South Dorset Hunt Boxing Day

South Dorset Hunt monitors are targeted yet again as 17 tyres are slashed on Boxing Day

A few days ago, Protect the Wild wrote about how a monitor from Weymouth Animal Rights (WAR) was beaten up with an iron bar and left for dead. He was monitoring the South Dorset Hunt at the time. And now hunt monitors and saboteurs have been targeted once again.

WAR woke up on Boxing Day morning to find that the tyres of both their Land Rovers had been slashed. At the same time, a North Dorset Hunt Saboteur also found that one of their vehicles’ tyres were slashed, too, while parked outside their home. But neither incident deterred the sabs, as other groups stepped in and provided them with new wheels.

Unbelievably, when the saboteurs arrived to monitor the hunt, they found that yet more people were being targeted. WAR wrote:

“We arrived at about 12pm to find a stranded couple in a car surrounded by the police Armed Response Team. This couple, who were totally unrelated to us, had just filmed the hunt leaving the meet and were instantly surrounded by masked up Knuckle Draggers, who subjected them to a terrifying ordeal in which all their tyres were slashed while they were still inside the vehicle. This had now transcended into a knife crime, and warranted the presence of the Armed Response Unit. Their footage is damning and these brave people now pursuing this with the police…”

In response to the slashed tyres incident, the British Hound Sports Association completely twisted the narrative, shifting the blame on the behaviour of activists. Quite what behaviour it was referring to, it didn’t say:

“We do not condone illegal activity by anybody and regularly remind hunt supporters not to allow themselves to be provoked by the behaviour of anti-hunt activists.”

Could it be the behaviour of the 77-year-old monitor who was left for dead? Or could it be the behaviour of the unsuspecting couple who were sitting in their car?

South Dorset Hunt Boxing Day

One of many struggling hunts

Boxing Day parades and meets are the biggest in the hunting calendar. For the hunting industry, it’s a PR exercise: an opportunity to convince the public that hunts are following a wholesome tradition. Sure enough, the Countryside Alliance (CA) said that the hunts bring people together who would “otherwise be isolated over the festive period”. The CA continued, saying that:

“Hunts play an important role in rural life, with Boxing Day meets offering the public a chance to watch hunts showcase their hounds, horses and trail hunting activities.”

The CA didn’t explain exactly how hunting foxes in silly outfits can possibly play such an “important role in rural life”.

And so, it is a big deal when a Boxing Day meet flops, as it is a gauge of how popular a hunt is. And sure enough, the South Dorset Hunt meet was a failure. WAR said that on this showpiece meet, the hunt only managed to muster up around 18 riders:

“it was just the same old ‘dribblers’, and maybe 1 or 2 new eager to please their ‘marster’ new knuckle draggers, wading through the slurry in the hope of seeing something ‘exciting’. The whole show was like one of those Christmas Crackers that promise everything but deliver nothing…job done.”
People who would have previously supported the South Dorset Hunt might be rethinking their allegiance. After all, who wants to be associated with a hunt that sees a 77-year-old hospitalised at its meet? Or which hassles hunt monitors’ workplaces and homes? And this latest episode, of masked up men surrounding a couple’s car and slashing their tyres, will do nothing for the hunt’s already-dubious reputation.

Support the hunt monitors and saboteurs

When the South Dorset Hunt saw the sabs on Boxing Day, the riders packed up pretty swiftly. The hunt staff were, likely, very surprised to see WAR – with its people on the ground and drone in the air – there at all. A number of local people joined the sabs to protest the Boxing Day meet, too, making a day of hunting impossible for the hunt. WAR said:

“A big shout out to all the locals that took to the hills and fields today. We have never seen so many walkers in Piddlehinton, and, we have been inundated with pictures and footage. If we saw you there today the hunt also saw you and just by your presence would have kept them looking over their shoulder. Thank you.”


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Featured image via Weymouth Animal Rights.