HSA news release 17th January 2004

Saboteur seriously injured at hunt - huntsman arrested


Simon Wild affter the attack A member of the hunt being arrested

A hunt saboteur was taken to hospital today (17 January 2004) with head injuries and severe cuts and bruising to his body after being ridden down, trampled and dragged along the ground at the Crawley and Horsham Hunt in Sussex.

Shortly before dusk, at about 4.20, the hunt were chasing a fox that had run down a bridlepath. Protestors were running down the right of way when Simon Wild was allegedly deliberately ridden at by a member of the hunt and then dragged 100 yards by the horse before being left incapacitated on the ground. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and suffered a broken nose, broken tooth, lacerations and bruising across his face, and cuts and bruising all over his body. He is also suspected to have concussion.

A red-coated member of the hunt was arrested by officers at the scene - but only after the protestor's wife insisted that police take immediate action.

40 police were in attendance at the meet at Shipley, Sussex and focussed their attention on curtailing the activities of protestors who were determined to stop the hunt killing foxes using non-violent tactics such as blowing hunting horns and masking the hunted animal's scent with sprays.

Protestors claim that, throughout the day, there had been numerous attempts by members of the hunt to ride them down. Police were asked to intervene to prevent any injuries but failed to act on the requests.

The hunt has a history of violence and threats against protestors including Mr Wild and his wife. Nathan Brown, HSA spokesperson, said "This sort of brutality is regularly dished out to hunt saboteurs and is indicative of the brutality inflicted on animals by hunting. The longer we wait for a ban,the more animals and people will be killed or injured. I challenge the hunting fraternity to condemn this behaviour, but doubt very much whether they will, effectively giving it their approval."

He went on: "That these huntspeople have the arrogance and aggression to put protestors lives in danger in this manner despite the presence of huge numbers of police gives you some idea of their contempt for our safety and the law. It also implies they feel they have the support of the police to be able to act in this way and expect to get away with it."

Saboteurs claim that whilst they are glad of the arrest, the policing on the day was far from impartial. The HSA spokesperson added "The police are perceived by hunt saboteurs across the country to be acting as a private security force for the hunt, picking and choosing which laws they will apply and who they will apply them to. They ignored requests to uphold the law when hunt saboteurs' safety was in jeopardy, and now a hunt saboteur is in hospital. It seems we can expect no justice."

Photos and video of Mr Wilds injuries are available