Pro-hunt slam poetry competition

Following a strange new trend of pro-hunt people making entirely nonsensical comments* we decided to launch a competition for strange and abstract thought-provoking poetry and short stories. We’re happy to announce the winner (thus far, we’re sure there will be far more competitors…) is Sharon, a pro-hunt commenter who joined us this weekend. Congratulations Sha Sha! We’ve had many laughs reciting this contribution this evening

* just to clarify we’re not talking spelling and grammar mistakes and genuine struggles with language / second language issues, we’re talking specifically people angrily commenting in flustered and defensive manners rather than articulating what they want to say in a constructive way

11th February ’22 – Ledbury Hunt

*** Ledbury Hunt chase a fox into the town of Upton on Severn * Fox escapes into a shed * Hounds running around the estate for nearly 30 minutes ***

Huntsman Mark Melladay was seen taking his hounds to his favourite stick pile, a common hiding place for foxes in this area, but none were found there today. He drew blank around some hedgerows then went over to Long Covert where a holloa was heard (a noise made by a person on point to communicate that a fox has been seen). That fox was hunted south towards Longdon itself.

They then picked up a fox who was to seek refuge in the town of Upton on Severn. As the sab’ out today was at Southend Farm, she should hear hounds as they started speaking, and were then heard in full cry heading from Paradise Plantation straight towards the town.

Hounds were everywhere running in many directions in gardens and on to the road. It was some time before terrierman Tom Stokes and his chums arrrived on quads to try and get them back, as huntsman Mark Melladay used horn calls to try and retrieve the pack.

The residents were not impressed by this invasion at all, nor the complete lack of control that the hunt staff had. The fox had sought refuge under a shed we have been told and four hounds were desperately trying to get to him.

West Mercia Police arrived at Southend Farm and followed the hunt when they left. They carried on hunting until dusk and now have their hunt ball tonight.

Eight badger setts were checked today and none were found to be blocked – we have done a lot of work in this area against the blocking of setts, including speaking with landowners, and this appears to be paying off. Other areas which are more at risk will be checked tonight and tomorrow by locals.

Squirrel’s front leg smashed and skinned in fenn trap

Warning: graphic footage

Fenn traps are used all over the UK. We found this poor squirrel on Monday 7th February ’22 whilst sabbing the Ledbury hunt on a shooting estate near Woolhope, Herefordshire.

With Herefordshire Hunt Sabs he was taken to the nearest vet and euthanised while a 3C foot sab remained with the hunt to keep tabs on them. The squirrel’s foreleg was caught in the trap and as he tried to escape the injury worsened. There was blood all over the cover.

So many suffer this unimaginable fear and pain just so that some can kill factory farmed pheasants for fun. Stoats, weasels, rats, hedgehogs, any individual who springs the trap is at a risk of painful, stressful injury and death, even when the traps are “set properly / lawfully”

8th February ’22 – Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt

*** hounds trespass through gardens * hunt angers one of their own supporter by putting horse in danger then take the p*ss out of how he speaks ***

We received a few tip-offs this morning about different hunts and on our way to one we found out about the Croome being spotted in Dunstall, Worcs.

We found them drawing near a disused airfield and followed them to the area around Besford Court where they drew blank until they picked up on a fox by the firing range and sewage works by Tiddesley Woods. The fox ran near to one sab and another sab was inland by the sewage works, so the hunt decided not to pursue the fox into wildlife trust woods and headed north instead.

They picked up again in another area with sabs well-placed to stop the pack if necessary. Not wanting to head any foxes back towards the hounds by trying to rate them, the sab inland instead alerted sab driver to where she thought the fox had run while terrierman threatened to call the police on the sab inland*. Sure enough, hounds went streaming into nearby gardens where the scent was lost, before picking up and spilling on to the road where sab rated the pack and slowed oncoming cars.

* not sure this was the threat he thought it was – we’d love the police to witness the illegal hunting going on. It was an empty threat however

Hunt staff had done nothing but watch as hounds went through the gardens and, unsurprisingly, a resident with a dog was deeply upset when hounds and dog had a disagreement (hunt staff just looking on) and another guy came out to have a go – apparently his horse was resting with a broken collar bone and hunt had been explicitly asked not to come to the area.

What made it worse was hunt staff and supporters were heard taking the p*ss out of him, imitating his anger and how he yelled at them and laughing about him. When confronted about this by a sab, hunt supporters told her that this guy was a friend and actually comes out with the hunt. What a way to treat your friends……

Hunt staff attempted to stop discussion with sab over this by telling riders “you can’t educate poor”. Because money is all the hunt think issues can be about, not, you know, the killing of wildlife and the arrogance in doing whatever you want even when it puts others in danger.

The hunt packed up after this incident, so we’re checking badger setts around the area before heading home to review our footage.

Update including footage: The fox filmed ran past Joint master Patty Allen and whipper-in Jackie who were on point nearby. They did the right thing which was leave him alone. No holloa, or whistle (to communicate that a fox had been seen) and hounds moved away from the area. If sabs had not been out it may have been a different story.

Then it went very wrong at Ramsden. Sab inland alerted sab on the road to hounds hunting through local gardens while hunt staff merely looked on. The pack were not stopped by the huntsman Ben Dalton, but due to good communication between us, sab on the road was able to get up to a nearby T-junction as the pack spilled on to the road there. They were about to go through the garden of another dwelling when they were rated back by the sab and the area was sprayed with citronella.

A hunt member actively kept trying to force his terrier to walk where the sab was spraying even when she moved away repeatedly. The citronella dilution is not dangerous to dogs, but no one wants to be sprayed, even with water, so the behaviour of this hunt member towards his terrier, pulling her around on the road, was despicable. Sab stopped spraying due to this behaviour and the fact that she had already thoroughly covered the line of the fox.

Ben called up his hounds and looked to be about to cast them on to recover the line on the other side of the road, but a local man then came out who was very upset that they had come to the area when they were not supposed to. More importantly they had frightened a horse who was recovering from a broken collar bone – he had explicitly told them to stay away from the area because of this. To add insult to injury hunt staff and the driver of the blue 4×4 were heard taking the p*ss out of the man later as they hacked back to the horse boxes, imitating him yelling “who’s in charge” and laughing. When confronted about this childish behaviour by a sab they claimed that he was a friend and occasional rider out with the hunt! Well if that’s how you treat the people you like…

Badger setts severely blocked within West Gloucestershire cull zone in same week that the cull ‘permanently’ ends here

For those who have supported ourselves and Gloucestershire Badger Office over the years, this will not come as a surprise unfortunately.

Despite often sabbing in small numbers, we have large ‘pool’ of people who we work alongside – other hunt sabs and monitors, sett-checkers, cull sabs, locals who gather intel, etc. This is the reality of rural sab groups: ability to attend several hunt meets a week, smaller groups of sabs, larger number of active locals within the hunt areas.

We called on our contacts in the West Gloucestershire cull area this week after the Ledbury Hunt hunted around the Forthampton Estate on Friday. On Monday at 23.59 the badger cull should have come to an end, after 4 years of intensive culling as one of the pilot zones and 5 years of supplementary culling. But that doesn’t mean badgers are safe. It also doesn’t mean that we let our guards down.

“I had a gut feeling about one of the setts, even though it hasn’t been blocked for several years. When I checked it there were obvious signs that a dig-out had taken place earlier in the day. I unblocked several entrances to make it safe for foxes to escape into and badgers to get out. If any survived” — 3C sab at Friday’s hunt meet.

Four further setts were found blocked that day, one of which easily had 25 – 30 blocked entrances as it is such a large sett.

Today we heard back from some of the local cull sabs and sett-checkers who had done further checks in the area:

“The big sett at ****** was totally blocked, 41 holes in total that I unblocked, then 34 holes were also blocked at sett behind ******”.

Regardless of who is to blame for these wildlife crimes (the hunt? Terriermen? Tenant farmers? Forthampton Estate? Their gamekeepers? A mix?) we will carry on checking setts, putting up secret cameras, doing sett-blocking patrols and reporting all incidents. If you would like to support our work or the work of those who we work alongside, like and share our page and posts and, if you can, chuck us a few quid towards fuel and equipment via Also let us know if you would like more info on how you can also get involved in protecting wildlife in your area.

5th February ’22 – North Cotswold Hunt

They were found hunting through the village of Ebrington. NCH stalker, Gary, is now on a bike and decided to ride it very slowly in front of the sab car repeatedly.

They went into Ebrington Manor Fruit farm. The NCH stalkers were very keen for the 3C sab not to see what the hunt were doing so blocked the camera, made up some nonsense about the landowner calling them and saying there was no footpath and started to push the sab’ away towards the road. The hounds were going back there anyway but had been showing interest in some holes, a badger sett as it turned out. Maybe the village fox had escaped into it, terrierman Chris Trotman was certainly in the area.

A sab from Mendip Hunt Sabs then joined the 3C sab and the hunt was lost for quite a long time being found again near Paxton. Gary got on his bike again and tried riding it whilst putting on his high viz as all his sweets fell out of his pocket near Charingworth.

The whipper in nearly went under his horse as they fell on the road. The horse looked very shaken and was led away.

A fox was hunted towards Compton Scorpian farm and hounds were stopped by Mendips sab, a rider then made a threat about a spike going through the car window. they packed up shortly afterwards.

A known sett was found to be freshly blocked.

4th February ’22 – Ledbury Hunt

*** Two foxes helped to safety by sabs * Four blocked setts found * dug-out sett found on Forthampton Estate the same week the West Gloucestershire cull zone ends for good ***

The hunt met near Tirley Knowle and headed west where hounds picked up. Sabs were well-placed nearby but the scent was lost and hounds were brought back towards the meet. Sab on foot predicted hunt would head towards Town Street Farm and made sure she got there first – hunt drew through nearby areas quickly and did not pick up on any scents as they were not thoroughly searching.

Near Haw Bridge a sab witnessed hounds pick up a scent having drawn through a covert alongside the main road. Hounds ran west and north and sab inland spotted fox making his escape. The pack split temporarily with some hounds heading for a nearby badger sett then the pack picked back up on the scent of the fox, but were rated back by sabs, the scenting conditions also negatively affected by the strong wind. Huntsman Mark attempted to take the pack away from the sab and pick up on the line of the fox further north, but hounds failed to pick up on the line.

North now towards Chaceley Stock, sabs ensuring they were relaying the hunt’s location consistently to ensure they were either side of the pack, and the hounds picked up on a fox near to Rye Cottage. Sab on the road rated the pack when they picked up on a line and they checked (temporarily lost the scent) before finding it again and running through a garden and into a nearby field, another sab having predicted this and stayed inland. Sure enough, fox ran through near to her and she was able to spray his line with citronella and rate the hounds when they came through.

Having failed again to stay on the line, Mark took his hounds north to Forthampton Estate and did a runner after ‘second-horses’. One sab was suspicious about an area nearby and went to check on a sett, only to find blocked entrances and areas which had been back-filled, indicating that a serious dig-out had occurred today. There were no signs that hounds had marked at the sett, so we believe this was done this morning. The sett was heavily targeted during the badger cull which has been going on for the last nine years in the area and which (in theory at least) finished for good on Monday night.

Sabs checked other setts and found another four blocked, but not dug-out. Did Forthampton Estate believe that we would just stop checking setts when the cull finished? Sett-checkers, as always, will be out checking on other local areas over this weekend. We will only stop when wildlife persecution stops…

This video is of the first fox we encountered today and rating the pack. While it’s not the most exciting footage it shows the reality of sabbing in the field: making decisions on the spot, sometimes waiting about, having back-up cameras in areas to film other perspectives, communicating well between team mates:

This video is of the second fox we encountered and of a sab rating the pack. While it’s not as fast-paced as some videos are it shows the reality of sabbing in the field: making decisions on the spot, trying to predict which area to be in to be most effective and communication between team mates. Thanks also to the sab on the phone with expert local knowledge of setts in one area who was able to give directions and advice to a sab in the field.

1st February ’22 – CVFH joint meet with Bicester

*** blatant hunting by the CVFH and Bicester hunts * sab shoved about on public land by ‘the Bicester Boys’ while filming ***

A long day out for a couple of our sabs yesterday as they set out to look for another hunt, but were brought back over towards Gloucester when they received two tip-offs about hunting near to Coombe Hill (an area north of Gloucester up the A38 towards Tewkesbury).

Sabs arrived early afternoon and found the hunt around Prior’s Norton. Only seconds after getting out of the car, 3 holloas were heard in quick succession, indicating to nearby huntsman that a fox had run that way. Sure enough, huntsman took his hounds on and they picked up a line, running inland on the scent.

Sabs got inland where fox jinked about and one sab was confronted by the Bicester Boys, hunt “stewards” who can be found at various hunt meets around the country generally showing off their insecurities by trying to be macho and intimidating. Even on public land, our sab was still being shoved about, the boys right in her face with cameras and yelling down the radio anytime she tried to send a message out.

With police promising that they were en route, another foot sab headed further inland and the hunt kept coming back to a favourite area of theirs – a covert with badger sett and artificial earth within… Hounds picked up on a scent nearby, sabs well-positioned on different sides of the area, a fox running past on a track, filmed by one sab despite hunt staff attempts to get in the way and hunt supporters heading the fox back towards the pack. Sab rated the pack until she was grabbed once again by the boys.

Again the hounds picked up and a clear “Gone Away. Gone Away” was heard by a Bicester rider, indicating sighting of a fox and where they had run, huntsman encouraging the pack on… and right towards the other sab. Hounds were rated by the sab and huntsman spent some time deciding what to do, giving the fox some much-needed time to get further from the hounds.

The boys caught up with the sab as hunt headed further east, following her until they were summoned – presumably something to do with the arrival of police. The hunt were followed on foot and watched as they hunted near to the A38 and ran streaming into a farmyard they should not have been in. With a strong smell of slurry in the area, foxes did well to foil their scent by running through these fields. The boys returned to pretend to lay trails in the fields even though the hunt had already left and headed several fields away and back towards the meet.

In the meantime, please carry on sending in those tip-offs – we attend every meet that we can around here (phone call is best to ensure we have the info)

31st January ’22 – Ledbury Hunt

After personal commitments this morning we headed out on the off-chance that we’d find the Ledbury Hunt in their Monday country. We caught up with them near Chase End, having discovered that it was a kennel meet. Thank you also to those who called them in throughout the afternoon.

Huntsman Mark drew through a number of coverts between Chase End, Camer’s Green and Egg’s Tump, hounds picking up briefly in some areas, speaking excitedly in a couple of coverts and drawing blank in the majority – if the hunt actually followed trails they’d have had more of a ride after the pack… just a thought there Mark, might want to try it.

We were well placed in case the hounds picked up on a fox, and were able to rate the pack at one point after they picked up on a scent and rioted (where hounds follow an animal scent other than fox) but hunt staff and supporters also rated them and Mark gathered up the pack. So not a very exciting afternoon for the hunt and followers, but we don’t mind a calm few hours out here ourselves.

Hunt packed up back at the kennels around 4pm and we’re heading home for vegan cake!

29th January ’22 – North Cotswold Hunt

Foxes, fake trail layers, aggression and lies… all in a day’s visit to the North Cotswold Hunt.

We had a tip-off that the North Cotswold were meeting in the Kineton area and so we headed out this morning and caught up with them near to the Cotswold Farm Park. As a sab walked inland on a footpath, the fake trail layer telling her that there was no footpath despite the sign clearly visible, hounds began to pick up a scent in a nearby covert.

Hunt supporters, including Molly Rogers and a rider on point made loud noises to prevent any foxes from escaping towards the sab stationed on the road. As foot sab approached the covert, members of the field (mounted followers) rode around her to prevent her from being able to film or rate the hounds as a fox ran from a corner of the trees. The sab managed to rate the hounds from a distance, slowing them up somewhat, until Tim Pearce-May (ex-Ledbury whipper-in) encouraged them onwards.

Despite threatening behaviour from an angry male who wanted our sab to “p*ss off” and “f*ck off” and who called her a “f*cking c*nt” sab carried on behind the hunt as others got round ahead of where the hounds were heading. Having lost that scent, likely due to the strong wind conditions and the fox running through a field of sheep and across a road, thus ensued a long period of time where the hunt drew and re-drew the same area of land*.

*the shooting season limits the amount of land available to hunt, though it will end soon and free up more areas

At one point hounds streamed through an area in full cry, losing the line at times due to the strong wind conditions (the scent can get blown around in strong wind) and headed toward a covert which hunt riders stationed themselves at. A fox made his way down a wall, was headed by a number of hunt supporters standing at a barn, and fox turned and ran across an open field, filmed by a sab inland. Hounds followed the line on and off, but ended up briefly on his heal line (meaning they were on the line, but going in the wrong direction, so towards where the fox had come from) before hunt staff gathered them and moved on.

Sabs were told off again for trespassing… whilst on a public byway… and back on the road one female stalker tried to tell her male friend that the sab she was with was “really aggressive” – was the point to rile him up to get angry at the sab? Or to try to damage the reputation of the sab in her own footage? We have much of the day on film – we can prove that no aggression ever comes from us. Nice try, but it’s not going to fly.

We stayed with the hunt until they did a runner up towards Nayles Larch and Slatepits, large areas of land with lots of coverts, where we were able to get close, but due to the hunt being relayed our every location they constantly try to get away from us (like anyone with absolutely nothing to hide……). They packed up just before dusk.

We are currently reviewing our footage – we have three SD cards to go through, so no video tonight. Thanks as always to our amazing supporters – those who call in tip-offs and updates, those gathering intel silently on the ground, drivers, financial donors and everyone else who works with us. Until next time!