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Taken for a Ride

GBH as a hunting tradition

On Thursday 28th August, 2014 the Dorset Hunt Saboteurs group attended a hunt meet for the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale at Charleston Horethorne – west of Yeovil. The hunt was out cubbing, the 'sport' of sending a pack of hounds into a wood whilst riders and supporters surround it and prevent any fox from escaping. The aim of cubbing is to train young and inexperienced hounds by setting them on fox cubs who have no chance of escape. Hounds that won't kill are useless to the hunt and are put down. However, the hunting brigade's disregard for life extends well beyond their hounds and their quarry.

Whilst Dorset hunt sabs were gathered on a public road to document the unlawful activities of the hunt, an angered rider rode his horse at speed into a hunt saboteur – knocking her from her feet and trampling over her with his horse, before riding off laughing.

An ambulance was quickly called by other saboteurs, although the response was delayed by hunt supporters who had deliberately blocked the road with their vehicles. Fortunately, the saboteur survived the incident despite sustaining several broken ribs and a collapsed lung. She is currently in recovery at Yeovil Hospital. It is a sad state of affairs that she is regarded as one of the lucky ones. But nonetheless that is the case.

Mike Hill was a saboteur who was not as lucky. In 1991, Mike travelled with the Merseyside Hunt Saboteurs to Little Budworth where there was a hunting meet for the Cheshire Beagles. According to a report from the day: after a successful morning for the saboteurs, meaning no foxes had been killed, the hunt and its followers were becoming more irate. Whilst attempting to prevent the huntsman, Allan Summersgill, from driving his hounds off to hunt and kill foxes elsewhere, Mike jumped on to the vehicle. Summersgill was not dissuaded and began driving at high speeds and swerving until Mike inevitably fell under the wheels. Alan Summersgill killed Mike Hill that day and drove off as if nothing had happened. The statements issued by the police following the incident referred to it as a ‘road traffic accident’ and Summersgill was never charged.

On 3rd April, 1993, just two years after the death of Mike Hill, a group of hunt saboteurs were attending a meet of the Cambridgeshire Foxhounds near Gravesley. Mid-way through the day, sabs were attempting to slow down the huntsman, Anthony Ball, by moving slowly along a track along which he was driving. Tom Worby, a 15 year old boy from Milton Keynes, was among them. Ball, who was already known as a reckless driver among sabs, refused to be deterred and sped into the group. All except Tom managed to get out of the way but at the last second he was hit and dragged along for some fifty yards, shouting at Ball to slow down, before losing his grip and rolling underneath the rear of the vehicle. Sabs who were with Tom at the time reported that as they held Tom and screamed out for someone to call an ambulance, supporters of the hunt watched and laughed; until eventually Tom drew his last breaths and died in the arms of his girlfriend. Like Summersgill and the rider from the Blackmore Vale, Ball did not stop hunting after riding over Tom. Nor was he ever charged.

The murder of hunt saboteurs represents the level of violence which some hunt supporters are willing to carry out in order to deter people from interfering with their blood sport. Since the deaths of Mike and Tom, many other hunt saboteurs have been seriously injured,like  Steve Christmas. Steve spent four weeks in intensive care, suffering from a crushed pelvis, four broken ribs and severe internal bleeding,  after he was driven over by Martin Maynard from the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt in 2000. Although Maynard was initially charged with Grievous Bodily Harm the charges were later dropped.

The disregard for life, be it that of humans, foxes, deer or badgers, has long been intertwined with the tradition of hunting. Which is why when the huntsman for the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale recently expressed his ‘regret over the accident’ at Charleston Horethorne – it is a slap in the face to all who are aware of the calculated nature of hunt violence. The police have displayed time and again their indifference towards this violence and their incompetence when it comes to pursuing justice. The upper class nature of the hunt fraternity means that that they know exactly who to talk to to make sure that charges are dropped or minimalised. Some hunts that engage in organised violence are even headed up by ex-coppers!

This means that the safety of hunt saboteurs rests entirely in their own hands. With another season of hunting beginning, we will undoubtedly be hearing more reports of hunt violence in the months to come. But there will also be dozens of reports where animals lives are saved by the actions of saboteurs – and that’s why they continue.

Want to get involved in hunt sabotage? Contact the HSA to find out details of your local group.

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: get the bastards - 9th September 2014 @ 8:37 AM
its about time these parasitic scum were dealt with.
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Twitter: @SchNEWS