December 2014 – Hunting News Snippets.

East Kent Murder

Photo – Mark – SAV Founder

Hunting News

Hunt case dismissed

The League Against Cruel Sports is seriously questioning why the case against 3 members of the Devon & Somerset Staghounds has been dismissed.  They are writing to complain to the Crown Prosecution Service as the footage captured by its investigators containing various evidential issues invalidating the scientific research exemption have been overlooked.  These include; both hunt meets being advertised in advance and details placed on the hunt’s website, over 100 hunt supporters out watching the hunting activities take place, hunt hounds not being under close control and the hunt trespassing onto land owned by the League when in pursuit of stags. Joint Masters, David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews, along with Huntsman, Donald Summersgill, faced a total of 4 charges of hunting a wild mammal with a dog, contrary to Sec 1 of the Hunting Act. The charges related to 2 separate incidents of alleged illegal hunting on 14 Sept and 24 Oct 2013.  Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League said: “How on earth can chasing a wild animal to exhaustion be considered as genuine scientific research and observation? The decision taken to drop the case needs immediate explanation. We urge the public to watch the footage (on the website) for themselves and make up their own mind as to whether the primary purpose of the hunt member’s actions was for research or for sport.”  The case was based on evidence supplied by the League and further investigations carried out by Avon & Somerset Police.

 

Strengthen the Hunting Act

Hunters should face prison sentences for illegal blood sports, be banned from sending dogs underground and prevented from escaping prosecution by claiming that kills are accidental. In a report marking the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Hunting Act, the League Against Cruel Sports has called for a strengthening of the law to close loopholes in the legislation. The maximum penalty should rise from a £5,000 fine to 6 months in prison, it urges.  The league’s report points out that polling by Ipsos/Mori last year showed that 80% of people in Britain want fox hunting to remain illegal, 85% oppose deer hunting and 87% think hare hunting and coursing should remain outlawed.

This is a link to an excellent film in support of the Campaign to Strengthen the Hunting Act (CPHA). It is disturbing on several levels but watch it if you can and pass it on.

More info from the POWA website, www.powa.org.uk there is a CPHA website also, http://campaigntostrengthenthehuntingact.com

Please pass this on and spread the word in the media and among your other groups. This powerful, lawless minority must be stopped.

 

Hunt feeding foxes

Think of a reason why anyone would repeatedly throw away dead chickens, rabbits, eggs and rats in an isolated Gloucestershire field.

These are the images covertly captured by the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) and they believe that what they’ve filmed shows the North Cotswold Hunt (NCH) leaving food out for foxes to eat more than 5 miles from the hunt kennels in Broadway.  The time stamp on the video clearly shows the NCH pick-up, which we have filmed at their kennels, returning to the field over a number of months and it shows at least 2 foxes in the same location.

In both the HSA footage and ITV News footage the Hunt can be seen with hounds and horses in the same field.  The HSA claim that “somebody would be doing this purely to encourage foxes to breed, to stay here so that they can obviously be in the vicinity when the hunt choose to hunt.  The Master of Foxhounds Association golden rules say: “Hunting as a practice is the hunting of a wild animal in its wild and natural habitat with a pack of hounds. Nothing must be done which in any way compromises this”.

So how does the NCH explain these images? They don’t. The NCH has refused to engage with ITN’s approaches and, despite ample opportunity, refused to explain what has been shown.   They have told us they are not involved in illegal fox hunting but hunt lawfully following a trail.  They have pointed out that 10 years on from the introduction of the Hunting Act their activity is still politically controversial.

Back then, one of the arguments in favour of continued fox hunting with hounds was pest control.  It would be very hard to argue “pest control” if foxes were being deliberately fed – which is why it is even more important that the Hunt explain what the HSA have filmed. ITN 4th Nov

hunt 2

The Albrighton and Woodland Foxhunt illegally killed a fox on Sat 14th Nov despite the best efforts of hunt saboteurs. The sabs were able to retrieve the body and the incident has been reported to West Mercia Police.  The hunt met at the Robin Hood Inn, Stourbridge and then proceeded to hunt near Drayton House and Drayton Pool. Sabs heard hounds in full cry on the trail of the fox and despite trying to intervene couldn’t stop them killing it and dragging its body into a stream.

Members of the hunt stood by and did nothing as the kill took place.  The hunt carried on and sabs successfully intervened to save another fox before the hunt packed up at 3pm. The illegal kill has been reported to the police and the fox’s body will be autopsied.

 

West Sussex Hunt Sabs – On Sat 4th Oct we had a 9am meet in Balcombe, which turned out to be a joint meet with the Surrey & Burstow. A short day for us because the hunt packed up earlier then usual due to sabs keeping up with them and the very heavy rain.

11th Oct was entirely different. The Crawley & Horsham eventually had a 4pm meet at Bakers Farm in Dragons Green. They must have thought we had gone home and the look on the hunt’s face to see us there at that time of day is one to cherish.

They didn’t waste time and were soon on to a fox but we were there and heard a shout go out from one of the riders “we are being filmed, we are being filmed“. The hounds were called off and the hunt moved away at speed.

We soon caught up with them in a wooded area and could hear the hounds in full cry, the fox passing a few feet from us with the hounds on its tail. We were then in between the fox and the hounds and the huntsman called the hounds back. The hunt packed up at 6.45pm. It was pitch black as we watched them box up.

Sat 18th Oct. The Crawley & Horsham Hunt had an 8am meet at Locks Estate, Partridge Green. We were with them as they left the meet at speed and were soon crossing the road into the Wiston Est. The hounds were heard in cry many times during the meet but with sabs all over the field the hounds were called off, and the hunters were left angry.

While parked on the side of the road an employee of the Wiston Est came over and said if we didn’t leave he was going to get his shotgun! It was a typical day with the C&H, hounds in cry, followers being threatening, sabs being ridden at.

The hunt packed up around 11am after an angry and abusive verbal assault on us from Kim Richardson who wasn’t too pleased we had interfered with the hunt’s lust for killing. Sadly though we believe they had a kill today.

In the week foot support or hunt riders seemed flustered to see us and both in alarm shouted, “look out antis” or got straight on their phone. Then riders came to try and intimidate us with the usual nonsense of saying we were trespassing. They seem to hunt often in woodland where foxes lay up in the day, yet swear to us they are laying trails, which go through brambles and undergrowth.

One hound was in a poor way with torn flesh by the eye, a nasty weeping wound on one back leg and limping on the other. It was dark by the time they called it a day & we truly hope our presence saved lives. We certainly make them move on and in the last week have seen 4 foxes that we know got away due to us being in the right place at the right time.  Get in touch if you wish to come out or donate via Paypal on the top of our Facebook page.

hunt 1

Sat 8th Nov – W. Sussex Hunt Sabs met other local groups to visit the Surrey Union hunt. Lots of sabs meant lots of police, who only followed sabs not the hunt.  We followed the hunt whilst the police followed us.  We never see the police check to see if a hunt is laying a trail. Today they spent a great deal of time videoing sabs parking, driving in, then out of car parks.  At one point the hounds caught on to a real fox scent, leaving a rather unskilled huntsman to try and call them all back, something he only barely managed to do.

The sheer number of sabs meant the hunt could not evade sabs for long and so we believe no kills took place. Hounds would not catch on to a fox scent and follow it that excitedly if they were not trained to do so. And as fox hounds don’t live more than 5 years (they are killed by the hunt around this age because they are deemed to no longer be fit for the job) no hounds anywhere today were alive pre-ban. We spoke to many passers by, dog walkers and mushroom pickers who were interested and sympathetic to our cause.  Packed up by 3pm and so a successful day.  .

South Dorset Hunt Galton Farm Owermoigne – With just 2 sabs out the hunt were stopped in their tracks and with police watching too!

As usual Dominic Jones, huntsman, did not stray too far from the meet. 26 riders were out. With sabs keeping tabs, hounds were on to a young fox not looking too good. The fox crossed the road from Tadnole in to Dorset Wildlife Trust property. With hounds at full pelt the huntsman galloped along the road risking the health of his horse. With sabs present the huntsman could not follow. Shows what could have happened if we hadn’t been there! The fox followed the hedge line then disappeared across the heath. The pack was split by now. Having packed up at 3.45pm the huntsman was still looking for hounds at 5pm.

Anyone wanting to sab or have any info on Dorset hunts please email dorsethuntsabs@riseup.net  Report 04/11/14

 

Deer killed by hunt

On 25th Oct the Surrey Union Foxhunt had their opening meet at Gosterwood Manor,Forest Green .

They moved quickly from the meet to the Lukyns estate near Ewhurst in an effort to lose the sab (groups from North Downs, Guildford, Croydon and Kingston). Just before 1pm the hunt was drawing a small wood called Gulls Isle when the hounds chased and quickly caught a Roe deer. Several hounds savaged it causing horrendous injuries.

The screams of the deer brought one saboteur to the scene and he managed to get the hounds off it and frantically tried to call other sabs on the radio. Surrey Police showed that they didn’t give a damn for the torment of the deer and prolonged its suffering by refusing to let the other sab come to the aid of the deer and acting as the hunt private security threatening to wrongly arrest people for aggravated trespass. 4 sabs were arrested in their efforts to get to the deer.

Many of the sabs have worked at animal sanctuaries and could’ve quickly assessed its injuries. By their actions the Police only protracted the animals agony for a further 30 minutes.

We finally managed to get some more reasonable cops to go to the deer and the lone saboteur and realising that the deer was beyond saving arranged for the poor animal to shot. The 4 sabs were taken away to spend many hours in the cells and the rest of the sabs continued to stick with the hunt until the end to prevent further loss of life. In the past this hunt has killed at least 3 other deer that we know of.

 

Guards for stag

The League Against Cruel Sports has hired 2 former soldiers to mount a 24-hour guard over a stag to stop him being shot by hunters.  The mature stag, called Red, is well-known in Somerset’s Quantock hills where the League has bought up land to make ‘safe havens’ from hunts.

hunt 3

Above – ‘Red’ – Westmorningnews.

RSPCA prosecute hunt

A defiant RSPCA said it was business as usual as it began another prosecution of a West Country hunt for breaking the hunt ban, just days after being told to review the way it mounts prosecutions.  The charity issued court proceedings against William Bryer, the huntsman with the Cattistock Hunt, ordering him to appear before magistrates.

He is accused of one offence of breaching the 2004 hunt ban on March 11 this year. The activities of the Cattistock are often filmed by monitors from IFAW, who are based in the area.  The RSPCA said it would continue to prosecute hunts, at least until it had decided a strategy on hunt prosecutions with the state agencies – the Crown Prosecution Service and police chiefs.

 

Hunters guilty

3 members of the College Valley and N. Northumberland Hunt were found guilty of illegally hunting a fox during a hunt meet at West Kyloe Farm, near Lowick, Northumberland on 27th Feb 2014.

Appearing before Berwick Magistrates’ Court, joint Master, Timothy Wyndham Basil Smalley, huntsman, Ian Robert McKie and kennel huntsman, Andrew John Proe of the College Valley and N. Northumberland Hunt, were all convicted of hunting a wild mammal with dogs, contrary to Sec 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League said: “We are extremely pleased with today’s verdict. We hope this successful case will make other hunt members think twice before breaking the law and causing harm to wildlife.  “We know that many hunts continue to regularly flout the law.” The case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service following evidence supplied by the League and further investigation by Northumbria Police.  Joint Master, Timothy Wyndham Basil Smalley was fined £2,075 with £120 victim surcharge. Huntsman, Ian Robert McKie was fined £1,150 with a £115 victim surcharge. Kennel Huntsman, Andrew John Proe was fined £480 with a £48 victim surcharge. Each defendant was ordered to pay costs of £385. No forfeiture order was applied for, each being of previous good character.

 

Guilty of assault

Following an attack on hunt saboteurs at a Northamptonshire meet of the Ryford Chase Rabbit Hounds and Pytchley Foxhounds on 22nd March 2014, Mr Jacob Dean Whalley plead guilty and was convicted of 3 counts of battery, contrary to Sec 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Whalley was ordered to pay compensation of £450 to the victims, and court costs. During the attack, carried out by a number of hunt members, Whalley beat hunt saboteurs, seemingly at random with a stick, and kicked one in the head when she had been pushed to the ground. The attack, launched upon hunt saboteurs was neutralised and the rabbit hunt was abandoned before it had started.

 

Grouse shooting

A ‘leading’ sporting agency is predicting that the 2014 Scottish grouse-shooting season will be one of the best for years, with ‘record bags’ being recorded on grouse moors across the country.   It’s unfortunate that the grouse-shooting industry continues to measure a ‘good’ season based on the number of birds that are killed.

You can only get ‘record’ bags if the grouse are kept at artificially-high densities.

That artificial high density is only possible if natural predators are removed (killed) on a massive scale.

As we know, this happens on driven grouse moors both legally (e.g. stoats, weasals, corvids, foxes etc) and illegally (e.g. hen harriers, golden eagles, peregrines, buzzards, goshawks etc).  Wouldn’t it be interesting if the names of the ‘record-breaking’ grouse moors were made public, so that their track record on raptor persecution can be cross-referenced?

 

‘Worst’ bird of prey poisoner gets suspended sentence

A gamekeeper convicted of “the worst case of bird of prey poisoning” recorded in England has been given a 10-week suspended sentence.

Allen Lambert, who worked on the Stody Estate, near Holt in Norfolk, was found guilty of deliberately killing 10 buzzards and a sparrowhawk.  Head of RSPB investigations Bob Elliot said the discovery of the carcasses at Lambert’s home was “truly dreadful”. Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard he did it to protect pheasants he was rearing.

In Oct Lambert, of Holt Rd, Edgefield, was also found guilty of possessing pesticides and items used to prepare poison baits.

He had pleaded guilty to 5 other charges, including the illegal use of pesticides. District Judge Peter Veits said the offences had “crossed the custody threshold” but said his sentence would be suspended. He was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £930.  Judge Veits said: “In other industries employers as well as the employee could be facing prosecution in such cases, and I hope therefore that this case can serve as a wake-up call to all who run estates as to their duties.”

The RSPB said it was calling on the government to bring in stronger legislation to make sporting estates more accountable for the actions of their staff.  Birds of prey are protected by law and the Stody Estate has been a national pioneer in wildlife enhancement schemes.  The hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court followed an investigation at the game shooting estate in April 2013 by RSPB officers. They found the remains of several birds of prey in woodland and a feed bag containing 9 dead buzzards in Lambert’s house. Police found containers of the pesticide in Lambert’s car and storeroom, as well as a syringe and needles.  Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst:  What is the responsibility of the landowner in a case like this? Well, it depends where you live.

In England a landowner is not responsible for a gamekeeper’s crimes.  There is no evidence that the owner of the prestigious Stody Estate, Charles MacNicol, knew about the poisonings. He wouldn’t tell BBC News whether he knew, or whether he condemned the killings.  The Scottish government has made landowners share the blame for gamekeepers’ misdemeanours. There appears to have been a significant drop in killings.

The RSPB wants England to follow suit but Defra says the evidence that the policy is working is not strong enough.  The RSPB is also calling for the Stody Estate to be stripped of government grants it has received for promoting wildlife.  During the trial Lambert claimed a dog walker with a grudge against him had planted the dead birds, but the district judge said his theory was “implausible”.

The Stody Estate is now being investigated by the Rural Payments Agency which could withdraw tens of thousands of pounds of subsidies if the estate is found to have been negligent, prosecutor Kevin Eastwick said.

 

Hundreds of birds of prey, including golden and white-tailed eagles, hen harriers and red kites, were shot or poisoned last year, a report shows. Naturalist and TV presenter Bill Oddie called on shooting industry leaders to help stamp out the illegal killing of birds of prey.

 

Raptor massacre, police blundering

Dave Thompson MSP (SNP: Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) has called on Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to undertake a review in to the police handling of the Ross-shire massacre investigation.

The police investigation into one of the most high profile mass raptor poisoning crimes in decades has blundered along for far too long and is fully deserving of public scrutiny, as is the accompanying police media strategy. Rather than providing clear and timely information, their strategy has been to release a series of untimely, misleading and wilfully ambiguous statements that have done anything but inform. Indeed, these statements have simply led to more and more outlandish speculation and a growing sense of frustration and anger. Given how keen Police Scotland is on “public accountability”, they’ll no doubt welcome a review of their handling of this case. Dave Thompson MSP is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) Committee, who recently heard evidence from 2 senior Police Scotland representatives about the Ross-shire Massacre. It seems he was unimpressed with their answers. He said: “It would be useful if a full review of the investigation process was carried out. It would go a long way to allaying any fears the general public may have but also, in the interests of transparency, such a review would take away any lingering confusion about how these great birds of prey met their demise. “This is why I have written to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to request that a review of the investigation process takes place and why I will be making sure the Lord Advocate is copied into any correspondence on the matter“.  Police Scotland put out an idiotic press release stating that they could now CONFIRM that the 22 raptors illegally poisoned in the Ross-shire Massacre 7 months ago “were most likely not deliberately targeted”. It was an astonishing statement, not least because they had ruled out criminal intent before they’d even got a suspect.

 

Birds on shoots dumped

A reader of the Raptor Persecution Scotland blog photographed a Scottish estate.

He said: “We found a huge dump of badly decomposing pheasants and partridge plus many recently killed birds. The hillside is thick with them and the smell is really bad. There must be several hundred dumped birds“.  Interestingly, in a letter to the Daily Telegraph in Nov 2005 headed ‘Game birds for eating not dumping’, Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said: “Every bird shot in Britain goes into the food chain, whether into participants’ freezers, or through game dealers into an increasing number of supermarkets, butchers, pubs and restaurants“.

Another embarrassing lie from the ‘custodians of the countryside’ exposed. Cue influx of buzzards, kites and other predators coming to feast on these rotting carcasses and then subsequent complaints by the game-shooting industry that predators are at “plague proportions”.

 

A South African company has been indicted in Alabama for selling illegal rhinoceros hunts to Americans and secretly trafficking in the endangered animals’ horns, which sell on the black market at prices higher than gold.

 

Wolves killed for prizes

U.S. land managers approved a recreation permit allowing a hunting contest open to children to take place on public lands, where contestants seek to kill the most wolves and other wildlife for cash and prizes. The hunting group Idaho for Wildlife requested the permit.

 

A Texas hunting club that auctioned off a permit to shoot an endangered black rhinoceros in Africa said it will cancel the hunt if a federal agency denies the winning bidder’s request to bring the dead animal back to the U.S. as a trophy. Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 at a January auction.

 

A deer hunter was shot in the buttocks after a fellow trapper mistook the kill he was hauling for a live animal. It happened in the Hudson Woods, 60 miles north of New York City.

 

Wild boar ‘hunt’ – Animal rights activists are up in arms about a form of “hunting” that is becoming increasingly popular in France that involves releasing a wild boar into an enclosure and setting Argentinian hunting dogs loose to chase and kill it.

Fans of the practice are believed to be coming to France from abroad to partake in the events, condemned as a ‘bloody spectacle from another age’

 

Japan has slashed its whale catch target in the Antarctic by two-thirds in a bid to resume its annual whale hunt that an international court ruled must stop. The Fisheries Agency said that in its revised programme, Japan seeks to catch 333 minke whales each year between 2015 and 2027, down from an earlier target of 935

 

Maasai land threatened by foreign hunters

We are elders of the Maasai from Tanzania, one of Africa’s oldest tribes. The government has just announced that it plans to kick thousands of our families off our lands so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot lions and leopards. The evictions are to begin immediately. Last year, when word first leaked about this plan, almost 1m Avaaz members rallied to our aid. Your attention and the storm it created forced the government to deny the plan, and set them back months. But the President has waited for international attention to die down, and now he’s revived his plan to take our land. We need your help again, urgently. President Kikwete may not care about us, but he has shown he’ll respond to global media and public pressure. Please stand with us to protect our land, our people and our world’s most majestic animals, and tell everyone before it is too late.

This is our last hope. https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_the_maasai_2014_uk/?bZHVcab&v=48738

Our people have lived off the land in Tanzania and Kenya for centuries. Our communities respect our fellow animals and protect and preserve the delicate ecosystem. But the government has for years sought to profit by giving rich princes and kings from the Middle East access to our land to kill. In 2009, when they tried to clear our land to make way for these hunting sprees, we resisted, and hundreds of us were arrested and beaten. Last year, rich princes shot at birds in trees from helicopters. This killing goes against everything in our culture. Now the government has announced it will clear a huge swath of our land in Loliondo to make way for what it claims will be a wildlife corridor, but many suspect it’s just a ruse to give a foreign hunting corporation and the rich tourists it caters to easier access to shoot at majestic animals.