[Image credit: @undergroundbadgersyndicate]

The end of the main hunting season is approaching and hunts are getting desperate. Northants Hunt Saboteurs have had a difficult time with the Cottesmore Hunt after continued threats of violence and intimidation by hunt ‘security’, who throw their weight around in front of the police. But the sab group maintained a presence on the hunt. Though they had some setbacks due to the hunts rent-a-mob, this inevitably comes with its own set of problems for the hunt; hiring them costs them money and they attract negative media attention. The Pytchley with Woodland Hunt, who Northants sabs also contend with, has also got themselves into trouble and ended their season early after multiple hounds were killed on the busy A43 whilst out hunting.

Lincolnshire Hunt Saboteurs have also had problems with hunt employees who slashed their tyres during a ‘gruelling day’ with the Burton Hunt, but were able to continue taking action throughout the month.

Despite the best efforts of local sabs, deer were killed by the Stevenstone Hunt in Devon and, two days later, by the Kent Hunt. Farm animals were also victim to hounds, as seen by a post by North Wales Hunt Saboteurs who stated that the Flint and Denbigh hunt killed a Sheep and her an unborn lamb. Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs also reported of a fox being killed in a garden by the Grove and Rufford Hunt. Though upsetting and frustrating, they took solace in knowing they prevented other kills by this hunt and also of the Holme and Colne Valley Beagles, who they packed up earlier in the day. They, like many other groups, have worked tirelessly in a challenging time of the year as wildlife becomes much more vulnerable as the Fox and Hare breeding season takes place.  

Beds and Bucks Hunt Saboteurs announced that the Oakley Hunt will disband at the end of the season, following a 10-year concentrated campaign against them. A decade is a long time but the abundance of wild animals, as well as hounds bred for hunting, that will be spared cruelty and death is undoubtable well worth it. The group state that two major factors in their demise is due to a massive decline in subscribers and a lack of land they are permitted to hunt on – both of which are vulnerable to pressure campaigns. Protesting fundraisers and hunt related social events, shaming landowners and business that host the hunt, as well as direct action in the field are sure ways to make a hunt unviable. With such attention being given to a hunt, it is inevitable that they struggle to maintain staff, as proven by the Oakley Hunt. Now, local and neighbouring saboteurs can move onto their next hunt.

Kent Hunt Saboteurs reported that costs of policing the protest against the Kent Hunts boxing day meet mounted to over £14k, which can add additional pressure on the hunt as members of the public rightly question why public money should be spent on policing an illegal hunt. Suffolk Action for Wildlife received reliable intel that multiple Essex and Suffolk Hunt masters, who often play an integral position financially, are leaving at the end of the season, which makes them vulnerable and an attractive target for a pressure campaign.

The Fox Inn, a pub, hotel and wedding venue in Stourton, were forced to no longer host the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt end of season ‘supper’ after Staffordshire Hunt Saboteurs named-and-shamed them online. Members of the public, including locals and potential visitors from afar, were given the opportunity to contact the business and voice their concerns which ultimately worked. Events like these are not only important to raise money for the hunt, but also double up as a networking and social event, and is a big problem for a hunt if cancelled. Businesses heavily rely on reputation so negative publicity can produce quick results when they are seen to be supporting wildlife killers.   

Underground Badger Syndicate have reawakened after taking some time to rest after the intensive badger cull but soon got back to work by removing 20 mole traps from a posh private estate. Traps and other means of wildlife killing are used all year round but springtime is particularly nasty, so they’ve set up a new donation page to help them pay for fuel so they can keep active. Others who have also been busy, including Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs dealing with fen traps and The Great Unwashed dealing with a shooting hide.

Devon County Hunt Saboteurs reminded the online world that, as of the 1st February, the supplementary badger cull has stopped and won’t continue until June. However, they make the point clear that people should remain vigilant as persecution of the supposedly legally protected wild animal will continue regardless. Checking up on setts is a casual way of doing this and is also vital intel that can be used in the future, as pointed out by Northamptonshire Badger Group who have been regularly surveying throughout the month. They, as well as hunt sabotage groups, can provide training and workshops on sett checking and general surveying which is not only a great way to learn about the fascinating and beautiful existence of wildlife, but also the skillset on how to protect them.


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