Against agriculture & in defense of cultivation by Witch Hazel

Originally published in Spring 2003 in Fifth Estate, this green anarchist text has been taken from The Anarchist Library.

“It doesn’t take a health food nut to see that modern society has a dysfunctional relationship with food. As in almost every other arena of life, our priorities are elsewhere — if not in wage slavery and staying out of debt, then in escapist entertainment or selfnumbing addictions. Even among radicals and anarchists, healthy and mindful dietary practices are often considered a luxury reserved for that mythical post-revolutionary era that we are supposedly laying the groundwork for, when our children’s children, or their children, can enjoy safe, pure, nutritious food. Sounds like a plan. Except for a few things…

While time frames are questionable, there is no denying that the current food production system is a recipe for disaster. Soils are becoming sterile, salinated and toxic, eroding into streams and poisoning irrigation and drinking waters. As is a basic natural inclination, “weeds”, insects, viruses, fungi, and bacteria are adapting to each new, stranger dose of pesticide and herbicide with a vengeance/developing resistances that rival that of the pathogens resisting antibiotic drugs in medicine. The health crises resulting from the malnutrition of the industrialized west — and those outside the west who have been force fed our diets for a century or more — multiply and deepen faster than the pharmaceutical industry can develop their quick fixes.

More fundamental problems like global warming, species extinctions, and polluted waters, all of which affect agriculture and health profoundly, complicate the crisis. So when passing off the job of steering our food systems back on a path of ecological and social sanity, just what is it we are asking future generations to inherit?

Feeding Soul, Freeing Soil

“…all of us will come back again to hoe in the ground… Or hand-adze a beam, or skin a pole, or scrape a hive — we’re never going to get away from that We’ve been living a dream that we’re going to get away from that. Put that out of our minds… That work is always going to be there.”

— Gary Snyder, in The Real Work: Interviews and Talks, 1964–1979

In the pre-industrial world, food was the basis of human life. If not deserving of outright ceremonial worship, then certainty food was not something just taken for granted. Sure, this was probably out of pure necessity of survival, and due to technologies in our culture we have more of a margin of error. But I have to wonder when I consider the mindlessness with which so many of us purchase, prepare, consume, and dispose of food, if the “privileges” of convenience and effortlessness are really worth the consequences. On psychological and spiritual levels, the disconnect between our daily lives and the source of our very existence — the raw material that fuels our bodies and minds — has an effect that is both profoundly symbolic, and frighteningly real.

Most of us would agree that food is a catalyst for family and community bonds. Without it, the very fabric of our cultures comes unraveled And we can see that happening today. We have no time to cook, and even less time to eat. Our culture’s fixation on efficiency and timesaving makes it impossible for us to appreciate what goes into producing it. In our ignorance, we demand produce that is not seasonal or bioregional, the transportation of which fills 4 million trucks a year, which use $5.5 billion worth of fuel, and spew 4 million tons of pollutants into the air. The average distance food travels from farm to fork is 1300 miles! (Rodale, 1981) We demand certain tastes at a snap of the fingers, even if it means transporting a spice thousands of miles, or using large amounts of oils pressed from genetically engineered seeds half a world away. We demand to be able to cook rice in ten minutes, which requires industrial processing that removes all the nutrients from the grain. Most meat-eaters in modern society don’t ever see the animal until it ends up packaged and in the grocery store. All these “conveniences” reinforce a dangerous sense of detachment and alienation.

One of the most revealing metaphors relating to modern society’s culinary dysfunction is in our dependence on processed foods. People would be more whole eating whole foods, not fragmented and refined commodities with isolated nutrients added back in. Food in its natural state evolved alongside human beings, and when obtained directly, it provides us with all we need. Food processing is an unnecessary obstacle to nutrition that benefits the long line of manufacturers, packagers and advertizers who take 90% of every food dollar, mediating our physical sustenance.

Lack of vitality is a major component of malnutrition from modern food sources. Grown in depleted soils with chemical fertilizers to mimic fertility, the plants become dependent on the chemicals to survive. Similarly, when we eat a lifetime of nutrient- depleted food our bodies become dependent on pharmaceuticals. Just like in the forest, agricultural soil health can be seen as an indicator of the health of the entire system, of which we are a part. If the soil is depleted of nutrients, so is the food that grows in it, and so are those who eat it.

Ancient Ways: In Defense of Cultivation

“We cared for our corn in those days as we would care for a child; for we Indian people loved our gardens, just as a mother loves her children; and we thought that our growing corn liked to hear us sing, just as children like to hear their mother sing to them.”

— Buffalo Bird Woman (Hidasta)

With a modern food system so tied to capitalism and the industrial production-oriented model, it’s hard for us to see how to feed ourselves outside of them. While it’s imperative that we look forward and adapt to our modern context to some degree, it’s by looking back to times before institutions reigned that we start to see our way out.

The erosion of traditional foodways began at different times for different cultures. A basic misconception (or perhaps miscommunication) about “primitivist” theory is that the dawn of food cultivation some 10,000 years ago represented the “fall from grace” of humanity, and that everything that has been developed since that point has been tainted with die impurity of “domestication” and “civilization”. But this simplistic analysis reflects the same reductionist logic that has led to the social diseases of modern life. What was likely a simple adaptation for survival in die face of massive climactic changes did in many, cases lead people down a slippery slope toward domination of nature, but in many cultures, this was simply not the case. Even today, many indigenous cultures thrive on horticultural, village-scale food systems. At the time of white settlement of North America, dozens of indian groups practiced such methods without the trappings of civilization. (See Native American Gardening By J, Bruchac and Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden: Agriculture of the Hidasta Indians as told to Gilbert L. Wilson, also available online at http://www.digital. library.upenn.edu/women/buffalo/garden/garden.html)

The fact that many native cultures have endured using traditional horticultural methods, while remaining free from the trappings of civilization (aside from that which was imposed upon them) is testament to the possibilities of egalitarian social relations coexisting with the cultivation of food.

Contrary to the fundamentalist viewpoints that see cultivation itself as inherently dominating, the simple act of collecting seeds and replanting them elsewhere to provide more food sources could actually be seen as a complementary development to a gathering-hunting lifestyle. The transportation of seeds through feces is the basis of much plant reproduction in the wild and in the garden, and may have been the inspiration for humyns to begin cultivating certain plants. Even the selection of certain seeds for desired traits is a way humyns have actually enhanced biodiversity by “opening up” a species to diverse, highly adaptable variations. Instead of viewing the original cultivators with suspicion and doubt, why not appreciate the sensitivity and creativity it required for them to adapt to conditions by entering into a more complex and interactive relationship with nature? Can we make a distinction between cultivation and domestication?

In her book Food in History, Reay Tannahill theorizes that at the beginning of the “Neolithic revolution,” nomadic foragers began camping beside meadows of wild grains waiting for the brief window of ripeness when they could catch the harvest before it fell to the ground. After returning to these places annually, they eventually realized that if duty left some of the grain on the stalk they could expect a heartier harvest the next year. The next logical step was to begin scattering the seeds on the ground, at which point foragers became farmers. Responding to anthropologists’ assumptions that a large labor force was then required to harvest and process grain, thus giving rise to civilization. Tannahill quotes an archaeological study from the mid 1960’s: “In a three week harvesting period, a family of six could have reaped enough wild wheat to provide them with just under a pound of grain per head per day for a whole year” (J.R. Harlan, 1967)

The development of what we know as agriculture was not an overnight phenomenon, but rather a several thousand year-long project. In some places in the world, the earliest stages of cultivation were never surpassed, and remain sustainable today. In many more places, the pressures of the global economy have corrupted these practices just in this last century. But in most of the world today, we are witnessing the full-blown colonization of native foodways, and a nearly complete dependence on western industrial practices. To trace this “biodevestation” directly back to cultivation itself, is to ignore the history of conquest and land displacement that pushed the food systems of subsistence cultures to the brink, where they now teeter on the edge of extinction.

The loss of native foodways in favor of cheap, overprocessed industrial USDA staples has uncoincidenially served as one of the many vehicles of colonialism. The disconnection of food traditions from indigenous cultures has paved the way for illnesses like diabetes, cementing their dependence on western medicine in yet another way. In the Global South, traditional cultures are losing control of their food supplies faster than ever before. Distinct and diverse peoples of the world have become a prime target for conquest by western food producers like Archer Daniels Midland and Caigill. These modern day conquistadors ride the tails of the “Green Revolution” in chemical agriculture of the 50s. After replacing traditional food practices with a cynical “development” agenda based on monocrops and cheap exports, the conquest continues as structural adjustment policies and the current biotechnology phenomenon.

The logic of biotech makes complete sense as planned obsolescence: the same corporations who pushed the Green Revolution and all its chemicals and hybrid seeds, now seek to milk more profits out of fee sterile soil and resistant insects (and displaced peoples) that have resulted. New seeds are developed to adapt to the conditions that were caused by the same companies’ products 50 years ago! Decades of chemical intensive methods have created resistant weeds, so genetically engineered seeds are designed to withstand higher doses of chemicals. Industrial agriculture depends on these methods. At this point, we either turn away from industrial methods, or we accept the fate of high-tech food.

Against Agriculture: Sowing the Seeds of Resistance

For those of us conscious about the way our food choices affect others, the basic act of cutting out meat and/or dairy products, or eating only organic, feels like a huge step and is often as far as we can manage to take our concerns. But the politics of food go far beyond veganism and organics. Economic and social factors like the conditions of migrant farmworkers, or the low labor standards in most Agriculture in the global south, rarely influence our cultures’ purchasing decisions. Even organic farming often reproduces many of the same ecological and economic dynamics at work in commercial farming. What about the soil erosion from over-farming huge fields, even if crops are organic? (According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, topsoil is lost on average 17 times faster than it is formed, and it takes at least 100 years to form one inch of topsoil). The use of Slaughterhouse byproducts to replace the soil lost from heavy tilling, and the overuse of “biological” fungicides and herbicides, undoubtedly maintains an imbalance in the give and take relationship that forms the basis of ecological values.

The trends toward “natural food” and “organic” are quickly being co-opted, as green businesses consolidate their power and corner markets, gobbling up profits as they go. Consequently, these concepts are losing their meaning altogether. The notion of “sustainability” has been colonized by the profit-hungry. The biotechnology industry touts the term whenever they get the chance. Of course, what they are talking about is the sustainability of profits and the dependence of farmers on them, not sustainability of ecological systems and social bonds. So when we examine the idea of sustainability we should always define what ft is we are trying to sustain. If we are thinking of ecology and cultural survival, then we must remove the factors that contradict those: industrialism and capitalism, to start with.

To be against agriculture does not require advocating mass starvation or a return to an exclusively primitive or foraging existence, and it doesn’t lave to mean eradicating cultivated food altogether. We need to make a distinction between “agriculture” and other plant (aid possibly animal, although the ethics of the domestication of animals should be viewed with suspicion) “cultivation” methods that have been, and are continuously being developed by people around the world. The problem of agriculture is largely related to the scale. “Horticulture” refers to garden-scale cultivation rather than field-scale, as in the prefix “agri”. For example, permaculture is a specific cultivation method that aims to integrate die garden system into the wild ecosystem around it. Industrial farming (even organic) places the “field” — the monocrop — outside of our immediate surroundings, removing our social lives from the polycultural, intimacy of “the garden”. Subsistence horticulture doesn’t depend on industrial systems or take more than they give back ecologically, or even require specialization of labor, or long monotonous work hours. The most effective methods have always been diversified community efforts, which cut down on work hours as well as monotony.

When farmers in India plant a seed they pray for its endurance. But the “gene giants” have their sights trained on “terminator” technologies that break the seed’s reproductive cycle. Hybrid seeds produced in laboratory conditions are usually bred to retain certain characteristics patented by the breeder. If saved and replanted they will not show the same traits, and may turn out to be something weird and unpalatable. Open-pollinated seeds defy this controlled approach. When replanted for generations they adapt to local climate conditions, and develop a bioregionally distinct immunity. When saved for many generations they become Heirloom Seeds. For example, we have seeds that have been in circulation since Cherokee gardeners first grew and saved them hundreds of years ago, and took them on the Trail of Tears. They made their way back to the Southeast and to this day are still being passed around. The more they’re grown out, the more decentralized the seed becomes. These seeds are crucial to maintaining plant biodiversity. The reduction in varieties that comes with industrialization and capitalism has created a massive loss of genetic diversity (75% in the last century, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization), which weakens the plant’s insect blight and disease resistance, and their adaptability to changing growing conditions. The Irish potato famine was a direct result of the dependence on one variety. Breeders had to go back to the Andes to find a potato that would resist the blight. In the face of the elimination of ancient varieties in favor of more uniform crops that ship and store more efficiently, heirloom seeds are truly Seeds of Resistance. Check out Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth for detailed instructions on seed saving.

Humanure and Greywater are traditionally used methods intended to keep nutrients in the garden ecosystem, thereby closing the circuit rather than requiring imported materials. As these methods are inherently non-capitalist and non-industrial, it would not be possible to adopt these practices (or to return to them, depending on how we look at it) beyond just a small privileged minority, within the capitalist market or the industrial model. True sustainability actually requires the subversion of those institutions.

On a personal level, we can take steps to re-establish foodways in our cultures by learning about our food, discovering what foods grow where and in what season — and where those foods originated. We should know where our food comes from and seek out food grown locally. We can seek out those with traditional knowledge, learn how to cook with whole foods, then teach others. We can learn about the wild edible plants that grow around us, and about the ancestral people who ate and propagated those foods. This knowledge provides us with an essential missing component that early horticultuialists combined with cultivation. (A great reference is the work of Steve Brill, an urban wild plant forager in New York City: http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com). Challenge your taste buds to appreciate foods in their natural state, and replace the junk foods you crave with natural sweets and snacks.

Reconnecting with our food goes beyond the personal. Taking food out of the capitalist market means reintegrating ourselves with the processes of growing food — whether that means getting to know local farmers and buying from them, getting involved in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or a food co-op, going to farmers markets, or even better — growing your own. These options increase the security of our access to healthy food, lessening our dependence on the market. In urban areas this can be much more challenging, but all the more rewarding if you can challenge the obstacles. For some inspiring examples of urban food security check out http://Www.foodsecurity.org. The Hartford Food System in Hartford, CT (www.hartfordfood.org) and The Food Project in Massachusetts (www.thefoodproject.org) are amazing examples of urban food security ] that truly challenge the class structures that keep people dependent on Agriculture.

The challenge of feeding ourselves ! sustainably might be the fundamental question for our future survival. There is not one path forward out of this mess, but many possible options, and we’ll have to make up a lot of it as we go. But our paths will be totally new and unique. Learning from the mistakes and the successes of the past is crucial to bringing the modern world back in direct relationship with nature, and the life-support systems on which we depend. We should celebrate the opportunity we have to examine and analyze what has worked and what has compromised our freedoms and our health, and move toward post-industrial and post-capitalist models of sustenance. Rather than an afterthought of social revolution, reclaiming truly sustainable foodways could itself be a catalyst for challenging the deep alienation of our modern world.”

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Eco-Terrorism, Eco-Fascism, Eco-Extremism, Eco-Anarchism and the Białowieża Forest

Europe’s last remaining primeval forest, the beautiful Białowieża forest, home to bison, foxes, and a plethora of other living beings, the last remnants of a wild Europe now remembered only in myth and legend, located in the area now called Poland, is under attack from loggers.

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As stated in the video above, the EU’s top court has ordered the Polish government to stop logging in the area. Poland’s rising far-right nationalist movement has taken issue with this move, calling the environmentalists, who are looking to defend and support the forest, “green terrorists“.

This is not the first time eco-radicals and anarchists have been accused of being terrorists, with events like those in Langnau Switzerland in 2010 bringing eco-anarchism back into British press, being labeled as terrorist acts. The FBI lists eco-anarchist groups like Earth First!, ALF and ELF as terrorist groups. But it is utterly bizarre to label groups who at the most cause property damage as terrorist groups.

Is it terrorism to sabotage logging equipment, block roads, spike and sit in trees, and not harm people, inflict no violence upon anyone and generally go out of your way to not hurt people?

Is it terrorism to cut down and destroy one of the oldest living ecosystems on this planet, home to more wildlife than you could hope to count, a source of healing for our atmosphere, a lifeform in and of it-self, in a brutal and violent fashion?

One seems like terrorism to me, the other not.

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What about that other label that environmentalists are often brushed with though – eco-fascism: does that hold any weight to it?

In reaction to the rise of Trumpism and the growing right-wing popularist movements in the USA and in Europe, antifa and anti-fascism have become more visually active and increasingly part of everyday politics now. Communist-anarchist groups, linked to antifa, have recently done interviews with FOX news on the matter of racism and authoritarianism in the Trump era of politics.

But what of eco-anarchists?

Earth First! have for a long time spoken out against fascism and xenophobia and they have supported actions that directly opposed Trump before his presidency.

Environmentalism as a movement has long supported anti-colonialist struggles, and it is arguable that environmentalism cannot be divorced from anti-colonialism – with fascism’s Italian-imperialism having undeniable ties/friendly-relations with colonialism.

Radical environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen has written about, in opposition to, fascism’s ties to and influence on industries and business still going today.

Many of those who want to tie environmentalism in with fascism seek to draw on Nazi sympathy for nature, drawing from blood and soil narratives tied to the Nazi green-wing. This is obviously a pretty poor straw-man argument, but is one that is often peddled, and appeals to reducto ad Hitlerum type cheap arguments.

So any claim trying to tie eco-radicals with fascism seems very weak, if any can be made at all, with eco-radicals and eco-anarchist having closer ties to anti-fascists than the far-right.

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But what are the sentiments between radical groups?

The communist-anarchist group It’s Going Down have recently criticised the eco-extremist group Individualists Tending Towards the Wild (ITS), as part of an online set of back-and-forth articles surrounding eco-extremism and its relationship with anarchism. These have generally been criticisms of the more violent tactics of this group in Mexico, who embrace the category of terrorism and intend to create terror for the civilised.

It’s Going Down have accused this eco-extremist group of being eco-fascists and sought to besmirch the names of anarchist projects with any links to or who are in discussion with eco-extremism.

Eco-extremism is a movement that broke away from the anarcho-primitivist and Kaczynski following eco-radical milieu, in favour of a nihilist-pagan type approach to eco-radical discourse and practice. Personally I’m not convinced of all of what I’ve seen coming out of eco-extremist writings and find ITS’s love of randomised violence entirely vulgar and undesirable, but have sympathy for a great deal of the eco-extremist critique and argument, particularly their criticisms of anarchists and environmentalists on the Left.

And I can sympathise aspects with this critique of anarchists by this eco-extremist writer, in the weakness of anarchist arguments, where anarchists just call anything they don’t like fascist – something that It’s Going Down appear to be doing.

Something that I love about the eco-extremist discourse is their opposition to anthropocentrism and embrace of wild nature, which they define as –

“Wild Nature: Wild Nature is the primary agent in eco-extremist war. The philistines oppose the invocation of Wild Nature as atavism or superstition, but they do so merely out of their own domestication and idiocy. Wild Nature is all that grows and is manifested on the planet in animate and inanimate objects, from pebbles to oceans, from microorganisms to all of the flora and fauna that have developed on Earth. It also encompasses all of the stars, galaxies, moons, suns, meteors, etc. More specifically, Wild Nature is the acknowledgement that humanity is not the source and end of physical and spiritual reality, but merely a part of it, and perhaps not even a major part.” taken from the journal Atassa: Readings in Eco-Extremism

This embrace of the wild is something that much of environmentalism and most anarchists have lost, as both have become more and more amalgamated into civilisation and its narratives.

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Returning to the Białowieża forest, one of the last remaining places that fully embody wildness, whether you view it from a pagan-eco-extremist type gaze or from an eco-anarchist eco-radical gaze, it is a location of obvious beauty and value.

We cannot say whether or not EU protection will do much, especially with the rising tide of nationalism within Poland and the amount of illegal logging that goes unchecked around the world.

What we can do is be allies to the wild, in living feral lives and being iconoclastic towards this culture/civilisation/Leviathan that is anthropocentrically destroying the biosphere, whose wild beauty we love.

We are not fascists or terrorists, but we will use what means we have available to us and will fight for what we love.

This site recently republished this article on the International Mobilisation Call For The Defence Of Hambacher Forest, as part of the response to defend this forest in Europe.

We need to return to the woods and defend them, through all means at our disposal.

To end with a few quotes –

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” John Muir

 

“Culture has lead us to betray our own aboriginal spirit and wholeness, into an ever-worsening realm of synthetic, isolating, impoverishing estrangement. Which is not to say that there are no more everyday pleasures, without which we would loose our humanness. But as our plight deepens, we glimpse how much must be erased for our redemption.” John Zerzan

 

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” Thoreau

 

“The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept.” Jack London

Dead Setts: Please Fight For Badgers

“As hunt saboteurs we are witnesses to the all-out war against wildlife which seems to be the main activity in the so-called countryside. Open country is the playground of the rich, and a few patches of scrubby woods remain only because they are managed for hunting and shooting. These copses and areas of scrub are not of sufficient size or quality to maintain a great diversity of plant and animal life. Whatever animals do manage to survive are terrorised, poisoned, trapped and shot by gamekeepers, terrier men, blethering aristocrats and various other professional or amateur sadists. While crossing the countryside to sabotage a foxhunt we will usually find much evidence of other wildlife abuse – shooting pens, snares, larsen-traps and often active shooters. I have seen a pair of rifle-shooters halfway through the day surrounded by the corpses of at least fifty wood-pigeons and a crow. Without our intervention they would have killed another fifty birds in the rest of the day. Walking, cycling or driving through country lanes it is all too easy to believe that the countryside is an idyllic refuge for nature, but looking a little deeper it appears more like an enormous factory of waste, pollution and animal abuse. Even the massacre of wildlife does not compare to the stinking farmyards, littered with dead machinery, where millions of sick and suffering animals are raised on antibiotics, hormones and cash-crop concentrates to feed up the next generation of European heart-attack victims who occasionally trundle past in their 4x4s. An irate farmer once said to a sab, “What would happen if I wasn’t here managing this land? The trees would grow and the birds would come back! There’d be little birds everywhere! And then what would you do?” This fear and hatred of wild plants and animals is typical of the alienation from nature that agro-industrial workers suffer. As usual, hatred justifies abuse.” from Do Or Die issue 10

Today I went badger sett checking with a group of people which included another hunt sab, someone from badger watch and someone I absolutely didn’t trust. Please watch the clips for info on the day –

 

 

 

The cull zone is being extended to the point that it is going to make it so difficult for us to be an effective presence of resistance and to protect the badgers. So we need people who are sympathetic with the cause to join in and to sab the cull. We need people who are trustworthy, safe and reliable, because informants and infiltrators could potentially create a huge amount of problems.

Here is info on how to join the hunt sabs.

Here is info on how get involved outside of direct actions.

Here are some 2 links on laws you should be aware of – link 1, link 2.

Here is information on how to badger watch.

Some photos from today at the sett that’s been killed off –

 


French Workers Destroy Machines In Factory And Rioters Set Police Car Ablaze

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GM&S auto-suppliers plant workers have been destroying equipment and have booby-trapped the factory, using gas canisters and petrol.

They have been slashing car seats and have stated “We refuse to be taken for a ride anymore”.

The French will always hold a unique position in radical history, and have continually maintained an active resistance culture.

This is a video of a recent riot in Paris, where a police car was set on fire –

News From Hunt Saboteur Groups – Ecological Defence In The British Isles

The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles. Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17 “Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next […]

The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles.

Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17

“Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next to no scent and hounds were only heard in cry once all day.

From the meet the hunt went east into the valley before turning back and heading towards Edgerley House, where they hold their opening meet each season. Here a foot team was already waiting for them and watched from a good vantage point as Gary cast hounds out in the valley between Edgerley and Fursdon. They moved on towards Cleavehanger and then north in direction of Park Wood. Sab teams in front and behind the hunt kept sight of them throughout as they carried on in direction of Burrowcleave Wood. Unbeknownst to the hunt, hounds put up a fox. Sabs covered the scent and hounds never got onto it.

The hunt headed back towards Park Wood and south in direction of Coleridge Barton, with hounds being cast through small coverts and along hedges on the way. Sabs followed them as the hunt held up cars on the main road whilst they rode back towards Cleavehanger. Here hounds were once again cast out. Sabs watching from three vantage points witnessed them break out of a covert in full cry, heading in a line towards Cleavehanger. However, just as sabs were about to intervene, hounds lost the scent. From here Gary made his way back towards the meet, via the coverts east of Furdson and through a field full of very young lambs…

Gary didn’t seem to have much of a plan today, and there was a lot of going around in circles. Sabs were with him throughout, taking up positions in front and behind of the hunt. The lack of scent and constant sab presence was evidently bothering Gary and in the early afternoon he lost his temper after our sabs declined his request that they open a gate for him! However, the hunt did pack up by 3pm. Another nice early finish for us!

We’d like to thank everyone who has recently donated to our Land Rover repairs fundraiser. We had to get major work done on the engine which cost us in excess of £1000. If you can help us recover some of the cost, it would be much appreciated. Without our vehicles, we can’t sab. https://ko-fi.com/devchs

Thank you!”

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Communique From Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17

Today we joined several other groups to scupper the Woodland Pytchley’s plans.

Shaun Stacey’s stewards did their best to send sabs home by committing 3 assaults, but each group retained their composure, refused to lower themselves to Stacey’s level and stuck to the huntsman and hounds.

Eventually the police couldn’t ignore the thugs’ actions any more and arrested Stacey, while the many sab groups kept a watchful eye on the hunt from roads and in the field.

The huntsman trotted back to his kennels before 4pm while Stacey was being processed in the local cop shop. Videos of his assaults are on their way to police, watch this space.

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Communique From Dorset Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17

“Hit Report Saturday 25th March 2017

Joined by our friends from South West Sabs and a hunt monitor we decided to pay a visit to the Portman Hunt today for their last Saturday meet of this season. The meet was at Smugglers Mead in Stepleton and after setting off the hunt headed along Smugglers Lane in the direction of Everley Down.

For the duration of the morning the huntsman stayed on the western side of Boynes Lane paying visits to Ball Pit Coppice, Preston Wood and Rolfs Wood. With two landy’s out today, working with the monitor and foot sabs breaking into two and sometimes four teams we were able to keep track of the hunt all day. They spent well over an hour in the Happy Valley and Furzehill area and we suspect this was due to that fact there is only one footpath leading through the middle. This did not deter foot sabs though who did a marvellous job of patrolling the foot path from each end.

After lunch there was the usual change of horses and this happened on the road outside Hill Farm under the watchful eyes of the sabs. When re mounted on his fresh steed the huntsman took the hounds across the road in the direction of Lime Pit Coppice.

For the duration of the afternoon the huntsman kept to the eastern side of Boynes Lane. Drawing through Heth Coppice, Boynes Coppice, Shales Coppice and Ashy Coppice then headed down to Rough Ground. Whilst searching Rough Ground the hounds picked up and there was a flurry of activity. With foot sabs either side and one of the Landy’s on the yellow road south of Rough Ground we kept them in our sights. At this point one of the teams of foot sabs observed the hounds with what appeared to be fresh blood, we have footage of this which we will be reviewing and releasing separately. The police had been called by one of the Landy’s and one of them was a Wildlife Crime Officer who was very interested in what was happening and we were grateful to have him around.

A hound and a horse had extremely close shaves with motor vehicles on the road today at seperate times, both escaping serious injuries by a gnats whisker ! There was another incident when a horse got caught in barbed wire and a foot sab had to try and free the horses leg, sadly despite this happening riders behind continued to jump the fence without a care in the world or seemingly for their horses.

We also found several hounds running along the road South of Shales Coppice, there was a man chatting to two females riding bikes and following the hunt and they caught the first hound. We stopped to tell them that there was another one further down the road but despite saying thank you they made no effort at all to go and get it ….. shortly after we spotted the third one !

The hunt packed up around 4.30pm. Thank fully this season is about to finish but our work will continue with sett surveying over the coming months. If you want to join us please email us at dorsethuntsabs@riseup.net

Massive thanks to our monitor for his help and a big thank you to the WCO from Blandford and his colleagues for their assistance today.”

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Animal welfare, ecological welfare and human welfare are intimately connected; they’re fundamentally inseparable. And so long as people stand by and allow acts of cruelty, like those of fox-hunters, to pass us by unchallenged/unresisted, the welfare of the environment we live in and are part of will continue to diminish.

“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” Arthur Schopenhauer