Our fourth outing of the week to a hunt meet (plus several hours a day out checking badger setts and looking for cull activity) and all meets were the North Cotswold Hunt. On Monday we believe they killed after a dig-out was found by a sab in the area, Tuesday we found them in Willersey, Friday they killed a cub in the Didbrook area and Saturday they were not happy to see us again.
Several hunts were out on Saturday – in this area we can sab every weekday with options on which hunt to attend on most days but on Saturday we will often have the choice of 9 different hunts to go to… we got a call while we were out and about saying that the North Cotswold Hunt had been spotted holding up at Little Mocho. Knowing of several badger setts around Childswickham and 3 artificial earths within a few minutes’ walk of each other, we headed straight over.
The black plastic AE (artificial earth) near Mocho was blocked with ceramic blocks – blocked in order to stop a fox from escaping into it? This hunt has also been known to block a fox into an AE to flush to the hounds if they don’t ‘naturally’ pick up on a scent. Upon finding this, Jamie Smith started to get ‘hands-on’ with the sab who was filming, demanding that she leave the land (despite being on a footpath at first). As she and the other sabs began to follow the hunt on foot Jamie and his colleague stayed with them, grabbing her arm and trying to block the camera. When asked why he had a blocked AE on his land he admitted it wasn’t in fact his land – he later pointed out the actual landowner to sabs, the landowner smiling and being more interested in watching the hunt than where the sabs had walked…! Jamie had already assaulted two sabs at this point (although the assaults were minor, hitting someone in the face and pushing another person off a gate could have been more serious…).
After a brief drive down the road on a non-road-legal quad, stinking of alcohol and with his colleague as a passenger (also illegal) Jamie continued to try to get us to leave land he didn’t own and wasn’t an agent of the landowner for. At one point he squeezed a female sab’s chest, later he was heard talking to his (even more inebriated) colleague about “having her face down in a ditch”. Jamie tried to remove sabs from several footpaths and kept telling hunt riders that he was just stopping to consult his map or that he was a bit lost… not sure he was the best candidate for telling anyone where they were or where they were allowed to be.
While another sab kept hunt supporters busy with conversations about hunting, animal agriculture and rewilding, our driver and the sab who had stayed with the car were able to follow and keep tabs on the hunt without being stalked. Badger setts and artificial earths were checked and the hunt had company for much of the day from sabs on the ground. We will be reviewing the extensive footage we have of Jamie and his aggression and speaking with the police later in the week.
A huge thank you to those who keep contacting us with tip-offs about meets and other insights into our local hunts, those who support us both with donations and online work (liking and sharing our page and posts) and to Those Vegan Pizza Guys for holding a fundraiser for us and Gloucestershire Badger Office on Friday.
See you in the fields! 3C