North West Hunt Saboteurs

North West Hunt Sabs Group News
September 2004-September 2005

Saturday August 13th 2005 was a typical summers day up 't north yes it was pouring down, bloody cold and blowing a gale, however, that did not stop sabs from Manchester, Liverpool, Reading, Derby, Leeds, Lancaster, Nottingham, Birmingham, Northampton, Edinburgh, Bristol and North and East London coming together to stop a grouse shoot.

Just gone 9am and sabs spotted some vehicles ready for a days shooting in the drive of a local gamekeeper. This gamekeeper was no ordinary gamekeeper as he worked for The Duke of Westminster on his Abbeystead estate just east of Lancaster.

Very shortly after finding the shoot vehicles the sabs arrived in their vehicles and parked either side of the driveway and waited for them to make a move. The local police were soon on the scene but did not show much interest and were happy just sitting in their cars and eating their butties (northern word for sandwiches).

Mid-afternoon the shoot decided enough was enough and called it a day and with the support of the police who very kindly blocked the road for them they sped off into the fog.

The next hour sabs spent driving round the local moors to see if anybody else was out shooting, however the good news is that they weren't.

Yet again another great days sabbing, not a shot fired and many lives saved.

Once again a big thanks to all the sabs who came and extra thanks to those who had a long journey and to the Duke of Westminster I'm sure we will meet again soon.

This is not the first time this shoot has been sabbed over the years they have been stopped many times.

(Click on thumbnail below to see larger image)

shoot vehicles sabs blocking road police
shoot sign

Our season stated way back in September 2004.. During this month, and also October, sabs from Manchester, Bolton and Liverpool attended the first few meets of The Holcombe Hunt and we even managed to stop one sorry excuse for a man from shooting wood pigeons. (see pic)

At the start of November we attended one of the shortest hunt meets ever of The Holcombe, the start time was noon and the hunt then packed up at 12.30 due to fog after taking the long walk up on to the top of West Pennines moors.

Following this farcical meet it was decided that perhaps too much sabbing expertise was being dedicated to the all too comical Holcombe Hunt, and that our wealth of sabbing experience could be divided and put to better use elsewhere. As such Manchester and Liverpool sabs switched their attentions to The High Peak Hunt, based near Bakewell in Derbyshire and Bolton sabs were left to handle the Holcombe on their own - a task they are versed in!

Our first sab on this hunt was attended by sabs from Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds and Derby and what a great day it was! During the day sabs managed to stop the hunt from killing at least six hares. Towards the end of this day the pack got onto a hare and chased it for approx ½ mile across the moors before sabs (thanks to great driving from the Derby group) managed to get to a point where we were between the hare and the chasing pack and text book sabbing was seen by all at the pack stopped dead at the line of sabs strung out across the field.

This was the last straw for the huntsman Nigel Cox, a man not renowned for keeping his cool when it comes to sabs - back in October 1985 was convicted of firearms offences and given a 3 year suspended prison sentence after he blew a hole in the radiator of an occupied sab minibus with a shotgun. He was also given a conditional discharge for assault after he had struck a sab with the gun and criminal damage to a camera. Back to present times, and our Nigel tried to ride into two sabs who were running down a public road to stop the pack of hounds from running all over it and being killed. (watch the videos to see what happened - video 1 (500 KB) and video 2 (600 KB)

The extent of the displeasure at sabs fantastic efforts that day was to immediately become apparent the following week. Sabs were in the attendance as the High Peak met just south of Buxton. Whilst sabs from Nottingham and Sheffield followed the hunt from the meet up the road, Manchester sabs were positioned ahead of them. Before the hunt even set foot off the road to begin hunting a member of the hunt staff decided to take issue with a sab on the road. The matter ended up with an ambulance being called for the sab in question, 5 stitches to a head wound, and one arrested hunter. (press release) Not a lot more can be said at this stage, as the matter is due to proceed to court later this year - more details to follow in Howl. A big 'ta very much' goes out to Nottingham and Sheffield sabs who stayed with the hunt all that day and had a great days sabbing with no kills. Clear proof, if it were needed, that physical attacks don't stop hunt sabs from doing what they do best - saving lives.

The week after that we returned to the High Peak, however, they did not hunt very well due to bad weather conditions so little sabbing was needed. Two weeks after the assault sabs from Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Leeds and Northampton returned to the High Peak to make the point that acts of violence against sabs can often mean a triple order of sabs, rather than making them disappear as maybe the hunt hoped :-) A good day was had as the hunt was simply on the run from field to field trying to keep away from the sabs who were split up in little groups, so where ever the hunt went sabs were waiting..

Into December and as bad weather had descended on the Derbyshire moors a cancellation at the High Peak meant sabs were able to make an unscheduled visit into Cheshire on an information gathering exercise, in readiness for the ban in February 2005.

The festive period was a huge success for us as the day after Boxing Day sabs from Manchester and Liverpool attended a meet of the lesser spotted Bleasdale Beagles at a meet just south of the Duke of Westminster's estate at Abbeystead, near Lancaster. The hunt lasted a total of 10 minutes before they called it a day and packed up. (see pics)

The following day it was off to a meet of the Forest and District Beagles on the very wet, cold and windy Wildboarclough near Macclesfield, Cheshire (see pics 195sm, 196sm and 197sm). Again this was another success for sabs who were all over this huge hill and even the hunt supporters knew it was going to be a bad day for the hunt, with many heading straight off back to the warmth of the meet. Much fun was had by sabs taking the piss out of the very experienced hunt staff, whose average hunting experience seemed to be around 5 minutes - judging by their success in rounding up the beagles!!! (see pics)

The weather over the festive period was also very much in our favour as all of the big mounted hunts in Cheshire and Lancashire did not hunt on December 27th due to the icy conditions.

On New Years Days sabs attended a very wet meet of The Holcombe Hunt near Chorley, and despite their best attempts to kill a hare for the big turnout of support, sabs from Bolton and Liverpool ensured it was a kill free day. Over the next two weeks sabs in the north west attended meets of the High Peak and Holcombe, and some excellent sabbing ensured that many hares lived to see another day.

On the last Saturday in January we paid a visit to our old friends the Cheshire Forest hunt who were holding a meet at their kennels just south of Knutsford. Sabs groups from all over the north had a very effective day stopping the hunt chasing three foxes. By the end of the day the huntsman blew his top at the police who were monitoring what went on, we don't think he won many friends that day. Also on this day one sab managed to get the Forest and District Beagles to turn tail at their planned meet and head back to the safety of their kennels. If only sabbing was always this easy

The first weekend in February saw sabs from Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds and Derby return to the High Peak in Derbyshire and, despite what was written in the hunting report in 'Dog and Donkey', had another excellent days sabbing. We even had time at the end of the day to sit and watch as the hunt spent nearly an hour trying to find the pack, which had seemingly dispersed to every corner of Derbyshire after the huntsman had lost control of them. It's not often you manage to get into a pub before the hunt packs up, but we did that day. It was going dark by the time the pack and huntsman was seen heading back to the meet.

The Final Week 12th-19th February 2005 or The End of an Era at Last

At last it had arrived, the last ever legal Saturday meet of hunting. We decided to split our group up, with sabs from Liverpool attending a meet of The Vale of Lune Harriers based near Lancaster, and sabs from Manchester and Bolton paying a visit to The Holcombe Hunt who were at Much Hoole, just south of Preston.

This weekend even the weather was on our side and due to waterlogged fields in North Lancashire the Vale of Lune had to cancel their meet. This left the Liverpool group with a long drive back down to help out with the Holcombe.

As we drove up to the Holcombe meet we expected to see more than the average number of support and riders, but due to the heavy rain and driving winds and freezing temperatures (yes its grim up North, we even get this in the summer!!!) there was no more than normal.

So off the hunt when to try and catch one of those pesky hares that cause so much damage and wreak havoc all over the countryside. It was not long before they got onto the scent of a hare, but as sabs were situated at various places around the fields they managed to stop the hounds and prevented a kill.

During the course of the morning the rain got heavier and the wind got stronger and the rain could be seen going horizontal to the land. But this did not stop the hunt from their bloodlust, and they continued on. Three times the hunt tried to catch a hare and three times sabs managed to stop the pack from killing them.

It was around 1.00pm when the Liverpool sabs arrived and straight away they were out into the fields helping save the lives of hunted animals.

Around 2pm the hunt decided to call it a day and head off back to the meet yet again the day had ended without a kill thanks to the skill and dedication of the local sabs. On arrival at the meet it dawned that at last this was what we had all hope for many years the end of hunting with dogs.

To make the end of this momentous era we decided to have a picture taken for prosperity (see pic). In this small group of sabs there must be over 100 years experience of sabbing and yes we are glad to see the end of it. No more 4am starts, no more running through fields up to your knees in mud, no more being soaked through to the skin with rain, no more being threatened, ridden at, driven at and no more being assaulted.

On the night of February 16th some kind person gave us the last ever meet of The Holcombe Hunt so we thought it would be rude not to pay them a visit. The meet was at Little Bispham, near Wigan.

Yet again sabs from Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool and a special guest from 'darn sarf' arrived at the meet, but this time there was a lot more support than usual and some were none to happy to see us. Yet again straight from the meet they got onto the scent but sabs were there again to save the hare.

We soon found out this was a joint meet with the North East Cheshire Draghounds (a sign of the future? see end of the article) Half way through the day the hunt managed to trample a hare to death by riding over it with a horse, so much for the hare/fox always has a chance to escape.

It was also apparent that a few of the riders were a little worse for ware because of alcohol, this was none more apparent when one rider was seen crashing through a wooden fence and then falling off, he then attempted to rebuild it but could hardly stand up. When sabs pointed out to him that his horse was limping badly he did not seem bothered and tried to mount up again, this took him several attempts and finally made it with the help of another rider. When he came passed sabs he slurred 'Its OK lads I'm a vet and my horse is alright'. Near the end of the day they made a couple more attempts to chase and kill a hare but as sabs were all over the fields they did not succeed in the last ever proper kill. So then it happened the last ever blow for home and a loud cheer could be heard inside ever sab who was there.

On midnight February 18th I myself spent that time with a glass a beer in my hand and yes a tear in my eye as at last after many, many years of campaigning and sabbing the time had come when hunting to coin a phrase 'until this cruel, barbaric and unnecessary torment of our wildlife is relegated to the history books hunt saboteurs will use non-violent direct action in the killing fields to save the lives of the hunted animal'. Wake up blood junkies the time has come.

sabsSo to the first Saturday of hunting being banned and the North West Hunt sabs (NWHSA) had members at the following hunts Cheshire Forest Foxhounds, Cheshire Foxhounds, High Peak Hunt, Pendel Forest and Craven Harriers, Blencathra Foxhounds and the triple meet of Meynell And South Foxhounds, Staffordshire Moorland Foxhounds and the Staffordshire Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire & Staffordshire Beagles and despite all the hot air that thousands of hunt supporters would break the law, they did their speeches, paraded their hounds and rode round a few fields then went home and NO kills were reported.

Since then members of the NWHSA have been to a few hunts in our area to check that they are keeping within the law and we will continue to do spot checks on hunts and record any unlawful activity using covert or overt surveillance. (For thick hunt supporters this means cameras)

The season closed with sabs checking on the post-ban activities of their local hunts, and to date it seems as if they are sticking to the right side of the law. Rest assured that we'll be out with them again next season to keep the pressure on, and even if they don't think we're out we have ways and means of always watching... You can run, but you can't hide!

One last thing three of our local hunts The Holcombe, Vale of Lune and Pendel Forest & Craven have stated they will now turn to drag hunting.

This page is dedicated to ALL the sabs who over the last 41 years have helped save the lives of 1000's of animals lives. It is also dedicated to the memory of Mike Hill, Tom Worby, Jill Phipps, Barry Horne and all those who have lost their live fighting for animal rights, gone but never forgotten. It is also dedicated to those who have sadly died before they could see their campaigning come to fruition.

Group news September 2005-March 2006

Grouse shoot sab 13th August 2005

Grouse shoot sab 14th August 2004

Group news September 2004-March 2005

Group news March 1995-January 2000

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