On Monday Hunt Saboteurs were in action to stop the Gloucester-based Royal Agricultural College Beagles from killing hares in Aberdeenshire. The RAC pack are in Scotland for a week of illegal hare hunting at the invitation of the Kincardineshire Foxhounds.

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The Sabs have on video a police officer at the scene telling them that the hunt are flushing hares to guns and if the sabs follow then they will be arrested. The sabs have gone to the local police station with the video and pointed out the law, and the police have realised that they have helped facilitate an illegal activity. They have now sent a wildlife crime officer to the hunt and told them that they have to stop.

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The RAC are one of the most controversial hunts in England. In February 2013, their then huntswoman, Libby Gilbert, was filmed illegally hunting hares. Gilbert chose to flee to America rather than face justice in court. Two years later, a mob of drunken RAC supporters were filmed attacking a small group of hunt saboteurs and attempting to overturn their vehicle.

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Given this reputation, and the intense scrutiny Scottish hunting is currently under, it is extraordinary that the Kincardineshire Foxhounds thought it to appropriate to offer a 'hunting holiday' to the RAC.

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HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "People in Scotland will be outraged to learn that their wildlife is being terrorised by a gang of hare hunters from England. The fact that this visit went ahead in the midst of major political moves against Scottish hunting shows just how arrogant the hunters are. Even now these people think they are above the law."

 

Notes for Editors

(1) The RAC Beagles are the official hunt of the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. The Queen and Prince Charles are the university's patron and president respectively. 

(2) Beagling is the practice of hunting hares by scent with packs of beagles. (This is different from hare coursing, where the hare is hunted by sight with greyhounds or lurchers). However, there are no beagle packs in Scotland and, as hunted hares run in large circles, it would be physically impossible to 'flush to guns.'

(3) League Against Cruel Sports footage of RAC huntswoman Libby Gilbert hunting a hare on 20/02/13: https://youtu.be/Hs0vOjjhFYI

(4) HSA press release on RAC attack on hunt saboteurs 10/01/2015. Includes footage of dead rabbit being thrown at sab vehicle and drunken attempts to overturn occupied vehicle: https://www.huntsabs.org.uk/index.php/92-news/press-releases/554-criminal-activity-by-members-of-the-rac

(5) Details of the Jed Forest Foxhounds conviction - the first under the The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002: https://www.league.org.uk/news/borders-huntsmen-found-guilty-of-illegal-fox-hunting

(6) Hunting in Scotland is currently under pressure from several quarters: https://www.league.org.uk/blog/on-the-trail-of-the-hunts

 On the 4th, 5th and 6th of December, Hy Fly Game Hatcheries in Lancashire hosted the International Gundog League Retriever Championship and a small group of hunt saboteurs headed to the area to gather valuable information and formulate a plan about how best to sabotage next year’s championships.

Hy Fly is a vast game farm that intensively rears pheasants, partridges and ducks in appalling conditions to be sold on to shoots all across the UK. Birds used for breeding are confined to barren wire cages and their offspring are artificially incubated on site. Hy Fly even boasts of producing up to 1.5 million pheasants, partridges and mallards per week. In January this year, the farm was close to bankruptcy after bird flu was found on the site and a staggering 10,000 birds were subsequently culled.

The shooters, dog trainers and spectators met at Moss Cottage, not far from Poulton-Le-Fylde, before walking to the surrounding fields to kill pheasants and partridges who had previously been released into the area from the endless rows of pens at Hy Fly. The event attracts some high profile people, for example this year's championship was won by a dog owned by serial animal abuser and fox hunt master, the Duke of Buccleuch (who is also the largest private landowner in Europe). The Queen has also awarded prizes at the IGL in past years.

The International Gundog League has recently come to the attention of the HSA as part of our ongoing campaign against the shooting industry. It is sickening that large numbers of factory farmed birds are gunned down simply for dog trainers to win themselves medals. The organisers of next year's event should certainly expect mass sabotage.

 

 

Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 10th December 2017

 

Hunt Saboteurs from Croydon and Kingston joined the first major international action of its kind that saw nearly 60 Hunt Saboteurs from 6 different countries descend on the notorious Futaie des Amis Stag Hunt in the Foret de Compiegne, Picardy, Northern France. In recent weeks the hunt killed a stag in a garden, despite the home owner begging them not to, and saw one of its own beaters killed by being pierced through the heart by a deer's antlers after he had cornered the animal.

 

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Teams of Hunt Saboteurs managed to maintain close contact with the hunt all day, and on three occasions managed to take control of the pack at crucial moments when they were hunting a stag and two hinds, one with her young. The hunt were in complete disarray with the huntsman, Drak, complaining bitterly to the French hunt saboteurs that they had not been able to kill and that stag hunting wasn't barbaric.

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Traditionally, stag hunting involves hunting an animal with hounds, to the point of utter exhaustion, then the huntsman stabs the animal in the heart. However, allowing the hounds to tear the animal apart (as in fox hunting) and drowning are also approved methods for a stag hunt to make a kill.

 

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Lee Moon, Press Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “The Hunt Saboteurs Association has over 50 years experience of sabotaging hunts in the UK. When we hear of similar actions happening abroad we are more than happy to lend a hand. Congratulations to the French saboteurs for arranging this successful action and we look forward to working with them again in the near future.”