Hunt Saboteur and singer in anarcho-punk band The Chinapple Punx gets dragged off private land as he attempts to disrupt the Bicester Fox Hunt, Hertfordshire.
photo from Independent on Sunday, November 2, 1997
Listen to a track from The Chinapple Punx here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw0I3yjK-4Y
INCREASE THE PRESSURE - Hunt Sabotage began life in Ireland in 1990 but has existed in Great Britain since 1964 when a young journalist named John Prestidge witnessed a heavily pregnant deer being chased down by the local Stag Hunt. Both the deer and her foetus were torn to pieces by dogs in the middle of a village in Devon as the Hunt cheered and jeered. Incensed by this deranged violence, Prestidge formed the first Hunt Saboteurs group. The idea was to actively disrupt the hunting of foxes and deer by distracting the hounds with horn calls and meat. That's right - meat. They would chuck meat at the hounds who were often kept hungry by the Hunts master to incentivize the hounds so it was a very effective tactic. Tactics have since evolved and meat is no longer used.
The phenomenon spread quickly and new groups sprang up around Britain. Initially caught off guard, the hunting communities reaction was as predictable as it was aggressive. Hunters and Hunt Sabotage became bywords for violence and have remained so. The landed gentry and their fanbase do not like being answered back to and will use all the violence at their disposal to keep the great unwashed out of their way.
" The cruel, barbaric ritual of carted deer hunting must stop now"
- above - How it all began, the Rosa Parks of the modern animal rights movement Gwen Barter obstructing the Norwich Staghounds Hunt, March 1962.
This is the first known act of civil disobedience to protect non-human animals. Gwen Barter sat on the front of the leading hunt convoy vehicle of the Norwich Stag hounds hunt and refused to move. The Hunt simply gave up and went home. She repeated the act later in the year. Gwen was an inspiration to the embryonic Hunt Sabotage movement beginning a few years later.
Her sign reads “The cruel, barbaric ritual of carted deer hunting must stop now,”
above-hunt sabs of 1964 - John Prestidge, founder of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, on the far right.
TRADITION IS JUST PEER PRESSURE FROM DEAD PEOPLE
The worlds first Hunt Sabotage, in Devon, England made international headlines, such was its novelty. Below is the Irish Press article from January 13th,1964. Note how the Hunt react - pretend the Saboteurs cause no disruption but also get really angry and violent against all this non-disruption going on. Feigned nonchalance combined with outrageous violence. Its been that way ever since.
above - Irish Press article from January 13th,1964, reporting on the world first hunt sabotage which took place in Devon, UK.
Hunt Sabotage in Britain grew massively throughout the 1980's and 90's, as did tactics and experience. Out went smoke bombs and chunks of meat , in came gizmos, citronella spray and hunting horns. Sab groups all over Great Britain became increasingly professional and effective. All blood sports were targeted, including fishing. Some groups became notoriously aggressive in response to the violence they encountered and would turn up at hunts in black transit vans with metal grills over the windscreen, all wearing black with facemasks or balaclava's on. The anarcho-punk movement was in full swing and was a fertile recruiting ground for the hunt saboteur movement.
Violent encounters between saboteurs and the Hunt and their supporters was a weekly event. Thousands were injured, hundreds arrested and three people were killed during this twenty year period . Hunting with dogs was banned by the UK Parliament in 2004 but remains legal in Northern Ireland as well as the Republic. This position was reinforced at a vote in December 2021 when the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormount voted 45-38 to continue to allow hunting with dogs. Disgracefully, the so-called party of Gaelic egalitarianism - Sinn Fin - voted as a unified block in favour of hunting with dogs, a 'sport' invented and sustained by a priviliged, typically reactionary elite against the explicit will of the majority.
When the hunting fraternity paid thugs to beat up sabs, the saboteurs responded with similar tactics. Informal offshoots of the HSA like the Hunt Retribution Squad emerged to tackle the problematic hunts head on.
Unlike the ALF, Hunt Sabotage was slow to spread internationally and it wasn't until 1990 that it began in Ireland, when activists in Belfast began sabotaging local foxhunts. It would be another 4 years before the tactic went south of the border when groups sprang up in Dublin, Galway and elsewhere.
left - FIGHT OR FLIGHT? FIGHT AND FLIGHT...December 1997, Bishops Waltham, Hampshire, UK, about 100 hunt saboteurs descend on the Hursley and Hambledon Hunt. Armed with baseball bats, iron bars and staves, they immediately begin to smash all and any vehicle belonging to the Hunt and their supporters. Anyone who tried to stop them was attacked and three hunters were hospitalised. This was in retaliation for sustained aggression and violence against saboteurs by this Hunt in the recent past. The violence was condemned by the HSA. Police arrested 42 sabs as they fled the area in vans following the attack. All charges were later dropped and violence from the Hursley and Hambledon Hunt quickly waned after their thrashing.
The UK banned hunting with dogs in 2004. They did not , however, ban hunting with Owls.
Since the ban was introduced, a foxhunt in Warwickshire found a loophole in the law by using a trained owl to spot for foxes. Local hunt fanatic Trevor Morse trained the owl himself and was a regular at the hunt. Picture, if you will, a heavy-set man, pink-faced with thick moustache, running down a country lane while shouting commands at an owl hovering in the sky above him, being followed by 40 mounted horsemen and dozens of dogs. Meanwhile, a gyrocopter orbits high above them all, watching for any transgression of the law.
Bryan Griffiths,55, was an anti-hunt activist and was using his gyrocopter to fly hunt monitors and saboteurs who used a camcorder to record any illegal actions taken by the hunt. The Hunt hated him and despised the buzzing sound the machine made as it followed them from on high. The presence of the gyrocopter meant the Hunt couldn't deliberately set their hounds onto a fox trail, they were confined to Drag hunting when the hounds seek and pursue a pre-laid scent to a designated end-point, no killing involved. Despite its proximity to 'live animal' hunting, it is typically considered by the hunting fraternity to be inferior to the 'real thing' and they frequently flout the law when they think no-ones looking.
Trevor Morse, 48, hated saboteurs in general and Griffiths in particular and he made plans with other hunt supporters to confront him.
They got their chance one Saturday in early March 2010 when out hunting they saw the gyrocopter descend toward an old airfield to refuel.
Morse and another female supporter sped to the airfield at Long Marsdon, eager to get to Griffiths before he took off again. Now, Griffiths reports being shot at three times whilst in the air by hunt support, including once that very morning, and he knew how violent the hunt could be when crossed.
"My anxiety was through the roof" stated Griffiths, as he saw Morse speed right up to the nose of the gyrocopter as the rotors were running and Griffith was taxiing to take off.
Morse jumped out of his 4X4 and stood right in front of the advancing gyrocopter, refusing to move.
A witness to the whole affair stated in Court that he thought it was a drugs gang fighting over money, such was Morse's belligerence. Even the woman who accompanied Morse in his vehicle stated he had "acted uncompromisingly" by squaring up to the gyrocopter as the terrified pilot sought to ascend - "He just stood there, he just stood there" she sobbed to the Jury. A fuel technician on duty that day shouted to Morse "you are obstructing him from taking off, you have no right to do that".
Seconds later, the gyrocopter rear blades sliced into Morse's skull, cleaving it "from top to bottom". He was killed instantly. It was all caught on video, and the fuel technician can be heard adding "Oh dear the twat didn't stand clear of it".
Griffiths was initially charged with murder but this was downgraded to manslaughter before trial. He was acquitted a year later by a jury trial.
Two saboteurs have been killed while sabbing - see "know more heroes" page for their stories.
"Oh dear, the twat didn't stand clear of it."witness to the decapitation of Trevor Morse
don't forget your Owl!
Bryan Griffiths Trevor Morse
Police at the scene
how to get aHead in sabotaging
BRAWL OF THE WILD
A rush and a push and the land is ours....Saboteurs 'debate' with the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, Sussex, UK, circa 1996.image from Squall#12,p.27,photo by Andrew Testa
left - issue no. 4 of the Class War movement, 1984, subtle as ever. Class War regularly cited the hunt sabs and the ALF as sources of inspiration. At their height in the mid 1980's , their rabble rousing tabloid sold many thousands each issue and was characterised by their endorsement of violence against hunters, police and fascists.
Insurrectionary Anarchists were drawn to hunt sabotage not least because it provided an opportunity to have an organised go at the social elite. Unlike toppling the State, sabotaging a foxhunt was a more achievable goal and pissed off the rich and their protectors no end. Plus a fox gets to live another day and its a chance to get out in the countryside. What's not to like?
Indeed, the anarchist Left were the only ones who seemed genuinely interested in the animal rights movement at this time.
A SABOTEURS STORY
My first engagement with the anti-blood sports movement was in the mid 1980’s. The Irish Council Against Blood sports asked me to paint a large banners stating “only rotter's kill otters” to hang on their float in the upcoming St. Patricks day parade. I duly obliged.
ICABS also organized protests at Clonmel Coursing track at its annual Coursing championships and had shown some muscle when they blocked the entrance to the Clubs car park in 1987. The Police had to arrest them to protect them from the angry mob of Coursers who wanted to tear the activists apart. This made the RTE news that evening and inspired me and fellow punks to join the following years march. We were keen to repeat the previous years action but ICABS made it clear this would not be happening. Once was enough. They had stuck their heads above the parapet and were terrified at what they saw. So we all stood on one side of a road and waved banners and shouted slogans at jeering, triumphant blood sports enthusiasts as they made their way unhindered to the stadium. It was all very tokenistic and submissive. ICABS were the only game in town when it came to campaigning against blood sports but were hobbled by their intrinsic conservativism. At a later ICABS meeting I suggested hunt sabotage as a way to shift the dial on the debate to the local branch organizer. He was an approachable fellow but also a Fine Gael Councillor.
He rejected the idea as too controversial for the public to accept. No longer happy to work with a group we considered ineffective, us punks left and did what we did best – form punk bands and play to our friends in tiny venues. We sung the praises of direct action and anarchy, looking to Britain for inspiration and lamenting our societies indifference to animal suffering.
In 1993 I was living in Edinburgh. Hunt saboteurs were active in the city, part of the wider anarcho punk milieu, and I joined in. My first hunt sabotage was outside Edinburgh and it was all very confusing. The idea is to gain control of the hounds and direct them to areas already covered by the hunt. This is done by using horn calls and voice calls, imitating the Master of Foxhounds. When performed by an experienced saboteur, the effects are immediate – the pack of hounds will at the very least become confused and stop in their tracks, or they will follow the saboteurs calls and retreat over a field they have just gone over, following the sound of the saboteurs calls. Blowing a coherent sound through a hunting bugle is quite hard and takes practice.
A much easier way to command the hound’s attention is to play a tape through a megaphone of the hounds “on cry' . We used tapes because it was the 1990’s. The sound of hounds on cry is the excited yelp they bark out en masse when they’ve discovered the scent of a fox. Dogs reflexively react to this sound and come running when they hear it. This is remarkably effective and perfectly sabotages the hunting process. The dogs must be gathered back together again, and this takes time. Time not spent hunting.
The other main tactic in the sabotage handbook was to arrive at the hunting area really early in the morning, before the hunt arrive, and pre-spray woods and copses' with citronella-laced water to smother the scent of foxes.
Being new on the scene, I was content to largely watch and observe. The hunt would disappear into a woods, we would follow them, they’d move off at a gallop as soon as we arrived, and so on. Police were about in a couple of cars but didn’t wish to get wet and muddy so left us and the hunt to it. I don’t recall them catching a fox and I was impressed by the persistency of the saboteurs – our presence kept the hunt moving quickly through the area as they sought to stay ahead of us. Simply showing up was enough to alter the course of the days hunt.
A few months later, I decided to hitch south with a fellow sab to Newcastle in England for a week-long sabotage of the annual Northumberland Beagling Festival, a week-lng get-together for Hare killers nationwide.
Open hare coursing differs from Park hare coursing in that it takes place over an area of land rather than within an enclosed course as typically happens in Ireland. Its similar to a foxhunt but the hunters are all on foot and their quarry is a hare. The Northumberland Beagling Festival had been receiving attention from Saboteurs every year for the previous 6 years and was beginning to crack under the strain of it all. The number of days spent Coursing, and the frequency of each days Coursing races, was reducing each year and this year was to be their last.
WE arrived in Newcastle after an easy hitch down and called round to the address I had been given by saboteurs in Edinburgh. A Mohican’d punk answered the door and let us in. The house was occupied by a group of 5 punks, all experienced in the art of hunt sabotage. Friendly and welcoming, we were invited to sit down and make ourselves comfortable. I was determined to learn what I could about sabbing an open hare coursing event and began asking questions. “There won’t be much tactical sabotage over the next week” explained one of the punks. “Our main strategy is to increase the cost of the security requirements for the hunters, by maintaining a presence and making an occasional foray toward where the hunt is operating. We never get far because they employ dozens of squaddies and local heavies to stop us from getting near the hunt. This protects them in the short term but at great expense. We sabotage this event by financially draining them. This year we estimate they are spending $11 k a day for security. That’s $55 k over the week. The Coursers and their hired thugs are violent and the police usually hostile too, but we know we’re having an effect. This is a nationwide call out so there will be dozens of saboteurs out most days. It’s gonna be fun.”
The next day it began. We let Newcastle in the early morning. In a convoy of vehicles about ten strong, we drove to where the hare coursers were meeting. It was the deep countryside, a network of fields separated by thick lines of trees, narrow country lanes criss-crossing the land. We formed up in a large group and eyed up the security – 100 or men, some of whom were squaddies from a nearby garrison. Our tactics varied. Initially we split into small groups and wandered around the area seeking weaknesses in the security that circled an area of land as the hunt moved through it. Every so often we’d mob up and walk in a long line straight toward an equally long line of security. When the two lines met it was a game of bulldog as we tried to run around or run through the mess of people. We never made it through but that wasn’t the point – sustaining the need for expensive security was the point.
And on it went, 6 hours a day for 4 days. Injuries were sustained on both sides; some arrests were made and the hunt was not interfered with. One day a carload of American tourists stopped by to see what was happening – their quiet spin around the gentle countryside had suddenly erupted into a scene of chaos. Dozens of crusties and punks were slugging it out with paramilitary looking security as police violently arrested saboteurs, as a pack of hounds howled in the distance.” What’s going on here buddy?” the driver enquired of me. “It’s about hares “I replied and trotted on to join the fray.
Buckling under the pressure from saboteurs, the Northumberland Beagling Festival has never occured since, being literally sabbed out of existence.
"The trouble is that we are seen by some of
these people as a set of murdering bastards"
Rupert Gibson, organiser of the Northumberland Beagling Festival, The Northern echo, 1992
Later that year I moved to Galway, Irelands bohemian capital.
Soon after I attended a public meeting by ICABS.A good chance to meet others who might be interested in sabbing, I thought.
The meeting was well attended, maybe 40 or so. During the Q&A at the end, I asked if ICABS would consider hunt sabotage as a tactic. A firm “NO “was the reply, followed by a denouncement of the HSA as a hooligan organization, setting the movement back years. I defended the saboteurs, explaining I had recently experience of sabbing in the UK and could affirm that it is the hunt and their followers who are typically guilty of violence against sabs. “And if anyone here is interested in taking effective direct action against the local hunt, join me in the bar after this meeting for a chat.”
I then left the room. I settled in for a few pints and when the meeting ended, two women from the cities Animal Rights group took me up on the offer.
Their local campaign was small but persistent. They had an information stall every Saturday in the city centre and held the occasional demo when a circus was in town. They were both interested in hunt sabbing but had no experience of it.
I immediately got involved in the group. We were informally affiliated with the Dublin-based Alliance for Animal Rights (AFAR) and received leaflets and posters from them, along with literature from London Greenpeace and Animal Aid.
In 1994, there was a weekend conference on the art and science of hunt sabotage, hosted by “Dynamite” Dave Nelson and others from the Belfast Hunt Saboteurs. Dave had only recently been released from a 3-and-a-half-year prison sentence for bombing hunters’ vehicles and was now an above-ground anti-hunt activist, keen to spread the tactic around the Country.
100 or so people attended and learned how to effectively disrupt fox hunts using horn and voice calls and false scents. We also learned how to handle hostile Police and hunt aggression – both guaranteed to be encountered. A relatively new weapon – the gizmo – was also introduced. The gizmo was simply a tape recording of a pack of hounds on cry – yelping excitedly – played through a hand -held speaker. This was a very effective way of grabbing and commanding the attention of the actual pack of hounds at a hunt. Assuming a fox has been sighted, the hounds come running to the source of the sound only to find a dreadlocked crusty holding a gizmo. This device negated the need to have a practiced horn-blower in the ranks. Proper horn blowing is quite hard to master. Anyone could operate a gizmo.
Dublin activists had already gained hunt sabotage experience by going to Belfast on weekends and sabbing there with the local Belfast group.
Our Galway group would now do the same with the Dublin group, then strike out on our own when ready.
So a few weeks after the conference, a few of us travelled again to Dublin. A foot-based mink hunt pack were selected for attention and a few dozen of us travelled out of the city to put the lessons into practice. Because they weren’t on horseback, they were easy to follow and keep up with. We had not announced our visit and the hunters were unsure of who we were so initially presumed we were supporters. When we pulled out the gizmo and took control of the hounds, they quickly realized our intentions. They were caught on the hop and we so confused and misdirected the days hunting that they packed up a after a few hours and left. No aggression, no shouted threats, just a quick, bemused and wordless withdrawal.
WE now turned our attention to our own back yard in Galway, mainly the Galway Blazers foxhunt.
In late 1994, fellow sabs from Dublin joined the nascent Galway Hunt Saboteurs on our first foray against the Blazers.
The Galway saboteurs were made up of the local animal rights group, crusties from a nearby “new age traveller” site and associated friends. Including our Dublin comrades, we numbered about 15. Some of the Crusties had previous experience of sabbing in the UK but most of us were inexperienced.
As we slowly drove into the meet up village (Ardrahan) in a small convoy of vehicles, the hunt knocked their whiskies and champagne back and trotted off before we had time to disembark and gather our forces.
Now, the Irish Master of Foxhounds Association publish a book in advance of the hunting season of the differing meet-up points for each hunt around the Country. A hunt likes to spread itself around a given area and each week has a different meet up point, typically a village with suitable hunting territory nearby. This almanac is readily available in most book stores and gave us time to plot our moves before each sab.
We had identified a high hill of rough land that was bang in the middle of the days likely hunting area.
We watched the hunt speed off, followed by quad bikes and cars with support in them, but rather than give chase we drove straight to the hill and observed the hunt begin to flush hounds through a copse of trees below us.
Out with the Gizmo and on with the tape. Through binoculars I saw the lead hounds sniffing ground before them as they sought a scent. Suddenly they stopped and their ears pricked up as they tuned into the recoded sounds of fellow beagle dogs on cry in the distance. The lead dogs turned and ran up the hill toward the sound, followed by a barking pack of 30 or so hounds.
When they got to the top and found us, they stopped and looked utterly confused. Some began sniffing frantically on the ground, others wandered aimlessly with heads high in the air.
Slowly the hounds disappeared back into the foliage seeking their masters.
The Hunt regathered their pack and pushed forward toward other woods when we turned on the Gizmo again. Hounds once more came running up the hill. Keeping a tight pack of hounds in a spearhead formation is vital to efficient hunting and we were tearing that formation apart with the Gizmo.
This kept happening. We repeated the trick a half dozen more times, undisturbed by the hunt or their thuggish support. We barely even saw them.
Dusk falls early in Irelands Autumn and the Hunt were packed up and gone by mid-afternoon.
WE were elated that our first hunt sabotage had gone so well. it was textbook sabbing – sabotage by stealth, 100% effective, zero violence.
A month later we were back, again with Dublin comrades to boost numbers.
This time their location didn’t give many clues as to which way they would head off so we decided to go straight to their meet and follow them on foot when they moved.
Arriving into the meet up village, the Blazers and their supporters initially thought we were either passing through our were also hunt support. When we climbed out of the vehicles, it slowly dawned on them we were the hated “Anti’s”.
Everyone milled about as the mounted hunters sipped from flutes of champagne and ss soon as they began setting off we followed them and managed to block the path ahead of them. Our mass of bodies scared the horses from going forward. With rising anger, the lead hunters rammed their horses into, only adding to the general air of confusion as sabs ducked to avoid riding crops and whips aimed at us.
Bear in mind the only people on the hunt who could actually hunt comprise of a half dozen or so riders, the rest – another twenty or more – simply follow along, “enjoying the chase” as it were. So, when they saw this violence unfolding, they didn’t know what to do. Most hung back, frozen in hesitation. Some, probably all, had heard of encounters between saboteurs and hunts all over the UK. Tales were told of massive fights erupting that sent many on both sides to the hospital. Now this was happening here, to their own hunt.
The Master of Foxhounds then lead his posse down a bridle path and away from the fracas. We followed on foot. Using their superior speed, they presumed they could put enough space between us and them.
The Gizmo was produced by one of the Dublin sabs and was immediately successful, bringing the hounds back toward us, yelping in expectation.
The hunt turned back and galloped into us, forcing us into hedgerows and fields on either side of the path. Some of the hunt followed us into the fields and bashed a few with their riding crops, causing nasty gashes on the heads and faces of some sabs. They were beside themselves at this point, unsure of what to do and reacting with extreme violence. Horses were being used as weapons, shoving and ramming into people. Our vehicles suffered light damage too.
With their height, weight and speed, the mounted horse is surely natures Sherman tank. A skilled rider with a whip or riding crop has every advantage over any enemy on foot, making the skull an easy target for striking.
The hunt then retreated en masse back to their meet-up point in the village and had a hurried discussion amongst themselves as we gathered together and nursed wounds.
WE watched with delight as they summoned their horse boxes and hound van, packed up and went home. Their impotent fury was visible in their faces as they drove past us, defeated and enraged.
Our third time was not so lucky…..
Early morning on the 19th of January 1995, we set off again for another days sabotage. True to form, Dublin sabs joined us, bulking our numbers up to about 20 people.
We made our way in a small convoy to the Galway Blazers meet-up point, a village in East Galway called Dunsandle, about a half-hour drive from the Galway city.
Our plan that day was thus – half of us, myself included, were to pursue the hunt on foot. The remainder would drive in two cars to points well ahead of the hunt and lay down citronella spray to cover up any fox scents.
I had borrowed a camcorder, hoping this might act as a deterrent against aggression and a means to record anything of worth that day.
The hunt soon moved off down a narrow lane.
Six of us followed behind, jogging to keep up.
After about 5 minutes we all ended up in a large filed and the hunt came to a sudden stop. Riders fanned out around the field and quickly formed a ring around us, blocking any way out.
A dozen or so huntsmen dismounted their horses and ran into us, whips and riding crops raining onto us. They made a concentrated attack on me as I had the camera. Before I got punched and kicked to the ground I managed to hurl the camera, recording all the time, to another saboteur. He was immediately set upon and had the camera taken from him.
Once they had the camera they withdrew and galloped off in pursuit of the other sabs who had fled the field.
I got up and ran back the way we had come. I was in my own at this point – people had scattered in all directions once the attack began and were now in various adjacent fields being chased by the hunt. Screaming and shouting were coming from all directions as they laid into saboteurs.
As I ran back up the path toward the Dunsandle, I noticed a police car parked at the end of the lane, watching me approach. I could hear and feel the sound of horses coming behind me at a pace, the ground shaking as they bore down on me.
When a bunch of hunt supporters ran past the police car and toward me , I knew I had to get off the lane, hedged in as it was by stone walls on both sides.
I hopped over the right hand side wall and straight into another confrontation – two hunt support were laying into Gary, a fellow sab. One had him by the hoodie as his mate was aiming punches to the back of his head.
I ran as fast as I could into the mass of bodies and began punching one attacker in the face as we all fell over in a writhing heap. Gary and me were up like a shot and ran toward the village and safety, we hoped.
We got to the village with its police car and its angry locals, who lined the street shouting abuse at us. The three cops in their car didn’t get out or make eye contact with us.
WE saw the other saboteurs at the far end of the small village and began walking down the middle of the main road toward them as the police car slowly followed behind .Hunt supporters emerged from the crowd and variously kicked and punched us , as the police idly watched on, until we reached our fellow sabs in their now battered cars.
They hadn’t fared any better – as they tried to drive out of the village at the start of the hunt they were stopped by a few dozen locals and supporters. They initially tried to roll the cars but couldn’t get the necessary momentum to turn them so settled on dancing the pogo on the car roofs instead. Some tried to punch their way through the car windows to take the stills camera one of the sabs had. Side view mirrors were broken off and panels were dented. The attack subsided when more police cars began arriving into the village.
If the crowd had thought they would have got away with lynching us they would have.
"If you enjoy seeing an animal terrified or in pain you are a cunt" Ricky Gervais, Comedian and vegan activist
above and right - letters from the Author to the Galway Advertiser.
contact the Association of Hunt Saboteurs here
The assault caused a stir in the local media and I tried bringing a prosecution against the Hunt. Despite the fact that it took place in front of three policemen and having written testimonies from a dozen people assaulted that day, The Director of Public Prosecutions decided there wasn't enough evidence to go forward.
The Gardai were stonewalling the investigation, refusing to comment or act on what they witnessed that day.
We couldn't afford any legal representation so couldn't do anything about it.
Hunt Sabotage against the Galway Blazers was put on hold following the violence. However, since 2019 the Blazers have been receiving attention from the Connacht Hunt Saboteurs who continue to use direct action in defence of wildlife. They also continue getting attacked by the Blazers, who still aren't being prosecuted for it. (see image below)
Indeed , hunt sabotage is now a part of the landscape in Ireland, with a group in each province actively saving wildlife with peaceful direct action throughout the year. Many saboteurs wisely use buttonhole camcorders to gather evidence and as a deterrent to the Hunt.
the Hunt are "totally arrogant...the only thing they listen to is people threatening to shoot their dogs..." - Co.Down farmer on the local fox hunting fraternity , Belfast Telegraph, Dec. 29, p.10,1993
Report and Iditor's Comment on Blazers violence, from Galway Advertiser 19/01/1995.
The tone and message of the commentary portrays what activists faced with the media. The commentary's narrative suggests both sides were equally violent and therefore that sort of cancels all the violence out. The truth is very different and the author of this commentary reveals himself to be a fawning status-quo warrior and all round ass-licker.
Listen to an interview with the author about this incident here on the Policed podcast, a podcast dealing with Irish peoples encounters with An Garda Siochana
" I have little doubt that I would wrest the man's gun from him and blast his soulless carcass to wretched oblivion" - author Brian Masters on trophy hunters, the Evening Press book reviews, Dublin,August 17, 1989.
"Horsewhipping a hunt saboteur is rather like beating a wife. They are both private matters.” Tim Asplin, Joint Master of the Essex Union Foxhunt, 1976.
(you can guess how this'll all end......)
" and if someone tries to whip me then I will fucking whip them back...." Conflict, 'Tough Shit Mickey' , From Protest to Resistance album 1984
RAGE FOR THE MACHINE - Here is pre-hospital Roderick Wilson(far left) standing with intent behind the Master of Foxhounds Vale of Aylesbury Foxhunt. The chap in the purple garb is a sab. We didn’t usually dress like this. The photo was taken on the day when we all dressed up in drag to emphasize Drag hunting as an alternative to fox hunting. More on this later.
In all my years sabotaging foxhunts, one other incident rivalled the ambush in Galway for sheer ferocity but this time the steel-toed boot was very much on the other foot.
Shortly after the ambush in Galway by the Blazers, I moved to Hertfordshire, just north of London and quickly got involved with the CHILTERN HUNT SABOTEURS, who had been sabbing the Vale of Aylesbury Fox Hunt for years. In fact the Vale of Aylesbury had borne the brunt of a lot of the first wave of militant direct action for animals in the early 1970’s. Ronnie Lee founder of the ALF, lived nearby in Luton, and was a frequent presence at their hunts. He developed the Band of Mercy tactics of vandalizing hunters vehicles on the Vale and nearby hunts. When the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt sent in the heavies to teach the sabs a lesson , Lee spearheaded the violent counter-reaction to their violence and eventually the Hunt and their thugs backed off , leading to an uneasy peace between the two groups, allowing the sabs to continue sabbing with less fear of attack. The Vale had been getting sabbed for about 25 years by the time I joined in , and by this point usually kept to a policy of no-communication with sabs.
Despite this largely peaceful co-existence, there was one small group of terrier men who enjoyed driving about in their flash 4x4 seeking lone sabs to intimidate and attack. Led by a hardman called Roderick Wilson, a 39 year old gamekeeper. Their modus operandi was to speed up behind a lost lone sab or two, hop out, give them a kicking then speed off again, horn beeping. The hunt pretended to not know them and the police were not interested.
Word about Roderick and his merry men had gotten out to other sab groups in and around the greater London area, including the notoriously spikey Brixton hunt saboteurs.
So, Saturday morning on 21st March, 1998, when most other hunts on the country had packed up for the season, the Vale of Aylesbury foxhunt had a very unwelcome visit from sabs from across the south east region, all eager to remind the hunt that violence against saboteurs would be met with more violence. The local sab group (us) had not called for a regional hit but here it was, unfolding before our eyes. The Vale were the only hunt still going out this late in the season and were perhaps ,once again, due some heavy manners….
As more and more black clad sabs arrived at the hunt meet-up point in beaten-up ford transits with metal grills over the windshields and punk rock blaring, the local saboteurs sensed violence ahead and retreated from the area. The hunt must also have known this was not to be a typical day out. As they sipped from flutes of champagne, eyes darting nervously, around them milled dozens of menacing, aggressive balaclava’d anarchists spoiling for a fight, with more arriving by the minute. Soon they numbered a hundred or so.
Nevertheless, they decided to carry on with the days hunting, trusting the local constabulary would keep on top of things……
....and keep fucking off till you're somewhere else then fuck off till you've come back here then fuck off again and keep fucking off.......
you sir you there I say what what old fellow
M. Heseltine J. Bercow
Scuffles began almost immediately between hunt supporters and sabs but the real violence took place an hour into the hunting. Roderick, who was out on bail for assaulting a sab some months before, and his mates weren’t put off by the arrival of this new element and set off on a familiar little hunt of their own. As they meandered down the country lanes of the Buckinghamshire countryside they stumbled upon their quarry – three 'lost-looking', out of area sabs, peering at a map.
The bait was set.
Speeding up to them, Roderick stopped the 4x4 with a jolt and he and his fellow thugs hopped out, iron bars in hand ready to teach these sabs a lesson they would never forget. As the sabs pleaded for restraint, Roderick moved in first, hitting a female saboteur over the head with an iron bar when suddenly everything went black- 40 fellow sabs had been waiting/lost in a nearby copse and suddenly emerged, rushing to help their comrades. Roderick was quickly disarmed and his weapon was used, with gusto, against him and his chums.
THE FULL "BRIAN MASTERS" TREATMENT
All three hunt thugs were quickly beaten to the ground and kept there with repeated hits to the head and body by their own weapons. Their vehicle was then smashed up – all windows broken, every panel dented and all tyres slashed. The saboteurs then left, leaving three jack-knifed bodies writhing in pain on the ground next to a devastated and deflated 4x4.
Try explaining that one to the AA.
FACE-LIFT - Roderick was hospitalized for 3 months with broken nose and cheek bones, and images of his battered-sideways face was used as propaganda by the Countryside Alliance on their website for years after. His father died while he was laid up in hospital and Roderick was unable to attend the funeral.
As a result of the ambush, a commission including MP's Michael Heseltine, John Bercow (Speaker of the House of Commons) and local Police and Hunters was formed to investigate how the Police lost control that day and to prevent a repeat. Police arrested 18 saboteurs but all charges were dropped.
Roderick was rarely seen at a Vale of Aylesbury foxhunt again. When he did, he kept his distance and never offered trouble again.
Superintendent Paul Friday, Aylesbury Police area commander on said that police had been "managing a very fluid situation which involved hunt supporters and opposing demonstrators in many separate incidents." that day.
Check out a rare piece of film going behind the scenes of hunt sabotage with the Chiltern Hunt Saboteurs in 2003.
getfuckingbackyoucantstaybackyoufuckoffyouwantsome?youfuckingcants you slackjawed fucker dont tell me what to do you facking lackey fackin thatchers bootboy get back to hendo
THE MOB RULES - Quantity is a quality of its own - Brixton sabs in action circa early 1990's. Each sab group has its own approach to sabotage. Brixton's approach often was to swamp hunts with numbers and mass aggression was used to counter violence from the hunt fraternity. Led largely by anarchist squatters and anti-fascists militants, their mere presence was often enough to send the Hunt back to their kennels.
above - IN THEIR FACE - a Brixton Sab and policeman agree to differ.
'FUCK' THE POLICE
IN BED WITH THE ENEMY
above - LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!
ON THE BEAT - Friend and fellow saboteur Rod looks back at undercover cop 'Christine Green' as she helps us sabotage a Vale of Aylesbury hunt circa 1997.
above - SPECIAL DEMONStration Squad - spy cop 'Christine Green'.
SPIES LIKE US:
State infiltration of the movement
UNDERPLANTS - In 1995, spy cop 'Christine Green' infiltrated the West London Hunt Sabs group and spent the next five years gathering information on the Hunt sabotage movement. She regularly attended hunts, including the Vale of Aylesbury, and fully participated in their sabotage. In 1999 she participated in an Animal Liberation Front raid of a mink farm, helping release 6000 mink into the New Forest.
She 'disappeared ' in 2000 but re-emerged a few years later and hooked up/ went native with Tom Frampton , a well-known West London hunt saboteur. The two remain a couple, despite 'Christine' being exposed as a spy in 2017.
“...To those activists who I was closest to and who befriended me, opening their lives and homes to me…some of the best friends anyone could ever want, people who without hesitation put their liberty and sometimes their life on the line for me." 'Christine Green' apologising to those whom she spied upon https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/23/ex-police-spy-christine-green-berates-met-for-revealing-role-in-mink-release
GOONS OF BRIXTON - The Police had a revolving door of undercover cops spying on the Brixton Hunt Saboteurs from the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's. Their mission - to "Protest and Perv". Christine Green initially tried to infiltrate the group when Andy Coles left in 1995 but was given the cold shoulder as she was suspected of being a spy. Spy cop 'James Straven' infiltrated the group between 1997 and 2002.
Considering the saboteurs only activities were protecting wild animals from being mauled and defending themselves in the process , the UK State seem to have taken Brixton Hunt Saboteurs, and the movement generally, very seriously. Seemingly endless resources were pumped into monitoring, manipulating and policing these groups.
It was not uncommon to see police helicopters, mounted police, even riot police, defending Hunts from legal sabotage. New laws were drafted in to hinder saboteurs. Police regularly broke the law to protect their Masters, paying out hundreds of thousands of (tax payers) money in compensation claims to saboteurs for wrongful arrest. The Police enthusiastically spent millions trying to hold the saboteurs back and never asked the Hunting fraternity for a penny to help.
In complete contrast, since the 2004 UK ban on hunting with dogs, the same Police forces are nowhere in sight and do not care of the Hunt defy the ban, regardless of evidence presented to then by hunt monitors/saboteurs.
What a difference indifference can make.
Hunting is a perfect example of a nexus point of the Establishment, a place where the Ruling Order come together, protected by their happy helpers in the police and amongst the rural working class. Magistrates, Conservative politicians, Judges, top policemen and various captains of industry all meet on the field, eager for a days trophy hunting, a perfect reflection of their perceived dominance over society and nature.
The on-going enquiry into undercover policing (see here - http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/) has revealed a lot about the workings of the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit but two points stand out in particular - the only violence any of the almost 200 undercover agents report experiencing was when they themselves were attacked by uniformed colleagues who thought they were genuine protesters - at anti-National Front rallies, at environmental protests and animal rights demo's, many an officer has reported at the Enquiry of being beaten without reason by baton-wielding riot cops. None report being attacked by those they spied upon, even when their cover was blown.
TOP TIPS FOR POLICE SPIES
If your a police spy and your brother happens to be in a popular synth pop band, like , say The Communards, and he's writing a autobiography, be sure to remind him to not directly expose you as a spy by describing your job and looks in detail in his best selling book.
"My older brother, Andy, brought his own drama with him. He looked like he had just walked out of the woods, his hair long and shaggy, with a straggly beard, his ears rattling with piercings; but his disarray was not like mine, an outward sign of internal distress, but suffered in the line of duty. He had joined Special Branch and was undercover, living a double life, infiltrated into some sinister organisation while his wife and baby daughter made do with unpredictable visits."
(excerpt from 'Fathomless Riches' by R. Coles)
If this happens, and subsequent investigations quote people you spied upon describe you as a lecherous, boring creep who took advantage of vulnerable teenage women and you then get taken off the job because your shit at being a spy, there is always a home for you in the Conservative Party as a Councillor for, say, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
photos from top to bottom :
* Richard Coles on synth with The Communards, 1987
* 'Fathomless Riches", Richard Coles autobiography, released 2015.
* Andy Coles,AKA 'Andy Davey' undercover in 1991, Richards brother and spy cop in Brixton Hunt Saboteurs between 1990-1994.
* Andy Coles incognito as a Brixton hunt saboteur (with sleeveless jacket) attending a hunt with unwitting girlfriend 'Jessica'.
* Andy Coles as he is now, a Tory Councillor for Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire. He was an awful spy and is now an awful politician. STOP PRESS - COLES WAS DROPPED BY THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY AS THEIR 2022 COUNCIL CANDIDIATE.NO EXPLANATION HAS YET BEEN GIVEN BUT I THINK WE KNOW WHY. A PRESSURE GROUP HAD BEEN CAMPAIGNING FOR THIS VERY THING SO ALL CREDIT TO THEM.
"Sport" hunting is a sickness, a perversion and a danger and should be recognised as such.
People who get their 'amusement' from hunting and killing defenceless animals can only be suffering from a mental disorder.
In a world with boundless opportunities for amusement, its detestable that anyone would choose to get thrills from killing others who ask for nothing from life but the chance to remain alive"
007 James Bond AKA Roger Moore
HUNTING IS A SICKNESS
BONDS GOT THE REMEDY
Andy Coles - creepy crawly Tory
listen to an excellent interview with Frank from the Irish Hunt Saboteurs from back in 2019 - https://soundcloud.com/scumremover/episode-27-hunt-saboteurs-ireland
It's also worth noting that some of the most high-profile animal rights actions ever carried out were enabled and assisted by the Police themselves - A Debenhams store in Harrow was firebombed by undercover copper Bob Lambert in 1987. The firebomb, part of a broader campaign of action against the firm, caused hundreds of thousands in damages and Debenhams quickly stopped selling fur as a result. The 1993 Grand National at Aintree was sabotaged by activists who were driven to the stadium by copper Matt Rayner in his van (bookies lost $150 million in lost bets that day), Copper "Christine Green" helped liberate 6000 mink from a fur 'farm' in the New Forest in 1999. Hell, Bob Lambert even helped write the "What's wrong with McDonalds " leaflet that led to the infamous McLibel trial. And that's just the stuff we know about, there's probably loads more to come out...i don't know whether to laugh or cry, maybe ill do a bit of both. Against all he odds , the UK secret Police network makes the Stasi look like boy scouts.