David Haye, Vegan Boxer, KO’s Taunting Opponent

david haye vegan boxer

“I think,” says David Haye, “that I’m now fitter than I’ve ever been. I punch harder than ever. I’m more determined. I’m faster…” (Read more)

David Haye at 35 is fighting better than ever since adopting a vegan diet in 2014. He recently enjoyed a first round knockout victory against Australian Mark de Mori. The victory was made all the sweeter after de Mori taunted him about his veganism at the pre-match interview (see below)

Haye chose to become vegan for ethical reasons (after watching the documentary Earthlings) and because he realised it increased his recovery times and helped him to keep physically strong. He had previously used a plant based diet to lose surplus weight before fights.

His main reason for choosing veganism however was for the animals.

5 Ways Vegans Can Save The Planet

go vegan to save the planet

Thank you to vegnews.com for their article on the ways veganism can benefit the planet. We are living at a critical time and our actions now are vital in saving our world for future generations of humans and other animals who share it with us.

Of course there are many other benefits to veganism – refusing to support animal cruelty and living a healthier lifestyle being two popular reasons for people choosing to go vegan. For companies there are financial benefits – a new report has revealed that the global plant-based milk sector will be worth $16.3 billion in 2018.

Take a look at these five benefits to veganism, taken from vegnews.com, along with earth-friendly tips on living in a sustainable way.

It Protects Our Soil

You can get almost all vital nutrients you need from eating plant-based foods (save vitamins D and B12)—and that’s because minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and amino acids are in our soil. Researchers have found that raising animals for consumption contributes to erosion and nutritional depletion of soil, plus desertification and deforestation. As a result, the US alone has lost about a third of its topsoil from factors that include livestock agriculture.

Earth-friendly tip: Chose mainly organic, non-GMO food to help keep our soil (and your body) healthy and nutrient-rich.

It Conserves Water

More than 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is used in agriculture of plants and animals: it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods. Plus, the United Nations has reported that the livestock sector is most likely the largest source of water pollution. So, skipping the meat may have more of a positive planetary impact than turning off the water while brushing your teeth or taking a shorter shower! Consuming seafood is also an issue, as we face problems with over-fishing, habitat damage, and species endangerment.

Earth-friendly tip: Skip the pre-rinse when using a dishwasher and only run it when full—this can save up to 7,300 gallons of water a year.

It Saves Energy

It’s no secret that we have an energy crisis on our hands—oil prices are skyrocketing and the world is scrambling to find a more peaceful method to power our homes and cars. Meanwhile, citizens are urged to conserve energy, and one of the best ways of doing so is by skipping out on meat and dairy. Case and point: a Cornell study found that producing animal-based protein requires eight times more fossil-fuel energy than creating plant-based protein.

Earth-friendly tip: Next time you buy a kitchen appliance, get one that is Energy Star-approved, and only use electronic appliances when necessary.

It Clears The Air

You can smell a factory farm from a mile away—literally, those places stink! And it’s not just an unpleasant smell—this form of air pollution is a major problem. You’ve probably heard that cows release a lot of methane in their farts and nitrous oxide in their manure, and these emissions are largely connected to climate change. That’s why a report by the UN concluded that animal agriculture is a larger contributor to greenhouse gas than all forms of transportation. And speaking of the previously mentioned issue of deforestation, when rainforests are cleared to create livestock pastures, carbon is released into the air.

Earth-friendly tip: Buy local, plant-based food to cut back on the distance it has to travel from farm to plate, thus reducing the amount of emissions created in the process.

It Combats World Hunger

Hundreds of millions of people around the world are currently suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and yet 70 percent of the grain grown in the United States is fed to livestock. Even animals in poor countries are fed cereal, as well as legumes and vegetables, in order to produce meat and dairy. All in all, more than 700 million tons of human-grade food goes into animal agriculture each year, which could instead be used to eradicate hunger.

Earth-friendly tip: Only order or make as much food as you can eat in one sitting to prevent waste. If you happen to have leftovers, store them in a reusable glass or stainless-steel container and compost any inedible scraps.

Animal Testing In Universities

bristol uni kills animals

For World Week of Action For Animals In Laboratories, the anti-animal testing organisation, Animal Justice Project, last night held a protest in Bristol, UK against Bristol University. The university has repeatedly refused to respond to the group’s Freedom of Information requests with regards to its animal testing. Protesters stood on a footbridge over the approach to the busy M32 motorway and held illuminated signs against the night sky that read out ‘Bristol Uni Kills Animals’. Drivers responded with beeps in support.

The hidden, largely forgotten, victims of animal testing suffer behind the closed doors of Universities worldwide. Subjected to appalling, useless experiments, often abused, always neglected and starved of love, these animals include monkeys, dogs, cats, mice and rats and more.

According to the organisation, 4 million experiments take place on animals each year; half of these at universities. Their ‘Campus Without Cruelty‘ campaign aims to educate both students and staff of the animal experimentation taking place at their universities.

Animal Justice Project said of their protest “We are here specifically to focus on Bristol University for two reasons. The first reason is their complete failure to respond to freedom of information requests over several years. The second reason is because of the cruel animal experiments that we have uncovered as an organisation. Half of all animal experimentation takes place at universities and we believe this is unacceptable.”

See news coverage of the protest at: www.bristolpost.co.uk

Image source: Animal Justice Project

Dewi Sant and the little fishes

Thank you to our guest blogger Julie for her reflection of an Easter weekend spent in Wales; with wild dolphins, Saint David and vegan food:

“When conservation activists suggest that communities who’ve depended on hunting and especially fishing or whaling, should change and use their skills to promote ecotourism we’re often accused of wanting those communities to take up a source of income reliant on modern values and transient activities. Tourism however has a long history.

I spent Easter in West Wales, a seemingly remote and now sparsely populated part of Britain. I visited small coastal settlements such as Aberporth where you can compare photographs taken at the end of the 19th century with the harbour side village today. That’s the site of the lime kiln, that’s where a row of cottages once stood, that’s where the boats were hauled up onto the beach and here a modern installation shows the skeletal frame of a half built fishing vessel.

It’s good that some things have gone. People no longer heat their homes with a mixture of coal dust and clay and the typhoid epidemic that wiped out the poor remnants of a slate quarrying community nearby is a thing of the past too. But while there is no more need for the traffic of small coastal cargo boats that moved about the necessities of life a hundred years ago something else has vanished from this coast. The herring.

As with the North Sea coast of Britain, vast shoals of herring also used to travel up the Welsh coast. The fishing boats followed them and hauled up nets full of the little fish. The cry of street traders was “herring with two kinds of roe!” The fish were all caught when they arrived to spawn. Not surprisingly the fishery collapsed along with the coastal freight trade in the early years of the 20th century and the communities have never recovered.

Further south along the coast you reach the smallest city in Britain, St. Davids. The cathedral, dedicated to the local saint who gave his name to the city, is small and has a history of just getting by during the hard times of the Reformation and the Civil Wars of the 17th century. Saint David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) founded a small community of monks on the cliffs in the 6th century A.D. No-one is quite sure exactly where as they would have lived in simple beehive shaped cells made from the local stones and leaving little trace when they left.

During the 9th and 10th centuries two bishops of this community were killed during Viking raids and as a consequence the community moved to the sheltered, hidden away spot that is the site of St David’s today. In the 11th century the cathedral was rebuilt, the invading Norman kings having tried to stamp out the veneration of Saint David gave up and decided to exploit the cult instead. They lobbied the Pope who agreed that St David’s could be a place of pilgrimage and that two trips to St Davids’ equaled one trip to Rome and three trips could even equal a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Pilgrims flooded to St Davids’, they all needed accommodation, so a hall was built for them as part of the Bishop’s Palace. The rich gave money and goods, the poor gave their labour and worked for the Church to pay for their keep. The small city grew and prospered from these medieval tourists.
You may wonder why I’m writing so much about this Saint – St David is now the patron Saint of Wales, he’s all about wearing a daffodil on 1st March, or is it a leek? And anyway, isn’t he something to do with rugby?

Dewi Sant didn’t play rugby and didn’t have any special link to daffodils. There is a legend that the leek or the daffodil became symbols of Wales when a Welsh noble on the way to becoming king of England ordered his troops to wear a leek or a daffodil as a badge of identity. The daffodil may have been chosen as it flowers around 1st March, the traditional date of St David’s death, but why the leek?

Many Christian ascetics didn’t eat meat, fish or dairy. Milk was believed to be made from blood and dairy products were called “white meats” and forbidden during times of fasting such as Lent. Many people recall the ignorance of the past which classed beavers and porpoises as “fish” and the Church told the faithful it was O.K. to eat them in Lent. Fewer recall that spiritual leaders such as Dewi lived on bread, “herbs” and water. In other words St David and his followers were vegan in order to live simply and take only the minimum that they needed from the world their God had given them. Leeks were a staple of the medieval diet and especially for the followers of Saint David.

The images of St David in the cathedral show him with a bird perched on his shoulder, much like that other Christian ascetic, St Francis. The Shrine of St David has been refurbished in recent years and contains a casket within which are a few ancient bones. All sites of pilgrimage needed relics and conveniently in the 13th century the clergy found what they declared to be the bones of St David in the cathedral churchyard. Of course this will have boosted the numbers of tourists, sorry, pilgrims, to the shrine.

The modern renovations and improvements have included a restaurant, the refectory. Bearing in mind the dietary rules of St David I walked through the newly rebuilt cloisters to the refectory entrance, hoping that I’d have no trouble finding a vegan meal and a coffee with soya milk. I read the bill of fayre with horror, Welsh beef and lamb featured heavily. The sound I heard may have been diners arranging their chairs around tables groaning with carcases, or it may have been Dewi Sant turning in his grave.

Back to the Ceredigion coast and the seaside town of New Quay where you will find two businesses willing to take tourists out to watch the famous population of bottlenose dolphins. One business will also take tourists out on fishing trips, the other doesn’t. I chose the latter.
In summer the resident families of dolphins are joined by pods travelling north to follow the spawning mackerel. In the past they would have also followed the herring.

The children on the boat grinned and whooped as we saw a small family, two adults and a calf. The calf keeping so close to his/her mother they almost touched. It was wonderful as the dolphins chose to approach us, the adult first and nearest and the mother and calf more cautiously. A spray blown child next to me agreed that this was the only way to see dolphins, wild and free and that keeping them in tanks in aquaria is cruel.

The dolphins, the seals and the seabirds draw modern tourists to West Wales. The tourists all need somewhere to stay, food to eat and all the services of modern life. The wildlife can save and enrich the human communities. From the scientists recording the sightings and behaviour of the dolphins to the child who has just seen her first dolphin, they’re all changed by the experience for the better.

I returned to the vegetarian guest house where I was staying and to a magnificent vegan dinner including an excellent leek pie. I hope Dewi Sant would’ve approved.

As he lay dying the saint told his followers, “do as I have and take care of the little things”. From his community on the cliff tops Dewi Sant would surely have seen the dolphins and whales following the little fishes up the coast, their hunting beneath the waves shown by the seabirds gathered to take their share of the fish near the surface. “Take care of the little things.”

 

Cruel Canadian Seal Slaughter Begins Again

‘A lone baby harp seal cried on a ice floe off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The seal was only about 14 days old, and she had already witnessed a lifetime of horror. Hunters had come there. They hadn’t killed her, but they’d shot and beaten all of her friends, who were a few days older than her. Now, only their blood remained. As the baby seal crawled across the ice, crying out in confusion, her white fur soaked in their red blood.’ (The Dodo, 28 March 2017).

Each year the snow and ice off Canada’s East Coast becomes stained with the blood of thousands of baby seals, cruelly clubbed or shot to death for their fur, which is then sold to make luxury items. Often they will be skinned alive. The killings are carried out by Canadian fishermen and paid for by the Canadian government. Fishermen have emptied the oceans of fish and now blame seals and dolphins for their empty nets, therefore they are only too glad to make extra money from killing these innocent creatures.

Fortunately there is pressure on the Canadian government for the slaughters to stop from marine conservation and animal welfare organisations, along with well known celebrities; such as Brigitte Bardot, PETA Honorary Director Pamela Anderson and Sea Shepherd supporter and actress Michelle Rodriguez. This has ensured that the market for seal fur is getting smaller each year, with Switzerland being the latest country to ban seal fur.

Despite the clear and much reported evidence of the extreme cruelty of the seal hunt and the huge global public outcry against it, the Canadian government continues to pour money into the industry.

The seals have other issues threatening their survival, with the ice sheets they rely on to give birth each year disappearing at an alarming rate.

Please read more about the cruel Canadian seal hunts at: www.ifaw.org and www.seashepherd.org.

Please never ever buy fur, even if you believe it to be fake. We must remove the demand for any fur products. Then perhaps fur bearing animals will be allowed to live in peace.

US Declares Open Season On Baby Bears And Wolves

baby bear and mum

Update: Heartbreaking news from the US as the Senate have now passed S.J. RES. 18 by a vote of 51 to 47. This now allows the killing of denning wolves and pups, hibernating bears and other animals on supposed national refuge land in Alaska.

In February the US House of Representatives voted to overturn the ‘fair chase’ rule which had banned the use of hunting methods which were felt to be ‘unfair’; such as baiting, traps and snares, using airplanes for tracking and shooting Bears, Wolves and Coyotes on national preserve land in Alaska. The rule also forbade the killing of Bear cubs, mother Bears with cubs and the killing of Wolves and Coyotes during the ‘denning’ season when pups are just being born.

It could very soon be perfectly legal to go into a Bear, Wolf or Coyote’s den and kill the entire family, including the cubs.

There is a petition against this becoming law – please go to www.thepetitionsite.com and sign and share the petition with your friends.

Read more at www.onegreenplanet.org

Dolphin Superpod Captured In Taiji, Japan

dolphin drive hunts taiji japan

On Friday 20th January a super pod of 300+ Bottlenose dolphins, containing many babies and juveniles, was captured in Taiji, Japan in a brutal drive hunt. These drive hunts use motor boats to force the dolphins into a cove, where they are then netted and trapped. They take place every day for six months of the year, from September through to March.

A lone dolphin managed to escaped the nets but wouldn’t leave his or her family, staying as close as possible to them throughout their ordeal. The pod were kept for 5 days with no food or shelter in freezing conditions. The pod was split into 3 to make it easier for the trainers to assess their suitability for captivity.

Dolphins have incredibly strong family bonds and many dolphins became caught in nets during the process and struggled to get back to their family members, with mothers desperate to reach their babies and young. During the 5 days, 4 dolphins died from stress and 100 dolphins were selected to be sold into the captive dolphin industry – many of them babies and juveniles. They will be starved, force fed dead, medicated fish and will exist in concrete tanks – never to see the ocean or their family members again.

After 5 days the remainder of the pod were driven back out to sea, many won’t survive. They have seen 100 of their pod taken into slavery, mothers who just days ago had babies now swam alone. This has been a horrific event even by Taiji’s standards.

The only positive is the awareness the Cove Guardians have been able to raise, with many news outlets covering the story for the first time. This is the only way we will end these horrific drive hunts; by removing the demand for captive dolphins, we will stop the drive hunts for good.

Please share with your friends and never, ever swim with captive dolphins – there is no beauty in stolen freedom.

Please read more at www.facebook.com/SeaShepherdCoveGuardiansOfficialPage

Image: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians

Death of ‘Blackfish’ Tilikum

Tilikum - Getty Images

On Friday 6th January, aged just 35 years old, the Orca Tilikum passed away from a bacterial infection caused by his captivity. In the wild Tilikum could have easily lived to 70 plus years old – a much loved wild Orca known as Granny recently died aged 105.

Tilikum was an Orca (sometimes known as Killer Whales) who was captured in Iceland in 1983 at Hafnarfjörður, near Reykjavík. He was stolen from his family unit (known as a pod) at just 2 years old. In the wild most Orcas will stay with or very near their family pod for life. After a year he was transferred to Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, he was then transferred in 1992 to SeaWorld Orlando, Florida.

The effects of being held in a tiny barren concrete tank took its toll on Tilikum and he was involved in the death of three people; the first a trainer at the now closed Sealand of the Pacific, the second a man who was trespassing in Tilikum’s enclosure at SeaWorld Orlando, and the third and most well known Dawn Brancheau, a senior SeaWorld Orlando trainer in 2010.

In 2013 Tilikum was featured in the documentary Blackfish which helped enormously to educate the public about the suffering of Orcas in captivity .

Tilikum was a big Orca, the largest Orca in captivity, and he was used by SeaWorld to sire calves by being forcibly masturbated. He sired 21 calves, of whom eleven are (currently) still alive. At 22.5 feet (6.9m) long, he weighed around about 12,500 pounds (5,700kg). His pectoral fins were 7 feet (2.1m) long, his 6.5 foot tall (2.0m) dorsal fin was collapsed completely to his left side due to the effects of captivity.

Despite worldwide condemnation and repeated calls for SeaWorld to release the Orcas into an ocean sanctuary, they refuse to grant their captives freedom and continue to spout utter rubbish about caring for their welfare.

SeaWorld must now put a plan into action to release its remaining captives, including Tilikum’s offspring, the other Orcas, Dolphins, Beluga whales, Sea Lions, Penguins and Walruses – who all suffer in this artificial environment with its concrete enclosures, screaming crowds and loud music.

It’s too late for Tilikum but let his legacy be the freedom of his fellow inmates.

Swim freely and in peace now Tilikum, November 1981 – 6 January 2017.

Image source: Getty Images

Vegan Cupboard Essentials

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes

So you’ve made the decision to try veganism – congratulations! What now? Bethany from littlegreenseedling.wordpress.com tells us the essential items all vegan cupboards should contain.

How To Cheaply And Healthily Stock Your Vegan Kitchen

Being a new vegan can be overwhelming, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But by centring your diet around whole foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains, you can make veganism an incredibly cheap and healthy way to live.

With that in mind, I’ve made a list of the most useful staples to keep in your kitchen. It’s largely based around what I consider to be essentials, so not all of it will apply to everyone. If you have food allergies, you may need to substitute certain things – I’ve listed the cheapest available options, for example peanut butter rather than almond or cashew, but you can alter this according to your needs. Let’s get started!

Cupboards

Fill your cupboards with wholegrains, starches and pulses – they’re cheap, filling, easy to cook and nutritious.

 – Stock up on canned beans – kidney beans and chickpeas are usually cheapest. Add them to everything – curry, chilli, soup, stews, wraps and so on – or blend them with spices to make falafels and burgers. To save more money, buy dried beans. Remember to soak them before cooking them.
 – Use canned tomatoes (chopped or plum) as a base for curries, stews and pasta sauces.
 – Tomato purée thickens and adds flavour to tomato sauces.
 – Canned coconut milk is very versatile – it can be used for curries, creamy pasta sauces and cake frostings.
 – Keep in plenty of wholegrain pasta and brown rice – it’s most affordable in Aldi and Lidl.
 – Get any other grains you like, such as couscous, noodles, barley, or quinoa.
 – It’s useful to have two bags of lentils, one red and one green. Use them in dhal, stews and soups. Red ones cook quickly but tend to break down, green ones keep their shape but take longer to cook.
 – Own-brand wholegrain cereal and porridge oats make quick and healthy breakfasts.
 – Wholemeal bread and wraps are good for lunchtimes.
 – Get some baking potatoes or sweet potatoes. Eat them as jacket potatoes, mash them, make them into chips or roast them. Store white potatoes away from the light so they don’t go green!
 – Onions and garlic improve any savoury recipe.
 – Cornflour thickens up watery sauces.
 – Don’t forget your favourite hot drinks – tea, coffee, herbal infusions, hot chocolate and so on.

Condiments

Most condiments are already vegan, and will liven up any meal.

 – Use nutritional yeast to make cheesy sauces and add extra flavour to soups and stews, or sprinkle it on pasta dishes and pizzas instead of cheese. It also contains a host of vitamins and minerals, and you can buy it fortified with B12.
 – Peanut butter is lovely when spread on toast or crackers, mixed into porridge or added to stir fries. Dip fruit in it for a healthy snack.
 – Soy sauce is great for stir-frying and seasoning.
 – Wholegrain mustard adds flavour to sauces and soups, and can be eaten with veggie roasts.
 – Apple cider vinegar makes a good salad dressing. It can also be used in baking, as it reacts with bicarbonate of soda to help things rise.
 – Get any other condiments you like, such as sriracha, ketchup, pickle and sweet chilli sauce.

Spice Rack

I’ve kept this to a minimum, since spices are expensive. Over time, you may want to build up your spice collection.

 – Curry powder and chilli powder make quick spicy dishes.
 – Dried mixed herbs add flavour to pasta or pizza sauces and stews.
 – Mixed spice or cinnamon is a must for fruit cakes and banana bread.
 – Turmeric has a multitude of health benefits and is good for making colourful yellow rice.
 – Use salt and black pepper for seasoning.

Fruit Bowl

The following types of fruit are almost always cheap, but you may also want to get more expensive fruit when it’s on offer.

 – Bananas are so versatile – they can be eaten as snacks, sliced on cereal/porridge/toast, added to smoothies, frozen to make banana ice cream and used for banana bread if they get too ripe.
 – Apples keep for ages and are always useful to have around.
 – Pears and oranges are usually reasonably priced.

Fridge

I haven’t listed dairy-free yogurts and cheeses, or meat alternatives like ‘ham’ slices. I tend to get these as an occasional treat, as they’re not so cheap and don’t have a lot of nutritional value.

 – UHT own-brand soya milk is the cheapest plant milk.
 – Always have a bag of leafy greens such as spinach, rocket or kale in the fridge.
 – Other cheap vegetables include broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, courgettes, aubergine and mushrooms.
 – Houmous and salsa can be used as dips, or added to sandwiches and wraps.
 – Dairy-free spread is usually very affordable.
 – Value brand orange or apple juice is good if you get bored of drinking plain water. Dilute it to make it last longer – it’s also better for your teeth that way.
 – Olives or sun-dried tomatoes make great pizza toppings.
 – Pickled beetroot, gherkins or onions are good for snacking on or eating as a side with lunch. Beetroot is nice in sandwiches with houmous and salad.
 – Bottled lemon juice adds flavour to sauces and curries.

Freezer

Getting some convenient frozen foods is a good way to avoid giving in to temptation and ordering a takeaway. It’s really useful to be able to throw together a relatively healthy meal in a matter of minutes.

 – Peas or green beans make a quick side.
 – Spinach cubes are a convenient way to add greens to your meal.
 – Sweetcorn brightens up any chilli or stew, makes a delicious pizza topping, and can be quickly defrosted and put in a wrap.
 – Oven chips or potato wedges are ideal when you don’t have the time (or the energy!) to chop and cook potatoes.
 – Vegetable/bean burgers, falafels or meat alternatives are also good when you’re in a hurry.
 – Frozen berries can be added to cereal, porridge and smoothies.
 – Wholegrain bagels or English muffins are delicious toasted and spread with peanut butter for a quick snack.

Baking (skip this if you don’t bake!)

You certainly don’t have to give up baking when you go vegan. There are multitudes of vegan recipes out there, and you won’t even taste the difference.

 – I like to have both wholemeal and plain flour, so I can mix and match them according to what I’m baking and who it’s for.
 – Caster and granulated are the cheapest kinds of sugar – you may want to get brown sugar too.
 – Raisins or sultanas are good for fruit cakes and scones. You can also sprinkle them on your cereal.
 – Cocoa powder is a must for chocolate cakes and brownies. It can also be used to make hot chocolate. Get Fairtrade cocoa and chocolate if possible.
 – Use dark chocolate chips for cookies, brownies and decorating cupcakes. Check they’re vegan, as some brands have milk in.
 – Don’t forget any other add-ins you regularly use, like desiccated coconut, almond flakes and seeds.
 – You’ll need raising agents – bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and yeast if you make bread.
 – Vegetable oil is neutral in flavour and so is the best choice for baking.
 – Golden syrup is the most affordable option for recipes like flapjack which require a liquid sweetener. It’s also good instead of maple syrup on pancakes!
 – Custard powder is usually vegan, and it works with any plant milk.

That’s all, I hope this list was helpful! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me via my blog.

My First Hunt Sab

fox hunting

Sarah tells us how she came to be a Hunt Saboteur and what it means to her.

“It was something I had always wanted to do – join the Hunt Sabs and help to sabotage a Fox hunt. But life gets in the way of our good intentions and I needed something to give me a final push, that something happened whilst on holiday in Somerset during the summer of 2015 when I saw a Fox hunt for the very first time.

Given the time of year, what I had actually stumbled upon was a cub hunt – where the hunt take the new hounds and train them to go against their instincts and kill baby Foxes. By doing this they are preparing them for the new Fox hunting season and also training the Fox cubs to run and not go straight to ground; in order to maximise the enjoyment of the hunt followers who like to get their money’s worth out of a day’s hunting.

What took me by surprise initially was the number of hunt supporters, lining the road eager to gain a sighting of the poor Fox cub as it tried to escape, so they could tip off the huntsman. I saw the terriermen on their quad bikes, I didn’t know at this stage that they would be called if the Fox cub went to ground, in order to send in their poor, abused Terriers to flush the Fox out for the hounds.

Finally we saw the hunt followers and the huntsman. It was clear they felt themselves to be something quite special as they glanced in my direction, no doubt expecting me to be impressed at the spectacle they were creating. The emotions I felt at this stage were overwhelming anger and frustration that I was unable to do a thing to stop them. It was during the Badger cull of 2015 and so I telephoned my contact to see if there were any Sabs in the area but they were all busy with the cull. Not knowing what else to do as I hadn’t actually seen the Fox, I had to leave him or her to their own devices and hope that it escaped.

I made up my mind there and then that I would join the Hunt Saboteurs as soon as I returned from my holiday and that’s what I did.

At the start of the new season I arrived with the Hunt Sabs to find a huge hunt – much larger than the one I had seen in the summer, there were hundreds of riders. I had chosen the busiest day of the year (next to Boxing Day) for my first ever sab!

I was part of a small foot group and it was our job to track and monitor the hunt. It involved a lot of running across very muddy ground. I was told everything I needed to know and learnt quickly. We used citronella spray to cover a Fox’s tracks that crossed our path, we took footage of the hounds chasing Foxes, I filmed an assault on a fellow Sab by one of their hired thugs… it was a long, tough day but they didn’t get to kill and that made every moment worthwhile. Since then I have sabbed as many hunts as possible and will continue to do so. Nothing gives me the same sense of satisfaction of knowing that my actions have helped to save an innocent life. For anyone wanting to get involved with the Hunt Saboteurs, my advice is – do it! You could not meet a nicer group of people; people who will give everything they have to save the life of an animal. Plus there is usually vegan cake!”

Find out more about how you can help at www.huntsabs.org.uk

Image: Daily Express