HSA news release 30th March 2002

Huntsman Arrested After Attacks on Hunt Saboteurs

Is this what they mean by a 'summer of discontent' in the countryside?

A huntsman was arrested today (30 March 2002) after a series of violent attacks on demonstrators at the Essex Farmers & Union Hunt. The hunt met at Patten’s Farm, Great Baddow near Chelmsford - the home of Senior Joint Master Doug Hill.

During the course of the day, hunt saboteurs were using non-violent methods such as blowing horns and spraying harmless scent dullers to prevent the hunt killing foxes. The hunt reacted violently throughout, with one protestor hit over the head with a baseball bat, 3 protestors ridden down, and 6 whipped by hunt riders. A knife was also pulled out by a terrierman and used to threaten the anti-hunt activists. One eyewitness said that when police arrived and attempted to halt the attacks on protestors, they too were ridden at.

After one alleged incident, in which an activist was whipped, a huntsman refused to get off his horse when asked by police. The man, wearing the red coat denoting rank and importance in the hunt, was eventually arrested on suspicion of causing Actual Bodily Harm and Assault. Officers from Essex Constabulary filmed the incident.

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown commented: “Hunt saboteurs were subjected to violence throughout the day. The fact that the arrested man wore a red coat and that the attacks happened when the hunt met at the Senior Joint Master’s farm implies that this sort of behaviour is acceptable within the hunt“

The HSA spokesperson pointed to the frequency of attacks against activists: “This is the 24th incident of violence against anti-hunt activists in the 16 weeks since hunting was resumed after Foot & Mouth restrictions were lifted.

"There have doubtless been more that we are not aware of. Hunt supporters are showing their true colours – they partake in a violent activity and will react violently to anyone who opposes it. Incidents like the one today show that hunt supporters are not a respectable minority as they claim, but desperate thugs, wreckers and bullies. That they are now openly promising to bring a 'summer of discontent' to the countryside should be of interest to the police and law enforcement agencies”

Notes to Editors:-
It is believed at least one other supporter of the hunt was also arrested on Saturday.

ENDS