HSA news release 24th January 2004
Hunt Master fell while attacking saboteurs
The Hunt Saboteurs Association has hit out at the Countryside Alliance for misleading the media in an allegation that a hunt master was dragged from his horse at the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt.
Having spoken to hunt saboteurs present at the scene the HSA Press Officer is able to shed some light on the story: "From what I can ascertain, the Hunt Master Mr. Worsley was trying to whip protestors when his horse reared up. He lost his balance and fell off. He then carried on to attack saboteurs joined by other members of the hunt. Typically the Countryside Alliance have only told half the story in order to misrepresent hunt saboteurs - as usual, it is a case of 'if you sling enough mud...'
"It is interesting that after totally ignoring the horrific incident a week before, when a hunt saboteur was nearly killed after being ridden down by a red coated huntsman, this week the Countryside Alliance have their press and website people on standby on a Saturday afternoon for a conveniently engineered story to push in the media. Unfortunately the media failed to consult the HSA and the BBC have reported the allegation on Ceefax and their website without finding out the truth.
"Anyone with any sense would realise that it would be impossible to pull a horse over backwards. Far from the lies perpetuated by the hunting fraternity, hunt saboteurs are motivated by compassion for animals and are present to prevent harm to animals. The allegation would be laughable, if only it weren't being taken seriously."
He added: "Worsley's arrogance may have caused him to rather foolishly ignore the fact that one of the people he was threatening and attacking was pointing a video camera at him as the incident unfolded. In fact, we seem to agree with the Countryside Alliance on one thing; they are quoted as saying 'What we have seen here today beggars belief' and as far as we are concerned, it certainly does!"
The further claim by the Alliance that hunt saboteurs have "disregard for the welfare of people" is particularly offensive to the HSA given that hunt saboteur Steve Christmas was almost killed at a meet of this hunt on 1 Sept 2000. He is still having to undergo regular medical treatment as a result.
On this subject, the Alliance have failed to mention Worsley's own disregard for the welfare of people. In December 2002 Worsley was fined and received penalty points on his licence at Redhill magistrates after he admitted taking part in a protest on the M25 which a motorway safety officer said "posed an extreme danger".
Also strangely missing from the Countryside Alliance version of events is that the hunt hounds had been trespassing through a member of the public's private garden just prior to Worsley's threats and whip attack.
Details of Worsley's conviction taken from "Pro-hunt M25 protesters are fined", Dec 5 2002, Crawley News
Worsley writes, rather appropriately, under the pseudonym 'The Worm' in Horse and Hound magazine, and takes great delight in fantasising over the number of foxes his crappy little hunt dream they have killed.
Update: After this press release was sent to the BBC, ceefax dropped the story from their pages. The truth outs.