Huntsman appears to beat protester with whip during Cheshire hunt

'Get here now, I’ll cut you in two,' another rider tells demonstrator

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 31 December 2018 17:47
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Horseman strikes protester during Cheshire Forest Hunt

Footage has emerged appearing to show a huntsman using a whip to beat a protester during a hunt in Cheshire.

Anti-fox hunting group Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs (CHS), which posted the video on Facebook, said the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in a field in Ollerton.

The footage shows a man riding a horse dressed in traditional fox hunting attire confronting the male demonstrator.

The protester is forced to dodge the charging horse, before the rider attempts to strike the man a number of times using the handle of a whip.

The huntsman then gallops off amid the sound of barking hounds and hunting horns.

In a statement on its Facebook page, CHS said it saved a fox which it alleged was being pursued by the hunters. The rider in the video, the group claimed, “couldn't contain his anger and violently attacked our sab (saboteur) with his horse and his whip”.

“This is the reality of what we have to deal with when we spoil the bloodlust of these violent individuals,” it added.

The Independent could not verify if a fox was being chased – which would be illegal – and members of Cheshire Forest Hunt could not be reached for comment.

A protester who witnessed the incident told The Independent: “He began to ride into him and hit him with his whip. Being on top of a horse, and also using the animal as a weapon, our saboteur had very little chance of defending himself.”

In other footage posted on social media, another member of the hunt can be heard threatening a protester.

“Get here now, I’ll cut you in two,” he tells a demonstrator on the other side of a fence.

CHS said it called police three times, but officers failed to respond.

Cheshire Police denied the claim, however, saying it was only made aware of the incident afterwards. Officers are now investigating an allegation of assault.

"An investigation into the allegations is continuing and officers are continuing to speak to those involved and are reviewing footage to establish the circumstances," a spokesperson said.

Cheshire Forest Hunt said it operates within the 2004 hunting act law, which bans the hunting of wild mammals with dogs.

“We are aware of an incident which took place on Saturday, 29th December, which occurred as a result of extreme provocation by a group of animal rights activists, a spokesperson said.

"The hunt is fully cooperating the police with their enquiries and are therefore unable to comment further while the investigation is ongoing.”

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