As the badger cull continued in the North Cotswolds so did we, alongside other sabs. Sett-checking by day and moving shooters on at night we are now in our 7th week of fighting the cull (after a spring and summer of sett surveying / checking over 3 zones) and bumping into old adversaries who, funny enough, seem to like hunting foxes and digging up setts as well. Playing spot-the-hunt-staff bingo we came up with 3 different hunts being represented today in our small patch. Got egged tonight, a certain terrierman believed to be involved…
A brief report from the field at the Cotswold Hunt meet at Hartley Farm, just south of Cheltenham. Sabs attacked, camera stolen, blatant illegal cub hunting, ordinary people on footpaths intimidated as they were out rambling. Police now in attendance. 3C, North Shropshire and Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch all present.
“After a long day, starting with sabbing the Cotswold Hunt, then sorting through footage and statements, checking setts, finding a beagle pack illegally hunting, getting an injured pigeon to Vale Wildlife Hospital, then checking more setts, we’ve just about found enough internet to post this appeal finally:
Do you know any of these men? One claimed to be the landowner (and then he claimed to be the landowners’ brother when asked again) and the others are terriermen or supporters of the Cotswold Hunt. They met near to Seven Springs this morning, at Hartley Farm, where we caught them illegally cubhunting last month at an evening meet.
We, and the police, would like more information on these men in particular as they were either involved in a series of assaults on and thefts from sabs this morning or are believed to have evidence of the offences.
More details to come soon, but in the meantime please private message / call us with any information, anonymously if you prefer. We’d also like to speak to the person who gave us the tip-off about the hunt this morning – please call again (feel free to withhold your number again)”
One of our sabs met Clifford in the early 90s on a TV debate in Nottingham where riot vans full of police were on standby, such was the tension between the 2 sides. As she is also ex-hunt much was talked about at the reception afterwards as well as on other occasions over the years and Clifford was always on the end of the phone for advice over the years for us and for other groups and individuals who fight against hunting.
He was a very brave and strong man full of remorse for what he did in his youth. His knowledge passed on to sabs will go on to save many lives. We will miss you Clifford, RIP.
The others who have passed on Captain Robert Churchward (ex-MFH South Shropshire ), Richard Hall (ex-harbourer Quantock staghounds) also did much to pass on their knowledge obtained from their years in the hunting fraternity to those fighting to protect wildlife risking their safety to do so. Many who hunt do have a change of heart and stop doing it. To speak out publicly against it from previous positions of authority within hunts as these 3 men did was something which led to them being targeted, ridiculed, isolated and publicly denounced but they did it anyway because it was the decent thing to do. We salute them and encourage others who have doubts to speak out.
The following was written by Protect Our Wild Animals:
“We were greatly saddened to learn of the death of Clifford Pellow, aged 73. Clifford was inducted into the world of fox hunting in Devon as a young boy and it became his passion and profession. But, after two decades in the ‘sport’, and having acted as Huntsman for several packs around England and Wales, he became increasingly disillusioned with and disgusted by the many barbaric practices he was expected to tolerate. A major row with his ‘Master’ at the Tredegar Farmers FH was the flashpoint of his discontent and, after the Master of Fox Hounds Association failed to take his complaints seriously he turned to his ancient enemy, the League Against Cruel Sports. LACS arranged for journalist Andrew Tyler, of Animal Aid, to help write up his account of his life in hunting and what he now realised were the many cruelties which he had seen and been involved with. This was published in 1991 as ‘A Brush with Conscience’ and was a devastating indictment of the blood sport.
It took immense courage for Mr. Pellow to turn against and inform on his former colleagues and employers. The hunting community is quite small, and even then, pretty secretive, of necessity, because they have so much to hide – even more, these days, of course, because much of what they do is now illegal. Spilling hunting’s shameful secrets was, in their eyes, the greatest sin Clifford could commit. He was, of course, immediately ostracised, but was also subjected to much abuse and even death threats, as well as a libel suit by his former Master, Howard Jones. But the jury believed Clifford and the Master was left to pick up a bill for costs of about £100,000.
Clifford did at least have the comfort of clearing his conscience – and a new set of friends on the anti side. He may have been surprised at how readily he was accepted into the fold. He continued to help and advise the anti-hunt cause. Alas, after hospitalisation for pneumonia and subsequent discharge, he died alone in his flat in September 2016. He was a man of principle and big on respect. Because he repented and tried to expunge the evil he had done, he will always be afforded the greatest respect – and he will never be forgotten. RIP, Clifford, the angels have blown you home.”
A message from Gloucestershire Badger Office, set up by members of Three Counties Sabs amongst others:
After 4 long years the official pilot cull in the Gloucestershire zone is now over, this having been confirmed to us at 4.30pm. People are still out on the ground this evening and tonight to ensure that this is the case.
The cull company can apply for new licences and setts will continue to be targeted in the Glos zone regardless: badger diggers and baiters, hunts (all of whom dig out setts), farmers and others will persecute badgers year-round. There is a long-term plan being put in place for the zone to protect the badgers who we have protected for so long with year-round sett-checking, hunt monitoring and sabotage and continuing work with the police against wildlife crime.
Badgers in other zones are still being targeted by the culls and we urge that anyone who is still willing and able to be in the field to transfer to one of the zones still continuing with culling.
Gloucestershire Badger Office will continue to operate indefinitely, continuing to help coordinate badger protection in Gloucestershire. Clearly the cull will spread and other areas will need sett-surveying. We have 4 years of experience running ‘the office’ for the cull and are happy to share experience, mistakes we made and learned from and so on with anyone who wants us to share with them. We intend to continue to run skill-share days, sett-surveying days and continue to be available to anyone who wishes to contact us for any reason.
We believe that one of the biggest lessons we have learned is that when the badger cull comes to an area resistance should be local-led, making full use of local knowledge, contacts, resources, communities, existing groups already working in the area and, above all, creating a badger protection community which will be sustainable and long-term, particularly if the cull will be rolled out to several new areas. People of all ages, class, backgrounds, professions and abilities came and walked footpaths, parked up in gateways, trudged miles sett-surveying, got rid of peanuts, smashed / cut up / rearranged hundreds of cages, acted as a deterrent for shooters, raised funds, enabled others to get here, did FOI requests and worked so hard to save thousands of lives both in the Glos zone and by slowing down roll-out to new areas.
The cull is likely to be coming to your area. For us it continues to be where we live and work so we will be very busy for some years to come. If we had one bit of advice it would be this: PREPARE NOW!
You need to know how to read a map or work with someone who can and have basic sett-surveying skills – much is online, but existing groups can help. Find the setts in your area and get to know the land well. By all means join in with others and form groups – certainly see if there are existing groups already working in your area who may also be planning something. If you are more of a lone operator it’s completely up to you what you do. The cull is only part of the problem for wildlife, however, and preparing for the cull also means you are more likely to find snares, larsen / fenn traps, blocked setts, badger-baiting, dig-outs by terriermen… it’s all countrywide. To get out and about locally is unbeatable.
The badger cull looks set to be part of the furniture concerning the massacre of our wildlife and resistance needs to be much more local-led in order for it to be sustainable and so ‘we’ can be part of the furniture too, eyes and ears on the ground for all wildlife, all year round.
It doesn’t matter whether you join a patrol, stay at home and fundraise, join a sab group, turn up in the zones and do as instructed by others, turn up in a zone and do what you want (best to communicate though to avoid duplication), form a community group against the cull, form an autonomous group and look after an area, sett-sit, do daytime sett-checking, go out at dawn looking for cage trappers… There really is something for everyone.
So with this episode of the cull over for the 2 pilot areas (Somerset and Gloucestershire) this is a call to arms to continue fighting, plotting, scheming and ‘pixying’.
Well done and thanks to all who have put in so much work, in various forms, over the years. We’re proud to have been a small part of this amazing team.
It was certainly a busy day for us today as we began by going to look for the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt who we found at Southwick Park Farm just south of Tewkesbury. Two of us went into Long Plantation where they normally draw and pick-up while two other sabs, one from NORTH Shropshire HUNT SABS were on their way over from ‘elsewhere’.
Almost immediately we spotted supporters along a hedgeline, hounds picking up in a small covert nearby, heard “Tally ho back” (twice) and spotted the raising of a hand and the pointing of a whip to alert huntsman, Simon Scatterpack, as to the direction the fox had run in.
We believe we managed to distract the hounds long enough to allow fox to escape – one sab was in field holloa’ing the pack whilst the other sab filmed a cub escaping down another hedgeline. She was subsequently assaulted and had her camera broken… if you’re able to help us out financially to get a new one, that would be amazing! Donate and / or share this report or funding link. Thanks!
The hunt gathered up the hounds (gradually…) and tried to head south to lose us. Two sabs inland headed back to the car, knowing that the others were now waiting for the hunt further south and, sure enough, we soon got word that the hunt had been spotted. We passed them not long after, taking up much of the road, and left the other sabs to deal with them – a holloa was heard and they ran in in perfect time to help the fox escape over a wall… of course hunt staff were not happy about this and sabs were threatened with having their teeth knocked down their throats. Nice.
Over near Bromsash (the other side of the Gloucestershire cull zone) the Ross Harriers hunt were preparing for the opening meet of the season. The sabs who had left the Cottie Vale now met up with another 3C Sab, another from North Shropshire, an Outpaced representative, a sab from Sheffield Saboteurs, one from Derby Hunt Saboteurs and a couple of independent sabs in the area to resist the Gloucestershire badger cull.
It wasn’t long after we found the hunt that we informed the police that the hunt were illegally hunting (the hunt keep saying ‘well, why don’t you call the police?’ so we did) and that we’d received some vague threats. The response was fantastic with some West Mercia officers coming along and, as we had a number of relatively minor, but repeated, incidents they ended up sticking around for most of the day.
With Bristol Hunt Saboteurs heading over to finish off the Cottie Vale, our team for the day became completed at the Harriers. After a bit of a faff around in a field, the hunt going back and forth, up and down the hill, wondering what to do and where to go, the hunt then got going. Sabs were spat at by city boy Luke and his mates, members of the field rode at sabs on a footpath, two foxes escaped from one covert, one getting away due to sabs distracting hounds whilst another got away at the same time when another group intercepted and the hunt then called the hounds back themselves. Trying to pick up the scent again a field over, a hound got caught in a fence by his paw. Some good teamwork between sabs and huntsman Owain meant he was quickly released.
A hound was kicked by a horse at one point (an accident and we hope the hound is ok!) and the rider viciously whipped the horse in punishment. When shouted at to stop, sabs were told by another rider that he could do ‘whatever he wants’ to the horse. When asked if she punishes her children in the same way, she responded that she would to ‘keep them in line’ before telling us to go stick our heads ‘up a drain or something’. Pleasant lady…
We didn’t want to get stuck behind the field when they headed down a track, so we drove to intercept the hunt and hounds (it’s useful knowing the area from sabbing the cull here for years!) and we spotted a fox dashing across the road in front of us, so we got ready to jump out as we got to the line so that we could cover it. Hounds suddenly turned the corner and headed straight for where the fox had run, but we managed to stop much of the pack, the hunt then calling the hounds back themselves when forcefully told that the fox had been caught on camera.
Last draw of the day. And the hounds picked up again. Gizmo in hand, a North Shrops sab drew some of the pack into a field and out of a covert having watched the fox break covert and sprint from the hounds. The rest of us joined in and, using holloas and horns, took more of the pack from the huntsman. As soon as it became obvious that hunt was trying to gather them again, we left them to it and followed them back to the meet to watch them pack up.
A long day, a long report. We did worry we might get an evening cubhunting meet on the way home (and we would have happily scrambled over!) but we didn’t. So we’ve arranged to make statements to the police, gone through the footage (video coming later) and are heading back into the Gloucestershire cull zone now.
See you in the fields! Good luck out there everyone!
We had a late-night tip-off about the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt (so much for that lie-in we were hoping for having been out in the killing fields of the badger cull zone!)
We headed over to Aston Crews, in the Glos cull zone, where the hunt met so that we could ensure that huntsman Simon French had his hounds under control for once. We caught them drawing Haygrove, ‘Wildlife Habitat’ signs all around the place. Hounds picked up on a scent on a few occasions and sabs managed to distract at least half of the pack, meaning that Simon got all flustered and moved the pack on repeatedly. When they bothered to listen to him.
We had a very good friend out with us today who wanted to see what it was all about and he kept asking them about their illegal hunting activities and their understanding of the Hunting Act.
Now we’re not into giving the hunt tips on how to hunt properly, but we find it somewhat embarrassing to go out with a hunt that is so incompetent in many ways, especially when we’ve brought a mate out with us. So, in the spirit of sharing information…
1. Scenting conditions are much better in the fog, so it would be best to have started earlier on in the morning (then again Simon gets even more flustered and lost in the mist, so it’s probably for the best that he waited til it lifted).
2. It doesn’t make much sense to wait until the sun is out around 10am, warming up the place, to draw beet fields as the likelihood of successfully picking up a scent is much lower…
3. When hounds do pick up on a scent, as a huntsman one is supposed to encourage them on. For more than 10 seconds. Even when the antis are trying to distract the hounds elsewhere. In fact, especially when antis are attempting to do so. Giving up at this point and moving the hounds away makes one look weak. Learn to be assertive!
It got to the point where our mate made a public apology to hunt staff regarding his accusation about illegal hunting: ‘I would like to apologise for my earlier accusation that you were illegally hunting. You’ve obviously forgotten how to do it’.
This all comes after Saturday’s shameful show when sabs found the pack loose on an A-road and had to try and get them to safety with hunt supporters asking sabs what the hell was going on.
We wondered then and we continue to wonder now how long dear Simon will last for in the hunt, how long it’ll be before they give him the sack. There are a number of people, pro- and anti-hunt, already placing unofficial bets on the matter.
So, if you’re feeling left out of the fun, we’re setting up a fundraiser-competition. To join in and have the opportunity to win a set of our greetings cards all you need to do is to paypal us £1 along with a date you think he’ll be told to leave and a way for us to contact you. You can donate and place a bet as many times as you like. The winner will be announced when the day in question comes around.
We’ll be seeing the hunt again soon, so keep an eye on our page and we’ll keep you updated on our actions
Busy day today, splitting into groups again. We got a last-minute tip-off that the Cotswold Hunt were near Andoversford so scrambled in that direction joined by Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs and West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs while we also met with NORTH Shropshire HUNT SABS to look for the Ross Harriers who were found around Orcop.
With Bristol and Bath Hunt Sabs heading for the Harriers, 3C and North Shrops left to go to the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt who had just been spotted in Apperley. So a hunt in each cull zone! Almost.
We won’t repeat the language used by huntsman Frenchy at the CVFH when sabs had to take control of his hounds and when he couldn’t stop the pack running all over the road. A fox sprang ‘out of nowhere’ in front of sabs who helped him get away from the hounds who weren’t far behind him.
We watched the Cotswold pack up after spending most of their time in a valley, just as our friends in Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch were watching the Beaufort Hunt second horse (!) at their meet. We feel for you guys! Sett-checking then breakfast we think!
From North Shropshire Hunt Sabs:
Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt
1st October 2016
This will be less of a hit report and more of a rant!
Today, North Shrops joined with Three Counties and started out kennel watching the Ross Harriers. We followed them to their meet at Orcop. At this point, we were joined by sabs from Bristol and Bath and after asking Owain about his little dip in the river Wye, headed off to start the day.
However, we received information from a member of the public that the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt had been seen at Apperly in the Gloucestershire cull zone, and seeing as there were plenty of sabs to handle the Ross Harriers, decided to take a over.
What happened next is one of the most disgraceful displays of incompetence and negligence on behalf of the hunt we have witnessed in over 50 years combined sabbing experience.
On arrival in the area, we crossed the river to find hounds on the main Tewksbury road. While this is not an uncommon event on smaller country roads, it is madness on a major A road, especially as there was no hunt staff or even supporters anywhere to be seen or heard.
We immediately slowed traffic and began whipping the hounds back off the road. At this time, the only other people in the vicinity were drivers swerving to avoid the hounds and a member of the public who looked a little bemused. As this road is extremely dangerous with fast moving traffic, and with the hunt nowhere to be seen, we decided the safest option was to call the hounds away from the road into an adjacent field.
For the next 7 1/2 minutes, and with not a glimpse of a member of the hunt, we did everything we could to keep the hounds out of harms way and off the main Tewksbury road by using a gizmo, hunting horns and voice calls. As Nathan Golding, the new Joint Master of the Cotswold Vale turned up, hounds went into cry through an area of scrub, putting up a cub and chasing it across the footpath directly in front of one sab. The young fox bolted down a nearby drain and hounds then marked to ground at the other end.
By now, “Frenchie” the huntsman had turned up. You would of thought that he would have been grateful that sabs not only saved several of his hounds from being killed on the road, but also prevented a major accident. But no, instead he ranted like a mad man, accusing us of endangering his hounds and resorting to language that even we found offensive.
He crossed over the road and spent about twenty minutes rounding up a completely split pack until the hounds he did have with him rioted off directly towards another thankfully less busy road.
We met the hounds as they crossed, again completely unaccompanied by huntsman, whip or foot support able to slow traffic. When they did arrive a minute or so later, accompanied by Ben Hughes (badger killer) and a selection of other lowlifes, Frenchie and his whip made threats and tried to ride into us, all the while continuing to hunt the hounds on.
On returning to the car, we found one of said lowlifes crouched down by our front tyre. After a quick check for damage, we tried to leave only to have this bunch of muppets attempt to block us in. Thankfully, not only does our trusty sab mobile turn on a sixpence but it also has an amazing driver who squeezed out despite their best efforts and we followed the hunt back to the meet. Better luck next time Muppets!
So on a closing note to this rant , we have some advice for Nathan Golding and the other masters of the Cotswold Vale, no matter what our differences may be with regard to hunting, SACK SIMON FRENCH NOW before he kills off the entire pack with his total incompetence or worse still, causes a major accident and possibly kills some poor innocent motorist.
We will be posting video of today’s events soon, although some of the language is not for those of a delicate disposition. You have been warned!
North Shropshire Hunt Sabs
In the last couple of weeks we’ve sabbed the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt Saturday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday… they don’t seem very happy to see us these days!
With a choice of hunts on Saturday, we passed over a Ross Harriers meet near Tretire to Bristol Hunt Saboteurs (check out their page and give ’em a like) and headed over to the Cottie Vale who were meeting just south of Newent, in the Gloucestershire cull zone. We met up with some West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs, Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs, a sab from NORTH Shropshire HUNT SABS and some independent badger cull sabs.
The hunt drew some coverts blank and hounds were distracted from a couple of scents that they picked up on in others. Terriermen Nick Hodges and Ben Hughes (also involved in the badger cull in Glos) were present and friendly (they like us really).
Towards the end of the meet we ended up in a maize field (in the cull zones in the morning there could easily be badgers in cages in maize fields… and sabs leaving the area when the hunt packed up came across a smashed one in the corner of the maize).
We’ll let NORTH Shropshire HUNT SABS’ video do more talking – check out their facebook page. In the meantime, we’ve nicked some pics from West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs.
Three Counties Sabs met up with Bristol Hunt Saboteurs, Bath Hunt Sabs, a couple of Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs, West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs, a sab from NORTH Shropshire HUNT SABS and some independent badger cull sabs who got woken up and jumped in the car too, plus an Outpaced representative who was on call for illegal activity.
Various combinations of our groups met to sab different hunts and, unable to find the Ross Harriers after a tip-off, sabs headed to the Cotswold Hunt at Miserden and the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt who met at the Leigh. Groups split further to get inland as well as keep an eye on the hunts from the meet and, whilst inland, one group then heard hounds across the Severn.
We crossed and ran into loose hounds on a road over a bridge with bad visibility and quadbikers with no number plates. The Ledbury Hunt. Bristol and Bath sabs, meanwhile, were still sticking to the Cotswold Vale like glue, preventing successful hunting on the east side of the Severn. The Ledbury, once sabs arrived, tried a couple of half-arsed draws of maize fields before packing up at Townstreet Farm.
Over at the Cotswold sabs spotted the hunt and went inland just in time to see a fox running from the pack and managed to stop the hounds from hunting at that point. They didn’t seem happy to see us!
Not a bad day all round, we’ll be checking setts all afternoon, prioritising areas in the Gloucestershire cullzone where the hunts have been active.
Acting on a tip-off again, we headed towards Longdon where the Ledbury were at Manor Farm. Terriermen and support conducted a dig out at a sett entrance on the edge of a maize field. The sett had been active over the summer. Police are investigating.
Please support our continued work. Since cubhunting began in the three counties at the end of August we have attended 12 times, at the very least checking setts in the area when the hunt had already packed up. Keep those tip-offs coming!