Hunt Havoc
and Violence

It isn’t just wildlife and hounds who are victims of hunting.
Monitoring hunts can be a dangerous task, and people who oppose them are often risking their lives. Hunt saboteurs are prime targets for violent hunt thugs because it is their footage, as well as their eye witness accounts, which expose hunts for the criminals they are.

Hunt members and their supporters are notoriously violent, and there have been numerous incidents of hunt staff and field riders physically assaulting, harassing and verbally abusing saboteurs and monitors on the ground, as well as members of the public. Hunt saboteurs and monitors often find their tyres slashed, and are also subjected to racist and sexist abuse and harassment.

Mike Hill

When summarising how violent hunt staff can be, it is essential to look at the death of hunt saboteur Mike Hill. He was killed while out sabbing the Cheshire Beagles in February 1991, before the Hunting Act came into force. As the day of hunting was coming to a close, three hunt sabs, including Mike, jumped onto the back of the hunters’ pickup truck to try to prevent the hunt from heading to a different location. The truck was then driven off at high speed by kennel huntsman Allan Summersgill, resulting in Mike’s death. Remembering Mike thirty years after his death, the Hunt Saboteurs Association said:

It is thought that Mike jumped from the pickup as it slowed to take a bend but failed to clear the truck properly and was caught between the truck and the trailer, which crushed him. Mike died where he lay in the road.

Despite the thud, and the screams of the other sabs, Summersgill continued driving for a further mile. The truck only came to a halt when one of the sabs smashed the rear window of the cab. The sab was hit with a whip as he tried to stop the truck. Once it had stopped one sab ran back to Mikes’ prostrate body while the other ran to a nearby house to call for an ambulance. Summersgill drove off. He later handed himself in at a police station. No charges were brought against him and in a travesty of justice, a verdict of Accidental Death was brought at the inquest. Summersgill is still hunting hares.”


Mel Broughton

While analysing hunt violence since the Hunting Act came into force, it is important to mention the repeated targeting of hunt saboteur Mel Broughton. In September 2020 Broughton could have been killed when he was trampled by hunter Chris Mardles, who rode at Broughton on his horse. The hunt sab suffered from a collapsed lung, six broken ribs, a broken collar bone and a shattered shoulder blade, and had to be airlifted to hospital. Mardles was whipper-in for the Pytchley with Woodland Hunt at the time. One year after he was almost killed, Broughton suffered two more broken ribs when a Cottesmore Hunt steward assaulted him in September 2021. Broughton was targeted yet again in December 2021 by members of the Cottesmore after he was trying to check on an injured horse. One field rider used his horse as a weapon, forcing the animal into Broughton and making the hunt sab fall backwards.

More recently, Cottesmore huntsman Sam Jones was arrested after he trampled a different hunt saboteur with his horse on 11 February 2023. Footage shows Jones making a calculated decision to turn his horse around, gallop at a gate where sabs were positioned, jump over it and trample one person.


South Dorset Hunt

An obvious example of recent violence, harassment and intimidation towards monitors is the actions of the notorious South Dorset Hunt (SDH). SDH supporters have relentlessly targeted anyone who stands in their way.

– On 20 December 2022, SDH supporters attacked a monitor from Weymouth Animal Rights (WAR). The 77-year-old man was hospitalised after two men beat him round the head with a metal bar. He had been monitoring the hunt that day. A spokesperson for WAR said that:

His head pouring with blood. He had been jumped by two masked up men from behind who repeatedly beat him with a metal bar over his head and body. They also ripped off his body cam and stole it.”

WAR is certain that it was a premeditated attack and that the men would have left the monitor for dead.

– On 26 December 2022, those monitoring the SDH woke up to find tyres on their vehicles slashed.  On top of this, a couple who were unrelated to any hunt monitor or sab group were surrounded by masked up men as they sat in their vehicle.  The men slashed the couple’s tyres as they were trapped inside. In total, 17 tyres were slashed that day.

– On 12 January 2023, another independent monitor in his seventies was attacked by SDH supporters. They fired a ball bearing from a catapult at the man, hitting his jacket and badly bruising him. North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs said:

This monitor was wearing five layers of clothing including thick waterproofs! Be left in no doubt that if this had hit the monitor in the head this would have killed him.

– Also on 12 January 2023, SDH supporters threw two murdered foxes into a WAR saboteur’s garden. WAR said at the time:

“this is their attempt at intimidating our sabs to the point of not coming out any more. This will fail!”

– On 15 March 2023, SDH supporter Stewart Masters was found guilty after he deliberately ran down a hunt saboteur with his car in February 2022. He was convicted of careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.


Royal Artillery Hunt

The Royal Artillery Hunt (RAH), which murders foxes on MoD land, is another example of a hunt whose staff consistently lose their tempers and attack hunt saboteurs and monitors. Hunt members have managed to avoid court, but have been reprimanded by the police. Trail layer Georgina Price was given a caution on 3 February 2023 for threatening behaviour. Footage shows her riding at hunt sabs and intimidating them.

Meanwhile, huntsman Charles Carter was issued with a Community Resolution Order for damaging a monitor’s car in November 2022. Carter was also filmed running down two saboteurs with his car in December 2022. The video shows Carter deliberately turning his car around to drive into the sabs. One person can be seen laying on the ground as Carter drives away. The police took no action against him for this incident.


We need a proper ban on hunting

Of course, since the Hunting Act came into force, there have been hundreds more incidents of hunters being violent. Until England and Wales bans hunting for good, we will continue to see hunt saboteurs, monitors, and members of the public being targeted.

It could only be a matter of time before another person is killed.

We must end hunt havoc

Hunting of Mammals Bill

To end hunt havoc violence, we must end hunting

Week after week humans (and of course other animals) are left injured, traumatised and worse by the lawlessness and often deliberate violence of hunts and their supporters. Attacks seem to be tolerated that would lead to immediate arrest if they took place on a high street or place of work.

The violence must stop. The only way to prevent the injuries, trauma and deaths associated with hunt havoc is to end hunting altogether.

That’s why we’re launching a proper ban on hunting – the Hunting of Mammals Bill.

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