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We’ll be posting regular updates here on our blog, so just scroll down to see what’s new! Due to time constraints and space issues on the site, however, we will no longer be posting our daily sabbing reports on our blog, unless something out of the ordinary has happened. You can keep up-to-date with our daily goings on on our facebook page (which you should be able to view even without your own facebook page). There are also information pages which you can click on where we’ll be putting up information about hunts, hunt sabotage, the law and so on so that some information is always easily accessible. We hope you find this page useful and interesting. Thanks for looking! 3C

*** Artificial Earths used by local hunts damaged / destroyed prior to opening meets ***

We were asked to delay putting this report out until late in the season and, with many hunts cancelling meets this week, it seems the right time to post. We will be releasing more information shortly which will explain artificial earths, their structures and uses more clearly. In the meantime please also look at our article on terrierwork which touches on them briefly

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“In support of fellow anti-hunt people working hard in the badger cull zones we took it upon ourselves to take action against local hunts (and shooting areas) by sabotaging their artificial earths. With some artificial earths not being ‘badger-proofed’ there is always the worry that they are being used to more easily target badgers for baiting and digging, during the culls and so on. Our first step, obviously, is to ensure that no one is using the artificials as a home.

During the time that we were active in the area, we damaged or destroyed 6 artificial earths within the North Cotswold Hunt country, 5 used by the Heythrop Hunt, 4 in Ledbury Hunt country, 2 used by the Cotswold Hunt and 2 within Beaufort / VWH country. Our tactics included digging up and smashing pipes, removing / smashing bricks and slabs used to create chambers, filling the area with soil or using bricks and rocks that once made up parts of the artificials to block the pipes themselves – some of the areas have metres of backed-up bricks shoved into the pipes which would have to be dug down to and smashed in order to remove them as the entrances are fully blocked with no give in the materials used to block them. Lump hammers, shovels, crowbars, materials found in the local area… easy to conceal but very effective with a little bit of effort.

We avoided the use of products such as expanding foam due to the environmental impact that they would have. We also found a number of insects, spiders, frogs and toads living within the artificial earths who we would not want to harm with our actions. Many animals were moved to appropriate places nearby or returned to the area once our work was done – with many pro-cull and pro-hunt people constantly talking about hedgehogs needing more protection (and yet doing very little to support them) we created hedgehog-friendly log-piles on many of the ex-artificial earths.

To finish, we will briefly explain our reasons for doing these actions. Despite the fantastic, almost everyday work done by local sab groups (who we have informed of our actions partially so that they can get the word out there about them but mostly so that they know what has changed in the local hunt countries) they will never be able to keep on top of constant checks on artificial earths to ensure they are not in use / not being dug into, even when hunts are meeting close by (never mind days when hunt staff may go to them to capture foxes for release in front of hounds or for disgusting practices like those filmed at the South Herefordshire hunt kennels last spring).

Various ex-hunt supporters / staff who have turned anti-hunt have said over the years that artificials should just be smashed – they’ve been filmed on numerous occasions but carry on being used. Unless there is a case being built against a specific hunt and use of an artificial will be another nail in the coffin for them or if there’s nothing you can do to remove the artificial, get rid of them. Yes, they will build new ones, but many hunts and hunt supporters will be out doing so during and outside of the hunting season anyway. We chose this time to take action 1) because we are in a different area to where we live and are not known as ‘antis’ and 2) with the opening meets coming up soon (start of November) most fox cubs have grown and artificial earths are not currently being used as homes for them, only as places where foxes will try to escape during hunts (and will then be easily flushed / dug out and killed). It is also a busier time for hunts and their supporters as they are preparing for the full season and will have less time on their hands. Any newly-built artificials will smell of humans for longer too, meaning foxes are less likely to use them straight away.

Finally, a message to the hunters. We are watching and we are educating others. In this case, it was because many of you support the badger cull in the area that you have ended up losing artificials to us due to more ‘antis’ being in the area and more areas being checked as part of the anti-cull campaign. More of us will continue to take action like this in areas where wildlife persecution is increasing. But none of you are immune.

Please support the local groups here: Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs, Gloucestershire Badger Office and Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch: paypal.me/threecountiessabs”

Over A Decade Of Arrogance – Enough Is Enough, Vote Off The Hunts (National Dis-Trust guest article)

The National Trust have allowed so-called ‘trail hunting’ on their land for 12 years, and it’s coming to light that people, frankly, have had enough. The Ipsos MORI polls, commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports, have shown a consistently increasing opposition to fox hunting (and other forms of hunting with hounds) over recent years. The trend is true regardless of whether those questioned live in urban or rural areas, and irrespective of where they sit on the political spectrum. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise when you scratch the surface and see how hunts conduct themselves; have a look at a few examples…

The Atherstone Hunt rampaging through somebody’s garden
The Atherstone Hunt trespassing on farms where they clearly aren’t welcome whilst their supporters threaten to shoot hunt saboteurs
The Cheshire Hunt chasing a fox through a horse paddock against the landowner’s wishes
– The Pembrokeshire Hunt trespassing on a private nature reserve for a second time driving the owner to tears

Follow this up by having a look at the countless acts of intimidation of rural residents who don’t support the fell packs in Cumbria, some of whom are only able to survive with the blessing of the National Trust, as revealed in this Independent article (Jane Dalton, 19/09/2017) in which, tellingly, those offering their stories only do so under pseudonyms to protect themselves.

‘“A lot of my neighbours didn’t like the hunting and felt intimidated. My elderly neighbour had a fox under her barn one new year. The hunt came straight into her garden and were banging on her back door wanting the key to her barn so they could get the fox. She wouldn’t give it to them but she was really frightened because they were very angry.”’

The National Trust have recently provided an update on their hunting rules. They say their update is the result of a carefully considered review which took half a year, although it did appear on their website immediately after a sudden flurry of media attention on their hunting stance broke across the country. Convenient, right? It was so rushed, in fact, that by admitting terriermen have no role on a ‘trail hunt’ they accidentally admitted that they’ve been turning a blind eye to blatant wildlife crime for 12 years. What have the terriermen been doing with the hunts that the Trust licences since the Hunting Act 2004 came into effect? Quite an obvious question; the Trust probably shouldn’t have brought attention to it.

The hunts they licence are still being filmed with terriermen, such as the Warwickshire Hunt. It doesn’t matter if the Trust wants to do dismiss such occurrences as not being on Trust land, because if the Trust’s new rules require the hunts to follow non-animal based scent, where are they keeping the second pack specific to Trust land & trained on non-animal based scent if they are already training their existing (and non-fictional) pack on the scent of (live) foxes? The answer is obvious.

If you’re new to the subject and mistakenly thought fox hunting was done & dusted years ago, you might think this is something you should approach the management about, but we’ll save you some time by saying that they are already well aware of this rampant criminal activity. The Trust’s Director-General, Dame Helen Ghosh, stated she had read Trail of Lies at a lecture she gave inMarch. In the minutes of Borrowdale Parish Council from March, representatives of the National Trust stated that they had confirmed no fox urine had actually been imported. So where, we might ask, had the hunts been obtaining the fox urine that they claim to use for laying trails? It probably won’t come as a shock at this stage to say, quite simply, that they aren’t. Professor Stephen Harris, the world’s leading expert on the red fox, recently looked at this issue, and you can see his findings in 2.2.16 – 2.2.18 on P9-10 of his new report. Photo credit to Cumbria Hunt Monitors – the fox was killed on NT land on 05/11/2015 by the Melbreak Hunt

If you’re a member of the National Trust, we aren’t describing this farce to put you off the National Trust. We’re explaining it because if you think the National Trust should genuinely stand for wildlife instead of turning a blind eye to criminal blood junkies, then you can support a members a resolution to vote them off. With your help, the Trust’s land i.e. the land that you pay to preserve for future generations, can have a better chance of becoming a genuine sanctuary for increasingly pressured wildlife instead of a playground for psychopaths. We hope that you support the resolution and follow our simple guidance for members .

The National Dis-Trust

North Cotswold Hunt assaults

On December 28th 2016 our group split to keep an eye on two different hunts, the Ledbury and the North Cotswold. Both groups, along with Bristol Hunt Saboteurs, were subject to violence and intimidation. Both hunts were still disrupted while attempting to kill wildlife.

Not long ago we wrote this update about the Ledbury terrierman involved in the assault on sabs – Terrierman charged with affray – and now we bring an update on the North Cotswold case too.

The video below shows some of the footage from the day, including falconer Calvin Crossman’s behaviour towards sabs in a field and terrierman Will Haines riding his quadbike into a sab.

Following the discovery of the artificial earths the hunt packed up and the sab attended Gloucester hospital with suspected concussion and a swollen jaw. Statements were made to the police soon after.

West Mercia Police have dropped the case against Crossman as they say it is unclear how he and the sab ended up on the floor, whether he intended to hit her in the face and whether he did actually knee her in the groin. Regardless of this, we believe that his behaviour in the run-up to the fall still constitutes an assault (assault does not require physical contact) and is still unacceptable, especially the fact that he puts his eagle in danger.

Haines admitted that he had ridden into the same sab on purpose and was given a caution due to previously having a clean record. If you think the name is familiar you may well be thinking of Will Haines senior, a farmer from Castle Farm in Chipping Campden (supplier to M&S, Whole Foods and others). Will Haines junior was identified by the North Cotswold’s huntsman, Nigel Peel, and confirmed as being employed by him as terrierman and is also known to be involved in helping to organise the hunt ball, so the hunt can’t easily pretend that he has nothing to do with them.

The violence is believed to have been sparked by a previous incident in October 2016 when terriermen were caught attempting to dig out an active badger sett in order to get to the hunted fox who had sought shelter within the sett (see video below) and who then thought it acceptable to abandon their terrier (a “much-loved family pet”) in the sett with the frightened fox and numerous badgers… Gloucestershire Constabulary looked into an allegation that sabs had stolen the terrier and found no evidence to suggest this; the investigation was dropped earlier this year. Unfortunately, despite evidence supplied, we believe they have also dropped the investigation into the illegal dig-out.

The hunt continue to intend to hunt illegally, the blocking of badger setts prior to hunt meets being one giveaway of this and we intend to keep a closer eye on them in the coming seasons.

If you hear any information about the hunt or have any tip-offs as to hunt meets (or a hunt meet card) please contact us on 07891 639803 or via our facebook page or email address: threecountiessabs@live.co.uk Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, whether with moral support, driving sabs to hospitals, throwing us a few quid here and there or giving us information. If you can help us out financially so that we can continue what we do (and keep an eye on this bunch of lawbreakers next season) please do so via PayPal

Thank you!

MP Alex Chalk associated with North Cotswold Hunt

Anti-hunt campaigners were recently tipped off that hunters were assisting in promoting pro-hunt Conservative MPs in the run up to the election in June. One such MP is Alex Chalk of Cheltenham, although he states in this article that any changes beyond bringing the law into line with the law in Scotland would have to be considered carefully as they would be ‘highly controversial’.

We aren’t surprised that Mr. Chalk is denying having anything to do with the North Cotswold Hunt – they’re hardly a group of people that you would want to associate with especially when trying to maintain a position of power in local community. 

A (very) brief history of the hunt would include: 

2014

The hunt associated with the feeding of foxes in an area where they often hunt – vehicle was tracked back to their kennels in Broadway.

Also in 2014, we caught the hunt illegally chasing foxes despite knowing that sabs had filmed their behaviour.

2016

October – during a cubhunting meet near to Evesham hunt hounds ran a fox to ground. Sabs caught terriermen at an active badger sett that they had begun to dig into to get to the fox, entrances to the sett freshly blocked up. They then abandoned the terrier who had been put into the sett for 2hrs, facing off with the hunted fox and potentially the resident badgers.

With no hunt staff in sight she was taken by sabs to a vet with a suspected bite to the neck with sabs subsequently accused of theft. Ironically due to this allegation and arrests of sabs which followed those looking after the terrier responded by moving the terrier to a safe house and even sabs concerned no longer know her location, just that she is safe.

Vet report confirms that she had been repeatedly used for breeding, that she must have lived mainly on concrete, that an old dislocation of a hip had never been set to heal properly and many of her back teeth had been broken. Additionally she is roughly 5yrs old though she looks much older.

December – following the incident in October hunt staff took it upon themselves to punish sabs and the 3, unmasked, female sabs present at a meet at the end of December 2016 were driven at, sworn at and had threats of sexual violence made towards them as well as one sab being punched in the face, having her head slammed into the frozen ground and being kicked in the groin by hunt members attempting to stop them finding artificial earths which the hunt had been acting suspiciously around.

While the ‘theft of dog’ case against the sabs has been dropped due to there being no evidence that they were trying to steal the terrier, investigations continued into the revenge attacks against the sabs in December. The terrierman who had driven into a sab was given a caution for assault while Calvin Crossman, falconer, was let off for his attack on the sab.

Even while the investigation continued into his behaviour, it did not deter Crossman, of Evesham, from inciting other hunt members to act in the same way towards sabs.

The hunt, in general, do not stick to the law. Regardless of their views on the hunting ban, they need to remember that it is currently still illegal to intentionally hunt foxes with hounds.

The reward for hunts up and down the country consistently ignoring the Hunting Act and acting in defiance of the Protection of Badgers Act? The Conservative MPs they’re supporting will vote to repeal it…

Terrierman charged with Affray

We’ve just been informed by West Mercia Police that Ross Loader, Malvern tree surgeon and Ledbury Hunt terrierman has been charged with ‘Affray’ today.

December 28th last year was an intense day with our sabs at the North Cotswold Hunt assaulted by hunt staff while Bristol Hunt Saboteurs were being assaulted by Loader and the other Ledbury Hunt terriermen and supporters.

The hunt had been hunting in Castlemorton and Bristol Sabs were with the hounds when they were attacked by the terriermen. Knowing that there was a sett nearby our sabs returned to the scene, while Bristol kept tabs on the hounds. Sure enough the terriermen were attempting to dig out a fox from the sett.

Angry at being disturbed they threatened our sabs and, following a short stand-off, filled in the hole they had started to dig and left.

Police were called and a statement was later made. Thanks to locals who tipped us and police off with Loader’s name and fantastic work by Outpaced he was charged with affray due to his behaviour. We’re glad the police took this incident seriously. 

Fingers crossed that we’ll hear similar good news about the assaults at the North Cotswold Hunt!

Sett-surveying Worcestershire

Sett surveying continues… this is from yesterday evening all roadside/major footpath setts. Also we attended the Malvern Hills Conservators meeting where the future of hunting on the land under their jurisdiction was discussed. Obviously conscientious landowners are making sure that hunts act within the law or are not given permission on the land in future.

Hunt trespass on canal towpaths

We’ve heard various reports over the seasons of hunts trespassing on to canal towpaths and even of hounds having to be rescued by locals when they’ve fallen into canals and are at risk of drowning.

A couple of people have told us that the Canal and Rivers Trust have not seemed interested when the hunts have been reported but they seem to have been paying a little more attention recently.

Wildlife Guardian article
As always if you see a hunt, especially if they’re somewhere they shouldn’t be (private land, wildlife reserves, railways…), get footage or photos of you can, report them to any relevant authority or organisation such as CRT and let us know :)

Keep up the good work out there!

3C

ACTION! Comment on badger cull applications

With less than 2 weeks remaining to comment on new badger culling license applications in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset we repeat some of a post we published last month regarding hunts and the cull zones. How can culling continue to be licensed when there are so many biosecurity breaches in current and future cull areas, when badgers are being disturbed and increased perturbation risked, when people, hunt hounds and vehicles are traipsing around the countryside from farm to farm, badger sett to farmyards, back to setts, through fields of animals and back to farms?

The interactive map commissioned by DEFRA and the Welsh Government shows areas where bTB has been found in cattle. Roger Warner’s beef farm in Tirley is a meet for the Ledbury Hunt… at the end of season meet two years ago a fox was marked to ground in a badger sett by the hounds – the sett was then blocked by terriermen and supporters. This was the last bit of the day before the hunt packed up at Townstreet Farm, supporters heading back there for drinks and a social.

The pictures shared here are of the map… we have only chosen a few examples of areas. We are not saying that the hunts are responsible for the spread of bTB to these areas, but are questioning how they are still being welcomed into these areas, especially when they are blocking setts and running foxes to ground in them on a regular basis.

This first picture is of the Gloucestershire cull zone and its surroundings. The Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt, the Ledbury Hunt and the Ross Harriers all operate within large parts of it. Each of them has been caught marking foxes to ground in setts, digging them out or blocking them (the CVFH do not seem to block setts, but the terriermen were caught by a sab at a sett on Boxing Day).

The second picture shows an area in Hartpury where Hartpury College is marked with a blue dot, indicating an outbreak of bTB within the last few years. We have marked Tweenhills Farm and Stud on the map nearby which is owned by David Redvers, a Master of the Ledbury Hunt and is used as a meet for the hunt throughout the hunting season. Within this same area there are 5 separate badger setts which have been blocked time and time again. Within the Gloucestershire zone sett blocking has decreased somewhat over the last few years due to the higher number of people checking setts and the awareness raised in the area of these activities. However sett-blocking does still occur and a back-filled dig-out site has also been found in onoe area which we believe is from earlier this season. One of the 5 setts was almost destroyed earlier this season too and struggled to recover.

The third picture is of the Malvern Hills. Within the radius drawn on to the map around the blue bTB dot is a badger sett which was dug out by the hunt during cubbing this season and which has been repeatedly blocked by the hunt presumably over the years as well as this season – it will be monitored more regularly now that we know of its presence. The owner of the land also hosts hunt meets on his estate nearby. Just as worrying are the reports that we receive about Eastnor Castle and the behaviour of gamekeepers there… even the huntsman of the Ledbury Hunt (whose kennels are to the south of this part of the map) has told us that all of the badgers have been killed or moved on from around the Castle.

Picture number four shows an area near to Stow-on-the-Wold where we visited the Heythrop Hunt last month and where we found 9 blocked setts which had either been blocked the night before or on the morning of the hunt meet. This was the day we filmed a fox being chased with hounds just a few seconds behind him. The map shows 2 blue dots indicating bTB presence.

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Lastly, a picture of the Cold Aston / Hazelton / Turkdean area which we have been in on numerous occasions. The Heythrop Hunt and the Cotswold both hunt in this area and on one occasion in December of this season both hunts blocked the same setts just a week apart from each other. On another occasion the Heythrop Hunt, the Cotswold Hunt and the Dummer Beagles all hunted this srea within the same week, within the same 5-day period. The Heythrop and Cotswold both blocked badger setts during that week.

These last 2 pictures show areas within the North Cotswolds part of the Gloucestershire cull zones.

Additionally, hounds are fed fallen stock and slaughterhouse by-products, none of which is tested for bTB and which is suspected to be the cause of the outbreak of bTB in the Kimblewick Hunt hounds in February. Hounds “empty” themselves where and when they want and no one really cleans it up. They also run directly over farmland and through herds of cattle and sheep, through fields spread with slurry and have even been rescued from slurry pits before running on. Horses and quads can turn fields into quagmires when there are wet conditions and potentially carry infection from one farm to another.

If you live in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset or Dorset or spend significant amounts of time in those areas, you can comment here

Worcester Vegan Fair

A fantastic day out at the vegan fair on Saturday run by Worcester Vegans & Veggies. We decided to pay that little bit extra and have a stall in the main hall this year and it certainly paid off to do so, especially as we were in a corner where we could display more merchandise and leaflets without encroaching on anyone else.

A huge thank you to the organisers and to the lovely Sea Shepherdvolunteer who helped us out on the day with transport as well as the Vegan Cakery and other stall-holders who help make our day. There was a lot of interest in many of the campaign stalls, including ours, which is great to see, lots of questions and ideas and people wishing to get more involved in different ways as well as donating and buying merchandise.

Huge thanks to Black Badger Printworks who had given us a load of stock that needed clearing as it helped raise funds and we were glad to be able to make a little bit of money for our sab friends in North Shropshire as well as Gloucestershire Badger Office especially with sett-surveying getting back into full swing now that the hunting season is drawing to a close.

Also a massive thanks to Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch who some of our sabs joined up with to visit the VWH on Saturday for their last meet of the season. Fantastic teamwork on the day (see separate report for details). All in all, a busy but successful day all round. We’ll be at the Cheltenham Vegan Fairlater in the year and will post about our other upcoming fairs and workshops as and when, so keep checking out our page.

1st April – VWH

Last day of the season. Report to follow. This is one of the ones that got away. 7 long months of the 2016/17 season now over in this area smile emoticon:) , alas the badger cull means we are in the field tomorrow sett surveying… sigh…

From our friends in Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch:

“I know that what I saw today will stay with me the rest of my life. One moment that beautiful creature was in front of me running for his life, and the next I was looking at his blood soaking into the ground.”

This statement was made last night by one of our monitors. A fox was ripped to pieces in front of us yesterday by the VWH Hunt. We are putting a report together.