Hunt saboteurs in Devon have released video footage of a huntsman repeatedly screaming “get off my land” at them – but they claim they did nothing wrong.
The video was produced by the Devon County Hunt Saboteurs group and shared on their Facebook page.
In the footage, taken in the Riddlecombe area on Saturday, a horseback huntsman can be heard shouting “get off my land” 19 times.
The man, who at one point can be seen wielding a long whip, tells the protesters they are trespassing on private land.
But the saboteurs claimed they were on a public footpath and had accessed the land legally.
On their Facebook page the Devon County Hunt Saboteurs said: “At the meet, a local person greeted us and expressed her disgust at the presence of the hunt.
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“Further down the road, one of our foot teams was met by another local landowner who complained that after asking (the hunt) to move out of the way of the road, they had responded by hitting the top of his car with a whip.
“If you live in the Riddlecombe or Ashreigney area and are anti-hunt, we feel for you… But take strength from the fact that you are not alone in that area.
“If you want to help us by monitoring the hunt from your land, or would like other advice about how to keep them off your land, then please get in touch with us.”
The saboteurs said the day was “long and stressful” but had been “punctuated by moments of comedy”, referring to the huntsman who had shouted “get off my land”.
Watch the video above and below. WARNING: Some readers may be offended by some of the language
CLICK TO PLAYHUNTSMAN SCREAMS “GET OFF MY LAND” AT DEVON HUNT SABOTEURS
Devon Live has contacted the Eggesford Hunt for a comment.
The meeting of the Eggesford hunt is the latest in a long line of Devon hunts recently where saboteurs have clashed with huntsman.
On Boxing Day video emerged of a huntsman appearing to taunt protesters at a meet in Torrington.
On the same day footage of a fox apparently being ripped apart by hunt hounds was also circulated by the Devon County Hunt Saboteurs.
A pub on Dartmoor which hosted a New Year’s Day drag hunt event sparked outrage with a foul-mouthed response to critics.
Another New Year’s Day hunt saw protesters hit hunt vans with placards – while hunt supporters were filmed driving a quad bike into anti-hunt campaigners.
And earlier this month huntsman clash with protesters and saboteurs at a hunt which is alleged to have been hosted by Attorney General and Devon MP Geoffrey Cox.
What’s the law on fox hunting in the UK?
CLICK TO PLAYTHE LAW ON FOX HUNTING IN THE UK
Isn’t hunting illegal?
The ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales was implemented in the Hunting Act 2004.
What does the law say?
Under the HA 2004, a person will commit an offence if s/he hunts a wild mammal. Rats and rabbits are excluded from the remit of the legislation, and a hare may be hunted by any number of dogs if it has been shot.
All offences defined by HA 2004 are punishable by a fine of up to £5,000. Dogs, vehicles and equipment used in a hunting offence may be confiscated and, if deemed appropriate, destroyed.
What is meant by hunting?
A person will be deemed to be hunting if s/he engages or participates in the pursuit of a wild mammal and one or more dogs are employed in that pursuit – whether the dogs are employed by him/her or whether or not they are under his/her control is an issue which needs to be examined.
How do hunts still take place then?
Far from dying out, the process of hunting has prospered, with some 45,000 people regularly taking part and 250,000 turning out across the country for Boxing Day meets.
Officially these are “drag hunts”, where hounds follow a chemical trail laid across the countryside, or “trail hunts”, where the hunt’s path loops and overlaps to simulate unpredictable vulpine meanderings. Yet it would be wrong to say that hunting is now a bloodless sport, because some foxes are still pursued to their deaths.
How are foxes or other animals still killed during hunts?
If, during a drag or trail hunt, a hound picks up a nearby fox’s scent and they kill it, the huntsman can say they’re not breaking the law because the hounds were not told to.
One official exemption lets hunters use a full pack of dogs to “flush” the fox towards a bird of prey – so many hunts across the country now carry eagles or owls along with them.
Will I be liable under HA 2004 if I allow fox hunting to happen on my land?
If someone knowingly permits land which belongs to him/her to be entered or used for banned hunting purposes, they will be guilty of the offence of assisting hunting under HA 2004.
Has HA 2004 been a success in preventing fox hunting in the UK?
There have been over 430 successful prosecutions under HA 2004, but many campaigners, however, complain that the law is confusing and is aimed at prosecuting people, rather than in protecting animal rights.
But the figure may seem low, and lower still when you consider that the Countryside Alliance says that only 24 of those cases involved members of registered hunts.
Perhaps it’s no surprise: when the legislation came into force, senior police chiefs themselves warned that the ban would be unenforceable, and the CA warned then that the police had been “placed in an impossible situation”.
Hunting does continue throughout the UK within the parameters of the law; huntsmen often now shoot the foxes instead of allowing the dogs to kill them, which is not a criminal act under HA 2004.
What are the arguments FOR hunting?
The case that hunting with dogs is not ethically wrong usually includes some of these points:
- Being hunted by other animals is a natural part of the life of wild animals
- Hunting with dogs provides a very quick death – quicker and more painless than the death that many animals would otherwise get
- Animals are not left injured – they either escape or are killed
- Hunting is necessary to protect agriculture and the environment from animal pests or overpopulation
- Hunting is as humane, or more humane, than other methods of controlling wild animal populations
Non-moral arguments include these points:
- Hunting provides human employment
- Hunting preserves Britain’s cultural traditions
- Hunting provides sport and pleasure to many people
REPORT COURTESY OF DEVONLIVE.COM AND DEVON COUNTIES HUNT SABOTEURS.