On March 13th 2019 at Ipswich Crown Court, the former huntsman of the Thurlow Hunt, Chris Amatt, was found guilty of illegally hunting with a pack of dogs.
The case related to a fox killed on Boxing Day 2017 and the prosecution was brought using evidence and witness testimony from Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs and North Cambs Hunt Sabs.
Amatt was also found guilty of assaulting one of the sabs present who recorded his crime. Likewise, hunt member Archie Clifton Brown (who is the nephew of the owner of the Thurlow Hunt) was also found guilty of assault on the same sab, while cynically trying to take the body of the killed fox from him in an attempt to conceal evidence.
The judge Nick Watson, in summing up, commented that the sabs were honest and credible witnesses, whereas the defendants had fabricated a number of lies to cover for their crimes. At no point had the sabs present in the wood had anything to do with the death of the fox and indeed had not turned it into the hounds as the defence had claimed. The huntsman was clearly heard encouraging the hounds and had made no attempt to stop them. Archie Clifton-Brown only avoided the Hunting Act prosecution due to the doubt in the level of involvement he had in the proceedings.
The defence utilised a hugely expensive legal team, including the now multiple hunting act case loser Stephen Welford, and two QC barristers, clearly hoping that their bottomless wallets could buy them immunity from the law.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “Hunt saboteurs primary aim is always to save lives but on the sad occasions when this isn’t possible we will seek justice for the hunted animal. Congratulations to these two groups for having the fortitude to see this process through to a successful conclusion. We call for the MFHA to suspend the criminal Thurlow Hunt and then for them to be permanently disbanded.”
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 4th March 2019
Hunt saboteurs from across the South and West sprung into action this week to sabotage the ‘Ilminster Hare Week’, a hare hunting ‘festival’ taking place in Somerset. The festival is hosted by the Ilminster Beagles, with other beagle & basset packs travelling to hunt hare in the area.
On Sunday, the opening day of the festival, over 50 saboteurs shut down a meet of the Ryeford Chase Rabbit Hounds at Beercrocombe, Somerset.
This was followed up by a meet of the Ilminster Beagles on Monday at Aller, Somerset. With sabs present the hunt did little more than hang around at the meet and take sabs on a short walk around nearby lanes.
With saboteurs in the area ready to disrupt meets throughout the rest of the week and the travelling packs under close observation, the hare hunters are promised to have an equally hard time going forward.
The brown hare population is in serious decline in this country and recent cases of diseases such as myxomatosis and RHDV2 further threatening the species. It is disgusting that organised hunts such as those taking part in this ‘festival’ continue to illegally persecute hares for sport.
Hunt saboteurs will not stand idly by whilst animals are chased and killed for fun and are prepared to take non-violent direct action whenever necessary to protect them.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “These secretive “festivals” are the last feeble kicks of a dying hunt tradition. Beagle and basset packs throughout the UK are on their last legs and are made up almost entirely of the older generation as youngsters want nothing to do with their “sport”. The hunts become ever more secretive and have to come together from all over the country to meet others who share their cruel and outdated views. Sabs will be out in Somerset for the rest of this week to ensure no killing takes place and that any packs that have travelled for the hare week have a wasted journey.”
A video has circulated on social media showing Mark, Ben and Edward Doggrell from the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt involved in a brawl outside the William Dampier pub in Yeovil on the evening of Saturday 9th February. The incident occurred after 4 men (presumably the Doggrell's) were ejected from another pub in the town and were then refused entry to the William Dampier. Avon and Somerset police commented on the footage saying: “We want to assure people that violence of this nature will not be tolerated”
Earlier on the same day the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale were witessed killing a fox and Mark and Edward were filmed disposing of the body. Mark Doggrell is the huntsman whilst his son Edward was field master on the day. Other son Ben is terrier man of the Cattistock Hunt. Hunt saboteurs from Weymouth Animal Rights, Dorset Hunt Sabs, North Dorset Hunt Sabs and Southampton sabs witnessed the kill and were assaulted by Mark Doggrell whilst trying to retrieve the body.
Ben Doggrell has previously pleaded guilty to ABH after assaulting a hunt sab and Mark Doggrell was famously found not-guilty, despite clear video evidence of him riding down and almost killing a sab.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated: “Violence is a way of life for the Doggrells. They're used to violently chasing and killing foxes and violently assaulting anyone who opposes them. It's no surprise to see them involved in this mass brawl as it's just an extension of their violent ways. They're also used to a free pass from Dorset Police who do little to curb their behaviour. It's interesting that the police are so vocal in their criticism of the pub brawl when they've turned a blind eye to the Doggrell's lawbreaking for so many years.”
Video of the aftermath of the kill can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/WeymouthAnimalRights/videos/2011534245807055/
Page 8 of 73