[Image credit: @mendiphuntsabs] 

Mink and Otter hunting season has begun. Only 26 registered packs exist in the UK and Ireland, making them vulnerable to the multiple sabotage groups that operate, as seen by the Northern Counties Mink Hounds who were apprehended by Sheffield, Staffordshire, Manchester and West Yorkshire hunt sabotage groups, as well as Hull Wildlife Protectors. These packs operate using a small number of hounds and are usually transported in commercial and domestic vehicles, thus making them more difficult to locate oppose to a mounted hunt who are more obvious in appearance and use larger vehicles such as horse boxes and trailers. Members of the public can play an important role in sabotaging a hunt by notifying suspicious behaviour. This can be done by contacting the Hunt Saboteurs Association tip-off line at 07443148426 or your local group on social media. Making a call or sending a message can be enough to stop wildlife from being killed. 

A stag was killed by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds during their closing meet despite the best efforts of a large number of saboteurs from multiple groups. Sabotaging a stag hunt is notoriously difficult and when the life of the wild is lost, it is natural to feel depleted. However, it is important to remember that years ago, stag hunts were rarely getting sabotaged and, when they were, came with a lot of violence.  But they are getting more and more attention and are unable to kill every time they go out, as seen by multiple successful hit reports throughout the month by groups including Mendip Hunt Saboteurs. At one point, these hunts felt unstoppable but now that belief is crumbling. And that is something that we should recognise and take into account when morale is low.

Natural England published their summery of the 2023 badger cull and, despite any rhetoric they want to project, the UK governments’ agender is clear; they will continue to murder wildlife on mass. It is worth noting that, based on their own studies, culling badgers has no impact on the spread of bTB. The reality is that this cull is about protecting animal agriculture from taking accountability of their biosecurity problems and making life easier for landowners (as one example, badgers living on your land causes problems for gaining planning permission). The numbers of badgers killed in the 2023 cull stands at 19,570 and when combined with culls taken place since 2013, totals 230,125. These numbers are bleak as fuck but they would undoubtably be higher if it wasn’t for the efforts of dedicated groups (such as Underground Badger Syndicate), hunt sabotage groups and local badger protectors. It can sometimes be difficult to quantify the results of anti-badger cull work, but seeing fresh badger activity months after the cull has finished where multiple cage traps have been removed and free-shooters escorted away is a sure sign of success.  

Spring time is a busy time for wildlife. While many embrace this, gamekeepers and others intend to decimate anything that they see as a threat to their interests (sometimes as pathetic as having a neat and tidy lawn). However, some have been busy dealing with traps and other mechanisms used to kill wildlife, as seen by Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs who have been removing mole traps, snares and pricey sensor-triggered squirrel traps. Simply walking around the countryside can make a difference when looking in the right places, such as a shooting estate or the grounds of a stately home. This activity is not only leisurely but can also make a difference to local wildlife. And if you don’t feel up to dealing with items yourself, you can relay what you have found to your local sabotage group.  

Northants Hunt Saboteurs held a protest against the Cottesmore Hunt at their first ‘fun ride’ of the spring/summer. As they explain in a recent social media post, holding demonstrations at ‘fun rides’ are important as these are specifically organised to raise money and recruit paid subscribers for the upcoming season. Discouraging supporters and paid spectators from joining a hunt can be a significant blow against their longevity, both financially and for their morale. This contributes to a diversity of tactics as part of a dedicated campaign against a hunt and has been proven to be successful in shutting them down for good.  


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