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Members of the Hunt Saboteurs Association make assault claims

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: April 04, 2013

  • The Essex Hunt pictured at a meeting

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PROTESTERS attempting to film a fox hunt claim they were attacked with sticks, kicked in the head, and had their camera equipment destroyed.

James Kapteanoc, 54, a veteran member of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, says he and two others were subjected to an attack on March 16 as they tried to film activities by members of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt.

"I was punched and beaten by three people who knocked me to the ground, while our cameraman was hit with a heavy metal handled cane from behind," claimed Mr Kapteanoc.

"He was in so much pain that he had to pass over the equipment but they started jumping on that person's hand to force its release.

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"The worst thing is that our camera is smashed, destroying all the evidence," added Mr Kapteanoc, who has been campaigning with the HSA for a decade.

The saboteurs claim that the initial attack occurred on a public footpath at Breton Heath, near Tiptree.

Mr Kapteanoc, a full-time carer, was left with bruises to his ribs and legs, he says.

The group also allege that just a short while later an attempt to intervene on a private estate as members dug out a badger sett, where a fox had sought refuge, led to further attacks.

"People tried to force the group off the land using spades and walking sticks as weapons," claimed Mr Kapteanoc.

"We're at the coal-face of those in opposition to the hunt by going out into the field. We're not afraid to intervene if an animal is in danger. But as a result of that we provoke a lot of hostility and that's the risk."

However, James Buckle, a senior master with the Essex and Suffolk Hunt, strongly denies that any of its members had anything to do with an assault.

"If this involved anybody associated with the hunt then I would be absolutely furious but I'm certain that is not the case," he told the Chronicle.

"I was told by the landowner on the day that things got quite heated and confrontational as the people filming refused to leave their land but this didn't involve people in our group.

"It is also completely out of the question that anyone was attempting to dig out a badger sett. If I was aware of that I would have reported it to the police myself," added Mr Buckle.

Police were called to the scene but as yet no action has been taken, although the HSA protesters say this is typical.

Lee Moon, a committee member of the HSA, said: "Faced with a clear breach of animal welfare law and numerous assaults to hunt saboteurs, Essex police responded by blaming the victims and ignoring crimes against wildlife. They seem to be acting in the time-honoured stance of turning a blind eye to hunt violence and animal cruelty."

A police spokesman said: "Police are investigating the circumstances around allegations of an assault at an organised hunt in Layer Breton.

"Officers had initially been called at 1.30pm on March 16 following reports that a man had been attacked.

"A 54-year-old man from Dalston in London was found to have suffered minor leg injuries after allegedly being assaulted by two men. Our investigations are continuing."

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  • wolfiesab  |  April 12 2013, 8:20PM

    nebhunting. You know nothing.

    |   -6
  • nebhunting  |  April 06 2013, 8:00PM

    So the sabs were completely innocent, that would be a first

  • L0ftyLady  |  April 05 2013, 9:09PM

    Of course if they had been hunting legally (i.e drag hunting) this violent attack would have been unnecessary - it is only an effort to cover up illegal wildlife torture and murder that makes them behave like thugs. They have no more respect for the animal lover sabs or hunt monitors than the animals they seek to kill.

    |   8
  • Kindanimal  |  April 05 2013, 1:39PM

    Attacks on peaceful anti hunt followers by pro hunt thugs is quite commonplace but unfortunately the police seem to be reluctant to do much about it in the majority of cases. It's not always easy to prove the assault because one of the aims of the thugs is to destroy the evidence by smashing their cameras. These violent thugs and hunt supporters also lie to the police regarding the behaviour of the anti hunters and spread outrageous and libellous stories about them on the internet. It's well past the time when the police started to sit up and take notice of what is really going on in the countryside regarding illegal behaviour by some hunts and their followers and the way anti hunting people are being regularly assaulted.

    |   13