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Hunt saboteur knocked unconscious with iron bar as hunt season starts
31 October 2004

Yesterday (30 October) a group of hunt saboteurs were attacked by a gang of hunt supporters at the opening meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt and one was KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS WITH AN IRON BAR and ridden over by a huntsman.  6 received cuts to their eyes, lips and heads and others received bruising.  An ambulance was called for the saboteur, who was unconscious for several minutes.  He was checked over but did not want to attend hospital.

The incident occurred as the hunt appeared to be packing up at 3.15 p.m. following the meet at Lock Skinners Farm, Penshurst, Kent. The group of saboteurs were observing the hunt from a nearby field.  One witness described how a mounted hunt member shouted "come on then" and 2 vehicles raced across the field.  Men armed with lumps of timber, sticks and an iron bar jumped out and attacked the saboteurs, joined by riders with the hunt and terriermen.  The witness said "It was obviously planned".

One saboteur who recorded the attack was targeted and told how the huntsman, Mark Bycroft, shouted "Get him with the video camera" and rode over him. The camera, containing vital evidence of the attack,  was stolen.

Despite the seriousness of the attack and the fact that the stolen video camera would still have been in the area, police near the scene showed no interest.  The police had been warned at the start of the day that the hunt were notorious for their violence towards protestors.

Nathan Brown, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association said "This was a serious attack and we are very lucky not to be reporting another death. Hunt saboteurs are on the receiving end of the violent backlash and campaign of intimidation against a possible hunt ban.  This is the true face of the so-called respectable minority that the Countryside Alliance and their friends in the House of Lords are protecting. The Government should ensure that it does not appease these violent bullies and must use the Parliament Act to ban the animal cruelty that is hunting once and for all."

Notes for Editors: Photographs of injuries may become available.

1 November marks the official start of the fox hunting season.  Many hunts, including the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent (OSBWK), held their opening meets on Saturday.

The OSBWK hunt is renowned among sabs for the levels of violence dished out to saboteurs and is regarded as being prominent among the more extreme elements of the hunting fraternity.

Hunt saboteur Steve Christmas was almost killed at a meet of the hunt on 1 Sept 2000

2 hunt saboteurs, Mike Hill and Thom Worby, were killed whilst protesting at hunts.

Mark Bycroft (huntsman) and Graeme Worsley (hunt master) of the OSBWK hunt were fined and received penalty points after staging a pro-hunt stunt on the M25 in Dec 2002.  A motorway safety officer said in court that it "posed an extreme danger" to the public.

Bycroft has a history of violence and was found guilty of assault in 1991 after a saboteur was attacked.  Bycroft's father, John, admitted in a Guardian interview to "acting like the IRA" (31 Aug 2002).

Mark Bycroft hinted at the campaign of intimidation when he was quoted in Horse and Hound on 16 September 2004 as saying "Every MP against hunting is on the hit list.".

Further information: Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Officer, Nathan Brown 07815 313181
Past Press Releases and information about HSA: www.huntsabs.org.uk

Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Office www.huntsabs.org.uk

All press enquiries - Tel: 07815 313181
BM HSA
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Other enquiries 0845 4500727 (24hr ansaphone)

East Anglia Animal Rights Coalition
PO Box 487, Norwich,
Norfolk, NR5  8WE
Telephone 07788 404 074
Email eastangliaarc@hotmail.com

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