Unmask these thugs says Countryside Alliance

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn an amazing U-turn the Countryside Alliance has shown itself to be on the side of wildlife conservation all along.

Its Campaigns Director, Tim Bonner, is seeking balaclavas to be banned from the countryside. Probably because of this sort of activity, I guess.

Sir Barnabus White-Spunner was sticking to his knitting.

Since it is London Fashion Week, I was sure you might want to read more on this item of woollen headwear.




Photo: http://www.pererikstrandberg.se/ via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Balaclavas#mediaviewer/File:20070102_per_erik_strandberg_balaclava_1.jpg


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26 Replies to “Unmask these thugs says Countryside Alliance”

  1. Or perhaps he was thinking more about masked men like this:


  2. There is absolutely a bit of pot and kettle in that due to those willing to wear masks while committing wildlife crime, but I don't think it is unfair to speak out against people wearing masks and causing violent intimidation and in some cases actually beating up those undertaking legal drag hunting. While I have no time for the arguments for legalising fox hunting with hounds (only) I do think we cant justify violent protests wearing masks.

      1. Therefore it's important to condemn all such criminal activities is it not? There are many people on both sides of the fence who I am sure would agree - unfortunately all to often extremists tend to hijack debates.

        Let's hear it for moderation!

  3. We urgently need to get a more peaceful situation in the countryside around the issue of field sports, blood sports or whatever you want to call them.

    There have recently been allegations of unpleasant incidents on both sides of the fence. That is why I am creating a petition. Mark I am wondering if in the spirit ofg peace and reconciliation you might sign it?

    To (in no particular order) The British Police, The Crown Prosecution Service, the Hunt Sabotoeur's Association, the Countryside Alliance, all Gamekeepers, POWA, shooting estate owners, The League Against Cruel Sports, all registered UK Hunts and 'stop the cull'

    Given the recent alleged violent incidents associated with Hunting and the
    Monitoring/Sabotage of Hunting this petition calls on all those who either carry out
    legal hunting activities, monitor hunts, sabotage hunts or investigate and
    prosecuting alleged illegal hunting to do their utmost to ensure that people
    who they use or associate with in the course of these activities are of good character.

    We believe that it is important for organisations to carry out proper criminal record
    checks and do their utmost to ensure that they are not helping serious criminals to
    get involved.

    This petition is being created in the interests of public safety and crime reduction.

    1. Here's the URL Mark. I'd massively appreciate it if you would sign it. It is really important for everyone to help combat crime whichever side of whatever fence they are or are not on.


  4. I was about to order one of those camouflage balaclavas for photography. I had better think twice now.

    Seriously. I cant disagree with any approach that includes all sides of the wildlife / hunting spectrum. I do however find the wording of Giles' petition a bit odd where he invites CPS and others to ensure that they are of good character; isn't that a given. As far as witnesses to crime, their background is (in a legal sense) irrelevant to any factual evidence they may give.

  5. "isn't that a given". - well there are dodgy cops you know - so it is very important for the police to make sure they filter them out surely?

    I don't think we can assume anybody is necessarily sound not matter what their profession - sad but true. Take priests for example or indeed any walk of life.

    1. Giles you have disappointed me and I thought I was supporting the principle behind this petition. As an ex police officer I do resent the presumption that a petition is the right place to base a comment of that nature. There are many bodies set up to deal with such issues and police officers would be the first to support them.

      I also would repeat (whether we like it or not) that the evidence given by witnesses to a crime is about sworn fact and not about their background or soundness of character.

      1. I'm slightly confused about your comment Phil. I'm not trying to get at the police I am merely pointing out that there can be bad apples in any barrel and that organisations should do there best to ensure that they have procedures in place to present them joining their own organisation. That applies equally to any organisation. I'm sure the police do this which is great.

  6. If it is a real and impassioned plea then I doubt anyone could really argue. Unfortunately, the Social Media dumbing down curse has struck again and it did not take long to unlock it. Basically, sites like change.org are being hijacked by spurious petitions, as witnessed by one that appeared on my Facebook timeline in the last few days. It was a petition aimed at getting premier League clubs to pay a proper 'Living Wage' (not minimum wage) when they landed the big TV deal and were paying their main stars the huge salaries. ('You could beat whales to death with a wad like that'.)* The problem behind this petition was not just that it was designed and started from a particular agenda, it was just plain wrong. It is actually most common for lower leagues to pay staff through internships, work experience and voluntary roles rather than Premier League clubs, who will usually have established roles for the same position. It does not take a genius to realise that this creates an easy way of raising other spurious petitions and even discrediting the entire system of online petitions so that we have no option but to return to the old system...yep, the one that was heavily weighted in favour of those who have the ability to raise petitions. Hmm! Is this another part to taking over conservation NGOs that was raised with the suspicion created by the HOT debacle? We will have to wait and see but the HOT takeover was not unexpected and this is also a no-brainer when you think of how it takes away a valuable weapon. the dumbing-down of online petitions is not necessarily a natural outgrowth of the fight against conservation but it is also a not-unexpected either given Social Media is so easy to manipulate if you set out to do so.

    * Nothing like a bit of Red Dwarf to lighten up a Friday afternoon.

  7. "We urgently need to get a more peaceful situation in the countryside around the issue of field sports, blood sports or whatever you want to call them."

    That's easy, just stop killing living beings for 'fun' or 'sport'.

    1. Thanks for your comment Diana. I don't killing beings for 'fun' or 'sport' so I am not sure why you are asking me to stop?

      1. ps the last living being I killed (or rather had killed) was my old horse Spotty Muldoon - something I feel incredibly sad about.

        1. Dear Giles, I wasn't asking you personally to stop or accusing you of killing anything. I was just commenting that not killing living beings for 'fun' or 'sport', in general, would be a good way to achieve a more peaceful situation in the countryside.

          1. That's him on my avatar - the handsome ginger one to the left - not the ugly one on the right 😉

  8. This thread has obviously been initiated by the alleged assault on huntsman Mike Lane by hunt saboteurs using 'iron bars' on ropes. Even my first viewing of the video made me think that if that was an iron bar being swung at hunt supporter then it must have been hollow and filled with helium. The height it reached and the speed it was spinning when it snapped off its rope didn't look like a heavy metal implement to me. Could it have been a whip handle instead, which the sab had picked up to beat back two hunt followers who were duffing up another sab, you can see that in the video, but not the alleged assault on Mike Lane. If we want peace in the countryside then the guilty must be punished. In that case the ncredible number of unprovoked attacks on sabs by hunt followers which are totally ignored by the authorities and media or dismissed in court need to be dealt with. Both sabs and followers take video cameras to hunts - see which side can provide most evidence of violence.

    1. Not just that Les it's initiated by all violent and criminal incidents from whatever side of the debate they are from. I can't comment on specific incidents I have no idea.

      I would say one thing though which is while I appreciate the desire to monitor people it does seem sometimes to me that there is a certain amount of deliberate egging on happening. For example if you followed random people round dressed in these balaclavas and filmed them - say shopping then my prediction is that sooner or later they would hit you. Would that be justified - no of course not. Would it be inevitable well yes it probably would.

      You will say that these people are committing illegal hunting well that may or may not be true. I don't know - I'm not there - I don't hunt and even if I did I would hunt with a hunt which doesn't illegally pursue wildlife.

      IF they are acting illegally then they should be prosecuted. The trouble is that the CPS does prosecute the cases that it feels are most likely to yield a result. More and more often actual hunts are being found innocent or charges dropped.

      To my mind hunt sabotage is just another country sport and sometimes can be a rather unsavoury one. There are considerable kicks to be had by some people from confrontation.

      I am passionate about finding other ways - peaceful ways and non cruel ways. That is why I promote dialog - better governance of organisations and non lethal humane wildlife dispersal. These are positions which it is hard to get people to see the sense of in a situation of such conflict, they are positions that have seen me publicly castigated as an 'animal abuser' and for which I am quite possibly going to be imprisoned and severely restrained from campaigning in an attempt to silence me on March the 9th.

      1. I can't tell you how sad I am about all this right now.

        This is going to quite literally end up killing me.

        There are big interests at stake here much bigger and much meaner than me.

        The whole thing is deeply deeply tragic.

        Why kill animals in situations where there are other means which can be effective?

  9. One more thing - if anyone really thinks most people involved in these debates want less conflict and less violence look at how many dislikes a petition calling for just that gets above.

    People thrive on conflict it's as simple as that. Voices calling for peaceful non violent non lethal alternatives are sidelined and despised.

    That ultimately is why I am convinced someone sometime soon is going to get killed - and that is incredibly sad.


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