Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund #18: Teesside Anti Blood Sports

February 9, 2024
Charlie Moores

It was only a few weeks ago that we wrote about reaching a major milestone: 500 paid subscribers here on Substack. It’s quite something to be able to report now that the figure has jumped to just over 600! That’s incredibly motivating for us, because every single penny we raise from paid subs goes straight into our Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund – putting ‘eyes in the field’ and empowering people to protect British wildlife by providing groups with much-needed kit like radios, bodycams, trailcams and camcorders.

Your support means that the Equipment fund is having a real impact on the ground now, helping wildlife and helping some very brave people up and down the country. It’s direct action in the field that we can all be proud of.

Talking of ‘direct action’ we’ve recently been privileged to support a small group that work their proverbial socks off covering a part of the hunting world few of us probably know very much about – Teesside (yes, no matter what corner of England we peer into, someone will be out illegally chasing foxes as if the Hunting Act 2004 is just some vague rumour put about by ‘antis’ that can be safely ignored…).

Only, not so safely ignored as it turns out. Teesside Anti Blood Sports (TABS) contacted us asking if we could provide some radios and a camcorder to help them keep watch on a raft of hunts that operate in some really beautiful – and very hilly – terrain. Hunts like the Guisborough-based Cleveland, the Northallerton-based Bedale. and the Richmond-based Zetland. We were of course happy to oblige and sent a Panasonic HD180 and a pack of long-range radios their way – the 6th camcorder we’ve sent out recently incidentally (with two more being delivered to another monitor group as I write this!).

TABS tell us they will be putting the new kit to use immediately, both to better keep in touch in the hilly terrain they monitor and to collect evidence of illegal hunting – we’re guessing that the hunts will certainly be giving them plenty of opportunities for the latter!

Here’s what TABS sent us to post with a small selection of the images they’ve taken of hunts clearly not following trails and committing road traffic offences (and just look at those landscapes, such a shame local authorities allow them to be overrun with costumed lawbreakers on horseback…)

 

“Teesside Anti Blood Sports (TABS) are a small group who set up last season to cover hunts in the Teesside area that were barely being monitored – some not at all. The hunts we monitor most often are; Bedale Hunt, Zetland Hunt, and Hurworth Hunt. Bedale and Zetland are the largest hunts we do, and can turn out with 30 riders – even on some week day meets.

The Cleveland Hunt
The Bedale Hunt – what’s in the box, fellas, what’s in the box…?
The sheep botherers of the Bedale Hunt
Hounds from the Zetland Hunt – what are they looking for in there…?

 

The land here is vast and they have a lot of it to hunt on. Unfortunately most of the areas that the Bedale Hunt cover is a no-drone fly zone. We haven’t got a drone yet, but we hope to have one by next season to use on the other hunts we cover. We have also monitored many other hunts since we formed too; Cleveland Hunt, South Durham Hunt, Braes of Derwent Hunt, York North & West of Yore Hunt, and the Sinnington Hunt. We have mostly monitored as just a two or a 3 and often on foot.

 

No licence plate and carrying a passenger with no passenger seat – both traffic offences

 

We had no driver at all last season, apart from just four days out of the whole six months hunting season. For two days out of the week we were slogging it through and were just two people on foot trying to keep up with horses and hounds – often covering 17 miles and maybe more per hunt. We barely recovered from one hunt before we were out doing the next. We often had to park our car up in the nearest villages, then we would be out all day on foot into the dark. Eventually we built up a lot of stamina, but it was very challenging. What kept us going was our passion and determination.

 

Monitoring the Hurworth Hunt

 

Thankfully we have some more volunteers this season although they’re not consistently out, so we are still often out as just a foot team of three people. We had the relief of a driver for the most part of this season so far, although we don’t have a dedicated constant one and are still trying to recruit.

We would like to thank Protect the Wild for kindly helping us to help protect wildlife by providing us with essential equipment that we did not have the funding for; a much needed camcorder and radios.”

 

 


 

We’ve said it before and we will undoubtedly say it again: protecting wildlife is difficult, takes huge personal sacrifice, and can be dangerous. That’s why we set up our Equipment Fund in the first place – so we could all come together and show just how much we value groups like Teesside Anti Blood Sports and the now numerous other groups we’ve been privileged to support.

In just a few weeks we’re hoping to expand on that support with the launch of something we think of as Equipment Fund 2.0 – bigger, better, and even more effective.  As always we will keep our wonderful supporters in the loop and post all the details right here on Substack!

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