tightened up, as these people still cannot help themselves from using our wild animals as toys, for their so-called sport."...
Joint master of the Hunt Mallowry Spens [left] denied that any foxes had been killed and stressedSarahLeggatSecretaryW.StreetTickhamFH.jpg that the hunt had been above board. She said: "There's always a risk that something can go wrong with the trail hunts, but as far as I'm concerned it all went according to plan. There may well have been dead foxes around the place but we were hunting within the law."   West Street and Tickham Hunt secretary Sarah Leggat [right] added: "I didn't see a fox all day. Our hunts are carried out with a team of people, some on quad bikes, some riding, following the scent on a duster. We're always very clear that we're hunting within the law."
RSPCA spokesman Andy Robbins could not comment on the specific case. He said: "Without footage it is difficult to prove foul play, as sometimes an animal body which may look suspicious may simply have been attacked by another animal. We would need to be able to prove illegal hunting beyond all reasonable doubt before taking a case to court." 

4-3-12    Facebook - East Kent Sabs    A search of the meets then failed to find the beagles, so sabs attended a joint meet of two foxhound packs undercover...  the meet was thronging with supporters and vehicles, and sabs sadly witnessed the huntsman blowing for a kill in the woods at the end of the day. Absolutely nothing we could do, due to the sheer weight of support/thugs. But, we filmed what we could, and its just yet more evidence for the national picture that hunting is just going on as normal-illegal/legal....
UPDATE TO SATURDAY   Monitors returned to the estate where they had covertly monitored a joint meet of two Foxhound packs on Saturday, and where it was obvious that a kill had been made in the woods at the end of the day.  Sadly, their worst fears were confirmed, and a disembowelled fox was found with its tail (brush) removed-this would have been kept as a "trophy" by the hunt. We apologise for this image, but people need to see the true reality of foxhunting under the "ban". The foxes body has now been removed, and the incident is under investigation by the relevant authorities.

POWAPerson added the following Comment to the Faversham Times story online:-
The disembowelling shown in the picture is characteristic of foxes savaged and killed by hounds. Veterinary evidence given to the Burns Inquiry confirmed this and was adamant that death by such means is dreadful and a long way from the 'quick nip to the back of the neck' myth that hunters have peddled for years. This is the second time this season that a fox with such injuries has been found where this pack [the W.Street Tickham] had been hunting. The first time [in October] they chased one into the village of Studall and killed it there, and had little option but eventually admit that they were responsible, having been seen by villagers - but, of course, they claimed it was an 'accident' while they were 'trail hunting'. Otherwise, we can be sure they would have denied any connection, as they are here.

I would urge your readers not to give hunters the benefit of the doubt in such cases. Monitors and saboteurs all over the country report all the time that in the vast majority of cases 'trail hunting' is nothing more than cynical subterfuge - simply a cover for hunting live quarry much as before the 'ban'. There have been numerous incidents of 'accidental' fox chasing and kills, pet and livestock chasing and killing and incursions on to roads and railways all over the country this season..... Such incidents never occur with genuine drag hunts and should not if Hunts are really doing what they claim. But it should be no surprise if most, if not all, fox, deer, hare and mink Hunts are both ruthlessly exploiting the weaknesses if the law and its enforcement, and brazenly breaking it, because, prior to the Hunting Act tens of thousands of hunters publicly declared that they would defy any prohibition of the selfish, cruel and barbaric pastime of terrorising and slaughtering defenceless wild creatures - in a deliberately and artificially prolonged way - for fun. These people have always, do always and will always tell any lies to try to deny, excuse or defend their actions. They are not just pathologically mendacious, they are sick and potentially dangerous and need to be seen and treated for what they are by society generally - and especially the media. And the Hunting Act's provisions and penalties need to be substantially strengthened to stop them - not repealed to reward them - as Cameron and his bloodsports-loving cronies are still intent on doing if and when they get the chance.


Cameron DID ride police-horse - getting hunting tips from Heythrop pal Brooks, say MoS

4-3-12   Mail on Sunday    How No10 misled the Mail on Sunday about Cameron and THAT police horseHorsegate.jpg    David Cameron was under further pressure last night over the bizarre ‘Horsegate' controversy following new claims about his links with disgraced ex-News International boss Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks. The Prime Minister was last week forced to admit he had ridden Raisa, a horse loaned to Mrs Brooks by the Met.Police after No.10 spent three days trying to cover it up.  And he admitted he had been riding with her husband, a racehorse trainer.   CharlieBrooksandCameron.jpgHowever, the Mail... can disclose that Downing Street spent more than a year trying to conceal his horse-riding links with the couple.  Acting on a tip-off in late 2010... this newspaper asked No,10 to confirm that Mr Cameron had been riding with Mr Brooks.  A well-placed source said the pair had been out together and that Mr Brooks had been helping Mr Cameron improve his hunting style.
The Mail... put the story to Andy Coulson....  He denied the claims, stating that the Prime Minister had not had lessons from Mr Brooks and had not been riding with him.    On Friday, Mr Cameron finally confessed: ‘I did go riding with Mr Brooks and one of them was this police horse Raisa.'  Another friend of the PM recalled yesterday how, before the 2010 election, he had talked of his love of hunting and how he had wondered aloud whether his public profile would prevent him ever enjoying the sport again.   
The closeness of the relationship of the two men [together in 2009, left] is illustrated by the way Mr Brooks was reportedly teased by Mr Cameron when he started his relationship with Mrs Brooks.... The bungled No.10 cover up started after it was reported on Tuesday that Mrs Brooks had been loaned the former police horse. The story was seen as dramatic evidence of the incestuous relationship between the Met and News International.... When the PM's spokesman was asked on Tuesday afternoon if Mr Cameron had ever ridden Raisa,CameronRaisaBekahBrooks.jpg he scoffed: ‘That is not something that I keep tabs on.'   On Wednesday, an official used a similar mocking tone to shrug off the story...  Asked a third time, the next day, when the PM first learned that Mrs Brooks had an ex-police horse, the spokesman responded with a curt: ‘I don't know.' An hour later, the first cracks appeared in Mr Cameron's account of ‘Horsegate'. He gave a hastily arranged TV interview, choosing his words with extreme care. ‘It's a matter of record that I have ridden horses with Rebekah Brooks's husband in my constituency. Since becoming PM I may have got on a horse once, but not that one.' Note the lawyerly way he stated that  ‘since becoming PM' he ‘may' have got on a horse, but ‘not' Raisa....
Later that afternoon, Downing Street stumbled again, admitting Mr Cameron ‘might' have ridden Raisa but had ‘no recollection' of riding with Mrs Brooks [right, + Cameron].  The stonewalling might have worked but for one dogged newsman who kept interrogating No.10.... where disdain was being replaced by a mood of dismay. Mr Cameron finally told officials he had ridden Raisa - making fools of his trusting staff who had spent three days giving exactly the opposite impression. Well aware that cover-ups have claimed more political scalps than the initial misdeed, Mr Cameron knew he had to come clean - but it could hardly have been more humiliating.... Later that afternoon, a spokesman confirmed Mr Cameron did know Raisa was an ex-police horse, and he had ridden it ‘more than once'.....

3-3-12  Daily Mail     'I DID ride Rebekah's horse'      .... The PM yesterday denied riding a horse since he entered Downing CameronClarksonAlexJames.jpgStreet in 2010 - but did not deny doing so in 2008 and 2009.  Mr Cameron... confirmed he had gone riding not with her but with her husband...  [he] also insisted he had not ridden the police horse, which has since died, since becoming PM...   He told reporters that Raisa was among his mounts when he rode with Mr Brooks, a friend since they attended Eton.  ‘I have not been riding with him since the election,’ said Mr Cameron.'... I don’t think I will be getting back into the saddle any time soon.’      
Horsegate has revived speculation about the Prime Minister’s closeness to Mrs Brooks....  Tory sources insist Mr Cameron has ‘no recollection’ of riding with Mrs Brooks but according to former News of the World feature writer Paul McMullan,...' [they] regularly went riding together. He claims he was sent to ‘doorstep my ex-boss by hiding in the bushes, waiting for her to come past with Cameron on a horse’.    Mr Cameron attended the Brookses’ wedding in 2009 and the ex-racehorse trainer is Chairman of the Heythrop Hunt* in Oxfordshire, which Mr Cameron has ridden with. According to Vanity Fair magazine, Mr Cameron was so close to Mrs Brooks that he signed his letters to her ‘love, David’.

Fellow Heythrop supporter and Chipping Norton set member Jeremy Clarkson, who is a Murdoch-paper columnist, had earlier written:-  ‘I can categorically state that he never rode that horse. I do actually live there. It’s all rubbish.’ - managing to make an even bigger idiot of himself than usual.
Clarkson is pictured left, above with Cameron and fellow bloodsports enthusiast and C.N.set member Alex James, guitarist with Blur and wannabe country gent..
* Brooks is Chairman of the Heythrop FH point-to-point Committee, not the whole Hunt

Monitor complaint to police after Cattistock FH cause havoc hunting next to and across busy road
Hunt follower knocked down by car and sustains broken foot as trying to shepherd hounds
3-3-12   Hunt monitor and POWA Associate Helen Weeks has submitted the complaint below to Dorset police following a meet of the Cattistock. The supporter is understood to have sustained broken bones in his foot. 

Dear Inspector Leat,   I wish to make a complaint against the Cattistock Hunt.   Yesterday, Saturday 3rd March 2012, the Cattistock Foxhunt met at Modbury Farm, Burton Bradstock. At about 13:30 pm Des Martin, a Cattistock hunt supporter, was hit by a car, as he got out of his vehicle on the busy B3157 coastal road close to West Bexington [right].     Graham ForsythCattistockmanDesMartinHitbypassingcar3-3-12.jpg and I were filming the hunt and arrived on the scene at 13:30. A hunt supporter told us that Mr Martin had got out of his car and was hit by a passing vehicle. We think he was attempting to stop the traffic because of hounds on the road. This is what hunt followers do.   Mr Martin lay on the road while the mounted huntsmen and women continued to hunt in the gorse just yards away from the road.  At 13:38, the huntsman gathered the hounds together and the traffic was held up while the hounds and riders crossed back over the road.  At 13:48, a police car arrived and closed the road. We then left in the Abbotsbury direction. A second police car passed us on the way to the accident.
Monitors have complained many times to the Dorset Police about the reckless behaviour of the Cattistock hunting foxes alongside busy roads [left, on 3-3-12]. They are not trail hunting - no one in their right mind would lay a trail along the coastal road, causing danger and havoc to motorists going about their normal activities. Saturday was a fine day with plenty of day-trippers and ramblers enjoying the sunshine, ignorant of the real and possible danger of a fox -hunt close to them, as it was many people were Cattistockhuntingalongsideroad3-3-12.jpgdisrupted by the road closure. If the hunt had not been hunting near the road, the accident would not have happened. We both have film of the above complaint.     Helen Weeks, Hunt Monitor
Felllow monitor Graham Forsyth [also a POWA Associate] has uploaded 
a video to You Tube  and sent a report to the local paper, in which he added to the above information:-   Thankfully he [Mr. Martin] was discharged from Dorchester Hospital on Saturday evening with injuries to his foot, but this is second hand information, so worth checking....  The Cattistock cannot say this is a one off incident because we have filmed evidence of many other occasions of hunting along roadsides and hounds out of control on roads. I have enclosed a dated photo (2009) of Mr Martin acting as a road marshal on the A37 a few years ago and two stills from Saturday showing the hunt and riders (still hunting) on and close to the coast road.
The local paper ran the following story:-
5-3-12   Dorset Echo   Man suffers 'significant' leg injury in accident on B3157 A MAN suffered a ‘significant’ leg injury after being involved in a collision on the Weymouth to Bridport coast road, police said. The crash, involving two vehicles, happened on the B3157 between Swyre and Abbotsbury on Saturday afternoon. Dorset Police said the injured person was taken to Dorset County Hospital for treatment to a ‘significant’ leg injury. Police would not confirm whether the injured person was in a vehicle or a pedestrian. Tony Edwards, who lives close to the scene, saw the injured man lying in the middle of the road and emergency services at the scene. He said: "I didn’t see the accident, but I noticed a lot of cars, and about 40 horses, piling up outside and the traffic had ground to a halt. There was an unfortunate man lying in the middle of the road, and an ambulance took him to hospital." He added that the road had to be closed for around an hour. It is believed the injured person was a man who was following the Cattistock Hunt. The group confirmed a foot-follower was hurt during a collision on the road. Hilary Tutte, a member of the Hunt, said: "I was not there at the time, but I do know the man has quite a serious leg injury, and that he was taken to hospital." Dorset Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash, which happened at around 1.30pm.
This You Tube video shows the Cattistock hunting along and across the same road, incredibly recklessly, in misty weather in March 2009.


..... 25th February - 
Viva! research suggests hunting could be implicated in spread of bovine TB

..... 25th February - 'Masked protesters' shouted at hunters at South Shropshire FH meet, claims Ferry

..... 24th February - Ex-Army Major Tim Easby to succeed Alistair Jackson as head of MFHA

..... 23rd February - Parent pressure forces primary school to abandon plans to take children on fox hunt  

..... 21st February - Cattistock escape prosecution as CPS run scared of CA-funded specialist lawyers

..... 19th February - Autistic child traumatised as Wealden MH hounds chase his pet dog into lake

..... 11th February - Sabs say Badsworth FH man got away with punching one of them in front of cop

..... 7th February - Hapless Blackmore FH threatened with court action over yet another trespass

..... 7th February - Hare hunting and hound death on road reported in South Midlands

..... 6th February - South Devon FH terrierman cautioned for attacking sabs

..... 4th February - North Down FH hounds invade garden and kill pet cat. Owner calls for hunt ban

..... 1st February - Portman FH hounds reportedly invade same gardens as Blackmore 5 days earlier


Viva! suggest Hunts could be implicated in spread of bovine TB
25-2-12  Western Morning News    Hunts linked to spread of bovine TB, group claims   The Government should examine a possible link between hunting and the spread of bovine tuberculosis before embarking on controversial badger cull trials, according to animal campaigners.   Vegetarian group Viva! claim that the infection could be spread via animals used for hunting and vehicles crisscrossing large areas of land. They believe that even if a hunt does not travel over spaces currently holding cattle, it may pass through areas that have done so recently - and still contain actively infected soil or faeces.  Viva! said the "onslaught of rampaging feet, hound's noses and tyres almost certainly acts as a disease and muck spreader on an enormous scale."      But the claims have been dismissed as "pseudo-science" by the Countryside Alliance, who said the group were "embarrassing themselves."...   
Justin Kerswell, campaigns director at Viva!, said: "It is possible that no link between these HuntsVivaHuntsandtbmap.jpg and the spread of cattle TB has been ascertained because it has never really been looked at. That does not mean that it isn't a considerable vector. Drag and trail hunts still gallop over vast swathes of land, churning it up and potentially taking the infection - which can live in the soil and animal droppings - with them. How can the Government be thinking of killing many thousands of badgers when it doesn't appear that hunts have ever been held accountable for their potential role in spreading the disease?" The group said that by overlaying visual illustrations of the location of hunts and the highest rates of TB, a "clear correlation" is shown [right].     
But both Defra and hunt supporters dismissed the claims. Jim Barrington, animal welfare consultant for the Countryside Alliance, said: "In my 40 years working in animal welfare I have never seen or heard of Bovine TB being spread by hunts. The pseudo-science Viva are using is to lay one piece of evidence over another and claim a false correlation. Farmers, Government and animal welfare advocates have spent several decades trying to combat Bovine TB and in all that time no-one has ever linked its spread with hunting. As with so many people and groups who claim to represent the cause of animals, they are letting their own blind prejudices inform proper research and evidence, and in doing so are embarrassing themselves and the people who would otherwise be supportive of their viewpoint."
A spokesman for Defra said: "There is no evidence that hunting contributes to the spread of bovine TB. There is no obvious correlation between the location of Hunts and high incidence of TB in cattle." The badger cull trials will test the shooting of free-running badgers as part of a package of measures to tackle the TB virus, which led to 25,000 cattle being slaughtered last year. If successful, it could lead to a wider cull of the animals.
POWAPerson says:  My social science training forces me to acknowledge that the apparent correlation Viva have drawn attention to is, on its own, of little evidential value. But, as a potential transmission vector, what they suggest does not seem that unfeasible. As it's never been investigated, denials by CA/DEFRA [the two organisations being pretty much as one these days] carry little weight.   Hunts have certainly been implicated in unsavoury and potentially disease spreading activities in the past.
When Jim Barrington was LACS CEO [before he decided betraying the cause and his colleagues and taking the Hunts' shilling to propagate their mendacious propaganda was a good career move] the League published evidence strongly suggestive that Hunt hound feeding practices [raw fallen livestock offal] were a, if not the, major vector in the spread of hydatidosis - a particularly nasty disease that causes some human fatalities and large-scale rejection of sheep's livers after slaughter. Hunts apparently continued doing this even after it was banned by EU Directive - and may still do it for all we know.      I
n the '90s, several Hunts were heavily fined for blatant breaches of the BSE regulations, at the height of the CJD panic.  And in 2001, monitors filmed compelling evidence of Hunts ignoring mandatory disease-safety precautions after they had been allowed to resume operations following the Foot-and-Mouth epidemic, evidence which, even then, DEFRA refused to act upon. Indeed, Hunts seem often as careless as many livestock farmers themselves about the effects of their actions and as willing to blame other creatures and people for the consequences.  Viva! investigations have also revealed wide-scale ignoring of bio-security measures at cattle markets in Welsh hot-spot areas. Visit their report page for more details and how you can help try to stop the proposed badger culls.

'Masked' protest at South Shropshire FH meet, claims Otis Ferry

27-2-12 Shropshire Star    Masked protest at South Shropshire Hunt    Men wearing balaclavas and hooded tops gate-crashed an annual hunt in Shropshire, it was alleged today. Officials from the South Shropshire Hunt said a minibus containing about a dozen people pulled up outside the Mytton and Mermaid pub in Atcham, near Shrewsbury, just before the start of its annual hunt. Hunt master Otis Ferry said the men began shouting at the people who were due to take part in the event at about 10.45am on Saturday.   The hunt went ahead as planned on Saturday.

Mr Ferry said it was very unusual for hunts to be targeted and said he believed the protesters travelled from outside the county. He said: "We left to start our day’s activities as planned but some of the followers were very concerned and notified the police." Inspector Emma Wright, of West Mercia Police, said: "We were called to an incident at the Mytton and Mermaid which involved anti-hunt protesters. One woman was arrested for a breach of the peace."

POWA Person says:  Note that the Star saw fit to publish this 'not many hurt' non-story, presumably at the behest of the five times convicted/cautioned Ferry, but failed to give any space to the recent incident in which hounds invaded a couple's garden and the pack then ripped a fox apart right in front of the residents. This was just the latest of several such incidents not reported, or covered only reluctantly, by local papers around the country this season. Oh the wonders of a 'free' press.

UPDATE    The female anti who was arrested subsequently sued West Mercia police for assault and wrongful arrest and was awarded substantial compensation.  Sabs claim that it was they who were the victims of both intimidation and assaults, by both hunt supporters and police on the day.  A fortnight later, sabs say they were attacked and violently assaulted by South Shropshire supporters, and the same female sab was punched in the face and hospitalised.  They allege that, once again, police took the side of the offenders [see stories 24-2-14].  The senior JM of the South Shropshire FH, Otis Ferry, has at least 6 convictions/cautions for criminal offences.

This is ground control to Major Tim, you've really made the grade...

24-2-12   Horse & Hound     Major Tim Easby appointed as new MFHA director   Major Tim Easby takes over from Alastair Jackson as director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) on 1 May. Major Easby is currently deputy director of the MFHA and has hunted the Middleton and West of Yore in his native Yorkshire. Mr Jackson, a master of foxhounds for 24 years —with the South Dorset, Grafton and Cattistock — took over as director of the MFHA in 1997. He will continue in his part-time role of chief executive of the Hunt Staff Benefit Society.

POWAPerson says;- After the appointment of the extraordinarily-named Sir Barnet White-Spunner, an ex-General who was head of the British land army, as CA head, the elevation of Major Tim to MFHA leader means both main pro-hunt bodies are in the hands of ex-soldiers. We don't know a lot about Easby, other than that he has been a JM with the Middleton since 2006 and was JM/huntsman of the West of Yore FH before that. Can't even find a photo of him on the Net. It appears some military men develop a taste for killing they just can't let go. One wonders if anti-hunt activists can expect to be met with fixed bayonets, or even tanks, in future!  Mind, with the hunting lobby unable to get their long-wished repeal [which Cameron promised but can't deliver], 5 of their number currently facing illegal hunting prosecutions and the public and media slowly taking in and decrying their continued anti-social and lawless sidestepping of the Hunting Act, he might have a job communicating their 'message'. "Ground control to Major Tim, your circuit's dead, there's something wrong.... "

Police/CPS won't act on clear evidence of extreme racist language by Heythrop FH supporter

Warning;-  This report and the video contain extremely offensive language

23-2-12    Monitor & POWA member Judy Gilbert today uploaded a video to You Tube containing JimFrenchracistHeythropsupporter.JPGevidence of a follower of the Prime Minister's home Hunt using extreme and vile racist language on two occasions and alerted racial equailty groups and media about this.  Police and CPS apparently sat on this evidence without acting for so long that the statutory period within which a prosecution could be brought expired. This is a disturbingly common experience for monitors who provide police with solid video evidence against hunters.   Another charming supporter was recorded wishing cancer upon a female monitor. and calling one a 'dirty old slag' and 'bitch'.     

The overtly racist Heythrop hunt follower, who goes under the name Jim French, among others, says at a meet in September 2010: "I come over to see these bloody antis... We don't get them in France.... We shoot the bastards, like they do niggers!".    At another meet the next month he adds  "Foxes should be like niggers, dead on the side of the road."  He also told a female monitor he would  drag her to the slaughterhouse with a ring through her nose.    

It is worth repeating that this is the Prime Minister's home hunt, he is known to be close to many of its senior members and supporters and that he frequents its events from time to time. Several Heythrop FH supporters have criminal convictions or cautions for assaulting and abusing monitors or damaging their property. Their Huntsman, Julian Barnfield, is awaiting trial on illegal hunting charges. He faced similar charges in 2008, which were dropped later. This action by the CPS followed - but presumably did not result from - apparent intervention by then leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, on behalf of his constituent, Barnfield.  

"Duck shoot scandal" primary school forced to drop new plan to take kiddies to fox hunt
23-2-12 Hunts Post    Parent pressure forces school to abandon plans to take children on fox huntHUNTINGDONSHIRE primary school is at the centre of another controversy just three months after taking youngsters on trip to see  duck shoot   Just three months after taking pupils to watch wildfowling - including a duck being shot - Ashbeach School [pupils seen on a more savoury trip, to a bee centre, right], in Ramsey St Mary's had planned to take Year 6 children, aged 10 and 11, to watch a hunt. The trip was scheduled for FebruaryAsbeachschoolpupilsvisitabeecentre.jpg 7 at Ellington, and a letter had been sent to parents of Year 6 pupils, but it was cancelled following complaints.   Elaine Knighton, whose 10-year-old niece attends the school, said the letter failed to mention the word "fox", just as the wildfowling trip letter failed to mention the words "duck shoot".   
She said it was only after her brother, Ray Poolman, researched the details of the trip - which mentioned horse, hounds and an eagle - that they realised what the school had in mind.    Mrs Knighton, 40, of Ramsey Heights, said the hunt would have involved two hounds trying to flush out a fox and, should one have been found, the eagle would have been used to kill the animal.  The method of hunting foxes is allowed within the 2004 Hunting Act and the school's letter made it clear children would not follow the hunt, which was to start at Ellington, but would watch it leave and would sometimes be able to see it in the distance.
However, the idea of taking children to a hunt upset some parents.  Mr Poolman, 49, of Ramsey Heights, said: "I asked head teacher Shirley Stapleton if she really wanted her school to be seen as pro-hunting, not to mention all the health and safety risks associated with it. "I don't think it is right. Children and staff sitting having their sandwiches and fizzy drinks while the hunt sets off."    
But not all Ashbeach School parents agreed.   One parent sent a letter to The Hunts Post which stated: "The school, which is fantastic, did arrange to take older children on another trip to a hunt. However, this has now had to be cancelled as the same parent who complained before has threatened that if the school took pupils on the trip he would turn up with anti-WilliamBurtonEasternregionCArep.jpghunt demonstrators. "This has resulted in a lot of upset children and some very angry parents who agreed with these trips."

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: "There had been some previous discussions about going on outside activity trips, and it has been decided not to organise any such trips at this time."   In November, a group of 10-year-old Ashbeach children were taken to Welney Marshes to watch members of the Ely & District Wildfowlers Association shooting ducks. The school said the trip was to show about children normal rural life.    William Burton [left], Eastern regional director for the Countryside Alliance, said: "It is a real shame that just because of one parent's prejudices, children at Ashbeach School have been prevented from watching one of the British countryside's oldest and finest traditions. As the school has said, children would not have been going out with the hunt but instead would have been able to take in the great atmosphere at a meet, and get up close with some of the beautiful horses and hounds that form the hunt. We would encourage more schools to do as Ashbeach intended and take children along to fine rural occasions like hunts and shoots, so that they can learn first-hand how the countryside really works, rather than the picture-book version some people would prefer they saw. Schools can always get in touch with their local hunt to arrange a kennel visit. These sort of experiences will do much to enrich any child's education."
POWAPerson says;- We understand the Hunt involved was the Enfield Chace FH. 
CPS cite specialist, CA-funded lawyers as reason not to prosecute Cattistock for illegal hunting

21-2-12   Guardian    Fox hunt investigation abandoned amid row between campaigners and CPS -
Animal charity criticises prosecutors for letter claiming Dorset hunt was 'media savvy' and would use specialist lawyers    An investigation into a Dorset hunt has been abandoned amid a row between animal welfare monitors and the Crown Prosecution Service over the text of a letter explaining why no arrests should be made. IFAW has accused the CPS of ignoring filmed evidence and using the fact that members of the Cattistock Hunt can afford "specialist" defence lawyers as grounds for giving up their legal inquiries into allegations of fox hunting with hounds.  The Hunt has denied doing anything illegal and prosecutors insist the reason for not proceeding is that there is "insufficient evidence to convict beyond reasonable doubt"...
The letter at the heart of the dispute was sent by a senior prosecutor in Dorset to IFAW explaining why allegations made against the Cattistock Hunt and accompanying video footage would not be followed up. The hunt was on 8 October last year, near the village of Wraxall in west Dorset. IFAW monitors, at a distance, captured what they claim was evidence of hounds chasing a fox and no one calling dogs off the pursuit. The quality of the pictures means that individual hunt officials allegedly involved are not identifiable.    
In its letter, the CPS official said: "Any arrest ... would inevitably mean that they will be represented by specialist solicitors ... funded by the Countryside Alliance. They will be advised to go 'no comment' and to decline to identifWillBryerCattistockJM.jpgy themselves on the footage obtained by your monitors. There would be insufficient evidence to convince a court beyond reasonable doubt ... that the person standing before them committed the offence alleged. May I suggest that arrests and release without charge or, worse still, a failed prosecution, could, potentially, be a media disaster for your organisation? The Cattistock Hunt are very media savvy."
IFAW responded with a complaint to the CPS suggesting that the "methodology stated in the letter is surely contrary to the normal practice in dealing with cases....  We cannot imagine any other possible offence which could be dealt with in this way. Does the burglar in Dorset who always gives no comment and is legally represented not get investigated?"   The fact that a hunt is "media savvy" should not, IFAW added, have any relevance to a decision on prosecutions.    
But a CPS spokesperson said: "It is absolutely right for prosecutors to consider the most likely defence in deciding whether there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. We accept, however, that this letter was somewhat clumsily worded. The Crown Prosecution Service carefully reviewed this file of evidence three times in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors.... third time by a second lawyer.... both concluded that we cannot prove to the criminal standard which of the two men it was, since the footage is unclear and both men are dressed similarly. We cannot bring any prosecution without being certain which offender committed the crime. As a result, we concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.... "
No one associated with the Cattistock has ever been prosecuted for a Hunting Act offence.  Will Bryer [above right], Master of the Cattistock Hunt, said he had been unaware of the complaint. "Our intention is to hunt within the law and lay trails. We practise [legal] trail hunting," he said, and there had been no breach of the ban. It's extraordinary. These people spend hours and hours monitoring...     
Tim Bonner, of the Master of Foxhounds Association, said: "This is the third investigation of the Cattistock in the past 12 months. The other two times they were questioned. They [monitors] are wasting police time. That's hundreds of hours spent by Dorset police that have come to nothing..... No one likes being followed around or finding people hiding in bushes filming them. There's a huge question around some of this activity, especially the surveillance." ...
POWAperson comments  -  Monitors and sabs say the assertion that the Cattistock hunts within the law is simply untrue. 

Autustic boy's trauma as Mink Hunt hounds chase pet into a lake
23-2-12    Midhurst & Petworth Observer   Boy watches in horror as hounds chase pet in Petworth     A motherAutisticboypetchasedbyWealdenMHhounds2-12.jpg and her nine-year-old son watched helplessly as a pack of hounds chased their pet terrier around a lake in Petworth Park on Sunday. Mya, a three-year-old Lakeland terrier, fled in terror as mink hounds from the Wealden pack, on exercise in the park, pursued her until in panic she leapt into the water and made for a nearby island. After the hounds had been called off, it took Linda Wickenden and her autistic son, Kian [right, with Mya], more than an hour to coax the petrified pet to swim back from her hiding place.     
Miss Wickenden, who lives in Petworth, said on Monday: "My son and I were distraught. Kian has Asperger's syndrome and he does not have many friends. That dog is his companion and his life."  The pair were walking around the lake on the A272 side of the park at about 11.15am when Miss Wickenden said they encountered the ‘hunting pack' all roaming freely.
The Wealden mink hounds are kennelled at Petworth Park under an arrangement with the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Fox Hunt.  Nick Bamber, chairman of the CLC, said two Welsh mink hounds had recently been drafted into the Wealden pack. They had been ‘coupled' by a lead to more experienced hounds during exercise but on Sunday they were free for the first time. "They got excited and started to hunt the terrier," Mr Bamber said. "We apologise to the lady and her son for the upsetting incident. The hounds in question are being moved on to a Welsh pack."

Police won't act against Badsworth FH man who punched sab in front of cop, claim activists 

15-2-12   Facebook  Sheffield Saboteurs    A farmer launches an assault on hunt sabs in full view of police [right]. If sabs so much as swore at a hunt member they would be arrested immediately. (11/2/2012)
POWAperson adds - Fortunately the sab was not seriously hurt. The group claim that this is part of a pattern of gross favouritism shown to Hunts by both North and South Yorkshire police forces. Other photos on their Facebook page purport to support this assertion.

Hapless Blackmore FH face legal action if yet another trespass is repeated

10-2-12   Blackmore Vale Magazine    Court threat after hunt strays     A HUNT has been threatened with court action after horses and hounds strayed on to private land in Hazelbury Bryan. The incident happened at High House Farm on West Lane during the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt's meet last Tuesday.    Magistrates instructed the LadyArabellaMogerJMBlackmoreFH.jpghunt to keep off the farm after organic dairy farmer Leslie Head and his father Robert took court action for trespass 20 years ago.
Robert Head said he saw around 15 riders on the lawn between his home and farm buildings at midday last Tuesday. "My son has farmed here for 40 years and it has been made clear from the outset that we didn't want the hunt on our land. The hunt has been sent detailed maps and Dorchester magistrates have told them to keep off our land," he said. "If they trespass again I will not hesitate to take them to court once more. If they want to ride their horses they must do so where they have permission."   
Michael Felton, joint master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, said last week's incident was the result of a misunderstanding over a right of way between fields and the road. Although he was not riding on the day, Mr Felton said he was aware that Mr Head had sent a letter threatening court action and fellow joint master Lady Arabella Moger [left] had visited the farm to apologise for the incident. "The hunt was in the wrong. We have apologised and won't let it happen again," Mr Felton said.

Report of hare hunting and hound killed on road in south Midlands

7-2-12    POWA has today received a report from an eye-witness who claims to have seen a Hunt, believed to be the Old Berkeley Beagles, chasing three hares and that a hound was subsequently killed on the Wantage-Hungerford Road. Police and local paper have both been informed.

South Devon FH terrierman cautioned by police for attacks on sabs

6-2-12   POWA has today been informed that Simon Williams, a terrierman [or 'countryman', a ratherAndrewBellamyS.DevonFHterrierman.jpeg more cuddly title such thugs now prefer] with the South Devon FH has received a formal caution. Further details are awaited, but we understand that at a meet last month, Williams allegedly drove his quadbike at a group of sabs, but also grabbed one sab by the throat, causing his victim's face to turn blue as he wouldn't let go.  Apparently this isn't sufficient violence to merit a court appearance.     
This is not Mr.Williams' first such offence. In the '98/99 season he was cautioned for threatening a sab with a metal pole.  A fellow South Devon FH terrierman, Andrew Bellamy [right], was convicted last year for digging into a badger sett and fined £500, though he was acquitted on appeal as there was sufficient doubt on his identification.  

North Down FH hounds invade garden and kill pet cat in front of distressed owner

 6-2-12   BBC News website   North Down hunt dogs kill cat in Kircubbin     Lisa Smith's cat Sophie [below,SophiekilledbyN.DownFHhounds4-2-12.jpg right]  was killed by foxhounds on Saturday afternoon.  The Kircubbin woman has called for the hunting laws in Northern Ireland to be changed after her cat was killed by dogs from the North Down hunt [below, left].  The dogs had been hunting a fox when they left the field and entered Ms Smith's garden. The Countryside Alliance has apologised to her for the loss of control of the dogs.  Fox hunting is banned in the rest of the UK but is still legal in Northern Ireland.
Ms Smith owns seven cats and the others, apart from Sophie, escaped the foxhounds. "There was about 10 dogs in my garden with more dogs really, really, struggling to break their way through the fence," she told Talkback. "I was shouting and screaming and clapping my hands trying to get them to go away. "Poor little Sophie was in her cat house and she popped her head out the cat flap. One of the foxhounds dragged her out of her house. I am not going to go into any graphic detail NorthDownFH.jpgbut I am quite sure everybody can imagine what happened next when a pack of 10 to 15 dogs, that have been trained to kill, got a hold of her. I wasn't physically hurt but the fact is these dogs killed a cat on my private property and that poor animal must have suffered horribly."
For that reason Ms Smith wants to see a change to the hunting law in Northern Ireland. "I do feel that the animal welfare laws in Northern Ireland are flimsy and weak," she said. "I know they have recently been revised but I still feel there is a way to go. I have never been a supporter of any sport or activity where people or animals get hurt. Why they have to breed and hunt innocent animals - whether they be foxes, a cat or whatever - it's barbaric."
Lyall Plant, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "We would like to pass our condolences on to Ms Smith about this incident and the hunt in question is extremely sad this situation occurred. The Hunt tried in vain to call the hounds off and it took them a few minutes to get them back under control. It's a very, very sad incident and I know the Hunt are just as much choked about this as anybody else. They have never had any incident like this in the history of the North Down hunt."

Portman FH reportedly invade same banned land as did the Blackmore five days before
1-2-12    POWA has been told that monitors observed the Portman FH trespassing in the same set of gardens as their neighbouring hunt had only a few days earlier. The incident has been reported to police and the local press. The village of Wonston is apparently at the confluence of the Portman, the Blackmore and the South Dorset FHs and there is at least one hunt near it almost every week. 
South Wold FH endanger pets as hounds chase fox in village gardens
1-2-12  Horncastle News  Complaints after hounds catch the scent of live fox during routine hunt    A NickAshcroftJMSouthWoldFH.jpgVILLAGER has complained after a stampede of hounds trampled through their garden during the South Wold Hunt on Saturday.   Alastair Grant, who lives near Edlington, said around 15 hounds raced through his garden in pursuit of a fox. He said: "It’s unacceptable. My cats were in the garden and also my dog. Both were very shocked and traumatised by the amount of hounds crashing though the garden. "I could have had my friends’ toddlers here and they would have been seriously injured by the stampede at full speed. They were chasing a fox and proceeded to hunt it down in the field behind my house. They were also in neighbouring gardens. When a huntsman finally appeared I told him how upset we and our animals were by it and not even an apology was offered."    
However Nick Ashcroft, Master of the South Wold Hunt [left], said this sort of thing can sometimes happen and that they did not break the law by deliberately setting the hounds after a fox. He said: "There was an artificial scent and a fox must have jumped up in front of them. As soon as it happened we worked to get them under control and we apologized and moved on. We always do our best to hunt within the law."
POWAPerson says:- Yet another 'accident'. POWA received a report of this Hunt rampaging in another village a few weeks ago, but the resident was too nervous of possible repercussions to allow us to publicise any details.

Residents fury as Blackmore FH hounds riot through village and gardens
Third rampage by this Hunt's hounds in four weeks

JulieHoundsellLeighDorsetGardeninvadedhoundsBlackmoreFH26-1-12.gif2-2-12    Western Gazette   Anger as hunt's hounds run riot in woman's garden    A furious Leigh resident has called on her neighbours to complain to police after hunting hounds ran riot in the village.    Julie Hounsell [left] of Leigh wants her neighbours to act after hunting hounds ventured off the trail and ran riot in her garden, as captured on CCTV. She has now called on her neighbours to make public their discontent as she feels it is the only way to ensure the dogs are kept under control in future.  She said: "Surely it must be possible if enough people complain to keep the hounds out of our village. People need to stand up against this issue and be counted. I don't understand why people put up with this nonsense."     
Miss Hounsell discovered the runaway hounds after checking her CCTV footage [right] set up in the garden. She installed the cameras after one of her cats was mauled to death on her lawn by a neighbour's dog in May last year. She said: "I looked at the footage and saw that two dogs had been in here. I rang the police and toldBlackmoreFHhoundsingardenofJulieHoundsellLeigh26-1-12.gif them, and they said that they had received several calls from other residents. The police have said very little. The hunt master has since visited people in the village and apologised, but I'm not prepared to listen to that rubbish. Do we have to wait for the dogs to kill other animals before something is done? It seems that the answer to that is yes. Surely if the hunters are taking out that many dogs they must take have control and take responsibility."
Anthony Mayo, joint Hunt Master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, confirmed he had visited those affected, and believed his apology had been accepted. He said: "I went around the next day and saw the people who it involved and apologised for the situation. The hounds ventured off the trail and got into the back of the village. I saw those involved and my apology was accepted."
Retired priest Tony Durkin, who lives on Chetnole Road also witnessed the incident. He joined Miss Hounsell in calling for the Hunt to be more strictly controlled. He said: "The hunters have no business down this particular part of the village. The hounds were out of control and were running loose all over the village. It was chaos. The hounds were running through the churchyard. What we want is the thing properly controlled, so the hunters have a grip on where they can go and where they are not welcome. I am concerned not only for people's properties in the area, but mostly for their pets and animals."     
A spokesperson from Dorset Police said: "Dorset Police received three complaints from the public in Leigh about the Blackmore Vale Hunt on Thursday, January 26. A police officer from Sherborne Police attended and spoke to members of the Hunt in Chetnole. The Hunt Master has been contacted, and is assisting police with their inquiries."
Earlier in the month, Michael Felton, joint master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, issued an apology after complaints that hounds ran through gardens and private fields in Wonston near Hazelbury Bryan. At the time he said: "We would not deliberately go on to ground where people don't want us - we endeavour to make every effort to stop this from happening. Unfortunately, there are times when the hounds deviate on to live quarry or when wind shifts the trail. The hunt is making an extra effort to ensure this doesn't happen again."
POWA understands that monitors claim to have obtained footage of this Hunt in full pursuit of a fox the same day and have passed their film on to the police.


..... 28th January - 
South Wold FH endanger pets as they chase fox through gardens in Lincolnshire village

..... 26th January - Residents fury as Blackmore FH hounds riot through village and gardens

..... 25th January - Trespassing N.Shrops FH chased and killed fox in full view, say residents of Marchamley 

..... 21st January - Monitor thinks Cattistock were hunting fox that tumbled down bank at her feet

..... 19th January - Seavington FH Joint Master seriously injured in freak farm accident

..... 19th January - 'Have a go hero' who protected fox from Axe Vale hounds savaging it comes forward

..... 17th January - Blackmore & Sparkford Vale hounds invade banned land, disturb pregnant ewes 

..... 16th January - Staintondale FH hounds again invade land of couple whose cat they killed

..... 14th January - Dorset farmer 'arrests' sett-stopper who at first claims to be with local Hunt

..... 13th January -  PM says law should never have been used against hunting and will seek repeal

..... 11th January - Otis Ferry's S.Shropshire FH hounds cause traffic chaos in village, spook valuable horses

..... 10th January  - At least one Cottesmore FH hound killed on railway during 'trail hunt'

.....  9th January -  Cumbria antis claim internet post backs their claims of illegal fox hunting on fells

.....  7th January -  Sabs claim fox chased and killed at Kent Hunts joint meet

.....  7th January  - Another Huntsman [Ross Harriers] is arrested for racially abusing a sab

.....  4th January -  Female sab violently assaulted by Cottesmore FH supporter, says HSA


Monitor film clearly shows fox being hunted by South Durham FH

January 2012   A clip uploaded to YouTube of film by a hunt monitor seems to provide clear-cut evidence of intentional fox-hunting by the Hunt.  It opens with an unmounted redcoat [right],with a single hound behind him, standing at the top of a steep quarry, looking, then moving, to his left.  Hounds can just be heard in aSDurhamFHredcoathuntingfoxatquarry1-12.JPG thicket in that direction.  Hounds suddenly burst out heading for the quarry. Hounds can now be heard in full cry.  A fox is briefly seen running down the quarry slope, immediately pursued by hounds.  Several riders then come into shot on the near lip of the quarry.  They are watching the chase.  The fox runs up the near lip and exits it between riders, closely followed by the pack.  The redcoat is now seen running after the hounds.  The fox and hounds disappear into cover.  Riders are seen on escarpment to right of quarry moving in direction fox and hounds have gone. Redcoat seen running across top of quarry and about to remount his white horse, being held by another rider. At no point is any Hunt member seen attempting to stop hounds.  Two clear snapshots of the fox running down the steep quarry slope are appended.

POWAperson adds:-  POWA did not become aware of the film's existence until January 2014 and were then told that the footage had been sent to the League Against Cruel Sports at the time, but that no action against the South Durham FH had ensued.  This is among the very clearest video evidence of illegal hunting POWA has ever seen and it is hard to see how anything save perhaps a problem identifying the hunters seen in the clip could have saved them from conviction had a prosecution ensued.  Because of a combination of logistical difficulties and the great latitude of activity allowed hunters by the Hunting Act it is very difficult, and rare, to obtain evidence as apparently conclusive as this.  

Pics below:-   1/   Fox fleeing from hounds in quarry   2/ Hounds chasing fox out of quarry between riders
        SDurhamFHhuntinginquarryfoxruns1-12.JPG SDurhamFHhuntinginquarryhounds31-12.JPG

North Shropshire FH rampaged over private land and killed fox, say shocked villagers

26-1-12   LACS website   N.Shropshire FH have anothrer 'accident'     A fox was killed yesterday by a pack of out of control hounds who had already spent several hours rampaging through private properties in a village in Shropshire. Shocked residents near the village of Marchamley, in North Shropshire, witnessedN.ShropsFHkillfoxatMarchamley25-1-12.jpg the fox being ripped apart by the hounds following a pursuit in which hounds were seen chasing the fox across private property with the huntsmen in pursuit. One local resident said "this isn't the first time the hunt have trespassed onto my land. It's absolutely galling that once again they have shown absolutely no consideration for the local landowners".
The League Against Cruel Sports, which runs a dedicated phone line for people to report wildlife crime, received several calls about this incident yesterday and has stated that this is not an isolated case. The League's Chief Executive Joe Duckworth said: "Unfortunately this is just the latest in what can only be described as a clear pattern of law breaking. We are absolutely appalled by the behaviour of this hunt. We received several reports from distressed residents who are at a loss to understand how this kind of blatant illegality can be tolerated.     Last month after hounds from the North Shropshire Hunt strayed onto a major road [see below] they said that it was a ‘freak accident and wouldn't happen again'. Clearly this is not the case as yet again they claim to have lost control of their hounds. We would like to see the Masters of Fox Hounds Association take action against this hunt who obviously are either wilfully breaking the law or who cannot control their dogs" The incident has been reported to West Mercia Police

Were the Cattistock FH hunting terrified fox that tumbled on to road in front of monitor?
24-1-12   Western Daily Press   Letter from monitor Helen Weeks [also a POWA Associate];-   Last Saturday (21st January), the Cattistock Foxhounds, were hunting in a wood just outside Halstock in Dorset. Hunt followers lined the road half a field away with binoculars trained on the wood. A huntsman was shouting encouragement to the hounds in the trees. After a while, I saw part of the pack at the edge of the wood with their noses to the ground searching for a scent, when suddenly the hounds ran back CattistockterriermenandsupportersHalstock21-1-12.jpginto the wood and all hell broke loose. The air was full of the unearthly sound that hounds make when on the scent of a fox. This terrible din went on for what seemed minutes - if they had not caught their quarry, they were very close to it. Then there was silence.   
I started to walk back up the road to where the followers were and where my monitoring partner was standing, when a fox, dark with mud burst through the hedge from the direction of the wood and toppled down the bank and onto the road in front of me. While monitoring I have seen many foxes running for their lives, but never one in such a blind state of panic so near to the start of the hunt. It recovered itself and bolted to the other side of the road.   
 As I had seen quad bikes complete with terrier boxes at the edge of the wood, and given the state the fox was in, I wondered if this poor little fox had sought refuge underground and been dug out for the hounds to chase. I accused the hunt followers of hunting foxes and they did not deny it. Instead, they said, "Foxes are vermin".   Stop all the talk of "to repeal" or not "to repeal". The only conversation we should be having; is how to strengthen the Hunting Act in order to stop the barbaric practises of hunters flouting the law.

Blackmore FH hounds invade banned land again, disturb pregnant ewes
Second incursion by this Hunt in less than three weeks

21-1-12   Blackmore Vale Magazine   Another apology after Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt strays off trail       A HUNT master has made another apology after hounds ran out of control for the second time in recent weeks. Complaints have been made to the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt [left]BlackmoreandSparkfordValeFH.jpgafter hounds ran through gardens and private fields in Wonston near Hazelbury Bryan last Tuesday. As previously reported, the hunt received complaints after hounds ran through residential roads in Marnhull on New Year's Eve.     Rupert Emerson, who runs Orchard Farmhouse organic B&B [right] in Wonston with his partner Sarah Cousins, explained that he had notified the hunt that he didn't want hounds in his paddocks, which are managed for wildlife and as a community garden. In spite of reassurances from the hunt, hounds have strayed onto Mr Emerson's land on several occasions, including last week. Mr Emerson said he was particularly concerned as he had recently put a ram to his Portland ewes and it is likely that the animals were pregnant. "I was in my office when I saw hounds in our garden. Sarah ran out and saw a lot more going across the paddocks - there appeared to be no attempt to control them," he said. "The sheep were visibly distressed and were still nervous when we went to feed them the next day."
Mr Emerson said he was particularly disappointed as he asked the hunt to stay offOrchardFarmhouseWonstonlandinvadedbyBlackmoreFH1-12.jpg his land when he first moved to the area. He contacted hunt officials again and received an apology and compensation after his hedges were damaged by the hunt last year. "They knew very well that we didn't want them on our land yet they have disrupted our business, disrupted the community garden and caused distress to us and our sheep. We are not trying to stop the hunt, we are just asking that they keep off our land," Mr Emerson added.       Michael Felton, joint master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, apologised for last week's disruption. He said he wasn't riding with the hunt, which was out with around 34 hounds, last Tuesday but was aware of the incident.  
"We would not deliberately go onto ground where people don't want us - we endeavour to make every effort to stop this from happening. Unfortunately, there are times when the hounds deviate onto live quarry or when wind shifts the trail," Mr Felton said. "The hunt is making an extra effort to ensure this doesn't happen again. Our trail layers have been told in words of one syllable."

Seavington FH JM critically injured in freak accident as cow kicks out
UPDATE  22-1-12  Mr. Darke's condition has improved significantly.
19-1-12   Western Morning News     Vet fights for life after farm accident      A leading vet was in a criticalJeremeDarkeJMSeavingtonFH.jpg condition in hospital yesterday after he suffered a brain haemorrhage when a cow kicked a metal gate into his face. Experienced Jereme Darke [right], 45, fell backwards and cracked his head on the concrete floor after the heifer bucked the swinging cattle gate straight into him. He was airlifted to hospital following the freak accident, suffering from a fractured skull, bleeding at the rear of the brain and other severe facial injuries. Colleagues said Mr Darke, a director of Dorset-based Synergy Farm Health Veterinary Services, which operates across Dorset, Somerset and Devon, was critical but stable yesterday following surgery.
Andrew Davies, managing director of the practice, said: "We appreciate how devastating this news is to take and the emotions associated with it and we all know how popular and active a character Jereme is in the local and agriculture community. Our thoughts are very much with him and his family at this very difficult time for us all. There have been signs of optimism in the past 48 hours...
Mr Darke was caught by the cow while blood testing beef cattle at a farm in Donyatt, near Taunton in Somerset, at 3.10pm on January 9. He was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol - which has a specialist head trauma facility - to undergo surgery. Following a procedure to remove the blood clot, reduce brain pressure and assess damage, doctors said he was responding well to treatment. ..... Mr Darke, who lives in Devon, is joint Master of the Seavington Hunt and secretary of the Crewkerne Farmers' Skittle League.

POWAPerson says; - Much as we despise Mr. Darke's bloodsports activities, we trust he will recover from his trauma. Perhaps his experience will give him some insight into how fragile and precious every life is to its possessor. It seems particularly odious that a veterinary surgeon, trained to heal and care for animals, should devote his spare time to tormenting and killing them for fun. 

Mystery man who shielded wounded fox from Axe Vale hounds savagery identified

19-1-12    Exeter Express & Echo   Fox's protector comes forward    THE "mystery" man who helped protect a fox from hounds in East Devon has come forward. Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to theAlunMetcalfMYSTERYMANAXEVALEFOX26-12-11.JPG incident which happened on Boxing Day afternoon near Shute. Sidmouth resident Prescilla Lynch, 52, claims to have found herself in the middle of the pack of hunting hounds in her field when Alun Metcalf [right] stopped to help. The psychology student at Cardiff University, had been to Sidmouth for the day with his family when he saw the hunt. "Traffic was stopping to let the hunt cross the road and as we got closer I saw a fox come out of the hedge closely followed by the hounds," he said. "I could see that a lady was shouting to keep the dogs off the fox so I decided to help."
The 31-year-old crawled through the hedge and pushed the hounds off the fox and then protected it with his body, until the dogs went back to the hunters. "If it hadn't been for Mrs Lynch's actions the fox would have been torn to bits, that I have no doubt," he said. "If the law is hard to enforce then it needs to be improved, such as muzzling the hounds." PC Steve Speariett, who is investigating the incident, said: "In order to prove there was an offence, it has to be shown that the hunt did not take FoxkilledbyAxeValehounds16-12-11.jpgreasonable steps to get the hounds away from the fox. We will gather all available evidence and if there's enough to prosecute, we will. "We believe we know which hunt was in the area at the time."
The Hunting Act came into force in 2004, preventing the pursuit of wild mammals with dogs - but not banning trail or scent hunting. East Devon MP Hugo Swire said: "The Hunting Act is a badly drafted piece of legislation because many elements simply cannot be enforced. There are more people hunting than ever. I don't want a repeal of the Act but a bigger and improved Bill looking at animal welfare. Although the Government is committed to a free vote it's not going to be a priority when there is the budget deficit to deal with." Anyone with any information should contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101, quoting log number 216 of 28/12/11.
Cat-killing Hunt piles on misery by again invading land of bereaved couple

16-1-12   Scarborough Ev.News    Couple's horror at hounds' return  A COUPLE have spoken of their horrorStaintondaleFHatAtkinsonproperty1-12.jpg at seeing a pack of hunting hounds bounding past their Ravenscar home [right] - little more than a month after their beloved pet cat was savaged and killed by 27 dogs. Les and Margaret Atkinson told the Evening News they had been assured by hunt members at the time of the incident that they would 
be given advance notice if they planned to be near their property.   But they were surprised last Tuesday when they saw hunt members on horses and dogs near their home but had been given no warning.  Mrs Atkinson said they had been out during the morning and when they returned they saw a lot of cars parked in a narrow lane near to their Stoupe Brow home, where they have lived for more than 30 years. She said: "As I walked home I could see the hounds all over and I could see some running across the fields. I could see horses going past my house. As I got nearer I could see one of the hounds as it jumped over my wall into the lane by our house." Mrs Atkinson said that her husband took several pictures. One showed a hound just yards from where their cat Moppet was killed, and she felt like she was having to relive the traumatic event. She said: "By the time I got back I was shaking like a leaf and I was in tears. I heard them coming along the lane. The dogs were out of control."
Mr Atkinson added: "I couldn't believe it - it was like we were reliving it AtkinsonmemorialtoMoppetKilledbyhounds12-11.jpgall over again." Mrs Atkinson said if they had been warned then they could have made sure that their remaining pet cat, seven-year-old George, and five pet hens were safe and secure. Members of the hunt are legally allowed to pass through a bridle track on the Atkinsons' land.
Last month's incident was during a joint meet between hunts from Staintondale and Goathland and initially a huntsman picked up a lifeless and bloodied Moppet and rode away after it was brutally attacked. But the body was returned to the Atkinsons by members of the hunt two days later in a dogfood bag.    Last week's hunt was by members from Staintondale and at the time of going to press no one from the group was available for comment. Following the original incident hunt master Jean Clemmit said that they would take "preventative measures" in future.    And a spokesman for the Goathland Hunt said they would:   1/ leaflet residents living along any planned routes 2/ place marshals at properties 3/ make sure at least two people were with the hounds at all times.
When the Atkinsons reported last week's incident to the police they were told that because there was no damage nor injury it was a civil matter.  The Atkinsons added that they had been overwhelmed by the messages of support they had received from members of the public when the story first hit the headlines last month. Mr Atkinson said they had received a number of letters and Christmas cards - including one addressed to "The people whose cat was killed" - and an offer of a slate memorial stone. He said: "He just rang up because he felt so terrible about it and said he'd like to offer a free headstone. I was very moved that someone was prepared to do that."

Farmer 'arrests' man he finds blocking sett, who first says he's with the local Hunt
Two men later detained by police.  South Dorset FH decline to comment

16-1-12   Dorset Echo    Police called after farmer saw man allegedly filling in badger setts    TWO menDorsetfarmerGaiusVincentwithPCJacquiAllen14-1-12.jpg were detained by police after a farmer saw one of them allegedly filling in badger setts. Gaius Vincent, of Muston Farm, Piddlehinton, was walking along Waterston Ridge, off the B3143 near Dorchester, when he saw a man who appeared to be digging around a sett. Mr Vincent said: "I heard a quad bike, and we have had trouble with people trespassing and filling in holes before, so I followed the noise. I went up to the man and asked what he was doing.  "He was obviously filling in holes, which indicates he was hunting wild animals, which is illegal, but he denied that."   Mr Vincent told the man he was performing a citizen's arrest, and the man made a call on his mobile phone.  He added: "That's when I called the police. At first the man claimed he was with a Hunt, who were out that morning, but I didn't know who he was calling and who would turn up, so I played it safe. "Later on he said he wasn't employed by the Hunt."
PC Jacqui Allen [right, with Mr.Vincent], who attended the incident, said: SouthDorsetFH.jpg"When police arrived, the man had left the scene. "By the time officers caught up with him, he was accompanied by another man. 
Enquiries are still ongoing."    Mr Vincent said that the South Dorset Hunt [left] was out in the area on Saturday morning but there is no indication that the hunt was responsible for the men's alleged actions.   David Walsh, chairman of the South Dorset Hunt, said: "I am not prepared to comment on the incident at this time."
 Elizabeth James of the Dorset Badger Group, said: "I think this is disgraceful. I don't know why this man was stopping the holes, or what he was using to fill them but it makes me cross to think people can just come into the countryside and harm animals. In the old days the hunt was allowed to soft-stop setts with loose soil, hay or straw to stop foxes escaping down them, and that was legal. "Badgers are strong animals and they can dig out of that. But it's not legal now, and you still hear of people filling the setts in with plastic bags or big pieces of rock. That's called hard-stop and it means the badgers are trapped underground. A whole family can suffocate when that happens. 
It's a horrible way to die."
PC Jacqui Allen, who attended the incident, which took place on Saturday, said: "Two people have been detained and are helping us with our enquiries." 
Mr Vincent said: "It does make me angry. I farm cattle, and, yes, we kill for food, but I can't relate to doing it for fun. It's an unpleasant thing to do." He added: "If it was some bloke from a council estate with a Doberman, there would be uproar, but people hunting wild animals in the countryside so often seem to get away with it."

PM restates repeal intent, bizarrely claiming law should have no dominion over hunting
13-1-12    David Cameron today gave an interview to BBC1's 'Countryfile' mostly concerned with the potential difficulties of the proposed badger cull later this year. He also used the opportunity to assert that he stillCameronAvisHeythropFH.jpg intended, despite rumours to the contrary, to try to repeal the Hunting Act in this Parliament. But then, in a quite extraordinary supplementary sentence, he appeared to opine that he thought hunting with dogs should have always been immune from any legislation to ban or even regulate it.  This, despite the fact that around three-quarters of the public have regarded it as cruel and barbaric and wanted these 'sports' banned for decades.  His statement seems emblematic of the extraordinary arrogance of the hunting fraternity, of which he is now the most prominent member, and of his own disdain for democracy, public opinion and the rule of law in matters concerning the close interests of he and his friends. Cameron can be seen right, posing with his pal Guy Avis, Secretary of his 'homies', the notorious Heythrop FH hunt gang.
13-1-12   Press Association     PM admits badger cull difficulties   David Cameron has acknowledged that the proposed badger cull trials will involve "no end of difficulties", including concerns over policing.....  Mr Cameron used the interview to repeat his pledge to allow a vote on repeal of the Hunting Act in this Parliament: "I always thought the hunting ban was a pretty bizarre piece of legislation, I think there should be a free vote in the House of Commons. My problem has always been that it was just taking the criminal law into an area of activity where it didn't really belong."

Otis Ferry's hounds cause prolonged  traffic chaos in village, spook valuable horses

14-1-12     Shropshire Star   Huntmaster Otis Ferry sorry after complaint over dogs     South ShropshireOtisFerrySShropshireFH.jpg huntmaster Otis Ferry today apologised to a resident following complaints that a number of hounds caused chaos in a county village. The Huntsman, who is the son of Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry, said he was ‘very sorry’ that Jonathan Edwards had not been informed that the South Shropshire Hunt [right] was meeting on Wednesday at Pontesford, near Shrewsbury.   Mr Edwards, 45, who lives at Lower Mill Farm, claimed about 30 hounds ran through the village causing disruption to traffic on the A488 and frightening his horses. Mr Edwards said the incident happened at about 1pm and lasted for about 25 minutes.
He said: "They had absolutely no control over their hounds which were running all over the main road, causing multiple vehicles and lorries to screech to a halt." He also claimed that the hounds endangered the lives of his three horses, who were spooked by the dogs.  "One of my horses jumped over a 4ft high electric fence. If I had not been at home he could have run into the road and been killed and caused injuries to passing drivers. It took a long time to get the horses under control again. The one who jumped cost £9,000 and is a great friend and companion," he added.  "It was a sheer lack of respect and it makes me very, very cross. I am not anti-hunt, but in previous OtisFerryinpolicecustody2005.jpgyears I have had a letter to say it will be happening so I can get the horses in."    
Mr Ferry today said: "I do not think at any point the hounds were out of control. People assume they are out of control when actually they are just doing their job. I am very, very sorry that Mr Edwards did not get notification. We do our best to notify every landowner when we are in a particular area. Recently we have had a different master for that area and I can only imagine that when the last list has been compiled this landowner was not on it. I would urge him to get in touch with me so he can be added to the list of landowners."
POWAperson says:- Hunting fanatic and serial offender Otis Ferry needs no introduction to students of bloodsports in the UK. This is just the latest, by no means the most serious, in a long line of complaints about his conduct. Here he adds a bizarre twist by claiming that his rioting hounds were not out of control and 'just doing their job.'  Perhaps he'd actually written causing traffic chaos by rampaging all over an A road, and frightening expensive horses, into their job description. It's certainly a novel way to conduct 'trail hunting'. Ferry would, presumably, be happy to be portrayed as in the pic above right, but many people would prefer to see him in the care of the authorities, as he was, alas temporarily, when pictured above left in 2005.  

Cottesmore FH 'single stray hound' account after death on railway called into doubt

CottesmoreFHSecretaryClareBell.jpgEvidence appears to have emerged that questions the veracity of a statement given by Clare Bell, Secretary of the Cottesmore FH, to the Leicester Mercury. She claimed that a single hound of theirs had strayed away from the rest and wandered on to the railway to be hit and killed by a train. The train driver maintained from the start that he thought he had hit 'a number' of  hounds. Now, in a second item on the incident, the Melton Times reports an independent witness, who was out running, saying that he saw hounds 'splayed all over the track'. The reports are below.

14-1-12   Melton Times   Hunt to review trails after hound is killed on train track   A HUNT has said it will review how it sets out trails after a hound was killed when it was struck by a passenger train. The incident happened at about 11.45am on Saturday, January 7 when it is understood some hounds from the Cottesmore Hunt strayed on to the railway track at Wyfordby. As reported in the Melton Times the driver of the 10.22am train from Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport told Network Rail he thought he had struck ‘a number of dogs' on the line.
A runner who says he witnessed the incident told the Melton Times: "The train came to a stop by the crossing and I could see the hounds splayed across the track. They were later recovered by the huntsmen. To run the hounds close to the track does not seem a little irresponsible to me." Cottesmore Hunt secretary Clare Bell said: "We think the hound in question got distracted and strayed on to the track and what happened was a tragic accident. Network Rail is satisfied that was the case. The trail was not set close to the railway line but occasionally and tragically something like this can happen as tracks in rural areas are not fenced off as they are in built-up areas. We will review what we do. If we had been another field away perhaps this would not have happened."
Leicester Mercury 12-1-12    Hunting hound killed after straying on to train track     A hunting hound was killed when it was struck by a passenger train after straying on to a railway line.  The dog was out trail hunting with riders from the Rutland-based Cottesmore Hunt on Saturday when it got on to the track at Wyfordby, near Melton Mowbray. It is thought the hound, a four-year-old foxhound called Hazard, became separated from the other dogs at about 11.45am and was hit by the Birmingham to Stansted airport train.
Cottesmore Hunt secretary Clare Bell [right] was riding nearby at the time, as part of a trail hunt. She said: "This was a freak accident. It was extremely tragic. It looks as though he got through a hole in a barbed wire fence and strayed on to the track. We think he got a little left behind the other hounds and was sniffing about as dogs do. The train stopped and we were able to retrieve the body and take it back to be buried at the kennels, in Ashwell. We are all devastated. I have been hunting for nearly 10 years and I have never experienced anything like this. We go (hunting) where we are invited by farmers and sometimes that is near railway lines. We take every precaution to prevent the hounds going where they should not, but sometimes it does happen."
 A spokesman for the kennels SeavingtonFHhoundsonrailline9-11.jpgsaid he was saddened by Hazard's death. He said: "It's unfortunate but the hounds don't notice and carry on as normal." 
Network Rail spokesman Russell Spink: "It does appear one of the hounds was struck by a train and killed. While in urban areas, most railway lines are secured by fences. In the countryside, there are points where it is possible for animals to wander on to the tracks. We have 20,000km of track and we cannot fence it all off....  It is very rare to have an incident involving hunting hounds."

10-1-12   Melton Times Hunting dog killed by train   A HOUND taking part in a hunt on Saturday died after being struck by a passenger train. The accident happened at about 11.45am when it is understood that a number of hounds from the Cottesmore Hunt strayed onto the railway line in the Stapleford area near Wyfordby Church. A Network Rail spokesperson said that the train driver of the 10.22am train from Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport reported that he thought he had struck a number of dogs on the line. A local farmer contacted the Cottesmore Hunt and the secretary came to collect the dog. The secretary was unavailable to comment on the incident.
POWAPerson says:- Whilst scarcely an everyday occurrence, reports of hounds on railway lines, including incidents in which they are killed or injured, are regrettably common. Early this season a fox, then hounds, were filmed on a line in Somerset [above left], and hunters only removed the dogs 10 minutes before a mainline train was due. In January last year at least one hound was killed on a high-speed line in Wiltshire, and at least six hounds of the Beaufort FH had been slaughtered on the same line just over a year before.
There have been many such instances in the past, including some where hunts were actually being conducted on railway lines. Hunts are perfectly aware of the dangers to both their dogs and travellers, and, if they are genuinely 'trail hunting', you have to ask why on earth they would lay trails anywhere near railway lines.  The claim that the Cottesmore were 'devestated' by the hound's death is risible, given that they, like all other Hunts, doubtless routinely 'cull' at least ten of their own, healthy, hounds every year. I leave to the reader the drawing of any conclusions about the apparent discrepancies between the Hunt Secretary's account of what happened and those of the train driver and the independent witness. 

Antis in Cumbria say supporter internet post backs claims of illegal fox hunting on fells

BlencathraFH.jpg9-1-12  Carlisle News & Star   Is internet post evidence of illegal hunts in Cumbria?   Anti-hunting campaigners claim to have found written evidence that one of the Cumbrian fell packs has been hunting foxes illegally. They say that a follower of the Blencathra Foxhounds [left] has boasted openly of hunting with hounds on an internet message board.    The Blencathra denies it has ever broken the law.   The post - on the website - is almost two years old but campaigners have asked Cumbria Police to investigate. A hunt follower posts how a Blencathra meet was disrupted by anti-hunt campaigners from Northampton. He writes: "The antis then phoned the cops, which turned up to make sure we behaved ourselves (typical), so we waited about an hour then got away and hunted the other side of the mountain. When we did get hunting it didn't take long for some real good sport.
" Hunting foxes with hounds was outlawed in 2005. However, hunts still meet to drag hunt ElaineMilbourn.jpgwhere hounds follow a scent rather than chase a fox. Anti-hunting groups are convinced this is a sham and that illegal fox hunting is rife.   
Elaine Milbourn [right], of Torpenhow, a member of Protect Our Wild Animals, said: "On many occasions when our people have gone out, they have seen hunts on to a fox. They are not following the law at all. "The police have agreed to go up there but it's a waste of time. They behave themselves when the police are there. They are just laughing at the law and this is happening up and down the country."
The Blencathra hunts on foot on fells around Keswick. Its kennels are at Threlkeld. Secretary Bob Fell said that a minibus of anti-hunt campaigners from Northampton turned up at Blencathra meets up to four times a year. But he could not recall the occasion in January 2009 mentioned in the internet post. He said: "Since the Hunting Act came into force, the Blencathra has tried to abide by the law. There are occasions when accidents happen, when the hounds get away and we can't stop then, but we abide by the law and the Hunting Act." He added: "These antis call themselves ‘hunt monitors', which is ridiculous. They are antis and saboteurs. They cause problems, leading hounds to stray and being abusive to people."

Another Huntsman, also a JM, is arrested for racially abusing a sab
Tells police wanting to speak to him that he is 'too busy'
A local vicar rides with Hunt, school head has worked closely with JM

Please note: POWA Hunting News page has a 'no censorship' policy. So the letters starred out in the Mail article are reinstated below.

14-1-12   Daily Mail    Hunt master 'hurled race abuse' at anti-blood sports protestors  -  Accused of shouting 'You are fucking going to get it, you bunch of blacks'  -  Arrested by police, despite calling the authorities to remove the demonstrators    A Hunt Master has been arrested on suspicion of racially abusing an anti-blood sports protester. Lee Peters [right], 33, is said to have shouted obscenities at protesters, and is accused of loudly referring to a black woman as ‘a fuckinRossHarriersJMandhuntsmanaccusedofvileracistremarkstosabs1-12.jpgg wog'.  

The father of one is believed to have called police to disperse the anti-hunting group. However when they arrived, officers were informed of his alleged outburst and arrested him.    Mr Peters is master of the Ross Harriers hunt in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, where around a dozen protesters gathered in 4x4 vehicles at last Saturday's meet.
Yesterday a friend of the black woman said Mr Peters was visibly angered by the protesters' arrival.  Sally James said: ‘When Lee Peters spotted us shortly before they set out, he looked absolutely furious. ‘He immediately rode over to us and shouted, "You are fucking going to get it, you bunch of shits" [Nb. This may have been an even more vulgar word]. He was banging the handle end of his whip against the windows of our vehicles. Then he spotted a black woman in the back seat of one of the Land Rovers and shouted to the others he was with, "Oh my God, we've got a fucking wog in the back here".  The woman in question was clearly very upset by this and quite shocked, as we all were.'
Miss James claimed that when police were told of the alleged remarks, they asked a rider to tell Mr Peters they wanted to talk to him, but he sent back word that he was too busy and would contact them later.  She went on: ‘The officers couldn't believe what they'd heard and went off looking for him. They were zipping along the lanes until they caught up with him and arrested him.' The police also stopped the hunt for the day.  Another witness said: ‘The man's behaviour was outrageous. It was almost impossible to believe that in this day and age someone could be so unspeakably vile to another human being.'

7-1-12   HSA Press Release   Huntsman Arrested for Racially Abusing Hunt Saboteur    Lee Peters, huntsman for the Ross Harriers, was arrested today for racially abusing a hunt saboteur who was present to try and stop illegal hunting taking place. As the Harriers left their meet at Penny Farthing, Aston Crews, Mr. Peters shouted racist remarks about a saboteur to other members of the hunt. Fortunately he was overheard by an independent witness who called the police. The arrest comes just weeks after Alan Morgan, until last year huntsman to the Cotswold Vale Farmers Fox hunt, pleaded guilty to racially abusing a hunt saboteur after an incident in late 2010. Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs association, stated: " Sadly it no longer surprises us at the depths members of the hunting community will sink to. This kind of behaviour is, sadly, all to common and it is just fortunate that on this occasion there was an independent witness. Hunt saboteurs are verbally and physically abused weekly by hunts but such behaviour only spurs us on in our efforts to see an end to illegal hunting."

LeePetersRossHarriers.jpgPOWAPerson adds;-  South Herefordshire and Ross Harriers  [left], to give them their full name, hunt close to the Welsh border near Ross-on-Wye. It is one of the few remaining packs to boast that fine English rural tradition, a hunting vicar. Online hunting magazine 
'The Master's Voice' [should be 'Vice', surely? Ed.] reported in March 2011 that the vicar of Weston-under-Penyard, Neil Patterson, suggested the local primary school be invited to take part in a 'trail hunt' with the Ross Harriers. Lee Peters and the headmaster, Brian Bird then arranged this, and 38 mounted children, and 40 on foot, participated.
One wonders, if Peters is convicted of the racial abuse for which he was arrested, what the attitude of the Church of England and the local education authority will be to their vicar and head teacher respectively associating with him. Though, of course, our established Church has always smiled indulgently on 'sport' involving the wilful infliction of suffering on defenceless animals, and allowed hunting on most ecclesiastical land, its modern doctrine, at least, rather frowns on any manifestation of racism, let alone one so extreme as that with which Mr. Peters is accused. Local education authorities tend to be a touch intolerant of such behaviour too, so perhaps they'll have a word in the Headmaster's ear about maybe not taking the kiddies out on any more animal-abuse inductions, at least not with this particular Huntsman. 

Sabs claim Old Surrey/Ashford Valley FHs joint meet chased and killed fox

13-1-12   Paddock Wood Courier  Protestors claim fox was killed by dogs on hunt near Paddock Wood    TENSIONS between anti-hunt protesters and hunt supporters have escalated following claims a fox was killed by hounds in Paddock Wood countryside at the weekend. Protesters, keen to see if groups have been flouting the 2004 ban, said they were prevented from following riders as they entered fields close to Pike Fish Lane.   
Prominent anti-hunting campaigner Dave Wetton then claimed hounds had been used to kill a fox during the meet on Saturday, organised from the nearby Upper Fowle Hall Farm. He said: "The leading redcoats blocked the road to delay us monitors from following the hounds into the fields." Mr Wetton and other monitors from the Hunt Saboteurs Association were attempting to observe a joint meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt and the Ashford Valley Hunt. As the horses and hounds headed towards fields near Collier Street he claimed hounds were heard "baying" at around 1.30pm. "We believe they had found a fox, or at least a strong scent of one. The baying went on for less than a minute before stopping," he said. "Scents can suddenly disappear but we think they caught this one because the huntsman gave the standard single drawn-out blast on the horn, which signifies a kill."     
Kent Police confirmed they were looking into allegations over dangerous driving and road blocking but said there was insufficient evidence to investigate claims a fox had been killed by hounds.     Both hunts refused to comment...   Mr Wetton accused the hunt parties of using fox scent trails which he claimed endangered foxes near the hunt.

Female sab violently assaulted by Cottesmore FH supporter in Lincs, claim

4-1-12  HSA Press Release    Female Hunt Saboteur violently assaulted during illegal Foxhunt    On New Years Eve, a female hunt saboteur was violently assaulted by a supporter of the Cottesmore Foxhunt who were meeting at Gunby, Lincolnshire.   The saboteur was on her own when she saw the hunts hounds illegally chasing a fox. As she intervened she was thrown to the ground by a man who then smashed her over the head with an aluminium bottle before pinning her down and pouring the bottle's contents over her face. As other saboteurs came to her aid the cowardly attacker jumped in his vehicle and drove away. The attack was witnessed by a young girl who was sitting in the attackers vehicle as well as other members of the hunt who stood and watched rather than intervene and stop the attack. The police were called and are currently investigating the attack.      Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: " Such a cowardly attack is what we have come to expect from the hunting community. They are cowardly in their illegal murder of wildlife and they are cowardly when they attack those who try and stop them. This man only had the courage to attack a lone female but fled as soon as her friends arrived. We hope Lincolnshire police do everything in their power to catch him.


..... 31st December - Pentrych FH hounds riot after fox in gardens near busy shopping centre 

..... 31st December - Blackmore FH cause 'mayhem' as hounds riot through village

..... 29th December - Fox savaged by Axe Vale hounds. Landowner & mystery man try to protect it 

..... 28th December - Surrey Union FH thugs lose it again as sabs say filmed assaults by terriermen

..... 27th December - Cottesmore terrierman to face prosecution for hunting fox, harming cubs' welfare

..... 26th December - BBC News shows anti-hunt film-maker and veteran sab, trouncing CA rep

..... 26th December - Surrey Union FH supporter arrested after sab car rammed, missile fired at it

..... 22nd December - Cumbria sabs save pussy cat from Blencathra FH hounds

..... 21st December - N.Shropshire FH hounds chase fox thru Newport housing estate on to main road

..... 20th December - Motorist couple find selves suddenly in midst of 'illegal' fox hunt in Leics

..... 18th December - Cotswold Vale Farmers Huntsman is fined for racially abusing a sab

..... 16th December - Moppet's massacre by hunt hounds creates small media storm

..... 14th December = Cattistock FH chased fox across A30, then blocked road causing tail-backs

..... 13th December - Staitondale FH savage pet cat to death, take body away. Owners devastated

..... 12th December - Whip beats savaged fox to death on patio feet from horrified family

..... 11th December - Redcoat whips sab on film amid reports of supporter violence at Sussex hunt

..... 8th December -  Hunt thug violence film released as charges against Sheffield sabs dropped

..... 4th December -  Scots hunt ban architect calls for police probe as apparent abuses revealed

..... 1st December -  Clip seems to show Cheshire Forest FH redcoat's horse abused with whip


Pentrych FH hounds riot after fox through gardens near busy shopping centre

31-1-12  South Wales Echo    Fox hunt's dogs terrify neighbours    Hunting hounds left families terrified inPentrychHunt.jpg their homes as they cornered a fox close to a busy South Wales shopping centre at the weekend. More than a dozen dogs from the Pentyrch Hunt [right] chased the fox thorough gardens in Talbot Green before escaping back into the countryside. Startled residents in Maes-y-Rhedyn [left] said the dogs tried to get into their houses - and then jumped over garden walls into a busy main road. Housewife Gillian Webber said: "I was in the MaesyRhedynLlantrisant.jpgkitchen and I heard someone shout out to the hounds ‘get back'. I said to my son, ‘the hounds are out of control', but was only joking. Then, to my horror, I realised it was true. The dogs were in my garden. The hounds then ran riot."
POWAPerson says:- Thanks to former huntsman turned anti Clifford Pellow for alerting us to this incident. Looks like nobody actually reported it to the authorities, so the Pentrych didn't have to give any account of themselves. But we know what the explanation would have been, don't we? 'Trail hunting' blah blah... hounds stumbled across a fox... blah blah ... couldn't call them off.... blah blah.... accident.  Left is a map, with Maes-y-Rhedyn, in the S.Wales town of Llantrisant, in the top left quadrant. Doesn't really look like ideal fox hunting country to me. All those traffic fumes and cooking smells must wreak havoc with the scenting conditions. 

'Mayhem' as Blackmore & Sparkford Vale FH hounds riot through village after fox

MarnhullDorset.jpgBlackmore Vale Magazine 6-1-12    Hunt says sorry for Marnhull hullaballoo    A HUNT master has apologised to villagers after hounds broke away from their trail scent route and chased through Marnhull [left] after a fox. Michael Felton, joint master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt [below right] , said he was sorry if the hounds had upset residents by the New Year's Eve incident. His apology followed a complaint made by a villager who claimed the hounds had caused alarm as they ran through residential roads off Burton Street. The villager, who does not want to be identified, said: "A lot of people were really upset and anxious. The hounds were running through gardens and trying to scale fences. They were not under control and just rampaged through there. There weren't many riders but there were followers on quad bikes. It was mayhem for about half an hour." The villager said people had been anxious about their pets' safety. Some hounds had been seen running through a field of sheep. Another resident described the incident as chaotic and noisy.
Mr Felton said: "We got slightly out of where we intended to be. "The hounds followBlackmoreSparkfordValeFH.jpg a trail but it seems they picked up the scent of a fox and went after it. There are occasions when foxes jump up and the hounds switch. Hunt staff know if that happens they must stop the hounds at once and get them back on to the trail." Mr Felton said he was too far behind the hounds to witness the incident but understood three hunt staff were present and called the hounds away as quickly as possible. He added: "I apologise without reservation if anybody has been upset by it and we would, of course, make reparation if there has been any damage. This sort of thing happens very rarely but I can understand all the hullaballoo would make people jumpy and I am sorry."
The hunt had set out from Yenston with approximately 80 riders plus people on quadbikes and in vehicles. Mr Felton said far fewer riders were with the 35 hounds as they reached Marnhull. He said he had not heard of any damage caused nor a fox being seen in Marnhull. A spokesman for Dorset Police said they had gone to Marnhull after receiving a call from a member of the public. No offences had been committed.
POWAPerson says:-  Yet another 'accident' while 'trail hunting'. There cannot be many, if any, fox hounds still hunting that were active before the Act. Hunts have had seven years to train their hounds not to hunt foxes, yet strangely they riot on to them time and time again. And isn't it strange that, almost regardless of what Hunts do, police all over the country are nearly always quick to conclude that 'no offences have been committed.' - unless its racism, of course. At least something seems to trump social deference, or whatever it is that normally inhibits them. 

Invading hounds savage fox to death on Boxing Day hunt in Devon
Landowner & passer-by fight vainly to protect horribly injured animal

29-12-11  Hounds Off Press release   Mystery man who wrestled with hunting hounds in 'nightmare' incident remains unidentified    Sidmouth resident Miss Cilla Lynch found herself in the middle of a pack of hunting hounds as she tried to save a fox on Boxing Day. The incident happened adjacent to the A35 near Shute, Axminster in Devon, on land which has been owned by Miss Lynch's family for 25 years, and has been reported to the local police.  Foxhunting with hounds has been illegal since 2005.  As dusk approached, shortly after 4pm Miss Lynch was in her field with her father and three dogs. She could hear horsemen on the road and the sounds of a hunting horn, which she described as a "commotion". Some hounds came in to her field and, FoxkilledprobbyAxeValeFHonCillaLynchlandnrAxminsterBoxingDay2011.jpgin the instant that she opened a gate to let them out, a fox came through a hedge with a pack of hounds almost on top of it.  Miss Lynch shouted at the hounds and wrestled them to get them off the fox. Then a passer-by, who had stopped his car and got out, pushed his way through the hedge on his hands and knees.
Miss Lynch said, "He waded in amongst the hounds and fought them off before crouching over the frightened animal to save it from being ripped to pieces."   There was a lot of yelling then horsemen called their hounds away.  The fox [left] had been fatally wounded and could not be saved.  Miss Lynch added, "You see these things on telly but to see it actually in real life so close it's dreadful. I told the people on horseback and their followers to clear off so they couldn't cut the head and tail off for trophies, but I feel terrible."  Miss Lynch, who remains in a state of shock and described the episode as "a nightmare", would love to find and thank the man who "appeared from nowhere" and helped her to protect the fox. Miss Lynch described him as "a very nice man" and "a hero". She said everything happened so fast that she didn't even have a chance to find out his name but recalls that waiting for him at the roadside was two woman and another man.
The Axe Vale Hunt is known to operate in that area. Their Chairman is Mr C.R. Williams from Whitwell near Colyford. He claimed not to have been hunting on Boxing Day but said, "I expect that probably a fox jumped up and the hounds couldn't be stopped. We use a false scent but if a fox jumps up their smell is a lot better and they (the hounds) follow that."   Mr Williams said "I don't know" when asked what the Axe Vale Hunt used as an alternative scent to live fox but observed that stopping a pack of hunting hounds was very difficult without being able to actually get in front of them.   A spokesman for the advisory group Hounds Off, which supports people who suffer from hunt trespass, said that they were aware of what happened and working with Miss Lynch to ensure that it is not repeated in the future.
obbie Marshland, The UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said, "I am shocked to hear of yet another hunt that has let their dogs run amok and kill a fox. It's important that the police investigate this case thoroughly as no one should be above the law. This horrific incident was clearly distressing for those who witnessed it and our sympathies go out to them."

The Sun   Fox dogs fought off    AN animal lover fought off a hunt's pack of hounds to stop them ripping a fox to pieces. He then crouched over the wounded animal to protect it as huntsmen recalled the ten dogs - but the fox died 20 minutes later. Priscilla Lynch, 52, saw the bloody scene on her land in Shute. Devon.  She said: "I kicked at the dogs then a passer-by wrestled them off. I don't know how he wasn't bitten. It was just awfu!." Priscilla has reported the hunt to police for allowing dogs to kill foxes - illegal since 2005. A hunt spokesman said they would co-operate with the police probe.

1-1-12   Sunday Independent  Woman tells of fox killed by hunt     
POLICE are investigating a hunt after a landowner reported that a pack of hounds had killed a fox in her field. Priscilla Lynch, 52, said she and a passer-by had tried to save the fox from ten dogs. Police confirmed they were aware of an incident at Shute, near, Axminster, East Devon, and had begun an in-vestigation into the conduct of the Axe Vale Hunt. Foxhunting with hounds has been illegal since 2005.
Miss Lynch said of the incident: 'I am an animal lover and this was just awful. think they are breaking the law, that is why I reported it to the police? Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that they had received a complaint from Miss Lynch and were set to interview her. The Axe Vale Hunt confirmed they had gathered for a most on Boxing Day and had been in the Shute area. Hunt spokeswoman Sally Maynerd said she had not seen any incident bit the hunt would co. operate with any police investigation. She said "We were legally hunting on Boxing Day."

Surrey Union FH terriermen and supporter assaults caught on film, say sabs
Landy-ramming supporter from Boxing Day arrested again and car impounded

SurreyUnionFHmeetNewdigate28-12-11.jpg28-12-11    Facebook - Sabin Guldford    ... back from another successful, interesting and violent day at the Surrey Union foxhunt at Newdigate [below].  After the violence of Boxing Day we were joined by the Croydon and Hastings group whose presence was most welcome. The day started well when the [gentleman]that rammed our Landy and fired a catapult at us turned up again giving us some verbal. He refused to stop for the police was promptly chased by the police who arrested him for having no insurance and failure to stop and had his vehicle impounded...   the Hunt wereSabsreportassaultsbySUnionthugstopolice28-12-11.jpg aggressive and [irritated] from the start (we must be getting to them), saying we were on private property even when we were on a footpath. 
The terriermen and supporters then attacked the sabs [seen right, reporting the assaults].  We had a least 5 videos running all of which show our people being attacked and punched by the terriermen.    We will be supplying videos to the police of these known terriermen and arrests will hopefully follow     The police then pressed the panic button and at least 10 police vehicles turned up (didn't give us any grief). The Hunt can't be happy that the whole area looked like a war zone and it must put landowners off from hosting meets.    The sabbing was good we were on the hunt most of time only lost them for about half an hour and they spent most of their time avoiding us rather than hunting, which was a result.  Photos to follow as usual (videos will have to wait until we show them to the police).
Cottesmore terrierman to face prosecution for hunting fox, failing to ensure cubs' welfare

27-12-11  Spalding Guardian   RSPCA fox welfare case adjourned    AN RSPCA prosecution in which two men are accused of hunting a wild fox with a dog and failing to ensure animal welfare by confining a fox in a barrel will go ahead at Spalding Magistrates’ Court next year. John Bycroft, 66, of Weston Hills Road, Low Fulney, and Jamie Round (24), of Washway Road, Holbeach, deny the charges which arise from an incident in the vicinity of Fen Road, Holbeach, on April 24 this year. Bycroft denies three further charges of aiding a person unknown in the vicinty of Spalding to fail to ensure the needs of an animal were met. These cases relate to the following day and the alleged abandoning of different numbers of fox cubs – seven, six and five – in a sack without adequate ventilation and light. Neither man was present in court yesterday when solicitor Rachel Stevens entered not guilty pleas on their behalf. The hearing was adjourned to January 18th for a trial date to be set.

POWAperson knows nothing about the younger man, but John Bycroft is the father of two professional Huntsmen. Mark, who has a conviction for assault on a sab is with the Surrey & Old Burstow FH, while Nick is in charge of the notorious Crawley & Horsham's pack. John is, or was, a terrierman with the Cottesmore, Union of Country Sports Workers and, according to the Leicester Mercury [see below] was a 'Real Countryside Alliance' activist. The circumstances leading to his present prosecution are unclear and they may or may not be related to charges of armed trespass which were dismissed a little earlier in the month [see below].
19-12-11  Spalding Guardian    
Gun at care home charges are dismissed    Low Fulney man John Bycroft has had two charges of trespass with firearms dismissed. Bycroft (66), of Weston Hills Road, pleaded not guilty to trespass with a shotgun at a children’s care home in Holbeach, The Three Chestnuts, on April 25 this year. He also denied trespass at the same place on the same date with a slaughtering pistol. The cases went to trial at Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and were dismissed after defence solicitor Rachel Stevens made a submission there was no case to answer.

15.9.03   Leicester Mercury 
They are the rural radicals vowing to bring civil disorder to Britain. Lee Marlow meets a huntsman turned Real CA activist. Wherever John Bycroft goes in his big, bad-boy pick-up truck, people pip their horns and wave. "Good on yer mate," they shout, and stick their thumbs up and smile… John was born in Ashby, chases foxes with the Cottesmore Hunt and grew lettuces in a greenhouse the size of a football pitch in Lincolnshire before selling up five years ago...

BBC News features POWA's anti-hunt film-maker and a veteran sab, trouncing CA rep

WarwickshireFH.jpg26-12-11    BBC's fairly extensive and, for a change well-balanced, coverage of Boxing Day hunting featured the meet of the notorious Warwickshire FH [left] at a National Trust property near Banbury, Upton House [right].  First interviewed was an aged female rider who decried the Hunting Act but said they were having 'lovely fun' trail-hunting within the law While waiting for repeal, and trotted out the standard CA li[n]e about them enjoying more support than ever. Then a local farrier was interviewed, claim who claimed that his trade had been hit by the decline in hunting. [Some confusion here?! Ed.]
Early bulletins featured Denise Ward, producer of 'Minority Pastime' [below right] talking about her disturbing experience ofUptonHouse.jpg investigating organised hunting post-ban. She said she thought about 85% of Hunts were still chasing and killing wild animals.
We later saw a 
debate between veteran anti-hunt activist and sab Michael Haines and Tracy Castles, National Director of the CA [below right, Mick is the pretty one].  He talked with passion and knowledge, strongly asserting his repeated personal witnessing of hunts breaking the law, attacking activists and stealing their cameras. Tracy was stilted, parroting stock pro-hunt propaganda sound-bites.  She got into particular difficulty after complaining that monitors film children who are out hunting. Mick retorted that a favourite hunter tactic is to call the kids in front of the cameras, then Minoritypastimeposter.jpgaccuse monitors of being 'paedopholies'. But they are the animal abusers and [as scientific studies have shown] animal abusers are often more than ready to abuse humans too.
Joint Master Michael Spencer later denied they were breaking the law and said their activities were open for everyone to see - but one wonders, if that is so, why this Hunt has seemed even more aggressive than most towards monitors.  Denise, who'd accompanied Mick toSabMickHainesandCATracyCasstlesdebatingWarksFHBDaymeet2011.jpg the Warwickshire meet, later posted on Facebook of feeling intimidated by the mass of hunters - and of how they were menaced and harangued by Hunt terrier men;-
As some people have seen AMP was mentioned both on BBC Breakfast and on the national news yesterday. I was at the Boxing Day meet reported on BBC news and was interviewed - it was quite an intimidating experience isolated in the country with a huge hunting crowd, and I was given 'friendly' advice by the Hunt Master that we 'slip away quietly' after the filmed interview - good advice it seems as the terrier man quad bike which was behind the scenes came and parked right up against our car as we sat quietly out of sight waiting to be able to leave, and a young terrier man ranted and raved at the car window telling us we weren't allowed to be there (on National Trust property). There was no way out through the meet itself so someone had to let us out of a back entrance.

Surrey Union FH follower arrested after sab car rammed and missile fired at it

SurreyUnionFH26-12-11.jpg26-12-11   Facebook - Sabin Guildford   A great (if violent} day at the Surrey Union foxhunt [left] at Oakwood Hill.... The sabbing was very good we got two foxes away thanks to the skill of our foot sabs, but the main story of the day was when a hunt supporter in a Shogun rammed our Land Rover from behind and shunted us ten yards up the road. When we chased after him.... to get his number plate the hunt supporter fired a catapult at us, hitting our Land Rover and narrowly missing our driver (all of which was captured on video). The hunt supporter was then chased by police and arrested [right], and we carried on sabbing and later gave statements of the attack at Reigate police station.
26-12-11   HSA PR  Surrey Union press release    Another day of hunting on Boxing Day, noSurreyUnionsupporterwhorammedsabvanbeingarrested26-12-11.jpg doubt the Countryside Alliance will paint a picture of thousands of people enjoying a picturesque day in the beautiful English countryside, hoping to ignore the hidden truth. The hunting community is in its death throes, it wants to be allowed to kill animals with impunity once more, and as this possibility becomes more and more distant the hunters get more desperate. The Surrey Union no doubt sees itself as one of the more prestigious hunts located as its territory is, in the home counties. This Boxing Day it met at the Punch Bowl, Oakwood Hill, Surrey. As usual the local hunt sabs were in attendance keeping an eye on any illegal hunting. Towards the end of the day a 4WD vehicle rammed the saboteurs Land Rover from behind and proceeded to shunt it about ten yards down the road, while another hunt vehicle tried to block them in from the front. Managing to extract themselves from this incident the police were called, but the attacking vehicle was kept under observation to assist the police, the driver then pulled out a catapult and fired at the vehicle hitting close to the drivers door. The police duly arrived and a man has been arrested and charges are expected shortly.

Film showing errant Blencathra hounds hunting a cat released

22-12-11   POWA today received a short clip clearly showing what Cumbria sabs say are hounds from the Blencathra Hunt trying to catch a pussy cat [left]. The voices are those of hunt sabs. The horn was used by them to successfully distract the hounds away from the cat, whichCatfleeingBlencathrahoundscloseup20-12-11.jpgescaped. They say the Blencathra Huntsman, Barry Todhunter, was half a mile away, alone, and the pack he was supposed to be controlling were scattered far and wide. The footage was shot between Penrith and Keswick. Cumbria Sabs have posted a statement:- 

22-12-11   Facebook - Cumbria Sabs    Sabs dropped in at the Twa Dogs Inn coffee-morning of the Blencathra foxhounds on Tuesday. Three sabs arrived at Twa Dogs Inn around 10am, prompting hunt support to jump in their vehicles and scatter off.... The next hour or so was spent searching all likely bolt-holes for the pack, and our determination paid off just after noon.... the sabs decided to split up, two going it on foot, the other remaining with the vehicle to stop it being damaged..... The two sabs on foot worked their way to the old railway line, just off Mosedale viaduct, and managed to position themselves just in front of oncoming hounds. Within seconds they, in full cry, were upon the sabs and it was only quick intervention which stopped the hounds catching and killing what they were onto, a cat! Some timely horn calls raised their heads for a few precious seconds, giving the terrified moggy enough time to make good its escape, and allow the sabs to quickly spray the area! The whole incident was also captured on video, and this footage is being made the most of.... The next hour was spent trying to catch up with Barry [Todhunter, the Huntsman], who by now was desperately trying to call the hounds back in. As the sabs on foot got closer to him it was apparent he'd totally lost control of his pack..... By 2 o'clock the hunt was over.... A good day for Cumbria hunt sabs, a very good day for the poor cat, and some valuable video footage captured, sorted! :)

N.Shropshire FH hounds chase fox into housing estate, run on to major road

21-12-11    Shropshire Star   Hounds in Newport housing estate rampage     Thirty hounds went rampaging along the A41 and a Newport housing estate after a huntsman lost control of the dogs. Organisers fromthe North Shropshire Hunt [left] said they were at a loss as to why the hounds ran off on Saturday. The dogs ran across gardens belonging to residents of Deer Park Drive [right] before scampering onto the A41. Andy Wheals, who was leading the hunt, said: "I would like to profoundly apologise to any residents and anyone driving along the A41. I'm just so pleased that neither a person nor a dog was hurt. "We were out trail hunting around Edgmond late Saturday morning when we lost the hounds. It was a freak accident and won't happen again." One resident, who didn't want to be named, said: "Two of my neighbours saw the hounds running up Deer Park Drive chasing after a fox. It was horrible to see."     Chris Ammonds, spokesman for West Mercia Police, said they attended the incident within 10 minutes of receiving a call at 12.20pm from worried residents.
POWAperson:- 'Freak accident' while 'Trail Hunting', eh? Ah well, can't be helped then. In a further development a squadron of flying pigs has also been seen circling over the town.

Motorist couple drive into midst of fox hunt nightmare - police investigating

20-11-12    Lutterworth Mail    Police investigate illegal hunt claims     CLAIMS an illegal fox hunt was taking place in the Harborough district are being investigated by police. Officers are looking into a report of illegal hunting activity dating from November 26 in Shearsby where a fox was allegedly seen being harmed. A witness to the alleged breach of the Hunting Act said she was appalled by what she and her husband saw. Driving past, she said they had to brake when they saw a fox being chased across the road in front of them by around 30 hunters, all wearing black. The woman said there were hounds with blood on them and a number of 4x4 vehicles following the hunt. She added: "We didn't see the kill. We drove off but my husband said ‘you shouldn't be doing that' to one of them but the hunter just turned away. We live in the middle of the countryside but it is against the law and they shouldn't be getting away with it." ....  No arrests have yet been made, a police spokesman said.
POWAperson says:-  It is absurd and offensive that nearly seven years after the Hunting Act wild animals should still be regularly subject to this ruthless persecution for 'sport' or that passers-by should have to risk running into the vile business and the vile, arrogant people who indulge in it. Although in their 'country', it may not, of course, have been the Fernie. But they do have 'form' for illegal hunting, though they tried to wriggle out of their Huntsman and terrierman's convictions with what the Judge scathingly described as 'cynical subterfuge'.
Cotswold Huntsman Alan Morgan convicted of racial abuse of sab
18-12-11   POWA has today been informed that, following incidents at a meetCotswoldValeFHhunterremonstrateswithsabs2005.jpg in February and complaints to the police, the Huntsman of the Cotswold Vale Farmers FH has pleaded guilty to racially abusing a sab, fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation to his victim. As Morgan's offence was, apparently, fully captured on video, a guilty plea was probably wise. He becomes the 296th individual connected with an organised Hunt in the UK who POWA records show as having received a criminal conviction or caution in the last 20 years, and the 39th official Huntsman to receive such legal sanctions.

POWAPerson says:-  Sabs have made numerous reports, and complaints to police, of assaults by servants and/or supporters of this Hunt. I believe the racial abuse incident was at the same meet, on 26-2-11, when they made allegations of a mob-handed and prolonged attack on several sabs, resulting in some injuries, and which they claimed was both instigated, and participated in, by Mr. Morgan. The full text of the sabs' report can be read 
here. Since then, in March police arrived in force at the Hunt's behest, arrested several sabs for, the activists say, no good reason and then red-facedly had to drop the charges. In October a CVFFH hound was killed by a lorry when the pack ran out on to an A road, with hunters and sabs blaming one another. A week later, monitors filmed the Hunt all over another road for several minutes, causing traffic chaos. Pictured right, A CVFFH hunter berates sabs in that calm and polite way they have. The horse seems resigned to listening to it yet again. 

Cattistock chased fox on to A30, blocked road, held 'procession' on it, say monitors

14-12-11 The following account has been sent by Helen Weeks, POWA Associate, to the press, police and her MP. 
On the 8th December, the Cattistock Hunt [left] met in Hardington Mandeville. I went to the meet to tell the Joint Master/Huntsman Will Briars to stay away from where I live near Coker Hill because there were foxes in this area. Mr. Briars turned his back on me as I spoke to him. I was polite. My fellow monitor and I wereCattistockonA308-12-11.jpg told to leave (or the police would be called), which we did.  An hour later, at mid-day, the full pack of hounds chased a fox across the fields below Coker Hill on to and across the busy main A30 to Crewkerne ending up scattered all over the place on the other side of East Chinnock. Three quad bikes, the professional huntsman, the whipper-in, Lady Charlotte Townsend [left], a guest Lord in a LadyCharlotteTownshendingear.jpgtweed coat, several visiting red coats and the rest of the riders came thundering past us in a dangerous manner (we were on foot on the narrow public bridge which crosses the A30), while their supporters in 4x4s rushed down the Coker Hill slip road and on to the A30. The hunters did not have a clue where the hounds were.      Half an hour later, most of the hounds were rounded up and led down Chinnock Hollow and the whole hunt formed a procession, over both lanes of the A30 [right, above & below], through the whole length of East Chinnock. Hunt quad bikes held back the traffic.      A furious police officer turned up in response to angry phone calls from motorists, but unfortunately, not furious enough to look for the hunters who were carrying on hunting in the area. SoCattistockonA30_2_8-12-11.jpg concerned were we that only luck prevented a serious accident, my fellow monitor Graham Forsyth visited our MP, David Laws in his surgery two days later. Mr Laws's response was that police were short of resources.      It was a miracle that no one was injured that day with an out of control, pack of hounds, suddenly and unexpectedly running onto a busy main road. If there had been a pile-up with people injured or killed - then the police would have had to find the ‘resources'. I think it is scandalous that these fox hunters are flouting the law and endangering human lives, and no one does anything about it. When I told some hunters that the police were looking for them, they just smiled and thanked me in a sarcastic way.. These arrogant people just do not care - little wonder when we have a fox hunter for Prime Minister and Minister Nick Herbert, another hunter, in charge of policing.

Goathland & Staintondale FHs' hounds kill pet cat, hunter steals body
13-12-11    Scarborough Evening News  Hunt dogs savage family pet    A COUPLE have been devastated after dozens of hunting party hounds savaged and killed their family pet. Elderly tabby Moppet [left, relaxing at home, right, dead], aged 18, was outside her home in Stoupe Brow, near Ravenscar, when 27 huntingCorpseofMoppetkilledbyhounds12-11.jpg dogs bounded onto land belonging to her owners Les and MoppetsavagedtodeathbyN.Yorkshunthounds12-11.jpgMargaret Atkinson. The dogs brutally attacked the cat before a huntsman picked up a lifeless and bloodied Moppet and rode away. Hours later members of the hunt, which was a joint expedition between Staintondale and Goathland parties held earlier this month, were confronted by the Atkinsons - and it was admitted that Moppet had been killed. Moppet's body was returned to the Atkinsons by members of the hunt two days after she was killed and she has now been buried. A younger cat belonging to the Atkinsons, George, escaped the dogs by hiding in a stable.
Mr Atkinson said: "We just heard a commotion outside and saw the hounds and a huntsman off his horse. He just kept saying ‘I'm sorry.' Then he got back on his horse and he rode off." The couple then searched in vain for Moppet, with splashes of blood on theTheAtkinsonsownersofcatkilledbyhounds12-11.jpg ground being the only trace of their beloved pet. When two huntsmen passed a few hours later, the Atkinsons [right] asked whether they knew what had happened.  Mrs Atkinson said: "I just said I think your hounds have killed my cat. They went to find out and came back. They said the dogs had killed her but that it had been an accident." She added: "It was horrific. She didn't stand a chance. She was an old lady and it was not the way for an innocent animal to meet her end. I can't bear the thought that in her last few moments she was in terror. She didn't deserve to die like that. Moppet was a big part of the family. We bought her the year my daughter went to secondary school. She's a 30-year-old teacher now and is married. She was devastated when we told her."   Mr Atkinson said: "To be honest, we've spent a lot of time crying. She would curl up on our knees every night and would wake us up in the morning. I'm retired, so I would spend hours talking to her. I had to take photos of her for the police which was a bit harrowing. You could see the bite marks."
Members of the hunt are JeanClemmitJMStaintondaleFH.jpgallowed to pass through a bridle track on the Atkinsons' land legally. In future the couple, who have eight grandchildren, will be given advance warnings of any hunts.   
Jean Clemmit [left], Staintondale hunt master, said: "I wasn't there at the time, but as soon as I was aware of the incident I went to see the Atkinsons. "It's very regrettable and is upsetting for everybody but we can't undo what has happened. I haven't been involved in anything like this before. We will take preventative measures." She claimed that the cat's death would have been reported to the Atkinsons and the body returned - even if the couple had not been aware of the incident.
Bill Dobson, chairman of the Goathland hunt, also said that Moppet's death had been "regrettable". He added: "We always try to control the hounds and normally they are very well behaved." Scarborough RSPCA officer Geoff Edmond said he was "very concerned" after learning of the incident. He added: "Obviously, this would have been very distressing for the cat and her owners." The incident was reported to the police and although they investigated the matter a spokesperson said yesterday that no further action will be taken.
POWAPerson says:- The Daily Mail ran a feature on this incident on 14-12-11. It included the pic of Moppet's corpse [above right] and of the bag in which the Hunt returned her. In what is either a crass piece of insensitivity or a premeditated insult they used a DOG food bag.. As the Atkinsons say they have not actually received an apology, perhaps we should presume it was the latter. The Hunt Chairman just saying it was 'regrettable' and apparently trying to shift the blame to the cat by saying it was only attacked by their hounds because it 'panicked and ran away' was also hardly likely to bring comfort to the bereaved couple.
Lack of normal human empathy or shame, often outright callousness, and attempts to evade responsibility are regrettably typical of Hunts when they invade others' property and cause distress to residents and terror to their animals. The chasing and sometimes savaging and even killing of pets or livestock by their out-of-control dogs seems to be just an occupational hazard to them. 
Whip beats savaged fox to death on garden patio feet from horrified family
"It was totally and utterly barbaric and shocking." says 'not anti-hunt' resident
Essex & Suffolk FH invade neighbours' garden, slaughter fox as family relaxing
Hunt claim hunting under Falconry Exemption when pack stumbled on fox
12-12-11   Daily Mail   CLUBBED TO DEATH ON A PATIO: Family claim they watched 'barbaric' huntsman kill fox in neighbour's garden    A family watched in horror as a hunt killed a fox on their patio after the hounds went wildly off course. Mick Heath [left], 53, was at home with his wife Jane, 61, in Bradfield, Essex when 40 hunting hounds burst into his elderly neighbours' garden as they chased MickHeathBradfieldvictimofEssexSuffolkFHoutrage10-12-11.jpgdown a fox. The graphic designer, along with a friend and his teenage son, claim a member of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt strolled across the patio and clubbed the fox to death just feet from where they were watching. Although the hunt group say the fox was killed by the hounds Mr Heath is adamant the animal was clubbed to death. The RSPCA have been informed of the attack and are now understood to investigating whether an offence took place.
Mr Heath, who is not opposed to hunting, said 'It was totally and utterly barbaric and shocking. 'We were at home having a nice, normal weekend when we heard the commotion - voices, horns and the noise of the hounds and they were so close that I threw my three cocker spaniels indoors. The fox had gone to ground at the end of our neighbours' garden. The hounds piled in and suddenly the whip master of the Hunt walked across the patio [still blood stained, right]  and clubbed the fox to death in front of us. 'MyMickHeathspatioisstillstainedwithbloodEssexSuffolkFHoutrage10-12-11.jpg friend Joe, who is an outdoorsy chap who knows the ways of the countryside, turned to him and said "you ba**ard".
It is thought that the Hunt was using the hounds to try to flush out smaller animals and then use the hawk to make a kill - which is legal under the terms of the Hunting Act.  
Mr Heath has accused the Hunt of not being in control of the pack of hounds. He said: 'All 40 hounds were in the back garden in a tiny area - it was a disgrace and it was so inhumane. I am certainly not anti-hunt, I have taken my grandchildren to the farm to watch as it is a wonderful spectacle and I have nothing against what they do.  Mrs Heath, a business administrator, added: 'It was horrific and it was absolutely ghastly.'
Animal rights group PETA has slammed the HEssexSuffolkFH.jpgunt. A spokeswoman said: 'Whether the fox was clubbed to death or ripped apart by dogs, the animals horrific death was the result of a barbaric pastime has no place in a modern, ethical society. It takes a small person to enjoy traumatising, hurting, and killing animals.'
The Essex and Suffolk Hunt [left] has denied that the fox was clubbed to death. James Buckle [below right], a senior huntsman, said: 'It was a horrible situation where we virtually had to watch and could not intervene. 'The fox was killed by the dogs - there is no way that the hounds would do half a job. I can see how it would have looked like that to a bystander and the would have been horrendous. The Hunt Master was whipping the packJamesBuckleJMEssexSuffolkFHHighSheriffSuffolk.jpg to get the dead fox from them. We have apologised to the owner of the garden and they have accepted the apology. 'There is no way that a pack of hounds would have been on that fox and not killed it. It could have easily looked like he was hitting the fox but he would have been moving the hounds off it - it must have been quite a shock to see. It is like giving your dog a bone and then trying to take it back..... he would have been quite tough with the hounds. They should not have been in the garden in the first place - the whole thing was incredibly unfortunate.'
Lawrie Payne, national secretary for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: 'Hunts up and down the country are going out with these birds with no intention of using them. It is done to allow them to carry on their sport without, supposedly, breaking the law. There are very few birds which are able to take on an animal as large as a fox - it is a joke and what they are doing is cock a hooting at the law and making a total and utter mockery of it.
An Essex Police spokesman said: 'They were hunting with a bird of prey and the pack accidentally picked up on the scent of a fox which attracted the hounds. The hunt mistress was spoken to by police. Officers have also spoken to the owners who are satisfied with police action - there was no offence committed on the hunt, which was legal.'

The incident was was also covered by the Telegraph, London Evening Standard and Daily Mirror, but those articles are shorter and add nothing.

POWAPerson says:-  This is one of the worst public outrages [most of their cruelty goes unseen] perpetrated by a Hunt since the supposed ban in 2005, though it is by no means unique. It is wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to start.

The Falconry Exemption [Hunting Act 2004, Schedule 1, Part 6] is the element of the legislation behind which the Essex & Suffolk Hunt are sheltering in this case.  Whilst POWA objected strongly to the number and laxity of the loopholes being afforded to Hunts while the Bill was being enacted, it appeared even then that the Falconry Exemption was the likeliest to give them scope to carry on hunting live quarry much as before, but be able to pretend they were acting within the law. Given that 50-60,000 hunters had, it was claimed, already signed a public declaration that they would not obey a ban, that seemed like handing a flame thrower to a pyromaniac.
Other animal welfare groups, and UK falconry's main governing body, the Hawk Board, also objected. There was no real reason to include this exemption, it being totally unnecessary to permit free-running dogs to be used to flush quarry to birds of prey. What was worse, unlike most other exemptions, Part 6 allowed ANY quarry to be 'flushed' by ANY NUMBER of dogs ANYWHERE they had landowner permission - and it failed to specify exactly what 'flushing' was, or for how long a wild mammal could be chased by hounds during it.     
It was immediately obvious that Hunts would drive a coach and horses through the spirit, probably also the letter, of the law with this gift - and they have done so. Yet, mysteriously, the exemption survived the scrutiny process intact.  Tony Blair has since, in his memoirs, boasted that he had 'sabotaged' the Hunting Act and said he'd told his Policing Minister not to enforce it. One does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to seriously wonder if this exemption was specifically designed for the Hunts' benefit.  
Since the Act, monitors and sabs have reported seeing many Hunts carrying birds of prey round with them [often bumped about in tiny containers all day] but not a single report of a bird of prey actually being used by a Hunt is known to POWA. In any case, the birds in question, mostly eagle owls or Harris hawks, would scarcely be willing or able to tackle prey as large, and dangerous to them, as a fox. If they tried, the likely outcome would be a protracted fight with both seriously injured, and the bird would seem likeliest to be killed.    
The truth is that the Exemption is being used by many fox Hunts simply as a fig-leaf to disguise illegal hunting and to provide a fall-back excuse if they are seen chasing foxes with a pack. Hare hunts don't need the exemption, because they simply [and equally absurdly] can just pretend they were hunting rabbits, which remained legal.  Despite its ridiculous misuse, though, police and CPS have so far singularly failed to challenge any Hunt relying on the Falconry Exemption.  Should either of these pieces of 'cynical subterfuge' look likely to fail, though, Hunts have a second line of defence - they will simply claim they were 'trail hunting', the dogs picked up a scent and they couldn't get them back. It was an 'accident' and so not illegal hunting. Lax wording in the Act itself allows Hunts usually to get away with this defence - though genuine drag hunts never seem to suffer these kind of 'mishaps'. 
To what happened at Bradfield on 10-12-11. Whether the Essex & Suffolk FH were wilfully breaking the law or whether they were just being reckless in how they hunted, this sort of incident was an 'accident' waiting to happen. Only last year, residents of Bildeston reported seeing hounds of this Hunt chasing a fox through the village, with riders and supporters following after [Ipswich Evening Star 26-3-10], but there have been many instances of such 'havoc' with the Hunts bringing trauma and, often, death, on to the doorsteps of the public, since the Act was passed.   
It is understandable, for the reasons outlined above, if the Essex police felt unable to press a Hunting Act charge in this case. It is less comprehensible that they appear to have decided against any of a multitude of possible other criminal charges. Off the top of his head, POWAperson [a former criminologist] can think of at least five candidates which, if the main witness was reported correctly and assuming he'd be backed by his family and friend who were present, might well 'fly':  1/ S5 Public Order Act [causing fear, alarm, distress, etc] , 2/ Wild Mammals Protection Act offence [beating a wild mammal is amongst its prohibitions. Unlike the feeble Hunting Act, the WMPA carries a potential prison sentence for offenders], 3/ Aggravated trespass [trespassing and disrupting a lawful activity],  4/  Criminal Damage,  5/  Theft [as the fox was killed on Mr. Heath's neighbours' land, the corpse became their property and the Hunt removed it without permission].
There may be prevailing reasons why police could not proceed with some of these, but I think most people will be really shocked that they seem content with letting the Hunt get away with this outrageous and callous behaviour. Obviously, the fact that the Hunt's Senior Master was High Sheriff of Suffolk [a royal appointment] until last year would have nothing to do with their decision-making though. 
In the experience of POWA and other anti-bloodsports campaigners, Hunts simply do not care who they inconvenience, scare or cause expense or give grief to, so long as they have their perverse 'sport'. They will continue to chase and kill wild animals with dogs, continue to put other people's pets, livestock and feelings at jeopardy, continue to endanger users of road and rail, continue to threaten and attack people who try to disrupt or record their wrongdoing, until the Hunting Act is strengthened so significantly that it becomes much easier to enforce/prosecute/convict and much more of a deterrent. 
POWA extends its sympathy to Mr. Heath, his family and friend who were forced to witness this atrocity at close range, and to their, we understand, elderly neighbours, whose garden was invaded also. We would refer all of them and other residents to the 
'Hounds Off' website, or to that of the League Against Cruel Sports, where free advice about how to try to make your property/neighbourhood a 'HuntFree Zone' can be found.

Redcoat filmed whipping sab as more Southdown/Eridge FH thug violence reported

HSA Press Release  11-12-11     Violence and intimidation in a national park    On Saturday 10th SouthDownEridgeSabWhipped10-12-11.jpgDecember, over 50 hunt saboteurs attended the meet of the South Down & Eridge fox hunt at Old Erringham Farm, north of Shoreham. This Hunt has been increasingly violent to any anti-hunt people during the season and the last time they were attended a catapult was used to fire missiles at people, injuring one female hunt saboteur. Right from the start the hunt tried to run from any observation and one red coat used his whip to attempt to strike people. Although the hunt was kept in close observation during the day only one attempt to make a false scent was observed, the rest of the day they seemed to be hunting illegally. Towards the end of the day hunt supporters drove quad bikes at hunt saboteurs, blocked access onto to public access land, punched people and finally attempted to gain access to force their way into a vehicle punching anyone who tried to resist. These are not isolated incidents, but a continuous campaign to prevent anyone observing the hunts activities, and trying to make sure they stay within the bounds of the hunting act. If they are hunting legally why do they try to hide? The South Downs is now a national park run by the South Downs National Park Authority, and it has to be questioned why they allow such activities in the national park, when they will be liable for any incidents of illegal hunting?
Photo, right, shows redcoat about to strike the sab [in black] as he climbs over the gate.

Video shows hunter aggression as dig-out stopping sabs' charges are dropped

Sabsprotectgonetogroundfox.jpgFacebook Sheffield Saboteurs ..... Five sabs were later arrested for "tresspassing to - disrupt a lawful activity" and had all their changes dropped the day the were due to appear in court recently!.... So, yet again the arrests of sabs by North Yorkshire Police have come to nothing. They have continually ignored illegal hunting, gone to great lengths to protect the hunts in the County and made 14 arrests of sabs this season. As we are not breaking the law, 12 of those cases have been dropped with no further action (except suing the police), long before trial and the other 2 will no doubt be dropped soon as well.

See 28th November report below for the origin of this story. Sheffield Sabs, who were covering the hunt withFoxfleeingYorkAinstyS.FH14-11-11.jpg Doncaster and West Yorks groups, have now posted a clip on Facebook which shows sabs bravely and non-violently resisting attempts by several hunter thugs to remove them from the earth [above left], despite some of the sabs being struck and manhandled. One of the hunters calls up his masters for instructions and is told to return to kennels, but they vow to return later for the fox. Sabs say they decided to remain because of this and that they resisted two further attempts to by hunters get at the fox. The pic right is a shot from film taken by sabs of what they claim was a fox fleeing the Hunt earlier in November.

Scots hunt ban architect requests police probe as 'abuses' revealed

4-12-11   Scotsman on Sunday    Lord Watson calls for police to probe fox hunts    THE architect of the ban on fox hunting in Scotland has urged police to ensure the law is being enforced after it emerged that as many foxes may be being killed by hounds as before the change in legislation. The controversial ban onMikeWatson.jpg hounds being able to kill their quarry was introduced ten years ago in one of the flagship reforms of the first Holyrood parliament. But according to hunt officials, three times as many foxes are now being killed as before, with two-thirds being shot. The rest are still being killed by hounds, although the hunts argue they are working within the legislation.
But Lord Watson [right], who as Mike Watson MSP introduced the Protection of Wild Mammals Act (Scotland) 2002, said: "I'd be very unhappy if that's the case, and that is a matter for police to pursue. "It was difficult legislation to frame and I accept that it's difficult legislation, in some circumstances, to enforce. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be enforced. The exemption was not designed to give carte blanche to those involved in hunting to let their dogs run amok."
TrevorAdamsJMBuccleuchFH.jpgThe Act makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with a dog. An exemption allows foxes, as a "pest species", to be flushed from cover and shot, and states that no offence is committed if the dog kills the fox in the course of it being flushed towards the guns. According to Trevor Adams [left], huntsman with the Buccleuch Hunt, Scotland's largest fox hunt, up to three times the number of foxes are being killed by the Buccleuch Hunt as before the change in law, which would mean that as many foxes now are despatched by dogs as a decade ago. The remaining two-thirds are shot. The protocol on how to hunt foxes within the new law was developed by Adams and other leading members of the Buccleuch Hunt, and endorsed by the Masters of Foxhounds Association.
Tim Bonner, a spokesperson for the association, said the Buccleuch figures were likely to be typical of other hunts.  
"Those numbers make perfect sense," he said. "When you're flushing to guns, of course a proportion of the foxes will be caught by hounds before they get to the guns. There is also a significant level of wounding by the guns, and the foxes are finished off by the hounds. We don't believe that the foxes killed by hounds are necessarily any worse off. Endless research has been done which shows that it is no less humane than any other method. The legislation doesn't make any sense and the act is no victory for animal welfare."
Six of Scotland's ten mounted fox hunts are within the Lothian and Borders Police area, but the force do not police hunts as a matter of course. Detective Superintendent Cameron Cavin, in charge of wildlife crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: "The Scottish police service has a duty to investigate any complaint of a breach of the law. If an allegation is received of a possible offence under the legislation, this would be investigated thoroughly, including application of the statutory exceptions."

6-12-11     TEN years after controversial legislation changed fox hunting for ever, it still thrives among the riders who regard it as a birthright    It is a beautiful late autumn day in Selkirkshire..... A shaft of sunlight slants down through the clouds, falling on a distant field and picking out a figure on horseback, a man in a scarlet coat galloping after a pack of hounds and followed by a dozen or so riders. The urgent, staccato sound of a horn carries quite clearly through the mild morning air and confirms that this is indeed a fox hunt... Yet this is 9 November, 2011, almost ten years after a law was passed that, most people believe, banned the blood-sport forever. In fact, fox hunters - in a wily move reminiscent of their cunning, jinking quarry - have survived the politicians' attempts to exterminate their way of life and are thriving in 21st-century Scotland. "Hunting is not," as one female rider observes, "something people round here would ever give up lightly." ....
The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act was passed - in the teeth of furious opposition led by the Scottish Countryside Alliance - on 13 February, 2002. The legislation outlawed the hunting of wild mammals with dogs, but made some exceptions. It is legal to use dogs to flush a fox from cover in order for it to then be shot, so long as this is done as a form of pest-control. The Act further states that no offence is committed if the dog kills the fox during the course of this activity, in other words if it was not the intention of the huntsman that the dogs should do so. These loopholes have allowed fox hunting to continue in Scotland. Hunts now present themselves as pest-control operations offering a service to farmers. The packs of hounds, followed by riders, chase the fox towards waiting gunmen who attempt to shoot it. If the fox is killed by the hounds before it runs towards the guns then that is regarded as an accident and therefore within the law. BuccleuchFH.jpgHounds are also used to kill foxes that have been wounded by the gunmen or are otherwise seriously injured or diseased. Once the fox is dead, either by bite or shotgun pellets, the hounds still sometimes chew on it. 
Trevor Adams, huntsman with the Duke of Buccleuch's Hunt [left] for the last 23 years, suggests that of all the foxes killed by his hunt, one third are dispatched by hounds. However, as a result of the introduction of guns, many more are now killed than before the change in law; in the case of the Buccleuch, it is thought that up to three times as many foxes now die in a season. This means that roughly the same number of foxes are being killed by hounds as before the ‘ban', and there is no reason to believe that the Buccleuch is unrepresentative. Indeed, the protocol on how to hunt foxes within the new law was developed by the Buccleuch and endorsed by the Master of Fox Hounds Association, the governing body for fox hunting in the UK. The new approach was then tested in court when - in 2004 - Trevor Adams became the first person to be prosecuted and the first to be acquitted under the new law.
The Huntsman is "majorly proud" of the role he has played. As he puts it. "I'd love my gravestone to say, ‘Here lies Adams. He was the saviour of fox hunting in Scotland.'"     
Lord Watson, who, as an MSP, introduced the bill that changed the law, remains confident that his legislation has made fox hunting less cruel than it was before. How does he feel, then, about the idea that a third of the foxes killed during hunts are killed by hounds? "I'd be very unhappy if that's the case," he says, "and that is a matter for the police to pursue."  But the hunt would say that everything it does is within the law and its exemptions. Should the law, therefore, be changed? "No, I don't think the Act should be revisited. It was difficult legislation to frame and I accept that it's difficult legislation, in some circumstances, to enforce. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be enforced. The exemption was not designed to give carte blanche to those involved in hunting to let their dogs run amok."....    Make no mistake, though fox hunting is presented as a form of pest control, few if any of the riders with the Buccleuch - or, surely, with the other hunts - pay their annual subscriptions because they want to help farmers protect their hens. Trevor Adams is quite open about it. "We are very definitely in the entertainment business," he says...
Johnny Richardson, the 19-year-old whipper-in, has hounds speaking as his mobile ringtone. "When they are absolutely screaming, you turn into an animal," he says. "I can't describe it. It just puts you into a different world."... The Buccleuch... works with around 25 hounds at a time, or to useAlanMurrayChairmanBuccleuchFH.jpg hunting's curious arithmetic, twelve and a half couple. Fox hunters in Scotland are no longer lobbying for a change in the law. They are grumblingly content with the present situation and consider it unlikely - even with an SNP majority - that a Holyrood vote would go their way. Scottish hunters say they would not cross the line and start allowing the hounds to catch the fox, as they are worried that if they were caught doing so, Holyrood might decide to outlaw their sport entirely.
At present, fox hunting in Scotland is not policed. Lothian and Borders Police would respond to any complaints of law-breaking, but there are no officers out there making sure that foxes are shot rather than killed by hounds. Neither do there seem to be many hunt saboteurs - known as ‘antis' - monitoring what is happening..... For all the political and media attention given to fox hunting in the run-up to the ban, almost a decade on, as the Huntsman flashes scarlet through the fields and woods, he does so largely unobserved...  During the day Scotland On Sunday spends with the Buccleuch Hunt, only one fox is killed. A second is shot but escapes wounded into woods at the side of the A7, pursued by the pack screaming across the road in full cry. It seeks refuge in a badger sett, where - because of the legislation that protects badgers - the Hunt must leave it alone even though it may die from its injuries. One, possibly two deaths, then, but fox hunting itself is in seemingly rude health. Whatever you think of it, whether morally repugnant or a splendid tradition, it would seem that this is the sport they couldn't kill. "The antis won the battle," says Allan Murray, chairman of the Buccleuch [above right], with evident satisfaction, "but they haven't won the war."

Hunter on foot filmed whipping Cheshire Forest FH redcoat's horse
1-12-11  You Tube   A short video clip  uploaded today purports to show a hunt servant or supporter whipping the rear of a horse being ridden by a redcoat from the Cheshire Forest FH on 26th November. It shows two redcoats trying to persuade their mounts to jump a hedge. A man carrying a whip, who can be heard shouting 'Hang on' to them, then runs up and, as one of the redcoats tries again to get his horse to jump, starts whipping its rear. It seems the rider is consenting to this. The horse can clearly be seen reacting adversely to the blows. The clip ends abruptly mid-incident and POWA is trying to get more information. 


..... 28th November - 
Sheffield sabs claim they stopped York & Ainsty South FH dig-out three times

..... 27th November - 'We don't want repeal' blunder by hunting's biggest Tory MP fan    

..... 26th November - Crawley & Horsham hunters 'lose it' with police over sab presence

..... 25th November - Leading S.W. Joint Master admits hunters would lose Commons vote on repeal 

..... 24th November - 'Minority Pastime' revised version to preview in Stroud

..... 22nd November - Surrey Union FH accused of assaults on sabs, one injured

..... 18th November - Cattistock deny use of artificial earth after LACS 'criminal conspiracy' claim

..... 17th November - Alice doesn't live here any more. Shock departure of C.Alliance CEO

..... 17th November - League sacks press officer over 'financial irregularities'

..... 13th November - Southdown & Eridge FH supporter injures sab with catapulted wheel-nut   

.....  7th November - Cotswold Vale FH in prolonged havoc incident on busy road

.....  7th November - Local witnesses say clearly saw hare being illegally hunted in Pendle, Lancs

.....  5th November - Head wound to female sab after pulled over by hunt supporter, claims HSA

.....  1st November - Cotswold Vale FH reported to police for apparent illegal hunting


Sabs stand ground 3 times to stop 'illegal' York & Ainsty South dig out

28-11-11  Facebook - Sheffield Sabs    Here [see photos below] sabs are preventing an illegal dig-out of a fox which had been hunted into an earth by the hounds of the York & Ainsty South Hunt. Sabs stood their ground - taking several punches from the terrier men in the process. The terrier men eventually backed down and left. They returned to the earth a further two times that day to try and resume the dig-out but sabs stopped them each time and stayed there till dark to ensure they couldn't kill the fox. Five sabs were later arrested for "trespassing to disrupt a lawful activity" but will be found innocent in court soon. Video is here.

Fox hunting Tory MP's "We are perfectly content" quote undermines pro-repeal campaign

27-11-11   James Gray, the Conservative MP for North Wiltshire who ridesJamesGrayhunting.jpg with the Avon Vale FH [below], has long been one the very most fanatical campaigners against any restrictions on quarry hunting with hounds. His opponents will be astonished - and his fellow bloodsports aficionados dumbfounded and aghast - by what he said today on the BBC's Politics Show West. His words seemed to both undermine the fight for repeal and to rather give the game away about how little Hunts are being restrained by the provisions and enforcement of the Hunting Act.  He averred that:-  "... the law is so bad that hunting today is better than it's ever been before, so that it's a really thriving sport within the law, so we're not calling... for repeal just now, we're perfectly content with the way it is."
There seem two possible interpretations of Mr. Gray's words. One is that Hunts are genuinely 'trail hunting' and finding it so enjoyable that they don't wish to return to live quarry hunting. Active anti-hunt campaigners know this is not, with very few exceptions, the case. What pretty well all other pro-hunt campaigners say confirms that. Anyway, the MP/huntsman's unequivocal stance in favour of quarry hunting to date makes this interpretation untenable - in the absence of a Damascene conversion.
The other interpretation is that what he really means by saying the HA is 'so bad' is 'so ineffectual'. This makes more sense, but also seems to render his statement a tacit acknowledgment that the Act is so riddled with lax wording and exemptions, and so little enforced, that Hunts are finding it interferes little with 'business as usual.' All 'within the law' though [obviously]. Except when it's not, and those are always 'accidents'.    Either way, the MP's words will be embarrassing and perplexing for the Countryside Alliance, the Campaign for Hunting, the rest of the bloodsports lobby and - not least to Gray's friend the Prime Minister, who has only recently reaffirmed his personal support for repeal.    It's unclear, then, quite who Mr. Gray claims to be speaking for. Perhaps he was employing the Royal 'We'! Maybe he [they?] could elucidate. 

POWAperson adds - The MP's comments are at 53m 54s in the Show, with the filmed report referred to in the article below. the article below repeated before that, starting at 49m 55s. Further information on the hunt-loving MP is also in the article below.
Crawley & Horsham hunters 'lose it' and insult police over alleged inaction on sabs
CrawleyHorshamFHhuntsmantiradeatpolicesergeant26-11-11.jpg26-11-11     The HSA uploaded a video clip on to YouTube showing extraordinary scenes of prominent hunters from the Crawley & Horsham FH lambasting and insulting police officers at a meet. They seemed angry that the police had not responded immediately to their summonses and had failed to arrest any sabs. The tirade of the Huntsman into a policeman's face [right] is worth quoting: "I've put up with this for twenty b*****y years. And you lot have done nothing. We are sick and tired of you people. You are useless." He stomps off, then calls over his shoulder - "Why don't you just go and admit you're one of them, huh?" Another, plain-clothes, hunter, appears to call a police sergeant a liar. The hunters claimed that people had been driven and spat at by sabs. Since everything sabs and monitors do now seems to be filmed, they will surely come forward with evidence of the allegations. But don't hold your breath - somehow such claims always seem to melt away when proof is called for. One would have thought, especially given that four senior Hunt members have to appear in court to be tried for various Hunting Act offences in April, that the C&H would want to try to maintain good relations with the forces of law and order. But, apparently, some of them are just unable to restrain their natural arrogance, sense of entitlement and vicious tempers. The C&H has an appalling record of violent and aggressive behaviour towards anti-hunt activists, with several convictions against supporters, servants and Masters. See West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group website for more details.
Leading South West JM admits hunters would lose Commons vote on repeal
25-11-11  BBC Regional News    The programmes 'Points West' and 'Spotlight' both ran items featuring Diana Scott, long-standing JM of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, acknowledging that her side would lose a JamesGrayhunting.jpgvote in the House on repeal of the Hunting Act. She averred  "... I think the vote would be bound to be wrong for us. Yes." .   It was also stated that many pro-hunt Conservative MPs privately admitted believing the same and did not want the 'Indicative Vote' promised by fellow hunter David Cameron to take place because of this.  Spotlight's Political Correspondent, Martyn Oates, pointed out that the excuse for not having brought the Indicative Vote forward already - the need to deal with the failing economy - doesn't really wash, because it would use only a little of the time routinely allotted for such measures in the House.

Robbie Marsland of IFAW pointed out that the National Wildlife Crime Unit have stated there have been "Many, many"' reports of illegal hunting in the South West, but these have been met with little response from the purported upholders of the law. He said  "We Devon and Somerset hunting ban fight put on hold Attempts to repeal the hunting ban have been put on hold by a Devon and Somerset group which said it believed a parliamentary vote now would be lost.

The Master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Diana Scott, said she believed the coalition government would not welcome a repeal. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he believed the ban did not work, but the House of Commons would decide. The Labour government banned hunting with hounds in 2005. Mrs Scott said: "We haven't got a Tory government, it's a coalition and I think the vote would be wrong for us." Previously, Mr Cameron has said: "I think it's an issue that will come forward in due course and the House of Commons will decide. My own views have always been that the hunting ban doesn't work and isn't effective." Mrs Scott said that she believed the law would be repealed in the future. Devon and Somerset hunting ban fight put on hold. Mrs Scott said that she believed the law would be repealed. would very definitely like to see more police activity in this area - and in many others round the country."  
[above right, mounted at a pro-hunt protest outside Parliament]. is a fanatical hunter and one-time Conservative Shadow Countryside Minister. He rides with the Avon Vale FH and made his own sterling contribution to the vaunted '700 hours' of Parliamentary time spent discussing the hunting ban. As a member of the Commons Committee on the Hunting Bill in 2004, he appeared to be attempting to bore its anti-hunt MPs to death by emitting endless-seeming hours of pro-hunting waffle during the Committee's proceedings. In 2006, the press reported a scandal in his private life, including a Daily Mirror article branding Gray as a 'love rat'. It alleged that the Honourable Member had left his wife following a 19 month affair with a barrister's spouse, who he apparently met while campaigning against the Hunting Act. during which time, it said, Gray's partner had been battling breast cancer and supporting his re-election. The ensuing scandal led to denunciations of him by former supporters, and his constituency party executive voted to de-select him. This was later overturned by a wider member vote, perhaps in part because David Cameron gave Gray his strong backing. He was inevitably returned for this rock-solid Tory seat at the General Election in 2010. 

27-11-11   BBC News website    Devon and Somerset hunting ban fight put on hold     Attempts to repeal the hunting ban have been put on hold by a Devon and Somerset group which said it believed a parliamentary vote now would be lost. The master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Diana Scott, said she believed the coalition government would not welcome a repeal. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he believed the ban did not work, but the House of Commons would decide. TheMarshBridgestagandhounds.jpg Labour government banned hunting with hounds in 2005. Mrs Scott said: "We haven't got a Tory government, it's a coalition and I think the vote would be wrong for us." Previously, Mr Cameron has said: "I think it's an issue that will come forward in due course and the House of Commons will decide. My own views have always been that the hunting ban doesn't work and isn't effective." Mrs Scott said that she believed the law would be repealed in the future. Devon and Somerset hunting ban fight put on hold. Mrs Scott said that she believed the law would be repealed. 

POWAPerson says:-  We remain unconvinced that, even with the arithmetic seemingly against them, the, dominant, pro-hunting elements in the Tory hierarchy will entirely abandon their attempt to nullify the Hunting Act,  But one assumes that David Cameron is rational and that the nearer we get to the next Election, the less willing he would be to risk massive public obliquy by supporting such a tainted cause, even though it is close to his own heart.  In the ensuing campaign fight, the public will be reminded forcibly of the numerous pre-ban atrocities whose revelation helped lead to the Hunting Act. Diana Scott was a JM of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds when two such incidents involving that Hunt were filmed by the courageous monitor, Kevin Hill, then working for LACS, causing great public outcry.  These
 [left and right]were the manhandling and botched shooting of a hunted stag in the River Barle and the savaging of another by hounds at Marsh Bridge near Dulverton on Exmoor. Mr. Hill was, not for the only time, savagely beaten by hunt supporter thugs after filming the first incident. 

'Minority Pastime' revision and update complete and will preview in Stroud

24-11-11 Stroud News & Journal      Screening to be held for award-winning anti-fox hunt documentary AWARD-WINNING anti-fox hunt film ‘A Minority Pastime' will have a special free preview screening in Stroud next month. Written and produced by Slad Valley-based filmmaker Denise Ward, the documentary, narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart OBE [right], was part-filmed in Gloucestershire and follows Denise's efforts to understand why the outlawed act of fox hunting is still so important to those who do it. Earlier this year the feature-length flick received an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which was presented to Denise by Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Brian May at the House of Lords. Denise, who was inspired to back anti-hunt causes after witnessing a deer torn apart by a baying pack of hunting hounds, will host a Q & A session after the viewing to discuss the issues raised in the film. Stroud mayor John Marjoram, former MP David Drew and Painswick Parish Council chairman Terry Parker will be among those attending the screening - sponsored by Ecotricity and Mills Café. Invitations have also been extended to sixth form students across the Five Valleys and Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, who last year pledged to vote for a repeal on fox hunting should the issue arise in parliament again.

'Minority Pastime' website   AMP Productions is very excited toHuntviolence.JPG announce that the new version of A Minority Pastime will be showing at a Special Preview in Stroud on the 4th December, at 7.30 p.m. To attend email or phone 07527527603.... The [original] film centred around a letter to then opposition leader David Cameron. In the run-up to the 2010 general election Cameron made a promise that if he became Prime Minister he would repeal the hunting ban that has been in place since 2005. Protagonist of the film, Denise Ward, wanted to know why he wanted to repeal the ban and make fox-hunting legal again. Now.... Cameron is Prime Minister, but the with the Liberal Democrats has restricted the Conservatives implementing some of their pre-election pledges.... However in the midst of widespread spending cuts, the fox-hunting bill has been moved to the back burner. We do not doubt however, that the Conservatives will follow through with their pre-election pledge and will put the vote to parliament. For this reason we believe that it is as important as ever to reveal the violence and intimidation that surrounds this ‘traditional' and ‘symbolic' pastime. The new version of Minority Pastime is shorter, slicker and even more powerful. As in the original version, the film follows Elcombe resident Denise Ward as she embarks on a personal journey to find out the truth behind fox-hunting. She soon discovers that behind the red coats and beautiful horses is a world of violence and abuse in which it is not only animals who suffer, but people too..... Shocked by the first film, Sir Patrick Stewart kindly offered to provide the voice-over for the new edit and his narration works wonderfully alongside Denise's investigation.

Above, left and right, scenes of havoc and violence from the film

Surrey Union FH supporters accused of attacks on sabs, injuring one
SurreyUnionterriermanKeithNicholsonandfemalesab22-11-11.jpg22-11-11   Facebook - Sabin Guilford    ... back from another violent day at the Surrey Union foxhunt at EdolphsInjuredsabSurreyUnionFHmeet22-11-11.jpg House, Charlwood. We managed to stick on the hunt for a few hours stopping them killing, but we were then attacked by the hunt at Norwood Hill. Our female sabs were pushed around by hunt supporters, one redcoat stole one of our cameras and threw it into some bushes, then one of our male sabs was ridden down, head-butted and punched in the face. We called the police. Five cars turned up and took statements. Some of the sabs went into the meet and identified the red-coat, with the hunt telling the police that they couldn't come on private property - which pissed them off lots, with them saying they could go anyway they wanted as they were investigating a crime. Arrests will follow.

POWA understands that video evidence of the alleged attacks will be released once the police investigation is closed. Meantime, above left and right, are two stills already posted on Facebook. Left, Keith Nicholson, terrierman [sorry Keith - 'countryman'] remonstrates with a female sab. Right, the sab who was allegedly head-butted and punched.

Cattistock deny use of artificial earth or fox feeding, both filmed by LACS
18-11-11  Dorset Echo    Cattistock hunt hits back over League Against Cruel Sports claims   A HUNT has denied that fox numbers are deliberately being kept high so that the animals can be hunted illegally. Hunters have defended themselves against allegations that artificial earths, structures designed for foxes to live in, are being maintained and food is being left for the animals. The League Against Cruel Sports carried out a national investigation and, acting on information from a local source, one of their officers went to inspect a wood in Dorset.    The officer, who did not want to be named, said: "When IfoxfeedingatCattistockartificialearth.jpg first found the earth all the plants were trampled down and I could smell the foxes. "I also found a massive pile of offal that had been dumped nearby with clear car tracks leading off to the road." He set up a hidden video camera in the wood which captured footage of a man [right] coming and dumping more offal and also showed a fox coming and feeding there.   While the practice of maintaining or setting up artificial earths is not illegal, dumping animal meat in this way would be an offence under the animal by-products regulations due to the high risk of spreading disease.   Animal rights activists believe that the only explanation for this behaviour is that foxes are still being illegally hunted. Joe Duckworth, the League's chief executive, said: "Our investigators have shown without a shadow of a doubt that there is a determined effort amongst WillBryerJMCattistockFH.jpgthe hunting community to keep fox numbers artificially high. The evidence points at a pattern of extreme behaviour which I am convinced may be connected with other wildlife crimes such as hunting with dogs."    
The land in question, situated between Evershot and Cattistock, is owned by the Hon Charlotte Townshend, High Sheriff of Dorset, and one of the richest women in the country. A spokesman for Ilchester Estates, which manages Mrs Townshend's land and property in Dorset, said he did not wish to comment on the League's allegations. Mrs Townshend is also joint master of local hunting group, the Cattistock Foxhounds, who regularly hunt in these woods. Will Bryer [left], Master of hounds for the Hunt, called the league's accusations ‘barmy'. He said: "We refute these allegations. "They're ridiculous. Artificial earths have been around since the beginning of time but we have no use for them now. If someone is putting food out for foxes, it's not us. To me this is just a smear campaign. We get this every year at the start of the hunting season."

21-11-11  Western Daily Press   Hunters ‘feeding foxes up to kill', claim anti-hunt campaigners    Hunts across the West are engaged in a ‘nationwide criminal conspiracy to encourage and sustain fox populations in order that they can be hunted'. That was the claim by anti-hunt campaigners after a undercover operation found that artificial earths in hunting areas are still being maintained to make sure there are foxes to hunt. The covert surveillance operation was undertaken from July to October this year by teams of monitors from the League Against Cruel Sports, and targeted hunts the length and breadth of England. Hunts have denied that the artificial fox earths, the maintenance of them and video footage of people bringing food for the foxes are anything to do with them, and said the claimed evidence "proves nothing". The revelation that artificial earths, to encourage foxes to breed, are maintained to keep fox numbers up dealt a major blow to the hunting lobby's argument before the 2005 ban that foxhunting was necessary as a form of pest control.
That they are still being maintained six years after the ban, claims the League Against Cruel Sports, shows that hunts are still routinely breaking the ban and intentionally hunting foxes. Monitors discovered three artificial earths in woodland around Stow-on-the-Wold and Cold Ashton in Gloucestershire, on land regularly hunted by the Heythrop Hunt. In Wiltshire, close to the Badminton Estate, the monitors discovered three more artificial earths were still being maintained. In other locations in the country, artificial earths were discovered with metal grilles hanging near them, which the League said was to make it easy to quickly block them up on hunt days.
But the League claimed the most damning evidence came in Dorset, where hidden cameras filmed an unknown man dragging a barrel full of offal and dumping it close to a newly maintained artificial earth, inhabited by foxes. The spot between the villages of Cattistock and Evershot in Dorset, is owned by the Hon. Charlotte Townsend, the master of the Cattistock Hunt. Hidden cameras filmed a man dumping a barrel of animal by-products in the wood and filmed the foxes taking the food away.
The League's chief executive Joe Duckworth said the findings were the "tip of the iceberg", given that 87 per cent of the hunts they chose to look at had artificial earths in their regularly hunted woodland. "In just a short space of time our investigators have shown without a shadow of a doubt that there is a determined effort among the hunting community to keep fox numbers artificially high. "The evidence points at a pattern of extreme behaviour which I am convinced goes far and beyond the evidence obtained by the League in this investigation and may be connected with other wildlife crimes such as hunting with dogs," he added.
League chairman John Cooper said: "This evidence points to a nationwide criminal conspiracy by foxhunts to encourage and sustain fox populations in order that they can be hunted."   The League admitted it cannot definitively prove that the people who maintain the earths or feed the foxes are connected to local hunts. The joint master of the Cattistock, Will Bryer, said the Cattistock was the victim of a ‘smear campaign'..... And Tim Bonner, from the Masters of Foxhounds Association, said the hunts had nothing to do with artificial earths. "The earths are not only used by hunts. They are also used by gamekeepers to locate foxes so they can find them and kill them," he said.

POWA Person says:-   It is unsurprising that the Hunt deny any connection with the artificial earth and fox feeding. To do otherwise could be an admission of involvement in criminal offences. Inquiries are, we understand, ongoing. But artificial earths have been used since time immemorial by Hunts and nobody in the anti-bloodsports movement has ever heard of gamekeepers employing them, or of this explanation being offered before. People will decide for themselves who is right. See also 30th October story on release of LACS artificial earths report below.  
Countryside Alliance chief's shock resignation shakes bloodsports set

18-11-11  Countryside Alliance chief quits amid anger over fox hunting strategy   It seems all is not well on the farm - the farm being a metaphor for the Countryside Alliance's plush headquarters in Kennington - where the Chief Executive has quit after just over a year in post. Alice AliceBarnard.jpgBarnard's resignation comes against a background of anger from a vocal cohort of members unhappy with the lack of progress at repealing the hunting ban.   Ruling out the marches which saw the Alliance hit the headlines in the late ‘90s, Barnard's softly-softly lobbying approach has gone down like a pint of sick with hunting nutters, who accuse her of being more interested in food labelling, high speed rail and rural broadband. Indeed, shortly after her appointment Barnard told the Indy: "I think we did marching, and we did it really well, but ... we need to be looking at other ways at connecting both with Parliament" And it seems Barnard wants to "connect with Parliament" in more ways than one.   Despite its presence in the coalition agreement, a free vote on the Hunting Act is unlikely to occur until 2014. Having already stood for selection in 2010, fronting a controversial and high profile campaign could well scupper Barnard's second attempt to grab a Tory seat. With the Alliance formed in 1997 from an amalgam of the British Field Sports Society and two other rural groups, old tensions in the countryside movement now threaten to spill into the open. With Barnard pursuing foxes since she was nine years old, Scrapbook cannot resist speculating whether the hunter became the hunted.

Meanwhile, Horse & Hound, as you'd expect,, closes ranks and offers Alice the customary enconium :- AliceBarnardhunting.jpg 
H&H 17-11-11   Countryside Alliance chief executive Alice Barnard to leave ..... Alice Barnard has today announced that she is to stand down from her position to take up a similar role at an education charity. Mrs Barnard, who has been at the Countryside Alliance for five years — the past 14 months as chief executive — will work for a period of notice. She said: "My five years at the Alliance have been some of the best years of my life, and I would not leave the organisation if I didn’t feel that the opportunity that presented itself to me was not one that I could miss out on." Kate Hoey, chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said: "The Countryside Alliance board is very sorry to see Alice leave and we wish her well. Under her leadership, the Countryside Alliance has been reinvigorated and resourced to continue to push the positive case for the countryside and to fight its many threats."

POWAPerson says:-  Alice is pictured above left in the 'Aah' posed image the CA would have liked everyone to buy, and above right as the hardened fox hunter who told 'His Master's Voice', in December last year, that 'Hunting is my main passion'. Wrong answer, Alice - you should have said '... my ONLY passion'.
The exact reasons for Alice's sudden departure are unknown, but rumours of dissent have been growing for some time. Clearly, the Hunting fanatics have become increasingly unhappy about the organisation's relatively supine position in regard to Cameron's failure to keep his promise to allow a free vote on repeal, or provide any date for it. Whilst it has always been part of CA strategy to broaden it's professed remit to other, less controversial, countryside issues to try to make the CA look as if it is an organisation that represents the concerns of the mass of rural people, Alice may have taken this aspect of her mission a bit too much to heart - and paid the price. No CA boss can afford to forget that the Alliance is really just the old BFSS in disguise, and that it's principal, if not sole, raison d'etre is the defence and promotion of blood sports and, especially, hunting with dogs.

LACS Communications officer sacked over expenses claims
17-11-11  LACS website    Changes at LACS    Steve Taylor, a member of staff at the League Against Cruel Sports has been dismissed for gross misconduct following a disciplinary investigation concerning expenses claims. The disciplinary papers have been handed to the police and the Charity Commission has been informed as the member of staff concerned has previously worked for other charities.

The Charity Commission has issued the following statement: "The charity the League Against Cruel Sports ..... has contacted the Charity Commission to inform us of concerns in relation to financial matters within the charity. Based on the information given by the charity, we are satisfied that the trustees of the charity are dealing with the matter appropriately and reviewing any relevant policies and procedures in this area". The potential loss will not have a material effect upon the ability of the League to fulfil its objectives but we do take a "zero tolerance" approach to any wrongdoing and for this reason we are co-operating fully with the police in their investigations. We are pleased that our systems worked well in picking this matter up and we will do everything in our power to recover the sum concerned. It would be inappropriate for the League to discuss the details of this case or make any further comment until the police investigations are completed. Louise Robertson will take on the role of head of campaigns and communications at the League for the time being.   [No longer on website]

Southdown/Eridge FH supporter hurt woman sab with catapulted wheel-nut

13-11-11    HSA Press Release   Another Saturday, another day of Hunt violence    The South Down and SabassaultedbySouthdownandEridgesupporters31-10-09.JPGEridge Fox Hunt has become increasingly aggressive over the past few years. Attacking hunt saboteurs in car parks, threatening them with knives, riding them down and employing ‘stewards' to harass their every step..... On Saturday a whole new level was reached. The day started as usual with verbal abuse, quad bikes being driven at speed near people and threats of ‘home visits'. The Sabs persisted in following the hunt which was making little attempt to follow it's own false trail. The day started getting heated when a hunt supporter constantly drove his vehicle in front of the sabs land rovers to impede their progress. This was followed by a number of hunt supporters following the land rovers and driving aggressively and dangerously.

Near the close of the day more threats were made and clear attempts were made to start fights, which the sabsWheelnutusedasmissiletoinjurefemalesabSandEridgeFH12-11-11.jpg refused to react to. Finally the hunt had packed up and the sabs were gathered in a residential road when a vehicle which had been following the group's vehicles drove up. A catapult was fired out of the passenger window and the missile (a wheel nut, right ) hit a female saboteur on the elbow. The police were called and the perpetrators were identified to them. Arrests are expected. The injured sab who was taken to hospital for x-rays on her injured arm has nerve damage. Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs association, said: "This is the reality behind hunting. A violent nasty pursuit practiced by violent nasty people, who do not care as long as they can inflict some form of suffering on animals or humans. It is time to strengthen the ban and stop these people in their tracks."

POWAPerson says:-   This East Sussex-based Hunt is neighbour to the notorious Crawley & Horsham, so, given that and their apparent past behaviour, a new mode of violence does not come as a great surprise. It is none the less alarming. For details of an alleged savage, mob-handed attack by their supporters on a male-female sab couple in 2009, see here. The picture left shows one of the victims receiving medical treatment afterwards.

Film released of Cotswold Vale FH in prolonged road havoc incident
7-11-11    HSA Press Release    Chaos in the Countryside    A week after falsely blaming hunt saboteurs for theCotswoldValeFHhoundscausetrafficchaos11-11.jpg death of one of their hounds, the attached video shows the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt casually risking the lives of their hounds. They were filmed throughout the day hunting on main roads, causing traffic chaos and at least two cars were forced to make emergency stops to avoid killing hounds. When the saboteurs voiced their concerns about how dangerous it was they were met with physical and verbal abuse. Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs Association, stated: "It was very convenient for the hunt that saboteurs were present last week as it gave them an easy scapegoat for the death of their hound. This video shows conclusively that the hunts don't care for any animal, even their hounds."

POWAPerson says:- This film certainly helps vindicate the sab denial of the Hunt's claim that they 'lured' the hound to its death on the A38 late in October. It strongly suggests that the Cotswold Vale are either unable or unwilling to control their dogs, and they seem pretty careless of the danger the dogs are in or the disruption and hazards created for motorists. One rider comment suggests they were trying to take the pack across the road. But why, if they were hunting a pre-laid trail, would they need to do this - or go anywhere near any highway, let alone a high-speed A-road, at all? See stories "Cotswold Vale FH reported to police...." [includes an account of what else the Hunt were doing on 1-11] and "Cotswold Vale FH in 'illegal hunt... '" below for further info.

Local witnesses say they clearly saw Pendle Forest & Craven Harriers hunting a hare

TomBannisterJMPendleForestandCravenHarriers.jpg7-11-11    Lancashire Telegraph    'Illegal hare hunt' claims probe in Pendle    A POLICE probe has been launched after complaints were made about a hunt illegally chasing a wild hare. Officers are looking into claims a pack of hounds followed by around 20 hunters on horseback were chasing the animal across fields between Barnoldswick and West Marton on Saturday afternoon. The hunters, dressed in red blazers, black jodhpurs and black safety helmets, were spotted by a number of animal lovers who said they were deeply shocked at what happenedPendleForestandCravenHarriers.jpg. Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt master Tom Bannister [left] said they had been in the area at the time but no hare had been discovered.

In 2005, the government passed the Hunting Act banning the hunting of foxes, hares, minks and deer with dogs. Anyone found guilty of illegal hunting could face a fine of up to £5,000. However, hunts can still follow a scent while out riding, which is commonly known as a drag hunt. Carole Mitchell, 51, of Ollet Hall Road, Darwen, was visiting her three pet sheep in Stock Road, near Barnoldswick when she saw the hunt. She said: "It was absolutely awful. I locked myself in the car because I just couldn't bear it. "It is so shocking to watch. There was this horrific screaming and I couldn't tell if it was the dogs or the hare."

Fellow witness Michael Martin, 62, from Barnoldswick, said: "That poor hare must have been terrified. I could see it running desperately for its life." Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt [above right] confirmed it conducted a hunt with 20 people on horseback and 20 on foot between Barnoldswick and West Marton on Saturday between 11am and 2.30pm. Mr Bannister said: "We were completely within the law. "The law demands that even if the hounds were to find a hare we would have to pull them off, but we did not find a hare on Saturday."


Female wounded as sabs trapped and menaced by Old Surrey FH supporters, claims HSA
5-11-11 HSA Press Release New Hunt season. More violence against hunt saboteurs   Members of the Hunt FemalesabwoundedOldSurreyFHplusredcoat5-11-11.jpgSaboteurs Association, from different groups in the South East, visited the meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent Fox Hunt, taking place just outside Lingfield in East Sussex. Due to previous violence from this hunts Staff and supporters (whose Huntsman has a conviction for assaulting a Hunt Saboteur in 1991) the police had been informed of the Hunt Saboteurs intentions, and were in attendance.
At around 3pm saboteurs were attempting to cross a narrow metal bridge on Environment Agency land when a supporter of the Hunt took it on himself to block their passage. Other hunt supporters on foot were behind the group, and pushing forward against their backs. In the struggle the supporter pulled a female hunt saboteur over, knocking her head onto the concrete base, causing a deep bloody wound to the crown of her head [left and right]. Riders of the Hunt,FemalesabwoundOldSurreyFH5-11-11.jpg supported by the foot followers, proceeded to barge into the other hunt saboteurs in what seemed to be an attempt to cover up the actions of their supporter. Some saboteurs were then asked to ‘arraign it' so that the incident was not reported to the police.
It is suspected that the perpetrator has a gun licence he would be in danger of losing if convicted of violence. The incident was reported to the Police and the man was questioned. Formal statements and video evidence will be submitted to ensure a conviction.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association said: "This is just one more violent incident in the history of the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent Fox Hunt, an organisation whose reason for existence is the infliction of violence. It seems that if they cannot persecute foxes then hunt saboteurs will do as second choice."

The HSA says of this particular gang :-

The OSBWK hunt is renowned among sabs for the levels of violence dished out to saboteurs and is regarded as being prominent among the more extreme elements of the hunting fraternity.

- Hunt saboteur Steve Christmas was almost killed at a meet of the hunt on 1 Sept 2000

- Mark Bycroft, Huntsman [right] and Graeme Worsley, Master, the OSBWK hunt were fined and received penaltyMarkBycroftHuntsmanOldSurreyFH.jpg points after staging a pro-hunt stunt on the M25 in Dec 2002. A motorway safety officer said in court that it "posed an extreme danger" to the public.

- Bycroft has a history of violence and was found guilty of assault in 1991 after a saboteur was attacked. Bycroft's father, John, admitted in a Guardian interview to "acting like the IRA" (31-8-02).

- Mark Bycroft hinted at the campaign of intimidation when he was quoted in Horse and Hound on 16 September 2004 as saying "Every MP against hunting is on the hit list."

In 2004, an alleged attack by supporters of this Hunt on sabs resulted in several sabs injured and one sab knocked unconscious with an iron bar. in 2000, an attack, using a 4x4 as a weapon, nearly killed sab Steve Christmas. Though the CPS pulled the trial of the culprit for a dodgy-looking reason, Steve, whose life and career were ruined, later received an £18,500 pay-out from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board - official acknowledgement he had been victim of a criminal assault. Besides the assaults mentioned above, POWA has records of a further four supporters of this Hunt having convictions for assaulting sabs or monitors.


Cotswold Vale FH reported to police - foxes menaced by Hunt, hounds on road
1-11-11   Facebook Post by Denise Ward, Producer 'Minority Pastime' and POWA Associate    Minority Pastime went out today to visit the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt, the first Hunt visited and recorded in the film. It was unbelievable. I arrived late and was grilled by a red-coated horseman as to who I was because I must be up to no good (standing in the public road with my camera as the hounds went on cry up a field).
When I caught up with the hunt saboteurs, the Hunt was all over a busy main road, hounds everywhere and vehicles screeching to a halt and then the hounds were all around a ditch by the road and the sabs were there shouting 'leave it' ' leave it'. I looked over with the sabs and just glimpsed the little fox crouching in the ditch.
The Hunt gave up and moved on, and I followed the sabs. The next thing there was activity down a bridle path so I followed and just saw the tail end of a large and fine fox disappearing into a drain. Luckily the sabs were there. They sat on the drain as the hounds and the Hunt came all around. I was speechless with fear that the poor animal would be found but even though the hounds smelled around the drain the sabs stopped them and the hunt didn't seem to realise. We all stayed there until the Hunt was long gone and went away to give the fox a chance to come out.

I thought this would be it but no, not nearly. When I next caught up with them they were in a field next to a busy road and the terrier men were racing up the field with their terriers - the Hunt was blowing 'gone to ground' At this point I couldn't stand it and called the police who said they would send a car. It seemed an age while the hunt was in the field searching among a thick brambled hedge and I wondered what I would do if they started to dig. What would the sabs do? I had made sure the hunters heard me calling the police and hoped it would put them off. They took no notice but after what seemed like an age the Hunt moved on.

A sab told me she had seen a little fox, exhausted, quietly cross the road and get away. It hadn't gone to ground. I though this must be the end but, no, it wasn't. I followed the sabs who drove round to the Combe Hill Nature Reserve where two walkers were telling them that they had just seen an exhausted fox come down the tow path with hounds behind and then hunt riders arrived asking them if they had seen the fox. They didn't tell them they had because they didn't want to and thought hunting was horrible. So that one got away too. This, everyone, is a typical day's 'trail hunting'. Enough is enough. This has got to stop.

Cameron's Heythrop FH dumps its own beleaguered Huntsman
3-11-11   Horse & Hound     Charles Frampton to hunt the Heythrop     The Heythrop will be hunted by Charles Frampton, currently senior joint-master and huntsman of the Portman. next season. His appointment follows a split at the Heythrop over the future of current huntsman Julian Barnfield. The wrangle went public after Countryside Alliance chairman MP Kate Hoey intervened on Mr Barnfield's behalf, writing to Heythrop chairman Mikey Elliot. An extraordinary general meeting was held on Sunday (30 October) in Chipping Norton, and the vote as to who should hunt the pack was 207 to 163 in favour of Mr. Frampton. Farmers had two votes and subscribers one. Mr Frampton, who will also join the mastership. told H&H:"I am looking forward to coming to the Heythrop next season." Two Heythrop masters declined to comment on the situation.
Mr Barnfield, who appeared in court last month accused of breaking the Hunting Act. Has hunted the Heythrop since 2005 and was at the Cotswold before that. He said: "I'm pretty devastated. I have hunted hounds for 21 years and I don't know what I am going to do next. It's been a bloody battle - now I have to weigh up what's best for my wife and kids.' Mr Barnfield has been asked to stay on as kennel-huntsman but has not yet given the Masters his decision. He pleaded not guilty to breaching the Hunting Act. when he appeared at Banbury Magistrates' Court on 25 October. The case was adjourned until 9 December.


..... 30th October - 'National criminal conspiracy' by Hunts claim after artificial earth finds

..... 30th October - Cameron's Hunt dumps its own beleaguered Huntsman in split vote

..... 30th October - Cumbria police to increase 'Trail Hunt' patrols after 'community concerns'

..... 29th October - League announces million pound investment to fight illegal hunting

..... 27th October - West Street Tickham FH JM says they 'can't control' their hounds  

..... 25th October - Hound killed on busy road during 'illegal' hunt in Cotswolds

..... 27th October - Anti-hunt activist Joe Hashman wins landmark legal case    

..... 25th October - New LACS Chief savages Countryside Alliance over Hunting Act report  

..... 21st October - Cameron says he is still committed to vote on hunting ban    

..... 20th October - New online paper provides more evidence of illegal 'cubbing'   

..... 19th October - Police investigating W.Street Tickham FH fox kill in village  

..... 18th October - POWA Associate wins Campaigner of the Year award from IFAW    

..... 16th October - Heythrop rocked by fears accused Huntsman to be dumped    

..... 14th October - 'Cynical subertfuge' condemned by Judge as he dismisses Fernie 2 Appeal  

.....  6th October - 'No repeal vote before 2013, at the earliest' says BBC report  

.....  6th October -  Kent Hunt kills fox in early-morning raid on sleepy village  

.....  4th October -  LACS monitors film 'cub hunting' in Co.Durham



'National criminal conspiracy' claims LACS, after numerous artificial earths found
Many are clearly being maintained and foxes visiting or living in them fed

31-10-11   Independent    Hunt backed by PM accused of breaking rules to keep foxes League Against Cruel Sports claims it has found a national criminal conspiracy      Animal rights campaigners have accused a hunt supported by David Cameron of being part of a "nationwide criminal conspiracy" to sustain fox populations for hunting. An investigation by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) found that artificial earths - structures built to provide breeding places and homes for foxes - are being maintained in areas used by all but three of the 24 hunts that it monitored around the country.
Campaigners argue that a ban on the hunting of foxes with dogs introduced in 2004 made artificial earths "pointless", and that that their upkeep "points to a nationwide criminal conspiracy by fox hunts to encourage and sustain fox populations in order that they can be hunted.   "From building extensive earths, to providing food, water and bedding, the very notion of huntsOffaldumpatartfclearthnr.CattistockFHkennels2011.jpg following artificial trails becomes ever more laughable," said Professor John Cooper QC, chairman of the LACS. "Whilst most of us suspected the hunts would carry on their nefarious activity, I for one never quite imagined they would be as blatant and, frankly as stupid, as to continue their use of artificial fox earths."
Between June and October this year, investigators from the LACS visited 16 counties in England to inspect land used by 24 hunts. Artificial earths with signs of recent renovation or food supply were found at 21 of them, according to the report.  The LACS claimed to have found six artificial earths on land regularly hunted by the Heythrop Hunt in Gloucestershire, the local hunt in David Cameron's Witney constituency and one that he has ridden with on at least six occasions.    Video footage obtained from hidden cameras also showed a man dumping offal near an artificial earth in Dorset and remains of broiler chickens were found near one of the structures on land regularly hunted by the Heythrop Hunt.   While the LACS acknowledged that it could provide no direct evidence that the named hunts were complicit with the building and maintenance of the artificial earths, it said: "It is clear that someone has been maintaining the earths on the country of these 21 hunts, and one must question whether or not this can be pure coincidence."
Tim Bonner, a spokesman for the Masters of Foxhounds Association, denied that the artificial earths had anything to do with the LadyCharlotteTownshendCattistockFH.jpghunts named in the report. "The earths are not only used by hunts. They are also used by gamekeepers to locate foxes so they can find them and kill them," he said. "Most of the hunts I called didn't know the earths were there," he said. Mr Bonner said that most hunts still killed foxes as part of a "service" to landowners, but shot them "legally". "I think there is a dispute over what the law means. The League Against Cruel Sports has attempted to suggest that the legislation means that hunts can't use any form of hunting as a fox control method. That is clearly wrong. The legislation has a series of exemptions."   But Professor Cooper said: "We have never heard of gamekeepers using artificial earths to decrease numbers. Our research shows that they are only ever used to increase numbers. That begs the question: why should numbers be increased? We answer: to be hunted."             
POWAperson says:- One picture [above right] in the LACS Report shows pile of offal which they filmed being dumped near the artificial sett which is close to the Cattistock FH kennels in Dorset. LACS says the land is owned by Lady Charlotte Townshend [left]. She is a Marchioness related to the Royal Family, stonkingly rich, and owns a large chunk of west London, 3,000 acres of Notts and 15,000 acres in Dorset, including Chesil Beach. In 1999 she blocked a plan to make it a National Nature Reserve because of Labour's plans to ban hunting. She is a former JM of the Cattistock. She has also made substantial donations to the Conservative Party. [Curiously, one of her forbears of the same name married a Duke named .... George Osborne.]     

30-10-11   LACS Press Release    New evidence shows artificial fox earths being maintained    The League Against Cruel Sports has today published a new report showing the extent of artificial earths being maintained in areas known to be used by hunts. League investigators have uncovered a number of artificial fox earths being maintained which suggests fox number are being kept artificially high.    A massive undercover operation spanning three months, 16 counties and 24 hunts has recorded undisputable evidence that individuals are encouraging foxes in artificial earths. League investigators have found evidence of earths which have been built or renovated since the passing of the Hunting Act where food and water is being supplied.
The League has obtained footage of four hunts dumping food close to the earths and three providing water. Among these is a Dorset hunt where a kennel worker was seen depositing large amounts of offal near to an earth. Several well maintained artificial earths were found in the country of the Heythrop Hunt – with whom David Cameron has hunted – with one being supplied with fresh chickens. Duck carcasses and what is believed to be out of date supermarket stock were found dumped in woods in Yorkshire believed to be owned by the Sinnington Hunt.
The League’s chief executive Joe Duckworth described the findings as the "tip of the iceberg". He said: "In just a short space of time our investigators have shown without a shadow of a doubt that there is a determined effort amongst the hunting community to keep fox numbers artificially high. The evidence points at a pattern of extreme behaviour which I am convinced goes far and beyond the evidence obtained by the League in this investigation and may be connected with other wildlife crimes such as hunting with dogs".   The evidence has been passed to relevant local authority trading standards departments and where appropriate, the police where investigations are ongoing. 

Download PDF of full report from LACS, via this link. Essential reading.

30-10-11   Sunday Express    David Cameron's hunt pals accused over fox ban    A high-profile hunt whose supporters include David Cameron is at the centre of a new investigation by campaigners monitoring the foxhunting ban. The League Against Cruel Sports will tomorrow publish a report that suggests several leading hunts could be "making a mockery" of the seven-year-old law. Photographs and footage show artificial earths - any underground hollow in which a fox can take refuge - are being maintained in areas used by hunts and that food is being left near them. The earths were a regular feature before the ban, making it easier to find foxes so hounds could track them. The 2004 Act restricted hunts to following scented trails, rendering the earths "pointless", the League says. However, between June and September, it says it found signs of earths on land ArtificialearthSinningtonFH1998.jpgused or owned by all but three of the 24 hunts in England. While The League "has no evidence to offer that these hunts were in any way complicit", it adds: "It is clear someone has been maintaining the earths...and one must question whether this can be pure coincidence."
The League says it found six artificial earths in country used by the Heythrop Hunt in Gloucestershire, which is a favourite of the Chipping Norton social set. Mr Cameron has ridden with it, while racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks is also a supporter. The Heythrop strongly denies any wrongdoing. A spokesman said it "operates within the law". The hunts say shooting estates, sometimes in the same area, maintain earths to attract foxes for culling.

POWAPerson says:-   Fantastic work by LACS investigators, which not only further demolishes Hunts' 'pest control' arguments [you do not assist 'pests' to breed or nourish them] but will lead many to conclude they must be maintaining foxes to hunt. Artificial earths have often been discovered before and hunters used to speak openly of them before hunting with dogs became widely reviled. Some loose-lipped ones still let the cat out of the bag occasionally. 
Jeffrey Olstead, BFSS rep for the Cumberland FH averred in 1996 ".... there are artificial earths in almost every fox hunting country in England."  and LACS quotes a Beaufort terrierman confessing he used to build them in the 1990s
In 1998, a number of young cubs were found in such an earth very close to the kennels of the Sinnington FH in Yorkshire, with clear evidence that they were being fed. The RSPCA rescued them and the terrierman was apparently scapegoated by the Hunt, who had denied all knowledge, and sacked. The picture left shows a dead chicken left in the mouth of one of the drainage pipes forming the earth. For further information, see 
Mike Huskisson's article on artificial earths.

Cumbria police increase 'Trail Hunt' patrols due to 'community concerns'

PolicingMinisterNickHerbert.jpg30-10-11   BBC News online   Police step up trail hunts patrols in north Cumbria   Cumbria Police said it was in response to community concerns about tensions between hunt monitors and followers.   Police said they often received reports of confrontation and conflict between those with differing views on hunting. "We will engage with representatives from both pro-hunting and monitor groups to minimise public disorder and community disruption," PC Shaw said. "Officers will be deployed when appropriate, taking into account other needs and priorities, to carry out high visibility patrols at various fixtures throughout the season of the Blencathra and Melbreak fell packs."

Cumbria Constabulary website   Policing of trail hunts explained    In response to community concerns and issues around the hunting act, Police in west Cumbria will be running an operation throughout the trail season to tackle tensions between hunt monitors and followers. The police often receive reports of confrontation and conflict between those with differing views to the hunting act and the intention of the operation is to maintain the safety and provide reassurance to all attendees at meetings. PC John Shaw, wildlife officer for Cumbria Police, said: "Officers will engage with representatives from both pro-hunting and monitor groups with a view to facilitating lawful activity within the terms of the hunting legislation as well as lawful monitoring and protest... 

POWAPerson says:-   One hopes that by 'community concerns' Cumbria police don't just mean the whinges of the hunters that
FoxbashedtodeathbyAlistairRobinsonUllswaterFHCloseup26-10-09.jpg their 'sport' is being spoiled and that they may risk exposure by monitors or be denied their quarry by sabs. Though some police forces try to be impartial between antis and hunters, few if any have come to grips at all with the extent of illegal hunting going on or how they can enforce the rickety Hunting Act when it is so extraordinarily hard for anyone, not just them, to gain evidence adequate to obtain a conviction. Others seem to almost pretend hunting doesn't exist - leaving monitors vulnerable to Hunt violence, wildlife vulnerable to their rapacity, and the public vulnerable to their recklessness and lack of respect for others.
But a few forces seem to have reverted almost to 'riding shotgun' for the Hunts - apparently taking claims of 'Trail Hunting within the law' at face value without investigation and treating monitors and sabs almost as though they were just trouble-making revolutionaries.  This cannot be connected to the fact that the current Minister for policing is one Nick Herbert. He was political director of the BFSS, a founder member of the Countryside Movement [now the CA], a whipper-in to a fox hunt and Master of a hare hunt for 14 years [left, as a Minister and, below left, as a beagler]. We note that the
 Coniston FH, two of whose hunt supporter bullies were so harshly punished [with cautions] for terrifying and assaulting a League Monitor last year, seem not to be included in the enhanced patrol plans.   Nor the Ullswater FH, whose terrierman Alistair Robinson was convicted in 2010 after chasing a fox with numerous hounds, digging it out and beating the NickHerbertbeagling.jpganimal to death with a stick. The charming Robinson hid the corpse [right] in a dry stone wall, from where LACS monitors, who he did not know had been filming him, retrieved it. Is this the real face of 'Trail Hunting' in Cumbria? For this premeditated and savage piece of animal abuse he was given the massive penalty of a £250 fine, which his Masters presumably paid. As far as we know, he is still employed by the Ullswater. Indeed, it is extremely rare for any hunt servant to be dismissed by their Hunt, almost regardless of what they have been convicted of. Even when a scapegoat is deemed essential, another pack usually takes them in.
Gang loyalty is, of course, notoriously strong - and few gangs in our society come better organised and resourced, or exhibit stronger mutual loyalty, than do Hunts. One might almost think of them a a rural 'Cosa Nostra' - but one which, of course, includes in its membership many of the richest and most powerful in the land, including some Conservatives in our government.    Not unlike the famous horse's head in the bed scene from 'The Godfather', many monitors and sabs, including myself, have been treated to having dead animals or birds dumped on our cars or doorsteps.

In 2004, two hunt servants from the Isle of Wight FH were even convicted of the repulsive stunt of dumping two carcasses, one of a horse, in Brighton town centre in protest against the incoming hunt ban - and given the usual slap on the wrist by the courts. One, a convicted badger digger, is still with the IoW, as a terrierman, and last year was given a fixed penalty notice for exposing himself to male and female monitors on a road. He may be a charming person away from the hunting field, of course. The other, then just the Huntsman, is now a JM/Master with the Jedforest FH, so he's clearly repented his misdeed. A fellow JM there, a major donor to the Conservative Party, was his senior JM at the IoW FH. He was reprimanded by the MHFA for allowing the Brighton stunt. So reluctant are that body ever to even criticise their own that it marked their extreme embarrassment at that gross outrage to public sentiment that was done in hunting's name in Brighton.   

League plans £1 million programme to fight illegal hunting

29-10-11   LACS website   £1m campaign to tackle hunt crime    The League Against Cruel Sports plans to invest more than a million pounds over the next four years on hiring investigations staff and equipment to gather evidence and get hunts into court. Despite polling showing that three quarters of the public support the ban, the League believes that the majority of hunts are flouting the law. "This is the seventh hunting season under the ban, but all the evidence suggests that hunts are getting more lawless than ever." said Joe Duckworth, the League's chief executive. "Appointing investigations officers around the country will enable us to increase our efforts in gathering evidence for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service." The League employs retired police officers who review evidence and provide training on the Hunting Act to serving officers.
Two weeks ago, after an undercover investigation by the League, two staff from the Fernie Hunt in Leicestershire were convicted of breaking the Hunting Act and the Protection of Badgers Act and ordered to pay more than £10,000 in costs and fines. The judge in the case praised the League's investigations work and said the hunt was engaged in 'cynical subterfuge' by pretending to trail hunt.
The League runs a 'Hunt Crimewatch' service gathering information and intelligence on hunt related crime, and passes information to police forces and the National Wildlife Crime Unit. Adverts carrying the Hunt Crimewatch number are appearing in regional newspapers across England and Wales from today. "Our focus is not only on the illegal hunting, but on all the crimes committed by the hunts," said Mr Duckworth. "Hunts cause all manner of anti-social behaviour, from blocking roads, running hounds down railway tracks, and savaging pets in people's gardens. This pernicious side of hunting is often unseen but it has the biggest effect of people in rural communities."
Recent incidents reported to Hunt Crimewatch include foxes being killed, hunt hounds running along main railway lines, hunts blocking country lanes, and even hunt supporters threatening members of the public. "Our message to hunts is very clear. There are more cameras, under more bushes, operated by more investigations staff than ever before. Hunt within the law or expect to he held to account for your actions," warned Mr Duckworth.

POWAPerson says:- We had become concerned that LACS will to tackle, or even properly acknowledge, the scale of illegal hunting, was failing, but, since Joe Duckworth's appointment has seemed to mark a massive renewal in
that commitment. We strongly welcome their announcement above - but continue to believe that strengthening of the Act will prove the only long-term solution to enabling the Hunting Act to provide a real deterrent and a law that is less fiendishly difficult to enforce.

W.Street Tickham JM claims they 'can't control hounds' after fox killing in Studall

27-10-11    East Kent Mercury     Studdal fox hunt organisers apologise     Calls have been made to enforce the legislation that bans fox hunting after the Mercury published a story about a mauled fox found dead in Studdal [left].West Street and Tickham hunt organisers had been hunting on the same FoxkilledbyHuntinKent5-10-11.jpgmorning that the male fox was found in a field backing on to Homestead Lane. Hunt master Rosemary Cleverdon has apologised for causing upset and said the event, on Wednesday, October 12, was run within the law. Mrs Cleverdon has been talking to police about the incident, but she told the Mercury she has no way of knowing for sure if the fox was savaged by their fox hounds or by another animal.  "We had a drag, the hounds picked up the scent of this fox and they went away," she said. "When you are three fields away, with fences, you can't control them.  "If we did cause any upset in the village we are very sorry."  There have been nine attempted prosecutions since fox hunting became illegal and six of them failed. Another example of how the law protects the rich.  Mrs Cleverdon added she did not know whether the West Street and Tickham Hunt would go back to Studdal again.
Fox hunting has been illegal since 2005 when the 2004 Hunting Act came into force. Hunts now lay a scent for dogs to track, but foxes are sometimes killed in the process if the hounds pick up their scent. The story has generated mixed opinions on the Mercury's website. The league Against Cruel Sports is investigating the claims made by Studdal residents that the fox was ripped apart and killed by the hunt's dogs. Police are also investigating, and have taken the animal's body away for forensic tests.   
Police spokeswoman Jane Walker said: "While the investigation is ongoing we shall not be issuing further comment about tests. "The fact that we are investigating should indicate that we are trying to ensure that legislation is being adhered to."

POWAPerson says:-  
What is almost more disgusting about apologists for hunting than their gaining a perverse thrill from chasing, tormenting and killing defenceless animals is that they so consistently refuse to accept their own culpability when called or found out, try to blame others for their own wrongdoing and invent ever more ridiculous excuses for their vile behaviour. As a former criminologist who has interviewed hundreds of offenders, I have encountered this evasiveness, denial and blame-shifting pattern frequently. The 'cynical subterfuge' which a Judge referred to in the Fernie Hunt servants attempts to wriggle out of 'bang to rights' convictions earlier this month is universal among the hunting community. In fact we could rewrite the old joke. Q. How do you know when a hunter engages in cynical subterfuge? A. Their lips move.
Whether it was an 'accident' or not, even now, the West Street Tickham tries to evade responsibility for the small atrocity they inflicted on Studdal by their selfish and reckless, if not wilful, behaviour. If they were really 'drag' hunting, how did they end up in the middle of a village? Why were their hounds chasing a fox? This sort of 'accident' never seems to happen with real drag hunts that follow artificial scents. They should do the residents and wildlife of East Kent a favour and not just stay away from Studall but keep their pack of trained killer dogs at home until, at least, they have decided to convert to real drag hunting and retrained their dogs properly. 

Cotswold Vale FH 'illegal hunt' claim as hound killed on major road

27-10-11    Gloucestershire Echo     Hunt members and saboteurs are blaming each other for the death of a hound that was killed as it ran on to a road   The hound was out with the Cotswold Vale Hunt on Tuesday morning when it was in collision with a Rover car on the A38, near Norton.... HUNT members and saboteurs are blaming each other for the death of a hound that was killed as it ran on to a road... Members of the hunt claim saboteurs used horns to lure the hound on to the road before it was killed. A statement released by the Countryside Alliance on behalf of hunt members said: "The hunt was harassed by hunt saboteurs during a children's meet.  "The huntsman did all he could to avert this incident, but was unable to do so.  "We are in a climate where animal rights activists are harassing hunts to an unacceptable level and the incident was both dangerous and irresponsible. Hunt saboteurs proclaim to love animals, but it is about hating the people who hunt and nothing more."
But Lee Moon, a spokesman from the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said the protesters did not have horns when the hound was run over. He said: "Five saboteurs were at the hunt, including four women, and my understanding is they had been monitoring the Hunt. They had not seen it for 45 minutes and did not do anything to drive it into the A38 - no one blew hunting horns or instigated this tragic incident."   He claims the Hunt was split, with some of the 40 hunters on each side of the A38. He believes the hunt was attempting to cross the road when the hound was killed.  Mr Moon said saboteurs sometimes did use horns, like the hunts themselves, but did not do so on that day. He said he disputed the claim the association did not care about animals and said the individuals hunting were not of interest to his organisation.
Fox-hunting involving Hunts tracking, chasing, and killing foxes was outlawed in 2005. But hunting by a smell or trail is still lawful. The saboteurs organisation has existed for 47 years. Members of it have been going to the Cotswold Vale Hunt, which meets twice a week, regularly for the last 10 years.  Mr Moon added: "I make no bones about it, we used to interrupt hunts to save animals before fox-hunting was illegal and we will continue until hunts stop completely."  Police were called to the incident shortly after 10am and other dogs were said to be running freely across the road. Officers delayed the traffic until the road was cleared, but did not close it.

 25-10-11    Hunt Saboteurs Association website     A hound from the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt was killed by a lorry, on the A38, South of Tewkesbury, today during an illegal fox hunt. Members of the Hunt Saboteurs Association who were present said the hunts pack of hounds were illegally chasing a fox when one of them ran straight into the road and was killed outright by a lorry that had no opportunity to stop. It was only the presence of the hunt saboteurs that prevented further fatalities as they were able to stop more hounds running into the road. Lee Moon from the Hunt saboteurs Association said: "If, as the Hunts like to claim, they were trail hunting then what were they doing near such a busy road. The hunting community don't care about the lives of either the hunted animals or the ones they employ to illegally chase them. The Cotswold Vale Farmers should be thanking the hunt saboteurs for preventing more of their hounds from being killed." 

26-10-11     Western Daily Press     Hound killed in crash on A38 during hunt    A hound was killed in an incident on a busy Gloucestershire road, The dog was hit by a car while the Cotswold Vale Hunt was out yesterday morning, The incident happened on the A38 in Norton and traffic was stopped while other dogs were rounded up. The incident happened at about 10,30arn and police were called to help. Officers did not have to close the road, but vehicles were held back while the incident was cleared.

POWAPerson says: Seems like yet another beautiful dog has died violently, yet another motorist has been traumatised, and antis may have averted worse yet again, all so arrogant animal abusers can have their perverted fun. After what has happened in previous seasons, and the attacks they say were launched on them late last season , it is brave of the sabs to go anywhere near this Hunt. We gather that Hunt are, as they often do, trying to blame the sabs for the hound's death.  Tim Bonner of the Hunting Office tweeted thus:- "Children's meet in Gloucs. Hunt sabs blowing horn on A38 lure hounds, one goes under lorry. Lovely people who really care about animals?" This reeks of more 'cynical subterfuge'. How unmanly it is to try to pass one's own culpability to others and invoke children to compound the matter.

Anti-hunt activist wins landmark legal case against pro-hunt ex-employers

27-10-11   Joe Hashman PR  Animal welfare campaigner "vindicated" by ground-breaking tribunal findings     In a historic judgement, on 26th October 2011 the Employment Tribunal in Southampton found that life-long animal welfare campaigner Joe Hashman [below left] was discriminated against under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. Mr Hashman said, "My case against the Directors of Orchard Park Garden Centre in Gillingham, Dorset.... has included complex JoeHashman.jpglegal issues. I am indebted to the brilliance of Shah Qureshi and Nick Fry of Bindman's LLP and my barrister Ivan Hare for their guidance, support and expertise over the last 2 years. I am proud to have established in Law my philosophical belief in the sanctity of life (including fervent anti fox hunting and hare coursing beliefs). On 26th October 2011 the Employment Tribunal in Southampton found that I was discriminated against because of these beliefs and so I feel vindicated in taking my case to them for judgement. The Tribunal has instructed that financial details of settlement remain a private matter. However, the truth is that succeeding with my case was all I ever wanted to achieve. Therefore I was happy to accept the first offer made to me be on behalf of Orchard Park alongside a public apology in respect of a defamatory memo written about me to their staff."
The apology made by the Directors of Orchard Park to Mr Hashman reads as follows: "We, the Directors of Orchard Park, unreservedly apologise to Mr Hashman for any injury to his feelings arising from the memo dated 18thNovember 2010. In particular, we accept that Mr Hashman did not seek to mislead us or set us up in relation to his animal welfare beliefs and activities. Equally, we did not intend to suggest that Mr Hashman engaged in any bullying or mud-slinging. We wish Mr Hashman well for the future, in particular in his career as a writer."

Daily Mail 29-10-11  Garden centre worker's five-figure pay-out after he was sacked for anti-fox hunting beliefs     A garden centre worker who was sacked for his anti-fox hunting belief has won a five-figure pay-out. Joe Hashman, who has been an active animal rights campaigner for 30 years, was handed his P45 at Orchard Park Farm near Gillingham, Dorset, in September 2009, and he has been seeking justice ever since....  Mr Hashman had been looking for £50,000 for loss of earnings and injuryHarecourse.jpg to feelings from Orchard Park Farm garden centre. The managers sacked him two days after his covert filming had helped to convict the celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright of illegal hare coursing [right]. He agreed an undisclosed settlement, believed to include a five figure pay-out, after a panel at Southampton Employment Tribunal ruled in his favour.  As part of it, Orchard Park's directors issued a public apology to Mr Hashman, accepting that he had never sought to mislead them about his animal welfare activism.
Married father-of-two Mr Hashman, of Shaftesbury, Dorset, successfully argued that his views on fox hunting should be placed on the same legal footing as religious beliefs.    It was accepted that his concern about the environment, animal rights, veganism and, in particular, his opposition to fox hunting, amount to a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003.    Mr Hashman's solicitor Shah Qureshi, of law firm Bindmans, said: 'This is clearly a very positive tribunal decision for those who believe in animal rights.'....  Mr Hashman said: 'I am proud to have established in law my philosophical belief in the sanctity of life, including fervent anti-fox hunting and hare coursing beliefs.... 'I don't think anyone should be discriminated against at work because of their views on issues such as hunting. Politics and morality as to how we live our lives should not be brought into the workplace.'
Giving evidence, professional gardener Mr Hashman told the tribunal how he lost his job when his bosses found BrownHarecloseup.jpgout he was a leading saboteur and animal welfare activist - and had been since theClarissaDickson-Wright.jpg age of 14. Mr Hashman said he was 'picked on' and suddenly sacked after he appeared on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show, explaining his part in Dickson's Wright's court case.  He said: 'I believe now that my involvement in relation to hunting issues and ultimately my philosophical belief was the reason for my dismissal. On September 1, 2009 there were two convictions at Scarborough magistrates' court under the Hunting Act, which I was directly responsible for. I believe that those connected with Orchard Park knew, or came to know, of some or all of these matters at some point leading up to my dismissal.'   Orchard Park Farm had claimed that it only dismissed Mr Hashman because his vegetable patch at the garden centre, designed to encourage customers to grow more produce, was not making enough money.   
But after losing the case, the directors apologised for a memo that was circulated at Orchard Park in November 2010 criticising Mr Hashman...
To the right above is Clarissa Dickson-Wright. To the left is a brown hare. Chasing either with dogs would be cruel and illegal, but...
POWAPerson says:- The second great verdict delivered against hunters by the English justice system in the last fortnight. Congratulations to Joe and his legal team on their long and perspicacious fight for justice.   

New LACS Chief savages CA over 'waste of time' Hunting Act report 

25-10-11   LACS website   CA ties itself in knots with new report   A report due out tomorrow from the Countryside Alliance raises more questions than it answers, according to the League Against Cruel Sports. In 'Hunting Act in 2011 - A Waste of Police Time', the bloodsports lobby group claims that aJoeDuckworth.jpg lack of convictions under the Hunting Act for the 2010-2011 hunting season suggests the law is not working, and is a waste of police time. But Joe Duckworth [right], Chief Executive of the League, said that the report sent mixed messages. "On the one hand you have the Countryside Alliance saying that hunts aren't breaking the law, and on the other they say that the law's an ass because no hunting people were convicted last season. Which is it? Are they breaking the law or aren't they?"
Mr Duckworth pointed to the recent appeal brought by two staff of the Fernie Hunt in Leicestershire, which was dismissed by Judge Michael Pert QC who said the hunt concerned were engaged in "cynical subterfuge" by pretending to hunt a non-existent trail. The appeal - thought to have cost that hunt more than £100,000 - was backed by the Countryside Alliance.
Earlier this month, a hunt in Kent 
killed a fox after rampaging though a private garden, whilst in Herefordshire a hunt's hounds rioted through a field of Alpacas. "The reality is that hunts are out there breaking the law," said Mr Duckworth. "We know this, and that's why we're about to announce serious investment in this area to enable us to help the police bring to justice those who abuse animals for sport. We'll also be focusing on the cases of hunt havoc that so blight people's lives in rural communities." Last month, David Bevan, the whipper in of a Somerset hunt, was convicted of assault on a League investigator. Earlier in the year, the huntsman with the Tivyside Hunt in Wales was convicted of an attack on a League volunteer. "The idea that these are fine, upstanding, law-abiding people is utter nonsense," said Mr Duckworth. "Whether they're hunting illegally, stealing cameras, beating up pensioners or blocking up badger setts, they are a criminal fraternity with an intimidating grip on the countryside. The police must rise to the challenge and stand up for the majority of rural people who find hunting abhorrent." 

Prime Minister says he is still committed to vote on Hunting Act

21-10-11    Western Morning News   Government 'committed to vote on hunting ban'    David Cameron [left, with his mounted friend Guy Avis, Secretary of Heythrop FH] has CameronAvisHeythropFH.jpginsisted the Government remains committed to a Commons vote on reversing the controversial ban on hunting. It has been claimed a pledge in the coalition Government agreement to let MPs oppose Labour's totemic Hunting Act was "dead and buried". But asked by the Western Morning News whether the Government still abided by the promise, the Prime Minister said: "There's no change in the position, and the commitment is the commitment, and we don't resile from that. I'm sure at some stage the vote will be held. I don't have a timing for that." Hunt supporters across the West country had campaigned for pro-hunt MPs at last May's general election. The issue has cooled within Westminster, chiefly because of the need to revive the economy. But pressure is still strong among the grass roots in the countryside for a repeal of the ban. Mr Cameron, a keen country sportsman, has said he will vote against the ban.
Musician says fox hunting and cubbing are rife in her Hay-on-Wye area

20-10-11   Huffington Post UK    
Fox Hunting - the Countryside's Best-Kept Secret   by Kate Holmes     Nothing seems to make people more heated then discussing the pros and cons of hunting. Fox hunting is alive and kicking around Hay On Wye - at least four hunts span the immediate area - and in fact fox hunting is happening all over the countryside. Most city people I talk to think it is cruel and want it banned. Most country people think the opposite. Tales of foxes killing entire coops of chickens and geese fuel the fire here in the countryside, meanwhile the townies talk of hounds ripping the throats of family pets in their crazed efforts to hunt down the "poor little fox". Whatever the argument, the sport is certainly not relegated to history and seems to actually be thriving and growing amidst all the ideological conflict.
Last Friday I had my weekly horse riding lesson with my daughter Charlotte in her outdoor school. I had just finished, and was quietly hacking home thinking of shoulder-ins and half passes when I suddenly heard the very thin but beautiful sound of a bugle in the local woodland area below the local common land. My pony pricked up his ears and started to look about excitedly, and as I began to trot home I came across about 15 hounds, a jumble of vehicles and some men wearing Barbour-type jackets with flat caps and sticks. Very Down to Earth Powell and Pressberger. The hounds were impressively polite and allowed my pony to walk down the lane unaccosted and I stopped to ask one gentleman what they were doing. "Cubbing", they answered. Everyone round here knows what that is - rooting out the young foxes and preparing the hounds for the proper hunt.
As I had just been in an outdoor riding menage littered with the droppings of over thirty foxes (each with bigGoldenValleyHuntsmanandhounds.jpg plumstones in them - they had obviously gorged themselves on Charlotte's plums the day before), I knew as well as the hunters that the area was teeming with foxes. Nobody says much though. It's an official secret throughout the land - away from Westminster and all the townies - that fox hunting is going strong. As I left the hounds, the cars and the men, with an invitation to the join the opening meet next month, I passed an elderly gentleman with a pair of binoculars and a walking stick. He stopped me and asked what the noise was. Assuming he was following the Hunt I asked him if he had seen the hounds. He looked at me with a strange expression..."but I thought hunting was banned?" he said. "It is" I replied, and trotted on.

POWAPerson says:-  This testimony just seems to confirm quite how brazen hunters are becoming. They know, given the rickety Hunting Act and lack of enforcement, that there's precious little chance of their being apprehended, let alone prosecuted/convicted. They also know they have friends in very high places - including big hunting fans in the Prime Minister, the Solicitor General and the Policing Minister.   The Golden Valley FH is centered on Hay-on-Wye, but we are sure this reputable Hunt would not stoop to such seemingly reprehensible behaviour and that it cannot possibly be them that Ms. Holmes encountered 'cubbing'. Perhaps another Hunt strayed into their country by 'accident'. 

Police investigating W.Street Tickham FH over fox kill in village 

19-10-11   East Kent Mercury Mauled fox found dead after hunt in Studdal   Police are investigating reports of a fox hunt in Studdal where a savaged male fox is believed to have been killed by hounds.   Shocking pictures of the animal were sent to the Mercury by Christine Richardson, who saw foxhounds racing down Strakers Hill in the village on Wednesday last week, but the images are too distressing to print. She believes the fox - who has been named Freddie by locals and who looks like the fox picturedRedfox2_m.jpg right - was killed by the dogs from the hunt. This is yet to be confirmed by police who have taken his body away for forensic tests. Mrs Richardson, of Homestead Lane, said residents were alerted by the sound of baying hounds at about 8am. A horn was sounded and riders were also seen wearing red jackets in a cabbage field. Police say West Street and Tickham organised the Studdal hunt.  Officers have been speaking to its hunt master Rosemary Cleverdon.
When the Mercury tried to speak to Mrs Cleverdon, she hung up twice. Mrs Richardson said: "A gentleman at the bottom of the road saw a fox running across a field at the back of my house being chased by dogs, and there were riders in the cabbage field." The hounds pushed in the fence of one of her neighbours and barged into her garden. The fox was found in a field on the other side of her broken fence after the hunt with his intestines ripped out. "He had been mauled all over," she said.   In England, the hunting and killing of foxes has been against the law since the 2004 Hunting Act came into place in 2005. Hunts still meet regularly in England with organisers laying a scent for the dogs to track.

POWAperson says:-  
The article ends saying Hunts meet 'with organisers laying a scent for the dogs to track.' Monitors nationwide, however, testify that for most Hunts this 'Trail Hunting' is merely a charade, designed to FoxkilledbyHuntinKent5-10-11.jpgdisguise the fact that they are carrying on as if the ban didn't exist, with the same callous disregard for the welfare and feelings of their animal victims, their own animals and any third parties they should happen to come across while getting pleasure from chasing and killing a terrified creature. No surprise, because this is what they so arrogantly said they'd do before the Act was overwhelmingly passed with great public support. Hunts employ, as Judge Pert so strikingly put it, 'cynical subterfuge'.
Such ruses and several exemptions, plus a strict requirement to prove intent, combined with the intimidatory and sometimes violent nature of Hunts towards anyone filming their activities, make it incredibly difficult to gather enough evidence to prosecute them successfully, and mostly deters the police from even trying to investigate them. It is understandable, but disappointing, that the paper will not publish the pics that show the gory facts of this poor fox's terrible death. It will not be until the media are willing to show the reality of what hunters do - and not the chocolate box images always inserted into any hunting story - that people will really understand what vile creatures hunters really are.   The article above contains the fox pic the paper printed, but the real, dead, 'Freddie' is pictured left here. POWA has not had copies of the whole body pics, but would definitely publish. 

POWA Associate Denise Ward wins Campaigner award from IFAW
18-10-11   IFAW website     Animal Action Week Awards UK Celebrates Two And Four Legged Friends     DeniseIFAWCampaignerAward10-11.jpgToday we celebrated our annual International Fund for Animal Welfare Animal Action Awards on the terrace of the House of Lords…. to celebrate and honour the fantastic dedication, commitment and inspiration of Britain’s animal lovers. The ceremony is hosted at the House of Lords by Baroness Gale and this year the awards were presented by Queen legend, animal welfare campaigner and friend of IFAW Brian May.,,,, The Campaigner award went to Denise Ward [right, to the left of Brian May] from Gloucestershire who reveals the truth about hunting with dogs in her film ‘A Minority Pastime’ .

26-10-11   Gloucester Citizen  Denise's joy    ANIMAL charity the International Fund for Animal Welfare has honoured Slad resident Denise Ward with an award for her work on the film A Minority Pastime, which places hunting with dogs in the UK under the spotlight. The award was presented at a prestigious House of Lords ceremony.
POWAPerson says:- A richly deserved award. Beginning as a personal testament after the Cotswold hunt horrifically invaded her rural tranquility in the hamlet of Elcombe, 'A Minority Pastime' grew into a feature-length, Michael Moore styleNisaatElcombe.JPG exposé of the callousness, lawlessness, arrogance and brutality of organised hunting, the disturbing impact on innocent bystanders and the depth and nature of support for it within the Conservative party. 
First released around the 2010 Election, subtitled 'A Letter to David Cameron', Denise has been working hard on a sharper, shorter update, to be released soon. An extended trailer is here, and the full, original version [106m] is here.  

Picture, right, shows Denise [Nisa] where it all began:-
'In November 2005 a tiny hamlet in the heart of the Cotswolds was overrun by snarling hounds. Nisa Ward was out with her elderly neighbour. A deer hurtled out of the woods pursued by the baying pack. As the villagers stood there helplessly the deer was caught. It screamed piteously as the dogs ripped it apart.'
Heythrop racked by dissension over future of accused Huntsman
16-10-11   Mail on Sunday    Ex Labour Minister gallops to defence of Chipping Norton Set's beleagueredKateHoey.jpg Huntsman - David Cameron's friend is being prosecuted by the RSPCA for illegal fox-hunting - Kate Hoey wants Hunt to support its employee to prevent reputation of hunting being damaged - Row has caused division among influential group of MPs and media professionals - Issue could surface at ball hosted by former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks   Pro-hunting Labour MP Kate Hoey [right] has launched a bid to stop David Cameron's local Hunt sacking the Huntsman to the Chipping Norton set. The former Sports Minister is furious that the 176-year-old Heythrop Hunt in the Cotswolds plans to oust employee Julian Barnfield [left].
Mr. Barnfield, a friend of Mr Cameron, is being prosecuted by the RSPCA for illegal fox-hunting. Ms Hoey, chairman of the Countryside Alliance, says if the Hunt does not support professional huntsman Mr. Barnfield in the run-up to the trial in the JulianBarnfieldandfriends.jpgNew Year, it could ‘damage' the reputation of hunting across the country.
The court case, disclosed in The Mail on Sunday last month, is threatening to embarrass Mr Cameron, who has ridden with the hunt, because it will reopen political divisions over the pastime and increase pressure on Ministers to overturn Labour's 2004 ban.
The row has also caused divisions in the Chipping Norton set - an influential group of MPs and media professionals who live close to the Oxfordshire market town. Wealthy landowners, including Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of the JCB excavator company, allow the Hunt to ride through their woods and fields. The issue could surface at next month's annual £90-a-head black tie hunt ball at the home of former racing trainer Charlie Brooks and his wife Rebekah, the former chief executive of News International - who is at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal. 
The fate of Mr. Barnfield, one of the country's best-known professional Huntsmen, is to be decided at an emergency general meeting just days before the ball. Insiders are predicting a fierce backlash if a decision is made to remove the popular huntsman and they believe many hunt supporters would boycott the ball. The rowCharlesFramptoncloseup.jpg began after the current senior master of the hunt announced he was standing down next year, and the person chosen to replace him, Charles Frampton [right], said that he wanted also to take over the role of Huntsman, who is in charge of the hounds during hunt meetings. 
Miss Hoey and senior figures in the Countryside Alliance fear that such a move would undermine Mr. Barnfield's court case. In a letter to Mikey Elliot, chairman of the Heythrop Hunt, which has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, she said: ‘We must distinguish between the running of the hunt, which is your concern, and the public reputation and future of hunting as a whole, which is ours. We are concerned that to replace, demote or make redundant the defendant in this case, at this particular time, to be potentially damaging for the wider cause of hunting, and the very people upon whom we rely to keep hunting going.'  Mr. Elliot, an arable farmer who is married to three-day eventer Ginny Leng, is backing Mr Frampton. He said: ‘Julian has our full support in the legal action, but we needed a new senior master who could organise the hunting and our seven full-time staff.'   Mr. Barnfield declined to comment.

POWAPerson says: I won't intrude further upon private grief. Original Barnfield charges story at 
UK Hunting News Archive

Judge condemns 'cynical subterfuge' as he dismisses Fernie FH 2 appeal
"It is clear to us that the Hunt was hunting a live fox." 
"They used a 'trail hunt' as a cover." 


14-10-11   Harborough Mail    BREAKING NEWS: Hunt duo lose their appeal     HUNT employees used "cynical subterfuge" to disguise the fact they were illegally hunting a fox, a judge has ruled. Judge Michael Pert QC told Leicester Crown Court that Derek Hopkins and Kevin Allen, employees of the Great Bowden-based Fernie Hunt, had pretended they where following a trail scent to cover up the illegal pursuit of a fox. Dismissing their appeal against convictions for breaching the ban on hunting, Judge Pert said: "It may be that they [hunt supporters] feel the day will come when this [Hunting] Act is repealed and they may be correct but the law is the law. Their conduct amounted to cynical subterfuge. They used a trail hunt as a cover." The five-day appeal, which concluded this afternoon (Friday), followed the convictions of Huntsman Hopkins and terrierman Allen at Harborough Magistrates' Court earlier this year. The charges were illegally hunting a mammal with a dog and interfering with a badger sett. Both men will have to pay out thousands in additional court fees for bringing the case to appeal - £3,630 for Hopkins and £2,730 for Allen.
POWAperson adds - To the right is a misty still from the LACS covert monitoring video which helped convict the Fernie 2. It was filmed from a considerable distance, hence the haziness. Here, the fox has just been bolted from the badger sett after Allen and others had dug into it. It can just be made out near the bottom left of the pic. Some of the waiting riders, with Hopkins on the grey, can be seen beyond the hedge, looking on. The full pack, that chased the fox into the sett, is nearby.  In the video, the fleeing fox is seen being pursued by hounds and riders seconds later. This was a brilliant operation by LACS monitors, but it is extremely rare, difficult and increasingly dangerous to obtain this quality of film evidence. However, given the current, lamentable weaknesses of the Act, and the feebleness of official attempts to enforce the law that largely flow from them, little short of this is ever going to be sufficient to secure prosecutions, let alone convictions.  

15-10-11    Leicester Mercury   Judge dismisses hunt pair appeal   A judge has dismissed an appeal by two hunt employees convicted of breaching hunting laws. Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Kevin Allen, of the Harborough-based Fernie Hunt, were found guilty earlier this year of hunting a live fox and digging into an active badger sett. However, the pair had maintained they were hunting an artificial trail when caught on film by hunt monitors. They also claimed they had dug into a hole to shoot a fox that had gone to ground, not to release it so it could be hunted. The pair both maintained they had examined the hole and believed it was not a badger sett in current use.

Yesterday, at the end of a five-day appeal into their convictions, Judge Michael Pert QC confirmed the convictions and accused the Fernie Hunt of using the "cover of trail hunting as a cynical subterfuge." Judge Pert said: "It is clear to us that the Hunt was hunting a live fox." He said he and two magistrates were convinced that the hunt had dug into an active badger sett. He added: "We found Hopkins to be an unconvincing witness. We found Allen to be shifty and evasive."
However, he praised the objectivity of the four investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports, who filmed the hunt on January 27, 2010. He also said the court found that the evidence given by badger experts Dr Pam Mynott and Professor Stephen Harris convincing. He said: "It may be the fact that a day will come when the Hunting Act is repealed. But the law is the law." The pair's original sentences were also confirmed by the court...

Tim Bonner, of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFA), said: "We are extremely disappointed by the verdict on the Protection of Badgers Act convictions. We maintain that it was not a badger sett in current use."  He said the Fernie Hunt and the other members of the MFA would take on board the issues raised on the hunting charges. After the decision, Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, described the appeal as "ridiculous". He said: "Anyone who sees this film will see the clear actions of a Hunt intent on pursuing a fox."  Mr Duckworth said the hunting community had been asked to contribute to appeal costs which runs into tens of thousands of pounds.

15-10-11    LACS website Hunt were hunting foxes intentionally, in an act of subterfuge, says judge...    The League has placed the film evidence on YouTube.....  In a scathing attack on the tactics of the Fernie Hunt, the judge said that whatever the Hunt thought of the law, it was there to be obeyed. "Organised subterfuge is unacceptable", he told the court, also saying that he found the evidence of Hopkins as ‘unconvincing' and describing Allen as ‘shady'.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, described the appeal as ‘ridiculous'. "Anyone who sees this film will see the clear actions of a hunt intent on pursuing a fox. In two court cases, five magistrates and a crown court judge have been clear in what they have seen and have convicted these wildlife criminals."   The hunting community had been asked to contribute to defence costs, thought to exceed £100,000...  The pair's original sentences were confirmed by the court...  

POWAPerson says:- Thank goodness the Judge and Magistrates saw straight through the web of lies spun by the hunters to try to escape justice. In condemning their dishonesty so powerfully, Judge Pert has, hopefully, sent a signal to all police forces and prosecutors to be suspicious of all claims of 'Trail Hunting',  It will, however, without a strengthened Act, remain extraordinarily difficult to obtain evidence sufficient to convict, especially as Hunts can be expected now to be even more 'robust' than ever in resisting attempts to film their activity. The Fernie FH hierarchy should perhaps think itself lucky if they avoid investigation in relation to possible culpability. Whatever, this is a major humiliation not just for the Fernie 2 and for the Hunt itself, but also for the whole of the hunting lobby - and a devastating blow to their already crumbling credibility. Ironically, it came on the same day that hunting's highest-placed supporter, PM David Cameron, also suffered a grievous loss - of a Fox! [Liam, the Defence Secretary], forced to resign his Cabinet post. 
The unfolding story of the Fernie 2 Appeal prior to the verdict is told in chronological order in the stories below.

Fernie FH pair start their appeal against conviction

11-10-11   Leicester Mercury Fox hunt appeal gets under way     A pair of hunt employees have launched HopkinsandAllenFernie2.jpgappeals against their convictions for breaching hunting laws. Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Kevin Allen [both pictured left], of the Harborough-based Fernie Hunt, were found guilty earlier this year after a seven-day trial. Hunt monitors filmed them apparently chasing a fox and digging it out of a badger sett for it to be chased again, in breach of the Hunting Act and Protection of Badgers Act.

Hopkins and Allen denied the offence when they originally appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court but were found guilty. Their legal team appealed and a five-day hearing began at Leicester Crown Court yesterday. It will mean a judge and two magistrates will examine the complete case, viewing footage and hearing from witnesses and countryside experts.
Caroline Bray, responding, told the court that the case included footage of a day's hunting. She said: "The DVD shows that there are hounds on the scent of a fox at about 1pm and that the fox has gone to ground."  Ms Bray said huntsman Hopkins rode up on his white horse and then instructed terrier man Allen to introduce a terrier into the sett.  
She showed the court a DVD of the incident, which occurred at Stonton Wyville, north of Market Harborough, on January 27, 2010. Ms Bray said the DVD showed hounds collecting around a badger sett, "marking it", and the hunt assembling as men on foot dug at the sett's entrances. A fox is then seen running from the sett and hounds heading in the same direction, followed by members of the hunt.
League Against Cruel Sports investigator Ed Shepherd gave a commentary of the footage he shot at long range, which showed the Stonton Wyville incident and a later occasion when he filmed Hopkins allegedly encouraging hounds to follow the scent of a fox at another location.  Under the hunting law, it is legal for hounds to follow an artificial trail laid by an employee or member of the hunt. It is also legal for a hunt to shoot or kill a fox using a bird of prey if they come upon it by accident*.  

But Mr Shepherd told the court he saw no-one laying an artificial trail for the hunt to follow. He said at Stonton Wyville, he saw no net to catch the fox and no-one with a firearm to shoot it. When convicted in January, Hopkins (46), of Welham Road, Great Bowden, was ordered to pay £2,115 and Allen (52), of Nether Green, Great Bowden, had to pay £1,565. A national fund-raising drive** launched by the Fernie Hunt to pay for the appeal has so far raised tens of thousands of pounds.

POWAPerson adds:- * The reporter has the law wrong. An exemption to allow a full hound pack to be used to 'flush' a wild mammal to then be 'hunted' by a bird of prey was, absurdly and against the wishes of animal welfare groups and the Hawk Board, included in the Hunting Act. POWA believes this was intended to help sabotage the ban. It is exploited by many Hunts who transport such a bird around with them, but never actually use it, This provides 'cover' for their real hunting activity. The law says nothing about Hunts coming upon animals 'by accident' and they are not given leave to chase them with dogs if they do.
Hunts seen chasing or killing foxes, however, inevitably claim it to have been an 'accident' and overwhelming proof of intent is required to convict them. The video of this pair's behaviour seems damning, but it is extremely hard to obtain such compelling footage. If their appeal succeeds then winning prosecutions against organised Hunts will become even rarer than hen's teeth.
As for shooting, foxes, regrettably, have no protection from guns and anyone may shoot them pretty well anywhere and anytime they like, given a firearms licence. Under our ludicrous gun laws, this can include 9 year olds.    
** The Hunt side made much, earlier this year, of their 'fund-raising drive' for the Fernie 2 Appeal. The fact is the bloodsports lobby is immensely wealthy. They have already thrown millions of pounds at obviously hopeless challenges to the Hunting Act and are ever ready to provide 'family' with no-expenses spared backing if they fall foul of the law. 
12-10-11  Leicester Mercury    Hunt pair 'dug up sett'    A badger expert has told a court that hunt employees illegally dug into an active sett to get at a fox. Pam Mynott, of Leicestershire Badger Group, gave evidence during an appeal at Leicester Crown Court yesterday...  Dr Mynott said the badger sett was clearly in use, with evidence of bedding, hairs, claw marks and fresh dung. Hunt monitor Shaun Reeves said he filmed part of the digging out of the sett, near Mill Farm, Stonton Wyville, on January 27, 2010. Mr Reeves said he saw riders following hounds chasing the scent of a fox nearby. Another investigator, Paul Tilsley, said he heard the "hounds in cry" and someone shouting "go on get after him"... Their appeal continues.

13-10-11 Leicester Mercury Hounds 'hunting a live fox'    A fox expert has told a court he is convinced hounds were hunting a live quarry on film shot by hunt monitors. Professor Stephen Harris told a court yesterday he also heard a hunting horn urging the hounds onwards after a fox had been dug out of a badger sett. Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Kevin Allen, of the Fernie Hunt, were found guilty of breaching hunting laws after a trial in January.... At the previous hearing they claimed the hounds were following an artificial trail and that they were going to shoot the fox, which is allowed by law. They said the badger sett was not active....  Prof Harris, commenting on the film, said: "The attitude of the hounds, the cries and the speed of the running demonstrated to me they were chasing a live scent rather than an artificial trail."   Mr.Harris watched some of the footage which showed hounds being taken away from where the fox had gone to ground. He said: "Before the Hunting Act, that was classic practice to encourage the fox to bolt. A fox is more likely to stay put if there are hounds about." He said when the fox bolted he could hear a hunting horn sounding to encourage the hounds to go after it. He said he was convinced the badger sett was active and should not have been touched... The appeal continues.

13-10-11     Harborough Mail   A LEADING fox expert told a court that video footage of the Fernie Hunt clearly shows it hunting illegally. Professor Stephen Harris, who has studied foxes for 45 years and witnessed many hunts, was giving evidence at Leicester Crown Court yesterday… Prof Harris said: "If the hounds were accidentally hunting live quarry to ground I would expect the huntsman to try to stop them. That didn’t happen. They were clearly hunting live quarry. Dogs don’t tend to get excited when hunting an artificial scent. The video shows prolonged, active excitement, characteristic of hunting live quarry." Prof Harris and another witness, badger expert Dr Pamela Mynott, both told the court evidence of badger hair, dung heaps and bedding showed the sett was occupied at the time of the incident.

14-10-11   Leicester Mercury Two hunt employees have denied intentionally hunting a fox.     Derek Hopkins, a huntsman, told a court he was leading a series of trail hunts at the time he was filmed by watchers. Colleague, terrierman Kevin Allen, said he had laid two of the trails and had also intended to shoot a fox the hunt had come across by accident - which is legal. Both employees of the Fernie Hunt were found guilty of breaching the Hunting Act and Protection of Badgers Act at a trial in January.

League Against Cruel Sports investigators filmed them apparently chasing a fox and digging it out of a badger sett for it to be chased again, which is illegal under the act. Hopkins and Allen are appealing against their convictions. Asked by his lawyer, Philip Mott QC, if he was hunting foxes that day Hopkins said: "No, I was not." Hopkins said the hounds were chasing an artificial trail, on January 27, 2010. The court has seen footage of hounds marking a site, where a fox had gone to ground. Hopkins said he was instructed to take the hounds to one side so the riders could follow a fresh trail that was being laid. The footage showed a fox bolting, followed by the hounds. Hopkins said: "I did not see the fox bolt and I did not encourage the hounds. We went to get the hounds to stop and turn away, which they did."
Under cross-examination, Hopkins denied that the call "go on get after him", heard by one of the monitors, was an instruction to hounds. He said: "The phrase is 'get on to him' and is an instruction a whipper-in would give so that hounds come to me." Allen said: "We were trail hunting. I laid two trails." He said he was called in to shoot the fox by the joint master, Chris Parker, and that the hunt had written permission from the landowner to shoot foxes found on his land. Allen said he examined the holes where the fox had gone to ground and did not believe it was an active badger sett. 
He netted two holes so his terrier would force the fox above ground. Allen said his dog got trapped so he dug it out. Hunt employees continued digging, to encourage the fox into one of the nets but it bolted. 
Allen denied digging out the fox so it could be hunted....   The appeal continues...

No Repeal vote before 2013 at earliest, claims BBC   

6-10-11   BBC East News   The BBC's Eastern Region political correspondent, Andrew Sinclair, tonight claimed, in a regional news bulletin, that 'Parliamentary sources' had assured him any Commons vote on repeal of the Hunting Act 2004 will be delayed still further. He reported that this is because the Government has more urgent matters to attend to, but also acknowledged that they did not currently have sufficient votes in the House to effect the measure. The Countryside Alliance reacted resignedly, just saying they'd work to increase their support, but Lorraine Platt of Conservatives Against Fox Hunting [right] smiled on the news, observing that "the longer that the Hunting Act remains in place, the more embedded it becomes in society." 

POWAperson says:- The news, if correct, is welcome but expected. We remain very wary of the very close relationship between the Tory hierarchy and the hunting lobby and are sure they will seize any opportunity they can to try to nullify the ban. We are also disappointed that most of the media, as Mr. Sinclair did in his piece, still accept and repeat the fiction put out by the Hunters that they are restricting themselves to 'following trails laid by quad bikes'.


Kent Hunt stages early morning invasion of village, kills fox there

 6-10-11   LACS Website   Hunting hounds riot through garden, killing fox   Pressure on hunting authorities to name and expose hunt involved.  As many as a dozen hunt hounds rampaged through a small village yesterday morning, killing a fox [below, left], it has emerged.  Shocked residents of East Studdal, six miles north of Dover, Kent, heard hounds in full cry and found the main street through the village blocked by hounds with riders and hunt staff nearby.

Resident Christine Richardson heard the commotion and said it sounded as though animals were fighting or something was being killed. "It's disgusting, abhorrent, that people can do this to an animal for sport," said Ms Richardson. "I was so appalled that I rang the FoxkilledbyHuntinKent5-10-11.jpgLeague Against Cruel Sports as I didn't know what else to do". [Her interview on LACS website page]
Hounds rioted through another resident's garden, breaking a wooden fence, before killing a fox on a small patch of waste land. The dead fox was left with an injury to its stomach and its internal organs were hanging out. The League Against Cruel Sports, which runs a Hunt Crimewatch line through which illegal hunting can be reported, said it was "disappointed but not surprised" by the incident. "Day in, day out, we get calls from people the length and breadth of the country who've witnessed a hunt or suffered their arrogance and rudeness," said Joe Duckworth, the League's chief executive. "It's disappointing that we get so many calls, really, but not surprising. The authorities that claim to regulate hunting, such as the Masters of Fox Hounds Association, remain silent and refuse to name the Hunts involved, and this just adds to the Hunts' arrogance at believing that they can stick two fingers up at the law and get away with it. If hunting really was carried out by respectable people who believe in the rule of law, they'd own up to this incident and face the music," added Mr Duckworth. "But they are cowardly sadists who get fun from chasing and torturing animals, so why would they care about a few distressed residents?" The incident has been reported to Kent Police.

LACS Observers film 'cub hunting' in County Durham

Durhamcubhunt3-9-11.jpg4-10-11  LACS Website    Fox cub hunt should 'own up and face the music' - Hunt management 'must show leadership', says charity     A film published on YouTube today allegedly shows a Hunt breaking the law by hunting fox cubs, according to an animal welfare charity. The League Against Cruel Sports says that the film shows people taking part in 'cub hunting', where a hunt trains its young hounds to kill by setting them on young fox cubs. Campaigners say the practice has become known as 'autumn hunting' in recent years as hunts have attempted to make the spectacle sound less unpleasant. "This hunt cannot claim to be trail hunting as you'd never lay a trail in a covert and then surround it,"Oldstylecubhunting.jpg said Joe Duckworth, the League's chief executive. "The film clearly shows hunt supporters surrounding a covert, and when the fox pops out, they do all they can to drive it back in to the waiting hounds. This is as grotesque as hunting gets and it's illegal."
The footage was shot by two League Against Cruel Sports volunteer hunt observers in County Durham last month. Mr Duckworth said that the individuals concerned cannot be prosecuted as they can't be identified from the film. "But we know that only two registered Hunts hunt across this land in County Durham, and so do the Masters of Fox Hounds Association, who claim to hold hunts to account. If that Association was true to its name and claim, they'd be insisting that the Hunt concerned identifies itself and issues a public apology, and that the people involved hand themselves into police. We doubt either the Hunt concerned, or the Masters of Fox Hounds Association, will be big or brave enough to do so," he added.
POWAPerson says:- The print, above right, shows 19th Century 'cubbing'. What's really changed?


..... 30th September - Crawley FH 'Gang of Four' plead their innocence

..... 28th September - Hounds from North Ledbury FH savage alpaca and damage property

..... 27th September - Tiverton SH Huntsman charged with raping a woman at Hunt Ball

..... 26th September - Government approves creation of an NVQ in Hunting

..... 12th September - Further embarrassment for disgraced West Somerset Vale FH 

.....  8th September - Crawley & Horsham FH behaviour convicted of threatening behaviour to sabs

.....  6th September - West Somerset Vale FH Whip convicted of violent attack on LACS monitor

.....  6th September - Fox filmed fleeing from Seavington FH hounds along mainline railway track



Crawley & Horsham FH 'Gang of Four' plead their innocence

30-9-11   Brighton Argus    Fox hunting court hearing adjourned   A court hearing for four people accused of illegal fox hunting has been adjourned. The quartet, who are all members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, are accused of hunting a fox with a dog contrary to the Hunting Act 2004. Sussex Police launched an investigation after videos allegedly showing a fox being killed during a hunt were passed to the force by members of the public. The four are joint master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt - Henry James Hawksfield, 58, of Bines Road, Partridge Green, near Horsham, Rachel Holdsworth, of Rock Road, Washington, near Storrington, Neil Millard, 44, of Dragons Lane, Shipley, near Horsham, and Andrew Phillis, 50, of Halwell, Totnes, Devon. They have been summonsed to appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court to face four charges under section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. The hearing was adjourned to November 10 at Haywards Heath Magistrates' Court.

29-9-11   Countryside Alliance website    Crawley & Horsham Hunting Act case -update    All four members of the CrawleyJamieHawksfieldJMCrawleyandHorshamFHclose-up.jpg and Horsham Hunt charged with Hunting Act offences pleaded not guilty to all charges.....They were not present at the hearing. Crawley and Horsham joint-Master Antony Sandeman said: "Jamie Hawksfield, Rachael Holdsworth, Neill Millard [pictured right, in jovial mood] and Andrew Phillis have the full support of the whole hunt and we are confident that they will be found not guilty. The Crawley and Horsham Hunt has carried out legal hunting activity since the Hunting Act came into force in February 2005. The hunt has been the subject of endless allegation during those six years, but no-one connected to the hunt has ever been convicted of a Hunting Act offence." Countryside Alliance South East Regional Director commented: "The Countryside Alliance and the wider hunting community is standing by Jamie, Rachael, Neil and Andrew in this. We continue to campaign for repeal of the atrocious Hunting Act and have great faith in hunting's long term future." 

POWAperson adds -  The Mail's uber-Tory sketch writer, Quentin Letts, got in a fine pickle about the arrest of the C&H4. In an article bemoaning how pro-Labour police had become [mmm], he scribbled [presumably with a green pen]:-

17-9-11   Daily Mail   ... in rural Sussex, members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt were recently arrested by police officers who behaved as though they were in some sort of SWAT team. Dawn raids. Sirens. Skidding stops. Handcuffs in the home. One of those arrested runs a City investment company. Another was a veteran film-maker. Both these middle-class pillars would have happily reported to the local nick, but instead were treated like Al  Qaeda suspects. Actually, that's not fair. If they had been bearded Jihadists, they would have been offered translation services and a prayer mat and other amenities. Some £200,000 has been blown by Sussex constabulary on prosecuting the hunt matter. Local MPs Francis Maude and Nicholas Soames have made official complaints about the police's heavy-handedness. Mr Maude is Cabinet Office minister. He sees David Cameron and Nick Clegg almost every day. When thick or mouthy rozzers behave like the uniform branch of New Labour, is it any surprise the Coalition cuts their budgets?

POWAPerson says:- We don't know how true Letts' account of the arrests is - but we wish they were on YouTube! 

Tiverton Staghounds Huntsman charged with raping a woman

27-9-11   Mid Devon Gazette   Rape allegation levelled at staghounds huntsman     A HUNTSMAN with the Tiverton Staghounds has been charged with raping a woman. John Norrish [pictured below], 67, from Mouseberry Farm, East Worlington, is due to appear in front of magistrates in Exeter today. The offence is alleged to have happened on Saturday, July 2, at a property in the Crediton area. The arrest and investigation, whichJohnNorrishTivertonSHHuntsman.jpeg followed a complaint made to Devon & Cornwall Police, has sent shockwaves through the hunting community. Mr Norrish is well known in equestrian circles, and has acted in various capacities for several hunts in the West country for nearly 40 years. Sources told the Gazette that another man had been recruited to undertake some of his duties while an investigation was being carried out. However, one member of the hunt disputed this and said he was still very much involved in the staghounds. Another hunt member, who did not want to be named, said the matter was being treated as a private issue and that Mr Norrish still had the support of other Tiverton Staghounds members. Colin Burnell, the Chairman of the Hunt, declined to comment.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "I can confirm that a man in his sixties is due to appear at Central Devon Magistrates Court on Tuesday, September 27. He has been charged with raping an adult female at an address in Devon on July 2 of this year." The force declined to give the age of the alleged victim or the address at which the alleged offence was said to have taken place.

The Tiverton Staghounds have a loyal following in Tiverton and the surrounding countryside, and regularly feature in the main ring at the Mid Devon Show. Since the hunting ban the hunt has organised drag and trail hunts. The staghounds also organises a number of social events throughout the year, runs a pony club for junior members and is involved in point to point.     

UPDATE  12-10-11  Western Morning News reported Norrish appearing before Exeter Magistrates. No plea was entered but will be taken at a hearing on 6-1-12. The Huntsman, who is accused of raping a woman at a Ball in July, will contest the case. Trial date has now been set for 14-5-12.


Hounds from North Ledbury FH savage alpacas and damage property

28-9-11    Alpacas attacked by hunt hounds    A HORRIFIED animal lover says her alpacas are lucky to be alive - after they were savagely attacked by hunt hounds. Two of Rachel Simon's beloved animals were badly injured after being viciously ravaged by the ‘out of control' dogs from the North Ledbury Hunt, in Herefordshire. The hunt was forbidden from entering the paddock in Suckley where the animals were attacked at 8am on Saturday. Rachel and her partner Phil ran into the field in SavagedalpacaLouis28911.jpgtheir pyjamas in a frantic attempt to move the dogs - who were ‘hanging off' the frightened animals.

Ms Simon said several dogs tried to bring down a two-year-old alpaca called Louis [pictured right, recovering], who was bitten several times. "He had several bites to his neck and body and has needed a few nasty stitches to his leg wounds," said Ms Simon. "There must have been a bout 20 of them just hanging off all six of them. I was horrified. It was awful, all hell broke lose. They jumped the fence and started randomly attacking the alpacas, biting them, barking and chasing them. We had noticed they were getting a bit too close to our land - so we kept the cats indoors. A neighbour did inform one of the hunt that they were getting close, but they didn't seem bothered. Then all of a sudden these dogs just leapt into our garden, completely out of control. It took what seemed like forever to find somebody from the hunt to come and crack the whip. They were even ignoring the horns - there was no discipline in those dogs. We have dogs ourselves and know you have a legal obligation to keep them under control."
Ms Simon, 42, said she now wants a reassurance that the Hunt will not come on to her property again. She added: "I run a business selling produce made from alpaca fleece - so this is my livelihood at risk. I just hope that they keep well away so this situation does not happen again." The alpacas are have mainly stayed in the back paddock since the attack but Miss Simon said they had begun interacting with her again after spending the weekend looking after them. Though Louis was still limping quite badly.

She said: "They are sensitive creatures so they could have collapsed and died from the stress." Once the dogs were brought under control a further three came into the field but with the help of neighbours they simply joined the rest of the pack. An emergency on-call vet tended to the injured animals as well as caring for those suffering from stress and shock.

Valerie Allfrey, joint master, said in a statement that the North Ledbury Hunt said she regretted the incident and the injuries caused. "The Hunt is paying for any veterinary expenses which were required at the time," the statement added. The Hunt have also repaired fences that were damaged by their hounds.

Government approves creation of 'NVQ in hunting'

26-9-11   Daily Mail    Now you can get an NVQ in HUNTING - despite the bloodsport being banned     Students will be able to gain a Government-approved qualification in hunting - even though the sport was banned six years ago. Pupils will study hunting as part of an NVQ in Animal Care, in a programme supported by the national foxhunting authority. But animal-welfare campaigners have criticised the move, comparing it to 'an NVQ in slavery'.

Haddon Training, based in Marlborough, Wiltshire, has teamed up with the Masters of the Foxhounds Association to offer the diploma. The course in 'Foxhound, Harrier and Beagle Kennels' has been recognised by the official Government body which regulates qualifications. Students will learn about animal welfare and hunting safety, as well as receiving training in how to run kennels. Ms Seed said the NVQ would give Britain 'the huntsmen and first whippers-in of the future.' She added: 'In future if the youngsters leave hunting, they've got a prospect of employment elsewhere. 'We're also able to give them the theoretical side on the course, of operating in hunt kennels and we can actually assess them practically to ensure that they are safe in their environment and that they have the skills to move on.'

William Parker, 17, who is currently studying the course, said: 'I wouldn't see it as an important part of hunt staff life, but it is a very useful thing to have. 'Lots of people have turned up in the past and said "I've had experience in these kennels, these kennels and these kennels," and when you phone round that's not the case. 'This qualification is solid proof you have done it, you've worked towards it, and it will help with the job - though it's not vital.'

Hunting foxes and deer with more than two hounds was made illegal in 2005 thanks to the Hunting Act, but hunts now use a number of loopholes to continue their traditional activities. Steve Taylor, a spokesman for the League of Cruel Sports, said: 'It would be interesting to know if there's a section on how to "accidentally hunt", which is how many hunts are getting around the law and still killing foxes cruelly. 'This is a qualification rooted in the past - what will be next, an NVQ in slavery?' A spokesman for Haddon Training said the new qualification was already proving popular for young hunt workers... 

See 'Latest POWA Press letter' for our comments on this story

Further embarrassment for disgraced West Somerset Vale FH

12-9-11    LACS website   Knocking on Bevan’s door     The West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds (WSVFH) suffered their second embarrassment in less than a week. On Tuesday, Richard Bevan, a whipper-in for the WSVFH pleaded guilty to assaulting League Against Cruel Sports investigator, Paul Tillsley [see below], an attack so severe that Paul had to attend hospital on two occasions. Now the WSVFH has been forced into an embarrassing retreat after it emerged a FTSE 250 company that the Hunt claimed was co-sponsoring one of its events had never heard of it. The League contacted the FTSE 250 company, who asked not to be named, following Bevan’s conviction asking them to urgently review their sponsorship of the WSVFH Show in light of Bevan’s conviction for assault and the failure of his employers to discipline him despite knowing for some time that he would plead guilty.
The company in question…. came back the next morning saying that there was no record of any agreement to sponsor the WSVFH event. They wrote to the Hunt and requesting that any publication using their name be withdrawn and to not use their name in future in connection with this event. We are very pleased that the company took decisive action and are only sorry that they do not want any positive publicity as a result of this incident…. As for the Hunt – we will continue to target their corporate sponsors until they see fit to discipline a member of their staff who whilst on duty assaulted a person lawfully going about their business.    

See the WSVFH's humiliating climb-down letter here    

Crawley & Horsham FH supporter convicted of threatening behaviour to sabs

8-9-11   HSA website   Crawley & Horsham hunt supporter convicted    Hunt supporter, AndrewAndrewLeaverCrawleyHorshamsupporter.jpg Leaver, was convicted recently of the use of threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment or distress. He received a 12 months conditional discharge and had to pay costs of £85. He is a foot follower on the Crawley and Horsham FH and on the 5th February, while the Croydon Hunt Sabs Land Rover was blocked in by hunt vehicles, he was filmed trying to punch through the side passenger window of their Land rover, apparently trying to reach the driver. This was filmed by other Hunt Saboteurs who he then proceeded to threaten. Initially denying the charges he pleaded guilty after being show the video evidence. More about Mr. Leaver, most of which POWA cannot verify, can be read here


West Somerset Vale FH whip convicted for violent attack on LACS Monitor

6-9-11   LACS website   VIDEO   Hunt thug convicted of assault  - ‘Hunter should have been charged with robbery', says charity boss.    DavidBevanSomersetValeFHwhipper-inconvictedofassault6-9-11.jpgAn employee of the West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds has today been convicted of assault by beating, after he attacked Paul Tillsley, an investigations officer for the League Against Cruel Sports. Mr Tillsley was monitoring the activity of the West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds on 29th March, when David Bevan, pictured, the hunt's whipper-in, attacked him and took his video camera. Mr Bevan was given a conditional discharge for twelve months, and ordered to pay £150 compensation and £85 costs at Taunton Magistrates Court earlier today.

"Mr Bevan used his horse to push me along while he struck me a number of times with the handle of his whip," said Mr Tillsley. "He then knocked me down and pinned me to the ground while he forcibly took my camcorder from me and gave it to another man. As a result of the assault I sustained cuts and bruises to my head, arms and ribs and I had to attend hospital on two occasions."
The League's chief executive, Joe Duckworth, said that he was surprised and disappointed that Bevan had only been charged with assault. "It strikes me that if a man had pinned someone down and stolen his camera on the streets of London, he'd be in jail now," said Mr Duckworth. "We think it was a very poor decision on the part of the CPS that Mr Bevan wasn't charged with robbery."

Mr Duckworth said that this case demonstrated the arrogance of members of the hunting community. "Hunters maraud around the countryside with little or no regard for other people. We're gearing up for the start of the hunting season and we know that our Hunt Crimewatch service will be inundated with calls from people experiencing hunts' anti-social behaviour," he said. "You have to be brave to stand up to these rural bullies but today's conviction shows that they can be held to account.

7-9-11   Western Daily Press   Somerset huntsman admits attack on monitor    A hunt Whipper-in who attacked the head of operations of the League Against Cruel Sports because he did not want to be filmed while trail hunting has admitted common assault...  The court took into account his previous good character and medical history. ​

Magistrates heard Somerset-based Paul Tillsley was attempting to film the hunt on a bridle way at Woodlands Hill in West Somerset at 11.52am on March 29 this year when the assault took place. Sarah Rhodes, prosecuting, said Mr Tillsley stepped back off the bridleway to allow the hunt master and a following horseman to pass. The master went by but...  Bevan, repeatedly goaded Mr Tillsley with his horse, "barging" him and pushing him into the gorse. Miss Rhodes told the court: "The man then started to strike out at Mr Tillsley with his whip. The whip’s antler handle made contact with Mr Tillsely’s head."

Bevan then rode off and a "shocked and stunned" Mr Tillsley began to beat a retreat down the hill. But he then felt a horse close behind him again and another blow to the back of his head. Mr Tillsley put up his hand and felt blood. Bevan then rode in front of Mr Tillsley, allegedly ranting and calling for help. Miss Rhodes said Mr Tillsley wanted to get away but Bevan followed on foot, striking with his whip and hitting Mr Tillsley’s arm. Mr Tillsley was knocked to the ground by the blow and Bevan then sat on him, calling for help.

Other hunt followers arrived and Mr Tillsley’s camera was taken from him. Bevan then shook his hand and asked him to promise not to return. Mr Tillsley agreed because he was dazed and shaken. He called an ambulance and was taken to Bridgwater hospital’s minor injuries unit where one wound in his head was closed with glue. He had other superficial injuries.

Tim Hayden, defending, said Tillsley’s filming "rankled" and Bevan had asked him to stop. The solicitor also said Bevan, who lives at the hunt kennels at Stogursey, was prescribed medication for a medical condition a week later, and it may have been significant that he was not on it at the time. Mr Hayden said the camera was never intended to be permanently confiscated and the Master took it to Bridgwater police station later that day. Speaking for the League Against Cruel Sports after the case Steve Taylor said: "We are very disappointed by the sentence and also by the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision not to bring a charge of robbery over the camera."

POWAperson says: - LACS seem well justified in complaining that the charge should have been robbery. This was a protracted and violent mugging, and must have been terrifying for Paul. On numerous occasions, monitors or sabs have had property forcibly stolen from them by hunters, yet the offences, when charged at all, are invariably classed as the much less serious 'theft'. Here, Bevan didn't have to answer any charge related to the camera.
Note the typical arrogance and sense of entitlement inherent in the Hunt side talking of 'confiscating' the equipment! But even for the assault alone, the sentence is derisory.
 Because police can't or won't enforce the Hunting Act properly, monitors have to risk life and limb to try to bring rogue hunters to book. And this is how the justice system rewards and protects them. Full WDP article and comments - some of which query the extent of Bevan's 'previous good character' - 

Fox filmed fleeing Seavington FH hounds along mainline railway
Hounds invade track - Hunt claims it was another 'accident'

 6-9-11   BBC News website   Hounds 'filmed pursuing fox on to Somerset railway'    Hounds from a Somerset hunt foxonrailwayfleeingSeavingtonFHhounds3-9-11.jpghave been filmed apparently pursuing a fox, an animal welfare group has claimed. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said the fox was shown running on a railway line at Clapton. A few moments after the fox runs on the tracks hounds are then shown appearing but are called back by huntsmen.

A Countryside Alliance spokeswoman, speaking on behalf of the Seavington Hunt, said an investigation would take place into the incident.

Hunting foxes with dogs has been illegal since 2005 but they can chase a scent and flush out foxes who are then shot. Avon and Somerset Police said its hunt liaison officer was investigating whether any illegal hunting had occurred while British Transport Police said no trespass offence had been committed as no people had gone on to the line.
The IFAW member who filmed the incident, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was "completely irresponsible". "I've seen a lot of things over the years I've been filming," he said. "This is a main line railway, I don't know what would have happened if they'd have hit the hounds on that line." The hounds apparently pursued the fox on to a railway line.
Alison Hawes, from the Countryside Alliance, which represents hunts, said an investigation would take place into how the hounds ended up on the track. She said: "They were on there for less than two minutes and the hunt acted very professionally in calling them off the line as quickly as possible."
Andrew Hudd, from the train drivers' union Aslef, said footage of the incident was "shocking". "I estimate around a dozen [dogs were on the line] at one point which is a considerable threat to a train," he said. Network Rail has asked to see the footage.

7-9-11   Western Daily Press   Hounds on Somerset rail line spark row    A West hunt has been described as "incompetentFOXONRAILWAYLEGSOUT.jpg, hopeless and careless" by the League Against Cruel Sports after hounds allegedly strayed onto a railway line. It is the second safety incident involving hounds from the Somerset-based Seavington Hunt in 18 months. In February last year three hounds were killed in collisions with cars on the A303 near Tintinhull, Yeovil. On Saturday, hunt monitors filmed a fox running down the main London to Exeter train line, with hounds close behind. The hunt said it was hunting an artificial scent. But Joe Duckworth, CEO of the League, said only a fool would lay an artificial scent near a busy dual carriageway or railway line. Mr Duckworth said: "The carnage this hunt could have caused doesn’t bear thinking about."
Jeremy Darke, Senior Master of the Seavington Hunt said... : "We were hunting within the law that morning, and like other hunts act in a responsible and legal way. No hounds were injured and as far as I am aware there was no incident with a train. We have an internal investigation but until we are given a copy of the film I cannot comment further."

POWAperson says:-  Congratulations to the monitor for a brilliant piece of filming. The Seavington were actually videoed hunting on this same stretch of line before - albeit 15 years ago. A Hunt member was fined £25. This new incident could have been a tragedy. We understand an express was due ten minutes later. Railway trespass is less common than before the Act, but still happens and can mean only two things. Either Hunts are unable to control their dogs and so shouldn't take them out and endanger them and the public, or they are not really 'trail hunting' at all.
Within the last 2 years,  other South-West Hunts have had hounds killed on high-speed rail lines: at least one from the Vale of the White Horse FH in January 2011 on the Gloucs/Wilts border at Sapperton [though the Hunt denied this, the driver said he knew he hit a hound and saw them carry the body away], and at least 6 on the last day of 2009, when the Beaufort pack charged across the mainline. Both incidents also resulted in substantial delays to trains and passengers, shock to the drivers and, presumably, great expense to the operators. Yet the Hunts walked away scot-free, as they nearly always do. And as they did when the 
Seavington caused a horrific accident in February 2010. At least three hounds were killed by cars, travelling at 60 mph, which ploughed into the pack on the A303.   



..... 31-8-11 - Ann Widdecombe praises 'intrepid monitors' in Daily Express article 

..... 28-8-11 - Prime Minister's Huntsman friend faces illegal hunting charges

..... 24-8-11 - Four Crawley & Horsham FH riders face illegal hunting charges - at long last


Ann Widdecombe praises 'intrepid' hunt monitors in short piece in Daily Express

Two days later, the paper publishes a violently pro-hunt full page article 

AnnWiddecombe.jpg31-8-11  Daily Express  Ann Widdecombe: Monitors help keep hunt legal   THE most telling aspect of the prosecution of the huntsman Julian Barnfield for illegal foxhunting is that the evidence wasn’t gathered by a hard pressed police but by hunt monitors, an intrepid small band of mainly elderly people who film hunt activities. While there is no suggestion in this case of intimidation, monitors endure harassment and even assault from hunters. It was thanks to their meticulous filming that a monitor was acquitted of manslaughter when he moved his helicopter off too soon. The jury saw in all its detail the threatening and frightening conduct of a man whom the hunt had tried to portray as a gentle soul who went up to the helicopter to "reason" with the monitors. These monitors go out often without a policeman in sight and are very vulnerable, yet they still go. Without their evidence it’s unlikely the law would be policed at all. If we want to make sure that hunting keeps within the law then what better way is there than to attach monitors to every hunt? After all if the hunt is indeed law-abiding then it has nothing to fear.  

To see highlights of the vitriolic response of hunt supporters and replies from monitors and POWA Associates, go to Page 'Widders sparks monitoring row'

2-9-11    Daily Express  
WHY FOX HUNTING BAN SHOULD NOW BE OVERTURNED    By Nigel Burke   MY colleague Ann Widdecombe has suggested that animal rights activists should be sent out with video cameras to monitor hunts to make sure that they stay within the terms of the Hunting Act and she paints a picture of them as a benign Neighbourhood Watch for foxes. I’m afraid that when she was an anti-hunting MP, valuable to animal rights campaigners, Ann won’t have had the chance to meet activists as they truly are. When I worked for a pro-hunting organisation I met plenty of them in Westminster lobbies and up country lanes. I found they had two faces, one in a balaclava. They filmed me many times, once as I came out of a Pizza Express in central London and was legally hunting for a taxi. Many anti-hunting activists use video to intimidate and to gather intelligence for criminal acts. Some of the nice-as-pie anti-hunting campaigners who meet MPs, debate on radio and write passionate, fairly literate letters to newspapers about hunting have long criminal records. I could name names but the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act prevents me from doing so. That is not to say filming hunting activity is valueless. All the footage collected by anti-hunting activists since the Hunting Act 2004 came into force has established some things worth knowing. Many anti-hunting activists use video to intimidate and to gather intelligence for criminal acts. First is the inhuman malice of some activists towards hunting people.... 

For rest of article, responses sent by antis, and Ann W's riposte in D.E. 7-9, see page 'Widders Sparks Monitoring row 

Prime Minister's Heythrop huntsman 'friend' faces illegal hunting charges

28-8-11   Mail on Sunday  Cameron's embarrassment as Chipping Norton Set's favourite huntsman faces Court over illegal hunting     David Cameron was facing political embarrassment last night after a leading member of the local hunt he has ridden with was charged with illegal foxhunting. Julian Barnfield, 47,JulianBarnfield.jpgthe professional huntsman with the Heythrop hunt [right], will appear before magistrates next month on two counts of unlawfully hunting a fox. The prosecution, which is being brought by the RSPCA, will reopen political divisions over hunting and increase pressure on Ministers to overturn the ban introduced by the Labour Government in 2004.
The Prime Minister has ridden with the Heythrop six times and the hunt is popular with fellow members of the Chipping Norton Set – an influential group of MPs and media professionals who live close to the Oxfordshire market town. Prominent supporters include Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, and her husband Charlie...  Several leading members of the local Conservative party are also members of the hunt and in the past Mr Cameron has been keen to declare his support. In 2003, he described the then proposed ban on hunting as ‘illiberal and bossy’.
The hunt is supported by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson. He also recalled a day out with the Heythrop, saying: ‘Nothing had prepared me for the sheer terror of a day’s hunting… In their 2010 manifesto, the Conservatives promised a free vote in the House of Commons on whether to overturn the ban, but many political insiders doubt it will happen...
Barnfield, who is a fulltime employee of the Hunt and a friend of Mr Cameron, is a fierce opponent of the hunting ban. Before its introduction, he said: ‘I will not stop. I am proud of what I do.’ In a subsequent edition of the Heythrop Hunt magazine, he listed ‘hounds in full cry’ as his favourite music and said his preferred hobbies were stalking in Scotland and hunting mink in Ireland.    This is not the first time the huntsman has been charged with offences under the controversial legislation. In 2008, he became the first person in the country to be prosecuted by police for allegedly killing a fox. But the CPS withdrew the charges following a High Court ruling which made a distinction between searching for a mammal and actively hunting it.
The RSPCA’s case is based on video footage of the Heythrop hunt gathered by anti-hunt monitors.   Barnfield, who is a full-time employee of the hunt, is a friend of Mr Cameron's and a fierce opponent of the hunting ban. Barnfield in particular and the Heythrop in general have become regular targets for monitors since the hunting ban was introduced. In 2009, he said: ‘To be frank, I am plagued by them. It’s not just that they film me and the hunt, openly and covertly. Some are verbally vile, too.’   Barnfield said the hunt had raised concerns about the filming directly with Mr Cameron, adding: ‘He [Mr Cameron] doesn’t hunt with us any more but he supports us.’
In their 2010 manifesto, the conservatives promised a free vote in the House of Commons on the ban.  Penny Little, an anti-hunt monitor who gathered the footage, said: ‘We are delighted that the RSPCA has decided to mount a prosecution.’     An RSPCA spokesman said last night: ‘Julian Barnfield is scheduled to appear at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on September 16. He is charged with two offences of unlawfully hunting a wild mammal, namely a fox, with dogs, contrary to section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004, on two occasions in Oxfordshire in February and March. As proceedings are ongoing we are unable to make further comment.’
Simon Lawrance, the joint master of the Heythrop hunt, which operates in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, last night said Barnfield was uncontactable because he was on holiday in the Scottish Highlands. He added: ‘The hunt is fully supporting Mr Barnfield and the main message we want to get across is that the Heythrop hunts within the law.’ Barnfield’s solicitor Tim Hayden confirmed his client was due before magistrates. But he said he was unable to comment further until the RSPCA had disclosed full details of the case to his client.  Full article 

POWAperson says:-   Julian Barnfield escaped prosecution in 2009 when the CPS dropped the four charges against him after the High Court allowed the appeal of Tony Wright, the Exmoor FH huntsman, ruling that 'searching' was not 'hunting' and confirming that intent had to be proved. Heythrop supporters and riders, however, have been less lucky. Since the Hunting Act became law, no fewer than eight of them have been convicted or cautioned for assaulting or threatening monitors [some of whom are also POWA Associates] or damaging their property. Barnfield's complaint that monitors are 'verbally vile' is baseless and risible, given the torrents of abuse, and worse, regularly directed at monitors by riders and hunt supporters. This and other dodgy aspects of the Heythrop's behaviour is amply illustrated on YouTube. Type 'Scorpiovulpes' into its search box to access the evidence. In 2007, the Daily Mirror published an article entitled David Cameron link to violent hunt

Four Crawley & Horsham FH riders charged with illegal hunting - at long last

24-8-11   Daily Telegraph   Hunting ban put to test as four face court in landmark case    Four members of the same hunt are set to  appear in court charged with deliberately setting their dogs on JamieHawksfieldJMCrawleyandHorshamFHclose-up.jpgfoxes, in what will amount to the biggest test yet for the hunting ban. Jamie Hawksfield, 58, and Neil Millard [right], 44, joint masters of the Crawley and Horsham Foxhounds in West Sussex, are set to face magistrates on Thursday alongside the hunt secretary Rachel Holdsworth, 47, and the former huntsman, Andrew Phillis, 50.
The case follows almost three decades of bad blood between the Hunt and a local group of saboteurs now operating as a “wildlife protection group” dedicated to “monitoring” their activities. It has posted videos online showing angry verbal and, at times, physical confrontations between huntsmen and activists. The Countryside Alliance said the case could prove a key test of what had become an “unworkable” law introduced by Tony Blair six years ago. Although around 180 people have been prosecuted under the act almost all were poachers. Only six members of recognised hunts have been convicted including Tony Wright, a huntsman from Devon, who was later cleared on appeal. The cases have hinged on complex interpretations of a law which outlaws deliberately setting dogs on foxes but has left uncertainty over “accidental” kills.

Since the ban, traditional hunts have switched to simulated scent trails but there have been incidents in which hounds have gone after foxes. The current case centres on footage gathered in January in woods behind Shermanbury Place, an 18th Century country house, said to show a fox running through the horses legs being chased by the hounds. Antony Sandeman, the senior master of the hunt, said the four would vigorously contest the allegations. “The Crawley and Horsham Hunt has carried out legal hunting activity since the Hunting Act came into force in February 2005," he said. "The Hunt has been the subject of endless allegation during those six years ... but no one connected to the hunt has ever been convicted of a Hunting Act offence.”  Michelle Nudds, South East Regional Director for the Countryside Alliance, said: “The Countryside Alliance will be watching the case with interest and providing support to those involved. Since the inception of the Hunting Act just six of over 180 convictions have involved registered hunts, showing that the Hunting Act is an expensive and failed law that is in dire need of repeal.”

 POWAperson says:-  See West Sussex Wildlife Protection's website for reports on and video of incidents in January and February which were investigated by the police.    POWA pays tribute to Simon and Jane Wild and their colleagues whose persistence and courage has led to these charges and helped expose this appalling Hunt's behaviour. The C&H's most prominent member is MP and former Defence Minister Nicholas 'Fatty' Soames, a grandson of Winston Churchill. He was fined in 2008 after being filmed driving an uninsured quad bike on a public road during a meet, carrying unsecured children.
But the Hunt has a much darker side, with a litany of allegations of, and charges and convictions for, significant violence, abuse and criminal damage against monitors and sabs. In 2007 LACS released a 
devastating undercover exposure of their activities which, amazingly, led to no charges.   In 2009, the Hunt had to humiliatingly drop an attempt to injunct monitors to prevent them operating against the C&H, at an estimated cost of £130,000. The Wilds maintain that they have obtained mountains of video evidence of illegal hunting by the C&H since the Hunting Act came into force, some of which can be seen on YouTube but this is the first time the authorities have seen fit to bring charges.

23-8-11   Daily Telegraph   Hunt Master and riders charged with illegally killing foxes   A Hunt Master and four other Hunt members will this week appear before magistrates charged with illegally killing foxes,  Henry Hawksfield, joint master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, West Sussex, was filmed by hunt saboteurs at three meets in January and February this year. The videos allegedly showed him using hounds to kill foxes and prompted a police investigation. The 58-year-old from Partridge Green, near Horsham, Neil Millard, 44, from nearby Shipley, Rachel Holdsworth, from Washington, near Storrington and Andrew Phillis, 50, from Totnes in Devon, will all make their first appearance at Crawley magistrates on Thursday. They have been charged under the Hunting Act 2004, which banned hunting all mammals with dogs. Since the Act came into force seven years ago, only about 10 members of organised hunts have been prosecuted. Anyone found guilty of a fox hunting offence can be fined up to £5,000 and have their hounds and vehicles confiscated. The Crawley and Horsham Hunt, which has 70 members, refused to comment until after the case.

23-8-11   Brighton Argus   Fox Hunters to appear in court     Four people are to appear in court in the first fox hunting   prosecution in Sussex. 
The quartet, who are all members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, are accused of illegally hunting a fox with a dog contrary to the Hunting Act 2004. Sussex police launched an investigation after videos allegedly showing a fox being killed during a hunt were passed to the force by members of the public.  Joint Master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt Henry James Hawksfield, 58, of Bines Road, Partridge Green, near Horsham, Rachel Holdsworth of Rock Road, Washington, near Storrington, Neil Millard, 44, of Dragons Lane, Shipley, near Horsham, and Andrew Phillis, 50, of Halwell, Totnes, in Devon, have been summonsed to appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court to face four charges under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. They are due to appear in court on Thursday. The offences are said to have occurred at meets of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt on January 18 in Southwater, on January 25 in Shermanbury and on February 15 in Twineham and Shermanbury.



..... 23-7-11 - Supporter of P.M.'s Hunt cautioned for attack on monitor


Supporter of the P.M.'s Hunt cautioned for attack on monitor

23-7-11    Hunt Monitors Association Press Release   HEYTHROP HUNT SUPPORTER CAUTIONED FOR PUNCHING ANTI-HUNT MONITOR     Assault happened near Cameron's home    Sara Hanks, a supporter of the Heythrop Hunt, has been cautioned by Chipping Norton Police for punching a female hunt monitor on 5th March this year. Monitor Paula Cheyne was trying to film the activities of the Heythrop Hunt at Dean, near Chipping Norton, when she was approached by Hanks. After a brief exchange, Hanks suddenly punched Mrs Cheyne in the face, causing swelling and bruising to her face. The assault was actually witnessed by police officer PC Phil Marstin of Chipping Norton Police.

Mrs Cheyne is disappointed that Hanks has only received a caution. She said "I was extremely shocked by this assault, and I was also physically injured. We monitors suffer a great deal of intimidation and obstruction, with the Heythrop supporters being some of the worst in this respect. People who lash out at law abiding citizens should be punished appropriately."

Penny Little of the Hunt Monitors Association said "Sara Hanks is frequently obstructive and vocally offensive to the monitors, as our footage can prove. On this occasion she punched a woman in the face. This kind of violence is shocking and raises once again both the question of why the hunts keep trying to obstruct our cameras, and why the prosecuting authorities refuse to deal with the disgraceful situation surrounding hunting since the ban came into effect. Hunt monitors are non-violent and deserve protection from these violent people."

We understand Sara Hanks works at the Cotswold School, Bourton on the Water. Parents may be concerned to learn that a person of this type is in contact with their children. Dean, where the assault took place, is where David Cameron has his country home. Mr Cameron is a vocal supporter of fox hunting, and has pledged to repeal the ban at the earliest opportunity. Charlie and Rebekah Brooks are supporters of the Heythrop Hunt.

28.7.11   Cotswold Journal   Heythrop Hunt, near Chipping Norton, punch punishment is criticised - A FOX hunt monitor who was punched in the face by a hunting supporter has criticised the police punishment given to the offender. Hunt monitor Paula Cheyne was filming the activities of the Heythrop Hunt at Dean, near Chipping Norton, on March 5 when she was approached by a supporter of the hunt. After a brief exchange, a punch was thrown at Mrs Cheyne for which the person received a caution from Chipping Norton Police. Mrs Cheyne, a member of the Hunt Monitors Association, was disappointed that her attacker received a caution for the assault, believing the punishment to be too lenient. She said: "I was extremely shocked by this assault, and I was also physically injured. We monitors suffer a great deal of intimidation and obstruction. People who lash out at law-abiding citizens should be punished appropriately."

Penny Little, of the Hunt Monitors Association, said: "This kind of violence is shocking. It raises once again both the question of why the Hunts keep trying to obstruct our cameras and why the prosecuting authorities refuse to deal with the disgraceful situation surrounding hunting since the ban came into effect. Hunt monitors are non-violent and deserve protection."

Howard Woolliams, Heythrop Hunt Master, said: "It was pure provocation. We are constantly hounded by the hunt monitors. We are acting within the law and they are always out there filming us trying to prove we are hunting illegally. They even film the children on the Hunt and they are not meant to."

Adam Fisher, Thames Valley Police spokesman, said: "We can confirm a 46-year-old woman from Cheltenham was given a caution after she punched another female hunt monitor in the face. The victim, a 47-year-old woman from Milton Keynes, suffered reddening.

In 2007, the Daily Mirror published an article entitled David Cameron link to violent hunt

One of the Heythrop FH's greatest friends, David Cameron MP, Prime Minister of Gt.Britain & N.Ireland. Seen below with his mate Guy Avis, Secretary of the Heythrop, in 2007


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