“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