Another busy week!

Today we were delighted to receive news of our old friends the Heythrop as they second horsed at Becky Blandford’s at Weaverley farm. An anti hunt activist had been keeping tabs on them and we commend the initiative and bravery of this individual and urge others to film hunts that they see out and about. And the Heythrop? They even pretended that they were not the Heythrop, tsk tsk, being embarrassed of your own hunt!

In other news we were out with the Ledbury on Monday from Pauntley Court; not much happened in the fog and we were with them most of the day. The CVFH cancelled on Tuesday and we said goodbye to Joan Court, a highly inspirational individual who fought for all animals all her life on Wednesday at her funeral in Cambridge.

Malvern Hills Conservators

An anti-hunt person has set up a facebook page called Fox hunt off Malvern Hills in order to collect pictures, videos and other evidence against the Ledbury Hunt who hunt in the hills and around Castlemorton several times a season. We’ve already contacted the MHC in the past: see this post but this is a great way to keep it on everyone’s minds and hopefully put some more pressure on them to do something about the hunt.

10th December: CVFH report

The Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt,
Aston Crews,
10th Dec 2016.

Facebook Video

We were joined by Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs, Bristol Hunt Saboteurs and South Wales Hunt Sabs for a meet of the Cotty Vile. After last weeks bad behaviour, we were hoping that good old Tin Tin had reined them in a little. How wrong we were.

Now, thanks to one of their riders very kindly admitting that they do in fact illegally hunt foxes, they dropped the pretence of trail hunting and went back to their usual blatant law breaking. Whilst the rain came down and Scatterpack tried in vain to pick up, we bumped into a few familiar faces. Good old Terry (joint master of the Ross Harriers) showed up, seems maybe the Harriers decided not to risk the conditions, especially after last weeks events where horse and rider had to be rescued by the fire brigade from a rather deep hole.

As Simon hunted the nature reserve next to cut throat lane, sabs saw a fox break and hounds soon started to speak. After a little rating and whipping back and some terribly colourful language from cami and the lovely Cathy G, we headed back up onto Linton ridge.

As the fog descended, Scatterpack made one final draw and hounds went into cry along the ridge. With sabs on the road whipping back, and huntsmen’s dummy’s being spat left, right and centre, the hunt resorted to type and rode sabs into the hedges, knocking one to the ground causing bruising to the face.

Sabs followed the hunt to the bottom of the ridge where the field were gathered along with a terrier quad, coincidentally right next to a line of badger setts. With Simon gathering in the next field and the light fading fast due to the fog, it seemed pretty clear that all was done for the day.

So not one of the Cottys finest days made worse by Scatterpack being quad biked away with Clamydia after yet another fall from his trusty steed.

Welsh Border Hunt Sabs

11th December: sett-surveying / training, Malvern

Today the sett surveying day from Malvern in Worcestershire was very well attended. Sadly one the setts we checked, which was thriving in the summer, and had not just been blocked but dug out as well. Whether by the Ledbury Hunt, after a hunted fox, or by badger diggers we do not know. It was recent and a sad reminder that sett mapping and regular sett checks are vital work in badger protection. We urge everyone to check near where they live all year round. It’s not just government sponsored culls which kill badgers. We will be doing more of these days so watch this space.

10th December: CVFH and Cotswold Hunts

Cotswold Hunt, Castlebarn Farm, Turkdean, North Cotswold badger cull zone.

We were out early for this one and it was pitch block in the field on sett blocking patrol. At the first sett we went to check we had just missed them and heard the quad leave. There was the usual scene of carnage with every entrance impacted with earth and one entrance had a log rammed down it. We informed the police and continued to sett check. At the next one as we were confirming that it was very active a quad approached the small covert and drove around it before leaving. Had he come to block it and thought better of it? It had been blocked before, repeatedly with the badgers still there despite sett blocking, cull and who knows what other pressures. We hope that we deterred him. Other setts were found to be unblocked and active.

We then met 2 Gloucestershire police officers who went to the blocked sett and unblocked every single entrance and wish to thank them for their timely response.

The hunt met at 12.00 and we saw them draw the covert where the sett had been blocked. It was very wet and they didn’t seem to be finding much (foxes retreat to shelter in such weather much of the time). They then crossed over to where the Heythrop were hunting just last Saturday in a large landlocked area between Turkdean and Cold Aston and where 5 setts were blocked. So the foxes that were hunted there last week and survived were once more at risk a week later. One badger sett that was blocked last week was blocked again this week, twice trashed within 7 days just so people can illegally hunt foxes. The impact on badgers can be suffocation as they try to dig their way out and get caught between the earth behind them as they dig and the earth impacted by the rain. They often do dig their way out but some don’t make it. Foxes ,who often enjoy living in badger setts, are denied an escape route from the hounds. It takes hours to dig out a badger sett, not long at all to get into an artificial earth, a terrier can bolt a fox quickly from one of these to be hunted again, needless to say the AEs are often left unblocked.

Sad to say later we saw the Heythrop, or it may have been the North Cotswold, in the dark packing up near Stow. Both hunts would have done exactly the same in the areas they were hunting.

Other 3C sabs sabbed the CVFH from Aston Crews – report to follow!

9th December: Ledbury Hunt

9th December 2016, Ledbury, Cromer farm, Pendock. We found them hunting a fox at Staunton Coppice. Fortunately foot sab was present with camera in front of Master Louise Daly and that fox was let be. On they moved to Gadfield and then Gadbury Bank where foot sab was evicted by terriermen. the tour of the Gloucestershire cull zone continued through Eldersfield Marsh, Pigeon House Farm and then over to Chaceley. We found hounds speaking at Werth Farm and sure enough at the bottom of the bridleway were the terriermen on a quad and the hounds, who may have been marking to ground. Foot sab was grabbed by them, on the orders of huntsman Mark Meladay, and forced back down the public bridleway a fox then ran between sabs and terriermen. Mark then holloaed blatantly and brought the pack forward.

They hunted intermittently with poor scent and were seen near Forthampton Court. Back at Werth Farm, some thirty minutes later, the same fox was seen and was by now “sinking”, utterly exhausted, so much so the sab was able to grab citronella from the car, lock up… and he was still there. As can be seen from the photo his mouth is wide open. The lane was sprayed and the hunt went the opposite way. Poor scenting conditions probably saved his life.

The hunt packed up at Town Street Farm (they were only just there on Saturday) by 15.30 which is very early for the Ledders.

8th December: Cotswold Hunt

One of us teamed up with our good friends Cirencester Illegal Huntwatch today to keep an eye on the Cotswold hunt near Gretton in the North Cotswolds badger cull zone. The hunt ran from the Cirencester group at Stanley wood and hid whilst the 3C sab took the opportunity to check as many setts as possible with this being an area where badgers are persecuted by cull and hunt sett blocking. Happy to report that some setts had historic spade marks but were very active. One sett that had been filled in was found by CIHW so they are still sett blocking sad to say.

Facebook Video from Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch

They were found again just south of Manor Farm near Prescott where we were slowly ridden at and attempts were made to intimidate. Which failed.

With the weather playing havoc these last couple of weeks with certain hunt meets we’ve had a bit more of an opportunity to get into known areas where setts are often blocked by hunts and to get a bit more sett-surveying done. Let us know if you’d like to join us!

Boxing Day hunt meet at the George Hotel in Newent

Update: The hunt say that the pub is hosting the meet. The pub say they’re not, but everyone is welcome in for food / drinks. We’ll be there against the hunt next week and on the day itself. Want to join us in protesting? Sabbing? PM or call us!

Boxing Day at The George Hotel in Newent.

It has recently been confirmed that the Cotswold vale Farmers’ Hunt will meet at the George Hotel in Newent on Boxing Day.

The George have provided veggie and even vegan food and soya milk for badger cull sabs staying or having meetings there during the Gloucestershire cull. We’ve never thought them to be anti-cull, but have appreciated the fact that they have always made us feel welcome regardless of the fact we’re obviously anti-hunt and anti-cull.

The George may well be unaware of the activities of the CVFH and just want to support a local spectacle on Boxing Day, but this will not stop locals from holding protests outside of the venue against the hunt on Boxing Day and in the run-up to the Christmas period. If you would like to join 3C Sabs on Boxing Day itself either to help us monitor and sab them or to have a protest in Newent please get in touch with us privately.

Please also contact the George politely and let them know your thoughts on hunting in general as well as your thoughts on the hunt being allowed to hold their meet there on the day.

Not far from the kennels just a few years ago, Bozard’s Lane in the North Cotswold cull zone, the hunt killed a vixen in a field, the terriermen quick to grab what they could of the remains of her body. When sabs checked for further evidence of the kill in the area they found several unborn cubs who had been ripped from her abdomen during the kill.

Regardless of who the huntsman is for the hunt (we’ve had 3 different ones in recent years) the hounds are often seen out of control in the area by sabs and by locals. In 2014 we had flagged down a couple of police officers driving past us on the A38 to inform them that hunt hounds had been out of control and running in front of cars on the busy road just minutes earlier. During the conversation sabs had to run on to the road and wave at a lorry to slow down whilst a lone hound ran back and forth across the road looking for the rest of his pack. Over the seasons sabs have had to slow traffic on numerous occasions for loose hounds and the odd loose horse. A hunt hound was killed on the A38 a few seasons ago, his body initially thrown into a ditch in an attempt to stop sabs from seeing him as they arrived on scene.

Just last week in the area of Longhope, right by the busy A40, hounds rioted on a deer and the hunt lost control of the pack for around an hour, struggling to gather them safely. Soon after the hunt had packed up we received messages from a couple of locals (one anti-hunt, the other not pro- or anti-hunt, but in search of information as to the identity of the hunt) saying that hounds had run out on to the A40 in front of their cars, no hunt members arriving on the road for a number of minutes.

Occasionally the fact that hunt hounds are more interested in deer can be helpful for the local fox. During the opening meet of the 2015 season a member of the hunt raised his hat and holloa’d to indicate to the huntsman that he had seen a fox and which direction the fox had run in. Hounds were encouraged on to the line but deer had run from the same treeline in the opposite direction just moments earlier and hounds picked up on their scent instead. Sabs covered the line of the fox and he escaped out of the area. Hounds also rioted on a hare only 2 weeks ago.

Other incidents involving the raising of hats / hands and holloas include a day earlier in the season when the hunt were still cubhunting. A sab had filmed a young fox escaping down a hedgeline and was subsequently grabbed by a man claiming to be the landowner and 2 of his friends. The sab’s arm was twisted and her camera broken before the man realised she had a body camera filming and attempted to grab it also. Police are currently investigating.

While members of the CVFH are not under suspicion of being involved in the events that led to the South Herefordshire being investigated for keeping cubs and feeding them alive to their hounds, the hunts are very close, having joint meets together and supporters of the South also going out to support the CVFH (Mr. Whitehouse also rides out with the CVFH).

We’ve had the pleasure of working regularly with a sab from NORTH Shropshire HUNT SABS who has been able to gather her own footage during days out with the hunt, including this (long) video of sabs trying to keep hounds distracted and off a nearby road whilst waiting for absent (and not very appreciative) hunt staff to arrive on scene and take control of the pack. Huntsman Simon French didn’t earn the nickname ‘Scatterpack’ for nothing! Even the hunt’s supporters often ask us what the hell is going on with the hunt losing hounds all over the place. Last Saturday Master Chris Golding, as usual these days, ended up doing more work to rate / encourage the hounds that Scatterpack himself and car support were having to jump out of their cars and try to rate the hounds back off roads.

When sabs from 3C and North Shrops stopped hounds on the line of a fox during cubhunting they were sworn at and threatened by hunt staff. We won’t go into the number of times we’ve been ridden at by members of the hunt or field (the mounted supporters) even when on footpaths or the time that Woody climbed into a sab vehicle, drunk, and repeatedly tried to grope the 2 female sabs within whilst the hunt hunted nearby.

The hunt are a danger to their own hounds, wildlife and members of the public (especially those using roads nearby). The are not something to be celebrated. They claim to lay trails, then we come across hounds in full cry running across roads. Even if we believed that they were laying false trails, who would be irresponsible enough to lay one across a road, especially knowing how incompetent the hunt are at keeping hounds under control?! It’s also strange that we’re often told by landowners that the hunt are in fact trespassing on their land or were not expected on a certain day – who laid the trail there then?

Please contact the George politely and let them know what you think about their holding of a hunt meet at the venue.

Thanks. 3C

4th & 5th December – a busy weekend!

Saturday was a very busy day. Whilst some of us sabbed the CVFH (see separate report), one of us joined up with our good friends Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch. We started the day with the Cotswold hunt near Yanworth. An estate manager, who clearly took his job a little too seriously, was very keen to warn us about trespass. The hunt then seemed to run away from us, somewhat unsuccessfully.

Later on in the day there was a tip off about the Heythrop behaving badly near Notgrove so we scrambled over to find them hunting a fox near Bang up Lane (between Cold Aston and Turkdean). We were followed by stalkers immediately but the hunt packed up by 16.00 giving us ample time to check setts in the area. We found 3 blocked setts in the dark and unblocked them so that the badgers could get out. 2 more setts that had been blocked were found today so 5 known blocked setts in total just so that the Heythrop can hunt foxes. This is in the North Cotswold cull zone and these setts have been repeatedly blocked over the years. As one of the local sab groups we will of course be keeping a watchful eye all year round for both cullers and sett blockers.

Today we also supported the Heart of the Cotswold badger group with sett surveying and training. The meeting point was attended by some rather unsavoury VWH supporters who tried to harass and intimidate sett surveyors, even trying to block cars. Of course Cirencester is home to the RAC so we are used to such antics but we do think that their parents should be told really… some more Bredon School success stories to add to their portfolio!