In summary, Mr Wooler found the RSPCA to be fulfilling its role as animal protectors. The report highlighted the unique remit of the RSPCA as a successful prosecuting animal welfare organisation, whose prosecutions team "enjoys good standing before the courts for the effective manner in which its cases are presented." While it also stated that the RSPCA operates in an "unstructured and haphazard” environment, the report also asserted that the Society is not only making a huge contribution to animal welfare, it is also "fulfilling a very significant constitutional role" whose contribution in terms of expertise and resources is huge and "simply too valuable to be lost.”
Public support for the RSPCA was at an all-time high with people taking to Twitter and Face Book with unsolicited messages of encouragement. Below are just a few examples of the hundreds of unsolicited messages they received via Twitter and Facebook:
“Let’s not forget, if the hunts didn’t keep breaking the law there’d be no need to prosecute them! Well done @RSPCA_official”
“RSPCA I am so impressed with the recent campaigns and your brilliant work I am upping my donation!!! I am behind all recent decisions 100 PERCENT !!! Well done everyone !!!!”
“Completely and 100% support @RSPCA_official. #dontlikeitdontfollowme”
“I was absolutely disgusted to read such a biased, one-sided article. I hope they’re held to account for such misleading, damaging ‘journalism’. Well done to all of you for everything you do for animals.”
“@RSPCA_official : money spent prosecuting law breaking animal abusers is money well spent!”
“@MailOnline not printing comments in support of @RSPCA_official, hardly surprising from the biased, bitter journos on the daily fail!!”
“@RSPCA_official RSPCA will be fine – back-stabbing and smearing part of today’s sad society.”
This was last year, and for the first few months of 2015 the vitriol against the RSPCA seemed to die down. That is until the charity decided to prosecute the Cattistock hunt on film evidence provided by the IFAW. Unfortunately, the RSPCA decided to drop the case against the Dorset based Cattistock on the 18th of March 2015. The evidence upon which they built their case was supplied by IFAW, but with the Law being as it is at the present time, it was decided that the footage was not enough to secure a conviction.
Look at the footage here and decide for yourself - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcQucQhxcv8
Hunts caught out breaking the law claim accidental hunting and these claims are hard to disprove at times. Accidental hunting is a loophole in the hunting Act, inserted by the pro hunt MPs when the legislation was going through the Commons. It is a ploy often used today when hounds are observed chasing foxes. Of course the Countryside Alliance is full of self-righteous indignation, with their campaigns manager accusing the RSPCA of a vendetta against law abiding hunts.
Penny Little, the POWA monitor whose footage helped convict the Heythrop, described the situation as a complete and utter scandal. She went on to say that if the RSPCA is bullied in to not taking on hunting prosecutions it is tantamount to state-approved anarchy in the countryside.
The RSPCA’s chief legal officer spoke of the society having to have ‘proportionality’, and agreed that the expense of prosecuting hunts and huntsmen for breaking the ban on hunting meant money wouldn’t be spent stopping cruelty to pets.
The state of play at the moment is far from satisfactory. It is common knowledge that many hunts ride out every week with the express intention of hunting foxes in contravention of the law. The CPS and the police are less than enthusiastic and the animal charities against blood sports have their hands tied up the accidental hunting and research clauses in the Act. It seems clear however, that as long as hunters continue to train their dogs on fox scent, those dogs are going to chase and kill foxes if they are given the opportunity.
Perhaps with a change of government in 2015, we can lobby to have the Act strengthened. It would be a good idea to remove the accidental hunting clause and stop the hunts using fox scent to train the dogs. The offence of hunting a wild mammal with a pack of dogs should carry a jail term and perhaps hunters riding out with a pack of killer dogs could be charged with going equipped to break the law.
They often arrive with abscess on their feet if they are kept in cages with wire floors. Their suffering is ignored or inadequately treated. Undercover Investigators have observed dogs circling frantically in their small cages and pacing ceaselessly back and forth, oblivious to anything around them. It’s their only way of coping with despair.
Puppy mills are well-known in the pet industry and some unscrupulous pet shops are happy to accept the puppies without questions asked. There are also many adverts online offering puppies for sale and it is almost certain that these poor animals will have come from puppy mills.
Marc Abraham, a TV vet is fighting hard against puppy farming, as is the Kennel Club and many other animal charities. Marc said there was an "over production of dogs" in the UK, with battery farming of puppies while rescue dogs were put to sleep every day.
Marc is right, with millions of unwanted dogs and cats (including purebreds) dying every year in animal shelters, there is simply no reason for animals to be bred and sold for the pet-shop trade.
Without these stores, the financial incentive for puppy mills would disappear, and the suffering of these dogs would end.
At one time, dogs in the hundreds of thousands were brought from Thailand without food or water to be sold on the black market in Vietnam. The Soi Dog Foundation has worked tirelessly with the Thai government to end such practices but it hasn’t dented the supply or the demand for dog meat in Vietnam. Criminal gangs run the trade and they simply find dogs elsewhere.
In Hanoi, two dog thieves were interviewed by Nelufar, they told her quite openly that they often steal dogs if they can’t find enough strays. One boasted he had been collecting dogs for seven years and in that time he had stolen around 3000 animals. The authorities don’t care so the thieves have little to fear from the police.
However, rough justice is sometimes served by the dog owners who have organised themselves in their villages into vigilante groups. If they catch the thieves they will be beaten and have their legs broken. Sometimes they will be killed.
Meanwhile in China, the Yulin dog eating festival is drawing great condemnation from animal activists. It is estimated that to celebrate the summer solstice 10,000 dogs are slaughtered every year. The festival is attended by Chinese and tourists who consume tonnes of barbecued, stir fried and boiled dogs swallowed down with grain alcohol.
Last year social media campaigns and a small determined band of animal rights activists made certain that the horrors of the Yulin festival were made known around the world. The condemnation was such that local government banned its employees from openly eating dog meat and it was reported that dog meat sales were down by one third.
Feelings were running high and clashes between vendors and activists led to one horrific scene of a dog being suspended in a noose and threats of torture and hanging if the protesters refused to pay a ransom for its life. In another incident a fight broke out between activist and diners.
Buddhists gathered from across China in protest and walked through Dongkou city’s dog meat market performing religious rites to "console the souls of the slaughtered dogs".
The Chinese locals condemn the interference, they say eating dogs at the solstice is traditional and confers health benefits which keep them healthy through the winter months. Some of those who keep to the tradition held their festival early to avoid the protesters.
Animal Asia’s CEO, Jill Robinson, said "It's an industry characterised by criminality, cruelty and poor hygiene. Dogs are stolen from their homes – increasingly by being darted and drugged in the street. Poisons that will find their way into the meals of the festival-goers."
Many Chinese people, especially the middle classes, are now keeping dogs as pets and many celebrities are protesting at the way dogs are treated at the festival.
The Actor Yan Mi wrote to her 35 million followers saying "Dogs are more loyal to people than I'd imagined – I think of dogs as friends, not meat,"
Her statement prompted 75,000 comments, most of which were in support of her message, and thanking her for speaking out.
What can be done, the Vietnamese government don’t ask questions and the diners don’t question where the meat comes from. Unspeakable cruelty is inflicted on helpless dogs for huge profit margins and the black market in animal suffering is thriving. The only hope for the dogs is that public pressure is so great that the Vietnamese government cannot ignore or pretend they don’t know what is happening.
Similarly in China, activism alone will not stop the barbaric tradition of eating dogs at Yulin. Public pressure and perhaps education is the way forward. Traditions that cause suffering for others have no place in our modern world. If China wishes to be seen as a country of culture and fashion, the Chinese government must introduce legislation to outlaw animal cruelty like the Yulin dog eating festival.
Soi Dog Foundation
An ambulance was immediately called but this was held up by the hunt supporters blocking the road. The woman’s injuries were so severe that she was air lifted to hospital where it was found she had seven broken ribs, a torn lung and an injured shoulder. She remained in hospital for two weeks and almost six months later she is still recovering.
The hunter responsible was arrested for causing grievous bodily harm but now, six months later, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to take the case. Apparently the video, and the other information handed over by the saboteurs, was not sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. A spokesman for the saboteurs said that the same hunter was also charged with another assault whilst on bail for this attack. He allegedly broke a fellow hunter’s nose at their hunt ball.
Watch the video here, and draw your own conclusions - http://vimeo.com/118537772
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "We are disappointed, but not surprised, that no charges have been brought against the hunter. Historically the police and criminal justice system have allowed acts of violence on hunt saboteurs to go unpunished, whilst the saboteurs themselves are prosecuted seemingly at the whim of the hunts.”
Lee went on to say, “Two hunt saboteurs, Mike Hill and Tom Worby, have been killed by hunts, and another, Steve Christmas, was seriously injured and spent months in hospital. None of these cases ever came to trial. Hunt saboteurs are routinely arrested and charged with a variety of offenses where no evidence is available other than the word of pro-hunters.”
The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hunt again. This time on Saturday the 7th February 2015, the Dorset Hunt saboteurs attended a meet at Sherborne Castle, the home of Lord Digby. From the start of the day the saboteurs said they were harassed by a large group of masked hunt supporters, who stole a hunting horn, broke expensive equipment, man-handled them and threatened them with further violence. As the day wore on the size of this group of thugs increased and their violent behaviour escalated accordingly. A spokesperson for the saboteurs told the Morning Star People’s Daily, that the violent gang used quad bikes to block in the saboteur’s Land Rover. They also smashed three of the Rover’s windows, also the headlights and then they attempted to throttle the driver. They had even prepared a homemade stinger, which they put under the land Rover’s wheels in an attempt to puncture the tyres. They also tried to stop the sabs from walking on public footpaths.
A police helicopter was employed in an attempt to find the culprits and apparently the Dorset police are investigating but the investigating officer was not available for comment when contacted by the Star.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association says attacks are not uncommon. Monitors and saboteurs up and down the country are frequently harassed and abused by masked and unmasked hunt thugs and their supporter’s.
These hunting Mafioso are emboldened by the fact that very few are caught and even less are prosecuted. They often cover their faces in order to mete out violence without being recognised. They act like feral packs of half wild dogs rampaging against those who are trying to protect UK wildlife from hunting abuse. The threats and the violence doesn’t always stop in the field. Saboteurs and their families and even their pets often face reprisals if they are recognised. Sometimes dead animals are left as warnings on their cars or outside of their homes. Many saboteurs cover their faces for this reason to prevent reprisals from the hunt bully boys.
Oddly, the Countryside Alliance has failed to condemn or reprimand these people. In fact, Tim Bonner, the Countryside Alliance Campaigns Manager, has called for the police to use powers to unmask the saboteurs. He even supports a Face Book page with a petition set up specifically to this end. No mention is made of the vicious thugs who cover their faces in order to create mayhem and grievous bodily harm to peaceable people whose only crime is to care about animals.
Many pro hunt commentators have said how pleased they are that a young woman was so seriously injured. There has been little remorse shown anywhere in the pro hunting press publications. We could be forgiven for thinking that the hunting fraternity and their familiars have the police and CPS onside. They certainly seem to believe they are totally above the law. Ironic really that the 18th of this month is the tenth anniversary of the hunting Act, you would have thought by now this minority group would have had time to get over their lust for violence and killing harmless animals.
If anyone feels like registering their disgust at the decision of the CPS not to prosecute the hunter who seriously injured a female sab, the contact details are:
Attorney General; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Attorney General can also be reached via twitter @AGO_UK
The attacks on innocent people whose only motivation is to save animal lives raises important questions about the demeanour and the motivation of the pro hunt thugs who regularly take the law into their own hands. Hunt saboteurs go out to save animal lives in the field. They are a brave group of men and women from all walks of life, who put their own safety on the line to save the lives of foxes, deer and hares. They work by spraying scent (usually citronella) to confuse the hounds and they employ voice and horn calls in an effort to call the dogs away from where it is thought a terrified fox may be hiding. They are not fighters, nor are they out to cause trouble.
When a fight breaks out it is usually because the hunters have called in their bully boys to deflect from illegal hunting which is wide spread across the UK. Often the riders use their horses as weapons, forcing the sabs on foot to run for their lives. Last year a young female sab was almost killed when she was ridden down and left lying where she fell. In spite of clear video footage of the incident, the CPS decided to drop the case citing insufficient evidence.
Pre ban the violence against the saboteurs still existed but as hunting wasn’t illegal then and hunts had nothing to hide it was more push/shove and verbal confrontations.
Today there is an organised anarchy to hunt heavies. Balaclava wearing hunt thugs turn up fully armed and ready and willing to cause grievous bodily harm. As the hunters all carry mobile phones and sometimes even radios, their brutish familiars are ever at their beck and call. At all cost the saboteurs must not be allowed to obtain footage of illegal hunting.
The Countryside Alliance cannot fail to be aware of what is happening, yet there is no condemnation of the hunters’ bullying tactics. In fact, what is happening is a closing of ranks whilst the mouthpieces for that organisation attempt to vilify and negate the monitors and saboteurs. The pro hunting press are only too willing to print scurrilous accusations of the supposedly unwashed, punk era sabs who, they say, only go out because they hate to see ‘Toffs’ having a good time. Of course this is nonsense, and with very little effort, anyone can do an Internet search on hunt havoc and see for themselves who are the real bully boys.
Animal bullies usually like hurting people too, and who better upon which to vent their aggression than a small group of ordinary men and women, some of whom are pensioners, who give up their free time to help the UK’s persecuted wildlife. The pro hunt lobby tries hard to label their opposition as terrorists whilst seeking to blacken the animal rights movement as a whole. A commentator for the Countryside Alliance even inferred that those against hunting don’t care about the animals, they are just looking for a fight.
With the hunting set it is black or white, and they truly believe they have a God given right to slaughter animals at will. Yet it’s hard to believe they are so blinkered as to not see the anomalies in their own propaganda. It is the hunts themselves who cause the mayhem, it is they who provoke and start fights. The foot followers and quad bike riders act as hunting’s private army.
This is the reality, this is what is happening out there in the British countryside today. The scurrilous attacks on social media are nothing short of libellous at times. People who are against hunting are regularly labelled paedophiles, fundamentalists, jobless scroungers, dirty thieves and even psychopaths. Face Book pages have been set up specifically to harass and intimidate. Whilst in the background the Countryside Alliance keeps up a steady stream of bilge with the sole intention of portraying the hunters as innocent victims of abuse and the sabs and monitors as the villains of the piece. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It would seem the BBC is not above a bit of pro hunting support either. The recent Country File programme was heavily biased in favour of the hunting chocolate box image. It was suggested in more than one quarter that the programme makers were warned about showing hunting as it really is if they wished for cooperation in making future programmes.
So, where does all this leave the issue of hunting with hounds? Ten years later and the fanatical animal killers are not going away any time soon. They try hard to make their sport wholesome but who honestly will believe that cornering a cowering, terrified fox and watching while it is torn to shreds is anything other than gross animal abuse. The sabs and monitors are in it for the long haul too and no matter what lies are told about them, or what physical and verbal intimidation they endure, they go out in their own time, using their own resources to save animals from callous, fanatical barbarians who are not above channelling their cruelty onto other humans too.
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Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting
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