Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 22nd May 2013
Hunt Saboteurs have today welcomed news that PC Sarah Ward, from North Yorkshire Police is no longer in position as a Wildlife Crime Officer. This comes after a complaint made by a saboteur about the officers link to the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds.
On 9th March 2013, Sarah Ward had been involved in a case in which the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds had been accused of deliberately illegally hunting and killing a fox at a meet near Escrick Park, North Yorkshire. Saboteurs from Sheffield and Manchester had witnessed the huntsman lead the hounds into a large area of elephant grass, where they quickly picked up on a scent of a fox. They reported that the hounds were encouraged by the huntsman before catching and killing the fox. Two red coated members quickly rode away with the fox's body and only entrails were left. The saboteurs presented the entrails to police officers in attendance and Sarah Ward was called to take statements from witnesses. The questions asked by Ward were geared more towards gathering more information on saboteurs than the incident in question.
Sarah Ward had also been involved in a case where it was alleged that the Y&AS terrier men had dug into a badget set on 17th December 2011. No action was taken and we can only wonder if there have been other cases she has thrown out. She was also involved in a failed case of “trespassing to disrupt a lawful activity” against hunt sabs in 26th November 2011, when the saboteurs had stopped an unlawful dig-out of a fox.
Hunt saboteurs were informed that Sarah Ward rides with the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds who saboteurs allege consistently and routinely flout the Hunting Act 2004. I an email, the hunt saboteur witnesses challenged Ward on her involvement with the hunt and she responded: "I do follow hounds occasionally and don't see what my hobbies have to do with members of the public as others wouldn't tell them they go bike riding.” , a few minutes later two attempts were made to recall the email. This information was then used to make an official complaint about Ward being biased in favour of the hunt.
Following the complaint, a letter from North Yorkshire Police, dated 12 April 2013 reported that Ward “will no longer deal with similar matters or any wildlife crime”. Saboteurs working in the North Yorkshire area welcome this decision and hope that Ward's successor is someone who actually cares about wildlife crime, and not potentially a part of it..
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated: “North Yorkshire Police have clearly made the correct decision in removing Sarah Ward from her post as Wildlife Officer, but the question should be asked what vetting procedure is used as well what training and expected skills are required regarding this post. Clearly there is a failure in the process so far. Although hunts ‘could’ be acting legally considering the frequent convictions using the hunting act, the claims made in the press by the Countryside Alliance, and the clear intention to return to legal hunting as soon as they can, any person who rides with a hunt cannot be seen as a fit person to be a Police wildlife officer. We assume all Wildlife cases she has been involved in will be reviewed, especially the most recent cases and appropriate actions taken by the police.”
Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 14th May 2013
On Tuesday 19th March 2013, Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt, Dean Common Farm, a drunken hunt supporter Adrian Wood forced entry to a hunt saboteur vehicle. The two female occupants could not stop his advances and had to drive away with him inside the vehicle in the hope that other hunt saboteurs or members of the hunt would be able to assist in removing him from their vehicle. Although other members of the hunt were in attendance none made any moves to assist. The two saboteurs were the subject of unwanted physical advances while trying to gain assistance by calling 999. Eventually they managed to remove him from their vehicle. Although called the police did not attend the scene (Crime ref CR/06463/13).
After an investigation the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute.
“If two women had been subjected to the forced entry of their vehicle by a drunken yob in a town high street, and had then been made to drive him around while being the victim of unwanted advances we suspect that the police would have responded in a different fashion.
Once again those who try and protect our wildlife from the excesses of the countryside thugs are left to fend for themselves. This of course will not deter our brave people but it stinks of hypocrisy and inequality.”
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) has been fighting cruelty to animals since 1963 and relies entirely on the generosity of its members and supporters. We have no paid staff, so every penny donated to the HSA goes exactly where it really counts, the groups saving the lives of hunted animals in the field.
If you are kind enough to leave a gift to the Hunt Saboteurs Association in your will, you can help to ensure that the good work carried out by active sabs carries on.
If you pass on without making a will, your estate is divided according to 'intestacy rules'. This can take a long time and may mean that the people or organisations that you would have liked to have benefited do not receive anything, whilst the government receives a share of your estate.
Wills are legally binding documents which should be written with the help of a solicitor. Many law firms advertise this specialism in the Yellow Pages and online, or you can contact the law society on 020 7242 1222 for advice. If you already have a will, a bequest to the HSA can be added as a codicil.
If you choose to remember the HSA in your will, please let us know by contacting us.
Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 17th April 2013
On 15th December 2012 members of the Berkshire and North Downs hunt saboteur groups attended a meet of the old Berkshire fox hunt near Ashbury.
During the day one member was attacked by one of the hunts riders. Gemma Margaret Brooking assaulted a hunt saboteur with her riding crop and she was subsequently charged and pleaded guilty to assault by beating. She was ordered to pay £75 in compensation, fined £100 and £75 in costs.
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated:
"Once more we have an incident of unprovoked hunt violence and a member of a hunt found guilty of criminal activity. This unprovoked attack with a weapon is just one of many incidents which occurred during the last hunting season. The punishment is paltry and we can only hope that any future offences by this hunt are treated in a more serious fashion. Hunt saboteurs will continue to defend our wildlife regardless of the constant violent attacks from the hunting community. We expect no less from people whose dearest wish is to return to the days when they could kill animals with impunity."
Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 11th April 2013
On the 3rd of November 2012 the huntsman of the financially troubled Crawley & Horsham fox hunt, Nick Bycroft, launched an unprovoked attack on a member of the Hunt Saboteurs Associations (HSA) Land Rover. In the video Hunts Bycroft is seen, riding at speed down School Lane, near Shipley, Sussex in a reckless manner, with no care for the safety of other road users or his horse he forces his horse past the moving vehicle swearing repeatedly. Turning his horse he comes back to the now stationary vehicle and makes two attempts to smash the driver’s side window, in an attempt to hit the driver. In the process he smashes the vehicle wing mirror.
Police at the scene made no arrest but Bycroft was latter summoned attend a police station where he admitted Public order offences (swearing) and Criminal damage. He was fined £150, none of which will be returned to the owner of the vehicle.
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated:
“Once more we have the Crawley & Horsham hunt found guilty of criminal activity. This time it is the paid huntsman who in a fury at just seeing people opposing his hunt launches a furious and unprovoked attack. The punishment is paltry and we can only hope that any future offences by this hunt are treated in a more serious fashion.”
Violence erupted today at the Woodland Pytchley Hunt in Northamptonshire, resulting in the arrest of a steward employed by the hunt.
Stewards employed by the hunt had been trying to prevent hunt saboteurs from following the huntsman, but the saboteurs had ignored them. In the alleged attack, one of the stewards stole a CB radio from a saboteur. When the saboteur attempted to retrieve it he was punched and then kicked several times. The CB was dropped and another steward ran up to it and kicked it, breaking it with the impact. Saboteurs made an emergency phone call and one of the stewards was arrested and taken to Corby Police Station.
Local hunt saboteur Clive Richardson said "We have been subjected to abuse from this hunt for years, so it is nothing new, but we are glad that the police are taking this attack seriously. After the incident we successfully prevented a fox from being dug out of an earth and the hunt packed up at 2.15 pm - 2 hours earlier than usual."
Nathan Brown, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association said: "This is an example of the depths to which the hunting fraternity will stoop to prevent hunt saboteurs from saving lives. It is testament to the fact that our tactics have a profound effect on hunts. It is not the first time that hunt stewards have attacked sabs, but we will not be deterred from taking action to save wildlife from being ripped to pieces for fun." In March 2000, 2 hunt stewards were arrested after hunt saboteurs were attacked at the Quorn Hunt, a favourite of Prince Charles.
As Master of the Woodland Pytchley Hunt, David Reynolds is responsible for what happens during a day's hunting and would have sanctioned or organised the use of stewards. He is also a Board member of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance. Nathan Brown commented further "The Countryside Alliance tries to promote itself as a respectable body, but the behaviour at Mr Reynolds' hunt shows what sort of people the Alliance really are. The fact that violence against hunt saboteurs is tolerated at a hunt run by one of the Alliance Board members sets an example and gives a green light to other hunts to follow suit. They will stop at nothing in their pursuit of terrified wildlife."