Hunt Saboteurs ask the police to enforce the hunt ban

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) has written to all police forces in England and Wales in order to enquire about their plans of enforcing the ban on hunting with hounds, which is now illegal under the Hunting Act of 2004.

November 1st has traditionally been the start of the hunting season (despite the fact that hunts have been out since August), and this year it also marks the start of the second full season under the hunt ban.

Although some hunts marked the start of the season last Saturday (28th October), the majority will hold their full opening meets today, or this coming Saturday.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the HSA, stated “As we go into our second full season under the ban brought in by the Hunting Act 2004, we thought it prudent to ask all the relevant police forces about their approach to ongoing reports of illegal hunting, how they wanted such reports made, and how they plan to enforce the law.”

Ms. Preston feels that a clear message needs to be sent to the hunting fraternity, that hunting with hounds is not acceptable, is illegal and therefore police forces should enforce the 2004 act. In the two and a half years since the Hunting Act came into force, the only prosecutions so far have been due to private prosecutions and only recently have a police force brought about a prosecution themselves, despite clear breaches of the act by many hunts.

The first public prosecution against a hunt has brought by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, against the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. Ms. Preston continued, “What we need now is a clear message of enforcement being sent by the police to the hunts in their locality – after all the law was brought in for a reason.”

And whilst Ms Preston welcomed the prosecution of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, she felt that many hunts were still hunting illegally and she feels with the 40 years of experience the organisation has of non violent anti hunt activity, that the HSA is well placed to help the police with obtaining prosecutions against those Hunts determined to break the law.

Ms Preston states: “We are well placed and experienced enough to know exactly what the hunts themselves are getting up to. We have offered to lend them (the police) our expertise in this area. We have excellent knowledge of the hunting fraternity, are not afraid to capture evidence of law breaking, and are willing to pass such information on in the hope of helping the police enforce the law.”

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