HSA news release 16th June 2002
They must think you are stupid!
Countryside Alliance exaggerate events to fit their agenda
The Countryside Alliance (CA) was accused of trying to hijack the democratic process by releasing a fantastic 'News Release' today. The release urged people to contact their MPs and contained gross exaggerations of a minor incident at a Mink Hunt the day before. Simon Hart, of the Campaign for Hunting, also stated that he would make a representation to the Home Office. Isn't it interesting how directly he feels he has access to them?
In the release, intercepted by the Hunt Saboteurs Association, the Alliance claimed that the Three Counties Mink Hounds was attacked by “80 masked hunt saboteurs brandishing hammers and lengths of copper piping”.
The HSA can reveal that between 25 and 30 people had arrived at the hunt to use non-violent direct action to prevent the hunt from hunting mink and disturbing riverside wildlife habitats. None of the group were carrying weapons, and we can only think that the CA's references to 'lengths of copper piping' meant that some of the sabs had (copper) hunting horns! One or 2 who live in rural areas had their faces covered due to the fear of reprisals by pro-hunters whose language and actions are becoming increasingly violent.
Also in attendance were 10 vehicles and a helicopter from Warwickshire Police! HSA spokesperson, Nathan Brown, pointed out that there were no searches of vehicles for weapons (because there were none present) and no arrests for possession of offensive weapons. He commented “This latest aspect of the dirty tricks campaign waged by the Alliance against anti-hunt protestors is not only an insult to us but also to Warwickshire Police. The police would not stand by if people were carrying weapons, and nor would we expect them to”.
He went on to say: “The Alliance constantly tries to portray hunt saboteurs as carrying weapons, yet hunt supporters are often photographed in possession of pick axe handles. This latest unfounded claim comes fresh on the heels of a dead fox carcass being dumped at the home of a 15 year old anti-hunt activist in Cornwall, following the launch of the sinister Real Countryside Alliance. This release may be an attempt to divert attention away from the activities of the Real Countryside Alliance. It certainly should not be believed and surely an enquiry to Warwickshire police press office would prove that.
“This is typical of the way in which the Alliance exaggerates figures and misleads the public. To claim that 25-30 people are 80 people takes a very active imagination (especially when they usually try to underestimate the number of sabs). In the past they have vastly overstated employment in hunting and numbers of supporters. Maybe they were looking through those same tinted glasses when they did a head count on Saturday! We urge Mr Hart to check his facts before misleading members of the government. We are also doubtful that he will be raising the issue of The Real Countryside Alliance and its sinister threats. Is it a case of one law for them and another for us?”
Notes to Editors:-
Alliance claims that 4 people were arrested and 2 were charged by police were also unfounded as only 2 arrests (neither for any violent behaviour) were made and both people were released without charge. The Real Countryside Alliance are believed to be responsible for criminal damage (daubing slogans on roads and signs) across the countryside.