Yesterday, members of the Hunt Saboteurs disrupted two grouse shoots in Yorkshire, one on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and one inside the North York Moors National Park.
[Images from the Hunt Saboteurs facebook page]
Here is the write-up from the Hunt Saboteurs’ Facebook page:
North Cambs Hunt Sabs joined around 70 activists from around the country today to put a stop to grouse shooting in two moorland national parks.
First port of call was a large shoot spotted at Kexwith Moor, near Richmond. Sabs poured out of vehicles and crossed the heather covered moorland to the despair of the huge line of flag-waving beaters employed for today’s shoot.
When the sheer number of hunt sabs approaching over the hillside became apparent, the shoot rapidly packed up and retreated to the safety of the pub. Sab spotters keeping an eye on them confirmed that shooters didn’t attempt to go back out again that day.
Next on the list was a shoot spotted by another sab group at Bransdale Moor, north of Helmsley.
Sabs arrived in the area where a shoot was setting up nearby. Our long range lenses then confirmed reports that the shooting party had got wind of us, and were packing everyone away for the day.
As the paying customers had been safely sent away, the shoots beating team tried to impede our vehicle. We were locked behind gates, blocked by off road vehicles, had logs laid across paths to block our route, had gates nailed shut in our path and had two tractor trailers parked in front of byway gates.
With a little teamwork, a sturdy sab vehicle, a strong tow rope and (in the end) the North Yorks Police, we were safely on our way.
A long day out for North Cambs sabs, who were joined in our 4×4 today by friends from Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs and Northants Hunt Saboteurs.
An article on yesterday’s events in the Yorkshire Dales has appeared online this morning on Richmondshire Today, and takes a different perspective on what is alleged to have happened:
Hunt saboteurs wearing balaclavas tried to disrupt a grouse shoot in the Dales on Saturday.
Approximately 60 to 70 saboteurs took part in the action in Swaledale.
Police were called after the protesters gathered in the centre of Reeth and followed the shooting party onto the moors.
Dalesport, which runs shoots, said the saboteurs tried to stone shoot vehicles and intimidate shoot staff.
A spokesman said: “It was a shocking encounter in this tranquil area of the national park.
“Half the sabs were dressed in black with balaclavas in an attempt to prevent their identity.
“The police arrived to disperse them but not before further threats were made to the shoot staff.”
The West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs, who joined activists from all over the country, said the sabotage was a great success.
A member of the group said: “Activists from the Hunt Saboteurs Association set out to disrupt the shoot and prevent animals from being killed and that’s exactly what we did.
“The shoot was forced to pack up and leave the moors early today and the lives of countless birds were saved.”
A villager from Reeth said: “It was quite scary as the protesters had balaclavas on and there were so many police cars and vans.
“It’s a shame as there was a family fun day for guide dogs on and that was spoilt.”
However, a spokesman for the fun day said the saboteurs had spent a lot of money with them and the event had been a big success.
A visitor from Richmond, who was walking her dogs in the area, said: “When the protesters and police arrived it was very unnerving especially for families as nobody knew what was going on at first.
“I didn’t see any trouble or raised voices but I can understand people feeling a bit worried because of the way they looked.”
The Hunt Saboteurs Association advised on its Facebook page that 70 saboteurs had ‘just packed up a grouse shoot on the Yorkshire Dales’ and shared photos and a post from the Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs.
On their post, Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs said: “Lots of very unhappy shooters and lots of grouse who live to see another day.”