Above the law

There is growing concern regarding the policing of hunts and the police failing to clamp down on illegal hunting activity and the violent attacks on monitors who are doing the job the police should be doing, out in the fields, filming and collecting evidence of illegal activity undercover.  (Maybe its time we started a fund raising campaign to buy all rural police wellies so they can actually get out in the fields instead of relying on the public to hand them evidence).

We must also ask ourselves why do the hunts resort to such extreme violent measures to prevent themselves being filmed ?  Surely if they really where staying with-in the law then they wouldn’t mind being filmed.
Why are police now trying to issue dispersal orders (on a few of monitors? “really” ? … I don’t think crowd control on a few public monitors is needed)  which prevents hunts being caught on camera.  Are the police now trying to cover up illegal activity and prevent the law being enforced ?.

Some MP’s are now actually calling for a review of the way police handle hunting crime.
Hunts have flouted the law for far too long making a mockery out of our legal system and bringing the law into disrepute.

If police where fully investigating hunting crime for themselves (donation wellies on the way)  then the public wouldn’t have to monitor hunts doing the work the police should be doing.

Thankfully not all police forces are like that. Some do actually care that the perpetrators of these horrific cruel hunting crimes are brought to justice and animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

above-the-law-leaflet-001above-the-law-leaflet-002

Crimes by Hunts, how do they get away with it?

* The law banning hunting with hounds in 2004 was filled with loopholes thus enabling hunting to continue virtually unimpeded and making a mockery out of the legal system. This flouting of the law has brought the legal system into disrepute.
* Serious crimes against the public by hunts include: attempted murder (vehicles/horses ridden in to them); assaults with whips, knives and fists; racial and sexual abuse; rape/death threats; theft of equipment; vandalism (cars and property). These are well documented and reported but are rarely, or adequately, dealt with by police. Why?
It is estimated that less than 1% of these crimes are even investigated, yet scientific studies prove that violence to animals, violence to people and other crimes are connected.
* Police often ignore blatant law breaking by hunts eg attacks on hunt monitors, driving offences, unlicensed vehicles, uncontrolled animals on major roads, badger sett blocking, fox kills, trespass. Instead hunt monitors are often threatened with prosecution under trespass laws.
* Some forces have very little training in wildlife laws with the hunt monitors finding they have to explain laws to attending police.
* It is believed that some CPS and police members are involved with the hunting fraternity so there is no incentive to expose hunts, protect hunt monitors or prosecute criminals. A number of law enforcement officers actually hunt themselves resulting in a bias conflict of interest.

THIS MUST STOP

Facts about Hunting:

* Some hunts create artificial earths to breed/rear foxes or import foxes from other areas if `stock` is low.
* Many foxes are pre-caught `Bagged` and then released in front of hounds to hunt. They can also be deliberately injured to slow them down for the chase.
* Hunts kill indiscriminately eg pregnant, lactating females and cubs.
* Foxes are not killed quickly, hounds disembowel them.
* Approx 4,000 to 10,000 hounds are killed a year due to : over breeding; not agressive enough or injured. Deaths and injuries whilst hunting are common eg cliff falls, killed on roads and railway lines, impaled on railings/barbed wire. Horses can suffer break downs and severe injuries.
* Foxes save arable farmers millions of pounds keeping rabbit, mice, rat numbers down.
* Many farmers do not want hunts across their land due to livestock damage and the threat of hounds spreading Tuberculosis.
* Hunts use the excuse of `trail hunting` to get away with an illegal activity. Hunts go uncontrolled over: main roads causing traffic chaos and public danger; private land; wildlife areas; cemeteries; villages; gardens; housing estates and animal shelters, where they have injured and killed animals, affecting livelihoods and property. No pre-laid trail would do this.
* Hunt hierarchy: Elite, politically influential; middle class professionals; low class estate employees, who inflict most of the violence on hunt monitors and do the hunts` dirty work.
* Terrier dogs are put down fox holes to fight and flush out a fox to the hounds (illegal). Before each hunt, badger sett entrances are illegally blocked to stop foxes hiding. Hunts have `cubbing` seasons in autumn, whereby a wood with fox cubs in it is surrounded and young hounds are sent in to learn to kill them. Foxes may also be strung from trees or kept in captivity nearby to excite the hound’s pre kill.

Time to demand your MP takes action

https://foxhuntingevidenceuk.wordpress.com/mp-positions-on-fox-hunting/
1. Demand your MP looks thoroughly in to how police deal with hunt violence, road safety violations and other illegal hunt activities evidenced by monitors and these cases get given a higher priority and prosecution rate.
2. Demand all reported wildlife crimes are investigated and police forces are given better training in this area.
3. Demand police forces are thoroughly investigated and officers who have any connections to hunts be uninvolved with hunt cases to prevent a bias conflict of interest.
4. Demand every hunt pack be tested for TB and micro chipped.

Your local Police Crime Commissioner

https://foxhuntingevidenceuk.wordpress.com/police-commissioner-iopc/police-commissioner-listings/
(all of above plus)
1. Vicarious Liability to be enforced (landowners permitting hunting be held accountable for law breaking).
2. Demand terrier men be questioned and searched by police officers as to their intent and ensuring they have all the correct written permission / licences which are required by law.
3. Demand officers attend and investigate illegal dig outs of foxes (only allowed on shooting estates) and uphold the regulations regarding flushing to guns and use of terriers.
4. Demand officers check quad bikes are road legal (taxed, not overloaded) and empound any that are not.
5. Demand officers check hunts have written permission from landowners available.
6. Demand officers question hunts about what substance they have used to lay a trail, where this has been obtained and where this trail has been laid.
7. Demand officers enforce the law regarding hounds being dangerously out of control in public areas ie running riot on roads.
8. Demand officers enforce the law regarding reckless riding on roads, blocking traffic, road safety violations.
9. Demand officers arrest hunts and their supporters for violent abuse and attacks on monitors.
10. Demand transparency regarding how much time is spent policing hunts and what the ratio is of reported hunt crimes to investigations, prosecutions and convictions.
11. Demand that officers ensure that monitors have a legal right to trespass if they feel a crime is being committed to collect evidence.

IOPC (Independent Office of Police Conduct)

https://foxhuntingevidenceuk.wordpress.com/police-commissioner-iopc/iopc/
Demand a re-view of all officers who are likely to deal with hunt crime reports have no connections to the hunting fraternity to ensure impartiality and non-bias policing.

Justice Secretary : The Rt Hon David Gauke MP
Email : david@davidgauke.com
Tel : Westminster Office : 0207 2194459 / Constituency Office : 01923 771781
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Shadow Justice Secretary : Richard Burgon MP
Email : richard@richardburgon.com
Twitter: @richardburgon
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Corruption and biased from the top down:

The original ban on hunting with dogs came in to effect back in 2005, the result of many years of hard campaigning. People on all levels of society oppose hunting and public opinion against lifting the ban is at an all-time high. So why has hunting with dogs continued blatantly and unabated for the last 13 years?
To begin with, the wording of the new law went to the House of Commons, where it was shot through with loopholes. This meant that, instead of being the water-tight legislation the public demanded, it resembled a sieve.
Why? The hierarchy and vested interests of certain individuals. From the very powerful and politically influential, through the middle classes right down to the bottom layer of hired thugs.
E.g.: From Lords, politicians, landowners, judges, crown prosecution service members, barristers, lawyers, media, police hierarchies with orders filtering down to lower levels of police.
Why? Hunting is carried out precisely because it is a “blood sport” or “blood cult”.
For many of the above, striving to better their social and employment opportunities, participation in hunting and involvement in the hunting fraternity or “family” as it is known in those circles, is their only way to succeed and be accepted.
N.B.: Landowners, owning vast estates, rent or sell farms and properties with the strict proviso that hunting is to be carried out on that land.
So, there we have the basic structure of involvement and complicity and the reason that this illegal activity continues blatantly 13 years later, and why opponents and whistle blowers are the ones who are, on the whole, persecuted with evidence of illegal activities dismissed.

On this website, there is much documentation on all aspects of illegal hunting and laws broken on all levels (although just the tip of the iceberg), showing : animal cruelty affecting horses, hounds, pets, foxes, badgers, birds of prey and terrier dogs; road traffic safety violations; trespassing on people’s gardens/children’s play areas/farms; extreme violence towards hunt monitors including death/rape threats, racial/homophobic abuse, theft/vandalism of equipment, damage to vehicles, assault by vehicle/horse/beatings with intent to cause actual bodily harm.

Why don’t people know about this?

Why don’t more reports of illegal activities get looked in to by police and why do the ones which do get looked in to by “ground level” police rarely go any further in the police system?
If incidents do get as far as the courts, why are they more often than not dropped by the CPS?

There are of course officers who wish to uphold laws and see justice done, but know they will in fact get nowhere within the biased system. If a case does get as far as court, it will be contested by powerful barristers and lawyers hired by hunts to represent them. Therefore, there is no real incentive to pursue claims of illegal fox hunting and other illegal activities as these cases will likely not get far.

I will leave you with these questions:

  • What are we to think when public safety laws, there to protect against violence, are ignored or inadequately dealt with by police?
  • What message does this send out to perpetrators of these crimes?
  • What would happen if these assaults were taking place in our towns instead of out of sight in the country?
  • Why do we think we live in a democracy, when democratic laws are corrupted and the system which is meant to uphold laws is riddled with personal and vested interests?
  • How would we expect a democratic, civilised society to react to such violations of justice?

For further reading, see sab/monitor groups in your areas and links on this website.

Cases

 CASE AGAINST DERWENT HUNT DISMISSED : 26 September 2017
http://www.huntingact.org/news/case-derwent-hunt-dismissed/ 
There can be no justice in this country if the Crown Prosecution Service is going to send lawyers who have had no wildlife crime training and are unfamiliar with the legislation to prosecute in a criminal trial, having never seen the prosecution evidence before the morning of the trial.  The prosecuting lawyer in this case was then faced in court with a defence team comprising three experienced solicitors and a specialist barrister.  It must be demoralising for the police and for witnesses when they are failed so badly by the Crown Prosecution Service.

PEACEFUL PROTEST ABOUT POLICE INACTION
https://www.facebook.com/devoncountyhuntsaboteurs/?hc_location=group_dialog
In spite of the rain, many people attended a protest on Saturday at Heavitree Police Station in Exeter to draw attention to Devon & Cornwall Police’s inaction over offences committed by Devon’s hunts. Every week, hunts are flouting the law and getting away with it: chasing and killing foxes, deer and hares, destroying badger setts, running riot through people’s gardens and terrorising their pets, assaulting sabs, monitors and anyone else that gets in their way, committing criminal damage and blatant road traffic offences.
The people of Devon have had enough!
We are calling on Devon & Cornwall Police to adopt a much more proactive stance against these wildlife criminals and stop being selective about which laws they enforce.
This means turning up at hunts unannounced to monitor their activities, providing relevant training to officers and call-handlers so they actually understand the law, attending when we call them if a hunt or dig-out is ongoing and investigating the incident there and then, not in “slow time” when the evidence is lost. It means remembering that sabs and monitors are not the criminals in this situation and ensuring that offences we report to them are dealt with in a timely manner. It means ensuring there are no conflicts of interest, such as serving police officers riding with hunts that are under investigation. It means not sending a fleet of police cars out every time a hunt member complains about our presence and then claiming there are no officers available when we call them. It means not laboriously checking our vehicle insurance, tax, MOT, lights and so on up to five times in one day whilst turning a blind eye to hunt vehicles being driven illegally on Devon’s roads…
It is not our job to investigate illegal activity. It’s the police’s job. Their inaction perpetuates crime and we will not tolerate it.
Well done to everyone who took part in the protest on Saturday. Keep the pressure on!

Hunt Saboteurs : 21 November 2017
At the East Sussex & Romney Marsh FH, a hunt rider assaulted sabs by using her terrified horse as a battering ram. When a brave sab stepped in to stop her she beat him 17 times with her riding crop. Further north at the Dunston Harriers in Norfolk, police abandoned any pretence of impartiality when they were filmed hitching a ride on the terrierman’s quad. At almost exactly the same time, masked thugs from West Yorkshire’s Bramham Moor FH were hurling rocks through the windscreen of a sab van whilst it was being driven. Across the border in Scotland, ghoulish supporters of the Berwickshire FH attacked sabs to retrieve the body of an illegally-killed fox, the poor animal’s entrails spilling onto the road.
Hunt violence, police corruption and animal abuse : this is hunting in 2017.

West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs : 18 December 2017
David Whitehouse former Chief Superintendent of Warwickshire Police is also a regular supporter of the Warwickshire Hunt. Whitehouse was part of the police for 35 years leaving only four years ago. Might this explain why the Warwickshire Hunt and other hunts in Warwickshire (such as the Atherstone) have avoided prosecution during his time as a serving officer? Would this not have been a conflict of interest?
Last year Whitehouse also tried and failed to get himself elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire. It wasn’t all bad news for the Warwickshire Hunt however as Philip Seccombe was elected to this position. Seccombe, a former Conservative Councillor on Stratford Upon Avon District Council, seconded a motion in 2003 that resulted in the Council voting to back the House of Lords attempt to wreck the hunting ban. Seccombe’s wife is leader of Warwickshire County Council and his mum is in the house of lords. There are other members of the Warwickshire Hunt who are also in the House of Lords.
We are aware that there are serving officers within Warwickshire Police who have connections to the Warwickshire Hunt. We revealed a few years ago that the huntsman of the North Warwickshire Beagles (who share the same kennels as the Atherstone) was a serving officer with Warwickshire Police.

West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs : 27 November 2017
LEICESTERSHIRE POLICE / ASHLEY DAVIES UPDATE
**”We believe Leicestershire Police’s hunting unit is compromised and loses more and more credibility with every incident like this”**
A few weeks ago, many of you will have seen the video we posted of the Atherstone Hunt chairperson’s son-in-law – Ashley Davies riding people down on his quad bike https://www.facebook.com/WestMidsHuntSabs/videos/1208353215976417/.
This was not the first time he had used violence. Last season, we filmed him running at us with an metal bar https://www.facebook.com/WestMidsHuntSabs/videos/988138277997913/.
This incident was reported to Leicestershire Police who inevitably took no further action. It was this lack of action which we believe resulted in Davies believing he could get away with much worse. Detective Inspector Paul Kenyon of Leicestershire Police’s hunting unit then tried to blame us the victims of this crime claiming that the reason it was dropped was because we hadn’t made a statement about it. We told him a statement had been made and that we still had the email trail to prove it. The name of the officer who the statement was made to? PC Rob Cross, the wildlife officer who can be heard advising the Atherstone Hunt on which laws can and cannot be used against sabs, the same officer who we have had complaints about from members of the public (emails that we still have) who felt he didn’t take their reports of a fox killed by the Atherstone Hunt seriously and didn’t originally log it as a crime and actually questioned them if they were sure they had seen a fox being killed (this also resulted in no further action being taken). The same officer who members of the Atherstone Hunt claimed had told them information about an active investigation.
Leicestershire Police’s continued collusion with the Atherstone Hunt is now not just having an impact on hunting cases it is starting to put people’s safety at risk.
We can’t be sure exactly what has happened here but it looks like the statement wasn’t handed over to the people it should have been. We believe Leicestershire Police’s hunting unit is compromised and loses more and more credibility with every incident like this. With the Atherstone Hunt in the mess it is currently in, they are now relying on Leicestershire Police more than ever.

The Sun : 5 January 2017
Around 45 protesters were gathered in Atherstone for the town’s traditional New Year’s bash when the chaos unfolded. The group were then pelted with horse poo, glass bottles and eggs (from hunt supporters)..The Atherstone Hunt supporters were drunk and aggressive and became increasingly violent as the day went on…”We had elderly people protesting with us…People could have been seriously hurt. The only reason that this incident didn’t escalate into a riot is because of the restraint shown by the protesters in the face of very provocative and aggressive behaviour. The responsibility for the violence that happened in the square lies completely with Warwickshire Police and Atherstone Town Council. Hunt supporters were also trying to provoke a reaction from protestors by waving fox tails in their faces. Banners and other property where stolen, one banner was ripped apart by a hunt supporter using a knife. A member of the public’s child was almost run over by a hunt supporter in a Land rover as he attempted to get at the protestors. After we left the Market Square, we went to find the Hunt who were hunting as normal. The violence and aggression continued with eggs and stones being repeatedly thrown at our vehicle and a wing mirror smashed.” Two other Atherstone Town Councillors who are also North Warwickshire Borough Councillors Mejar Singh and Ray Jarvis (both Conservative) were also present in the Market Square and watched on as the violence took place. Warwickshire police ignored all of this and decided not to deploy officers at all until the end, after they had been called numerous times by members of the public.”
“Officers are investigating and are at an early stage of their enquiries, but no-one has been arrested at this time. Atherstone Hunt refused to comment.” The story was also covered by the Mirror, Birmingham Mail, Coventry Telegraph
POWA spokesperson comments – “Sabs wear face-coverings to try to stop hunters identifying them because, from experience, they know this may well lead to their being attacked by hunters at sab homes or elsewhere. Presumably, the new police powers will apply equally to the hunt thugs who frequently mask up [as do some huntsmen]. In the case of the followers, masking is to avoid being identified when they carry out assaults, thefts and criminal damage on sabs and monitors, all frequent occurrences. Hopefully, police will use their new powers equitably, though past experience suggests probably not.”

Daily Mirror : 2 June 2016
Balaclava-clad attackers ‘rain punches on animal rights activists’ as saboteurs’ peaceful protest turns ugly. An animal rights activist was left with blood streaming down his face after being attacked by a masked man when a peaceful hunt protest turned violent.

Daily Mail : 15 March 2016
Dramatic footage shows hunt saboteurs being driven at by men in balaclavas on a quad bike who threaten to shoot them.
Masked-up supporters of the Ross Harriers hunt attacked a vehicle belonging to hunt saboteurs yesterday, smashing the rear window and showering the passengers in glass. ”Two masked men left the main body of hunt supporters and ran up behind the sab’s land rover and used a metal bar to smash the rear window. They then fled the scene in a vehicle.”
“We were followed and intimidated by at least seven men in masks throughout the day. But just as the hounds were released, the men got closer and closer to our group. Once the violence erupted, I tried to step in to pull them off one of the members of our group. But as I dragged one of the men away, the momentum made me fall over, and I was also attacked in the aftermath. I now need an operation to restore my skull after tests found it had been fractured.” The video was uploaded to the Bristol Hunt Saboteurs’
POWA spokesperson comments – “As we are sure the RSPCA is aware, the attempt to strip them of their prosecution powers is almost entirely motivated by the Society’s temerity in prosecuting organised Hunts and really started when the Heythrop convictions were achieved at the end of 2012. All five of the Conservative members of the EFRA Select Committee are strong supporters of hunting with hounds.”
POWA spokesperson adds – “The senior JM of this Hunt, Major Patrick Darling, is High Sheriff of Herefordshire [a personal appointment by the Queen]. But obviously this would have nothing to do with the police/CPS apparent reluctance to charge his ‘servants’ in what looks an open-and-shut case of extreme cruelty to a number of captive animals”

Daily Mail : 9 September 2016
Anti fox-hunting campaigner ‘was left with seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung after she was trampled by a ‘reckless’ horse rider’. The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) say they fear an upsurge in attacks on their activists in the wake of the clearing of a huntsman who had been accused of trampling a hunt saboteur with his horse.
CPS drop numerous assault and sexual threat charges against hunt thugs.

West Mids Sabs (Facebook) : 28 August 2016
On 3/10/15, nine hunt stewards assaulted three females sabs. Of the nine, Leicestershire Police only charged three of them despite knowing the identity of several of the other men. Whilst giving a statement to the police, one of the victims described how one masked up steward made sexual threats to her, PC Tom White replied that it was only her opinion that 9 men making sexual threats amounted to sexual harassment.

Coventry Telegraph : 9 August 2016
No action will be taken against a Warwickshire hunt despite video footage being released of a fox being killed by its hounds. “This particular hunt has recently been exposed for rearing and maintaining a fox population for hunting.”

Dorset Against Blood Sports (Facebook) : 7 July 2016
Sabs attacked by South Dorset Hunt thugs and a female sab sustains a fractured elbow and knee trauma.   CPS say no further action can be taken as video evidence is “insufficient”.
Shock as tracking devices found planted on LACS investigators’ cars.

Daily Mirror : 8 April 2016
Anti-fox hunting activists bugged in ‘sinister, James Bond-style plot’. Animal rights activists fear a “sinister” plot by fox hunting supporters after James Bond -style tracking devices were hidden under vehicles. Two £300 “Enforcer 4” bugs [right] were found attached to cars owned by undercover investigators. They believe they were planted by pro-hunt supporters in a bid to trace the campaigners as they secretly film hunts. League Against Cruel Sports Chief executive Eduardo Gonçalves branded the discovery a “sinister development”. He said: “Under any circumstances, electronically tracking someone to prevent them from witnessing and filming your law-breaking would be shocking. But to cynically track privately-owned cars that are used by the investigators’ families – including their children – suggests that there are people out there whose sick blood lust has overridden any sense of common decency and acceptable boundaries.”

Daily Record : 3 April 2016
Turns out the leader of a fox hunt, which is being investigated by police, made several donations to the Tories.
Masked Belvoir FH thugs launch violent attack on LACS investigators.
One suffers broken neck bones – video cameras stolen –“They kicked my camera out of my hand, and then one of them punched me in the face. On the footpath there was a 14ft sheer drop, and they grabbed me and pushed me off it. Then one of them came down and continued to kick me while I was down. I blacked out and came back to a few minutes later. They had gone and Roger had called the police and the ambulance and they had to put me on a stretcher to carry me out.”
Tory Simon Hart faces calls to quit Commons committee after revelations he gets £30k blood sport lobbying fee. TORY MP Simon Hart is facing calls to quit Parliament’s environment committee amid concerns that he is “abusing his position” by acting as a paid advocate for fox hunting.
Hunting with dogs is done by dangerous individuals, claims Bill Oddie.
POWA spokesperson adds:- After originally arresting Doggrell for this life-endangering assault, the CPS, astonishingly, decided not to charge him. This provoked such public fury that they eventually changed their minds.
Sunday Herald accuses Scottish police of pro-hunt bias.

Sunday Herald : 28 February 2016
Animal rights groups accuse Scottish police of pro-fox hunting bias. The Sunday Herald has uncovered what appears to be the systematic harassment of animal rights activists by Police Scotland and an apparent bias towards fox hunts allegedly involved in illegal activity. Our investigation can reveal that Police Scotland told members of the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) they could not monitor fox hunts, and that officers have detained activists and threatened them with arrest while they were trying to monitor hunts. We can also reveal that Sunday Herald journalists were threatened with arrest while investigating allegations of illegal hunting in Fife. Our findings have prompted criticism of Police Scotland’s tactics and an investigation is now underway into the policing of hunts in Fife. Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP and deputy convener of Holyrood’s Cross-Party Group on Animal Welfare, said: “The public will be astonished and angered to hear of incidents alleging heavy-handed behaviour by the police towards animal welfare activists, who are doing a public service by keeping tabs on organised hunts. I have viewed footage obtained by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), which suggests that cruel and unnecessary fox hunts are still happening. Police Scotland have a duty to ensure that this stops.”
The photo below shows Norfolk Police officers being driven around on a quad bike by a member of the Dunston Harriers Hunt today. It was taken minutes before a hunt saboteur was arrested, and not long after hounds were spotted covered in blood.

 

Link advice :  Reporting a hunting Crime

Link Contact  :  Police Force Listings

Link Contact  :  Contact your Police Crime Commissioner

Link Contact  :  IOPC Independent Office for Police Conduct

Link Contact  :  Reporting harassment by Hunt Supporters


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