Hunt monitors say right-wing media coverage of their arrest is ‘absolutely’ blown out of proportion

Cheshire Police arresting a member of Stockport Monitors
Glen Black

On 4 January, Cheshire Police arrested eight hunt saboteurs on suspicion of assault and possession of an offensive weapon. But one of those arrested told The Canary that media reporting of the incident spun what actually happened on the day “out of proportion”.

Mass arrest

Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs broke the news that Cheshire Police sent numerous vehicles and officers to arrest “monitors” attending the Cheshire Hunt:

 

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Cheshire Police confirmed to the Telegraph that it had arrested seven men “on suspicion of assault and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place”. It also arrested an eighth man on suspicion of a public order offence.

The following day, Cheshire Against Blood Sports posted a video showing hounds in cry, following a scent, within sight of the arrest. The group said that huntsman Jake Oppenheim arrived at the location “A full five minutes later”, describing him as “clearly not in control of the hounds”.

“Pardon?!”

On 7 January, the Telegraph reported that there were “angry confrontations” between Stockport Monitors and hunt supporters and that an “offensive weapon” was found inside the group’s car. It also quoted a spokesperson for the hunt, saying saboteurs were carrying out an “‘ongoing campaign’ of harassment and abuse”. And talkRADIO repeated these claims, adding that there was an “abusive and violent tirade”. But Paul Allman of Stockport Monitors told The Canary that media coverage was at odds with what happened.

Allman said that a “heavy-duty bike chain” with a padlock was inside the Land Rover, along with a dog leash, but denied anyone used them threateningly. He said the group uses chains to secure closed gates, preventing hunt trespass. Allman summed up the incident and ensuing media coverage:

They absolutely blew it right out of proportion. To be honest with you, I’m quite shocked as to the level they’ve gone to with it. … When all the footage actually comes out you’ll be like, “What? Is that it?”

Cheshire Police bailed Allman and seven other men on condition they don’t attend hunts in England and Wales. However, the police haven’t yet charged anyone.

The group previously made the news in October 2019 after the Daily Mail published a video showing the group arguing with a woman on her property.

The other incident

On the same day as the Stockport Monitors’ arrest, Bath Hunt Saboteurs were subject to serious harassment by two people on a quad bike during a meet of the Avon Vale Hunt. This made national headlines including the Independent and Daily Mail on 7 January. The Telegraph, however, only reported on the Stockport Monitors’ arrest.

Polly Portwin, hunting spokesperson for lobby group Countryside Alliance, said the Cheshire Hunt “operate entirely legally” and that “the consistently abusive and anti-social behaviour of these activists is disgraceful”. But during late 2018 and early 2019, anti-hunting activists claimed the Cheshire Hunt illegally killed five foxes. Meanwhile, Cheshire Against Blood Sports also revealed on 8 January that huntsman Oppenheim admitted to aggressive behaviour towards a hunt monitor after he threatened “to ram a bottle down her throat”.

Featured image via Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs/Facebook

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    1. It is well known fact in the anti-hunting community that the Cheshire police are very much on the side of the hunt. Cheshire hunt is one of the worst in the country for flagrantly violating the Hunting Act 2004, they do this with impunity and no fear of prosecution as evidenced in your article. The right wing media’s biased and maliciously incorrect accounts are typical of those run by the wealthy elite. It is time the loopholes in the Hunting Act 2004 were all closed and social media needs to stop allowing pro hunt groups and pages on their platforms. It is illegal in the UK to hunt mammals with hounds so why are they continually allowed to pursue this cruel and barbaric practise by forces such as Cheshire police and why are they allowed to promote this practise on Facebook? Fox hunting has nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with cruel and outdated elitist practises.

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