Foxhunting is a crime, not an opinion.
Hunts have been given special privileges for so long and by so many. Local councils, MPs, police and other organisations have all been involved. Some of them (the National Trust, for instance, Nottingham and Cheshire Councils) have broken free of this custom, making decisions which have gone against the hunts. Others however, (Wiltshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire for example), just cannot see past the usual way of treating the hunts and, despite all the evidence to contrary, they still go along with the lie that is trail hunting.
There is also a customary way of treating hunt saboteurs and monitors (FWGs). Frontline Wildlife Guardians or FWGs – are usually seen as potentially violent disrupters of a “legal activity” and not as compassionate, dedicated individuals whose only motivation is to protect foxes. It is still all about the “balaclavas”. In the image above, the man wearing a balaclava is a terrier man from the Lamerton Hunt.
There are two sides to this debate – the hunts’ side and the anti-hunt side. Councils, MPs, police and other organisations who are still allowing hunts their customary priviledges MUST begin to listen to the other side.
This page is dedicated to showing them how.
The recent events in Wiltshire and the response from Wiltshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner have given us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what is going wrong and how it can be put right.
Phillip Wilkinson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire
On 19th February 2022, a number of Frontline Wildlife Guardians (FWGs) travelled to Wilsthire in order to follow the Avon Vale Hunt. They did this because the previous week, a member of this hunt had seriously injured a FWG, putting them in hospital with a brain bleed. A large number of officers from Wiltshire Police attended. The officers focused on the FWGs and did not pay any attention at all to the hunt, who were obviously hunting illegally. Here is the full report:
Afterwards, we, and some other members of the public, wrote to Phillip Wilkinson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire, to ask why this happened. Where was the police’s impartiality, we asked? Why look at the FWGs and not the hunt?
Here is the reply from the PCC:When I can see on social media that a large number of individuals intend to disrupt a legal activity and 30 to 40 turn up in black balaclavas in order to hide their identify, the reasonable assumption is that their intention is to disrupt public order and cause harm. My job and that of Wiltshire Police is ensure that the law is enforced impartially and that public safety and public order maintained. If that does not suit your political agenda is unfortunate but it is not my job or that of Wiltshire Police to pander to any agenda simply enforce the law impartially.
Mr Willkinson appears to believe that this is “impartial” policing. But if this really were “impartial policing” the police would have been looking at the hunt AS WELL AS the FWGs.
A few weeks later, Wiltshire police mounted another operation against anti-hunting groups. This was on March 12th 2022, when two sabs groups attended the closing meet of the Avon Vale Hunt. A Freedom of information request revealed that Wiltshire Police used these resources:
53 officers and 20 vehicles were used. We estimate the cost of this to be in excess of £15, 000. We have based this on previous answers to FOI’s relating to policing Boxing Day Meets in other areas.
Wiltshire residents have complained about the cost. In his replies, Mr Wilkinson has called the widely publicised conviction of Mark Hankinson “propaganda” and he has claimed to have attended two hunts covertly. He also referred to “prejudiced individuals” (presumably he means antis):
This peculiar claim has generated several Freedom of Information Requests – essentially because no one actually believes him.
And one more thing – here is a reply from Mr Wilkinson on his own FB page to someone who asked about policing illegal foxhunting:
We feel that Mr Wilkinson has over-simplified the issue, bringing it down to one thing only – BALACLAVAS. All we are asking is that he, and others like him, look at both sides, and not just one.
We have put together some training for him – and named it “BIAS AND BALACLAVAS”.
There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that hunts in Wiltshire are hunting illegally. Here is the latest investigation by the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT). Undercover cameras catch terriermen (who also often wear balaclavas) from the Vale of White Horse Hunt. It is crucial that the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire knows what is going on in his own county.
We are not the only ones wondering whether the PCC for Wiltshire is ignorant of the hunts law-breaking, or in fact, complicit. Here is a thorough explanation of the situation by Charlie Moores from Off the Leash