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

The Tories Stay In Power, So What Now…

badger cull

Despite the best efforts of those who care about British wildlife, the Conservative Party have held onto power for another 5 years.

Whilst the opposition parties scrabble around trying to find new leaders, the Tories are trying to push through a series of draconian policies; including the scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

It is only a matter of time before they try to repeal the Fox Hunting ban (as promised to the Countryside Alliance and its members in return for their votes). They are also expected to try to roll out the unnecessary and unscientific – not to mention hideously cruel – badger cull across the whole of the country; this is to please the dairy farmers and Prince Charles – who carried out a badger cull on his own estate in 1994 to prevent the spread of TB (none of the badgers killed had the disease). Prince Charles has long spoken out in favour of the killing of badgers.

To find out more about the Badger Cull, please go to www.careforthewild.com

The Badger Trust have responded to Prince Charles’ support for a badger cull with the following letter:

Badger Trust response to HRH Prince Charles’s letters

The Badger Trust has reacted strongly to pro-culling comments made by HRH Prince Charles in his recently revealed correspondence with the government.
 
Peter Martin, the Trust’s newly appointed Chairman and a close neighbour of the Prince in Tetbury said, “These comments display a complete lack of understanding not only of basic badger ecology but also of the true causes of TB in cattle. His comments on overpopulation are completely wrong. Badgers have no natural predators and their population has always been controlled by their own territorial behaviour and by the availability of habitat and food. Their numbers are simply recovering after centuries of persecution by farmers and baiters, which threatened to wipe out the species prior to their legal protection in 1992.”

Responding to comments made by the Prince of Wales that the badger lobby is ‘intellectually dishonest’ the Badger Trust CEO Dominic Dyer said, “This is an extraordinary accusation. He is effectively condemning some of the finest scientific minds in the country, who have clearly stated that culling badgers can play no significant part in the control TB in cattle. This was confirmed by the failure of the two recent pilot culls which were condemned as inhumane and completely ineffective, failing even to reach their basic targets for badgers culled. Moreover, the Prince has insulted 90% of his future subjects who, in a recent ComRes poll, opposed any further culling of badgers.”

The Badger Trust is contacting Clarence House to seek an urgent meeting with the Prince of Wales to clarify its position on badger culling and to present him with the latest scientific studies and farm-level data that prove cattle testing, basic bio-security and movement control measures are the only effective way forward in controlling bovine TB. The Trust feels that if there has been any ‘intellectual dishonesty’ then it is to be found in the farming industry and government’s point-blank refusal to test culled badgers for TB.

“Whilst we accept these comments were made ten years ago,” continues Badger Trust Chairman Peter Martin, “they nevertheless demonstrate a worrying level of misunderstanding on the Prince’s part. Rightly or wrongly he is considered to be very influential not only in farming circles but also as a public opinion former. We need to make sure he is fully apprised of the facts and that his future comments on the subject are based on these rather than persistent rural mythology surrounding the role of badgers in cattle TB.”

“Bovine TB is a form of industrial pollution,” concludes Peter Martin, “our wildlife is being infected with it at an alarming rate and it is incumbent on farmers to prevent that happening by adopting simple good husbandry practices. As a case in point, I was walking on a footpath on the Highgrove estate just this morning and noticed two basic examples of bad practice. Firstly there was a salt-lick placed on the ground [see pic attached] where it will attract all sorts of mammals and create a disease hot-spot for TB if it is present in the cattle. Secondly, the cattle trough behind it was too low thereby allowing all kinds of wild mammals to drink from it, including badgers. Both of these are basic mistakes and we feel His Royal Highness should start to address this sort of thing before pointing the finger at wildlife or casting aspersions on the intellectual integrity of the scientific community or the population at large.”

/Ends

Notes for editors:

In 1994 Prince Charles had 15 badgers slaughtered after an outbreak of bTB on his Highgrove Estate. All were found to be free of the disease