The Plymouth Hunt Sabs are undeterred by this violence, saying 'It was just a really hairy day!' Some tension was bound to be expected in the light of recent events, and to the hunt and their friends-this time it really is your last year!
HSA news release 21st November 2004
Saboteurs injured in violent backlash against Hunting ban
3 hunt saboteurs were injured and had to receive medical treatment yesterday (20 November 2004) when they were attacked by a mob of hunt supporters led by 2 red coated huntsmen at the South Devon Hunt meet at Old Langsworthy Farm, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon. The unprovoked attacks happened as the hunt left the meet. One saboteur had to undergo emergency surgery last night at Torbay hospital due to the serious nature of his injuries.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) had issued a warning to all groups on Friday to be careful and ensure they carried video cameras. As one local protestor said "The South Devon are one of the more peaceful hunt in this area, and they knew we had videos. I hate to think what will happen at the others."
One saboteur was able to identify people involved in the attack for the police and one hunt supporter was arrested on suspicion of assault. Local protestors have heard an unconfirmed rumour that the Master and huntsman, Ian Pearse, has been arrested, along with the hunt's whipper-in. They are rumoured to have been banned from hunting until January as part of their bail conditions.
HSA spokesperson Nathan Brown said "Violence from huntsmen and their supporters is nothing new. Bear this in mind next time the Countryside Alliance try to represent hunting people as helpless law abiding citizens."
Elsewhere, 2 saboteurs were arrested at Peppard Common in Oxfordshire when they saved a fox from the hounds of the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt. They were taken to Abingdon police station and released without charge. The HSA Spokesperson said "In 3 months time, we hope the police will be as pro-active in targeting people who hunt as they have been in targeting those who stop it."
He also outlined the HSA official response to the Hunting Bill's progress: "Hunt saboteurs are still not claiming victory yet. It is not over until the Countryside Alliance legal challenge has failed. It is not over until the Act is enforced. It is not over until wildlife goes unpersecuted. It is not over UNTIL THE LAST REDCOAT IS SLUNG IN JAIL."
Notes for editors:
Part of the attack in South Devon was caught on video which can be made available.
An eye witness is available to talk to journalists.
Contact HSA Press Officer Nathan Brown for more information 07815 313181
THREE HURT IN HUNT CLASH
BY PAUL JAMES
11:00 - 22 November 2004
Three protesters from South Devon were hurt as violence erupted at the start
fox hunt on Dartmoor over the weekend.
The bust-up just outside Widecombe-in-the-Moor was the only incident of hunt-
related trouble reported across the UK in the wake of last week's Government
move to outlaw the blood sport within three months. A South Devon Animal
spokeswoman claimed the alleged attacks on members from Marldon and Newton
were completely unprovoked.
James Fordham, 19, from Marldon, was left battered and bruised after
being kicked in the head in the Hookney Tor area on Saturday morning where
Denbury-based South Devon Foxhounds had gathered for a meet.
Another 34-year-old man from Newton Abbot was taken to Torbay Hospital for
surgery after allegedly being injured by a spade.
The casualty, who has not been named, suffered a crushed and broken finger as
tried to protect himself.
He was expected to be released from hospital later today.
Mr Fordham was treated in hospital for cuts and bruises.
He claimed: "I was kicked and punched in the head. I gave some names to
Julie, a spokeswoman for the animal rights group, said: "We thought we might
have some hassle at the hunt - but nothing like what we got."
She added: "We had about 17 people there. None of us recognised the guys who
this. They must have come in specially looking for trouble. We'd never seen
with the hunt before."
She revealed how news of the violence reached her group a mile away just as
half-a-dozen men in a pick-up truck approached and warned them: "You're next
because we've just got your other lot."
Julie said: "We were taken completely by surprise because we don't normally
any real trouble locally with the hunt. There is the usual hassle and nothing
She said the incident would not deter her and the group from continuing to
protect foxes from the soon-to-be banned sport.
"We won't stop until hunting with hounds is completely finished. Once the ban
in place we will still monitor what happens."
Hunt protester Alex Greenhorn from Plymouth said the group's Land Rover was
He added: "It was a very frightening scene.It was all quite unexpected and
unprovoked because the hunt had just moved off and we were protesting
A spokesperson for South Devon Foxhounds was not available for comment.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said they were called to Widecombe
the Moor at 11.50am on Saturday after a disturbance between pro and anti-hunt
After being treated at the scene by ambulance crew, one of two male anti-hunt
protesters was subsequently transported to Torbay Hospital with hand, neck
The second male was treated at the scene for facial injuries.
He said a female protester also received minor injuries during the incident.
A 49-year-old man from Somerset has been released from police custody without
charge and bailed to reappear at Torquay Police Station on a date towards the
end of January 2005.