HSA news release 19th December 2004

Hunt violence increases further as ban looms - Attacks in Dorset and Essex

Violence against hunt saboteurs is escalating as foxhunters try to prevent disruption of their last 2 months of hunting. A hunt saboteur was ridden down by a rider with the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt at Broxted near Great Dunmow, Essex yesterday (18 December 2004). Supporters of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt at Long Bourton near Sherborne, Dorset threw punches at saboteurs and tried to drag them from their vehicle.

At the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, the saboteur was ridden over and the rider then backed the horse over her. The police took no action. Later, at nearby Tilty the hunt dug out a fox from an earth where it had sought refuge, and shot it in front of saboteurs and police. Two saboteurs were arrested at this point. Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown said: "This incident serves as a reminder that behind the sanitized image of hunting that the Countryside Alliance tries to portray, animals are tormented and killed to provide amusement."

At the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale, hunt saboteurs from Dorset and Somerset had their vehicle repeatedly blocked in after they successfully called hounds with a hunting horn. Red-coated hunt members whipped the van and attempted to whip saboteurs. Later in the day, a Joint Master frothing at the mouth with anger repeatedly kicked and thumped the van. Another red-coated huntsman tried to bash a window in with a log. A group of 15-20 hunt supporters issued threats to the saboteurs. They then gained entry through the back door, stole equipment and tried to drag saboteurs from the van whilst throwing punches. The hunt supporters then attempted to drag the driver from the vehicle. When police arrived, they showed no interest in the attacks and focussed on a false allegation made against hunt saboteurs. A video showing the attacks is going to be delivered to local police in the hope that charges will be brought against members of the hunt.

The HSA spokesperson commented: "Previously the flash point for trouble would normally be when saboteurs intervene and save the hunted animal from the hounds, but now anti-hunt activists are subjected to violence and abuse as soon as they arrive. The level of violence is definitely escalating. Whereas before there might only be certain individuals taking part, we are seeing almost all members of hunts getting involved. Pro-hunt elements are stirring up trouble but we will not be deterred from saving lives. The police need to take action against violence directed at our members before we see another hunt saboteur killed."

Notes for Editors:

  • Two hunt saboteurs, Mike Hill and Tom Worby, died whilst trying to save animals' lives.
  • The League Against Cruel Sports has called off all demonstrations on Boxing Day fearing the violent backlash its members will be subjected to.