…though not entirely by choice.
Back at the end of December 2015, the Ledbury Hunt met near to the Malvern Hills. A week earlier, on Christmas Eve, they had killed a fox in Tirley, Gloucestershire. We were joined in the area by sabs from Bristol and Bath who had heard about the kill and came to show solidarity with our group against the hunt. Our report from the day can be seen here: Ledbury Hunt: 28th December 2015
The following video shows some of what happened throughout the day. At 48 seconds in, you can see and hear a hooded man telling the terriermen to get their dogs out and “just f**king get out of there” (we searched the area they had been in and found a badger sett where the hounds had been speaking before terriermen arrived, luckily not yet tampered with).
This man is one Will Hunt of Redmarley, Ledbury Hunt supporter (and buddy of the terriermen), horse trainer at Will Hunt Breaking and Training and who some of you will recognise as the guy who drove (at speed) around the Redmarley / Eldersfield / Staunton area of the Gloucestershire badger cull zone the last couple of years in his 4×4 pick-up WH03 BAT, stopping occasionally to shout at badger patrollers about how many badgers he’d shot recently. Despite not being thought to be a shooter. Seems there aren’t many locals that have good things to say about him either.
During the day, the hunt headed back down the hills having chased a fox up into them (as seen in the video) and carried on hunting around Castlemorton Common. At one point, during a (non-violent) dispute with some landowners regarding footpaths, sabs had decided to use a different route to catch up with the hunt. Terriermen and buddies arrived on their Toys ‘R’ Us quadbikes and a masked-up Will Hunt took exception to an unmasked 3C sab who was currently walking away with his back to him, pushing him from behind and hitting him in the face when he failed to react aggressively before calling the sabs “f**king faggots”.
The sab decided to contact the police about the incident a couple of days later just to see where it would go. There are certain things we put up with as a group and as individuals and times when we decide hunt staff and supporters have crossed the line. The police took the allegation seriously, viewed the footage and interviewed Will Hunt who admitted getting unnecessarily heavy-handed with the sab and all sides recently agreed to deal with the situation by way of community resolution. As part of this, Mr. Hunt has had to write a very apologetic (ha!) letter to the sab involved and pay £100 to a charity of the sab’s choosing. With Vale Wildlife Hospital doing a great job for wildlife within the three counties and taking in many injured and sick animals who we find whilst out in the fields, the sab decided they should benefit from the incident. As for the apology letter, well, it certainly outdoes other apology letters we’ve received from hunt staff in the past!
Obviously when you’re masked up with your mates and you want to make a point about sabs being masked up, naturally you’d assault the only sab not covering their face whilst they’re walking away from you with their back turned… good logic there bro!
All in all, not a bad outcome from the situation and Will Hunt is going to need to be on his best behaviour in the future if he still wants to get into Australia to meet his favourite horse trainer. See you in the fields!