Do you want to know the ‘techniques’ used by the anticaza in England to prevent the development of a day of hunting? Because Journal.it publishes a report made to a group of animal liberation in England, the Bristol Hunt Saboteurs (Wreckers of the Hunting of Bristol), whose members “peacefully, armed only with their bodies and with the face covered for fear of reprisals”, they aim to stop the hunting of any animal”.
Its title: “Our aim is to dismantle the industry of hunting in challenging the landowners”. Although it’s a bit long, here you can read the full report and learn in detail how to operate these groups anticaza:
In the month of August in the year 1958, several members of the League Against Cruel Sports (League Against Sports Cruel) placed a series of false trails in the area where he was going to be a hunt. They sought to confuse the hounds used by the group of hunters of deer from Devon and Somerset, and thereby prevent hunting. The Daily Telegraph said of this action: “Opponents of the hunting of the deer, which until now have not been able to stop the sport, they resort to sabotage.” It was the first sabotage of the hunt claimed of the story. And followed him more.
During the following two hunting seasons was used to this tactic and the members of the LACS, thanks to the propaganda obtained by this type of actions, it is increased exponentially. The sabotage of militants acting alone began to appear in the media. One of these people was Gwen Barter, the woman who became known in those days to block a vehicle used by hunters. Months after preventing also a hunting fox by plugging with your own body’s output of a burrow.
These actions, the notoriety that they achieved and the low activity of the LACS inspired in 1963 John Prestige, a young journalist from Brixham, to form the Hunt Saboteurs Association (Association of the Spoilers of the Game). “We are here to prevent people from hunting. The movement [the HSA] is funded by a small inheritance mine, and the share of the partners,” he told the press. In the early days were enrolled one hundred people and received over a thousand letters. The new tactics and the founding of the HSA changed the history of the movement of animal liberation, forever, and with them began a new phase marked by direct action.
The HSA was followed by more organizations that also operated under the principle of sabotage and civil disobedience, but carried beyond these practices. In the year 1972 Ronnie Lee, who had been shortly before a group of saboteurs on the hunt in Luton, and Cliff Goodman considered that the legal framework in which the HSA acted was insufficient and it was necessary to go further. Taking the name of the youth groups of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, that already in the NINETEENTH century inutilizaban the shotguns of the hunters, they created the Band of Mercy. For Lee and his companions this was an example of true direct action.
Two years later were arrested for the attack in a lab, and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. In his release, Goodman became the first informant of the police of the movement, but Lee came out hardened. Aware of the growing public support for releases of animals made in the underground, he formed a group of thirty persons to organize a new campaign that intimidated really to who to get lucrative through with animal exploitation. The name should convey the idea of a revolutionary movement, and Band of Mercy did not seem appropriate. It was as well as was born the in Front of Animal Liberation (Animal Liberation Front).
The operating model of the FLA, based on an international network of affinity groups, decentralized but united under one ideology, tactical, and political common ground, has facilitated its expansion and today is present in more than twenty countries. According to the FBI, and only in a period of six years (1996-2002), the Liberation Front Animal american caused with their sabotage of more than $ 43 million in damages to the industry of animal exploitation.
In that same political and social context deserve special attention, the Animal Liberation Leagues (League for Animal Liberation). These groups, arising out of, also in England, were moved by the same reasons of urgency and need for direct action and were operating also in a framework of civil disobedience, but unlike the FLA, they were acting in the full light of day and in bulk. The activities carried out by received the name of raids (raids) and they could gather dozens of people, that they flocked to the laboratories of animal experiments with the purpose of gathering evidence and documentation to expose later to the public. In June 1980, two hundred activists invaded the Center of Agricultural Research of Babraham, Cambridge. The material that was obtained in that action is considered to be one of the greatest tests against the industry of animal experimentation, and achieved a great impact on the country’s media.
All of these organizations amplified a conflict, with the aim not only of preventing certain companies from abusing animals and to release these from their oppression, or to expose to the public what was happening in their centres of exploitation and experimentation, but also to situate in the political and social agenda the debate about the legitimacy of animal exploitation.
In addition, inspired and motivated thousands of people to get involved in the struggle for the liberation of animals. Without the communication technologies with which we now have –such as the internet or mobile devices– were able to create a distribution network and of alternative training (press releases, manuals, direct action, internal debates, analysis…) which allowed the expansion of this model of militancy for a large part of the geography of western.
But the repression was not long in coming. Many militants british were victims of a reprisal of different shapes and dozens of them paid with their freedom. Some even with their life. Mike Hill in the year 1991 and Tom Worby in 1993 died run over by hunters when they tried to block the vehicles in a peaceful way. Their drivers decided not to stop. On 1 February 1995, Jill Phips ‘ ran the same fate. It was run over by a carrier of calves during a campaign that, by blocking pacific, aimed to prevent the access of trucks to the airport of Coventry. November 5, 2001, Barry Horne, died in his fourth hunger strike in the custody of the british Government while serving a prison sentence of eighteen years in prison.
Have not passed many years since then, but the drift current of the movement of animal liberation, multiplies the sense of distance. The organizational model of type oenegé, increasingly settled in the movement for animal rights, has been moving and gaining ground in this space is constructed in terms of struggle. Do not need to agree with their tactics to recognize the importance of an environment combative as that described had in building this movement.
In November of 2016, motivated by the interest in understanding the genesis and evolution of the movement and in an attempt to vindicate his memory, I traveled to England. There I accompanied the Bristol Hunt Sabs to one of their sabotage. I was a witness of their actions, and I documented graphically. I was also able to talk with them about their tactics, their objectives and other issues related to animal liberation.
Who are the saboteurs of the hunt? (The people interviewed have decided to maintain their anonymity for security reasons. The names that accompany the interview are fictitious).
Michael: We are ordinary people that we are radically opposed to the hunt. We are those people that go out to the field and are prevented from hunting. You do not need any kind of special ability to be a saboteur to the hunt. There are other groups that, for example, monitor the hunters, sitting in the bushes with video cameras to wait to document how a fox is chased by a pack of dogs, with the aim of bringing them to trial. We are not interested in doing that, we don’t want to see how it is killed a fox to get a conviction in court. We are interested to save the life of the animal that same day.
Lauren: There is a big difference between the two groups of saboteurs to the local game and the National Association of Saboteurs of Hunting. The sabotage of the hunt at a local level possibly has a political approach more comprehensive than the National Association. Many of the spoilers we have ideas close to the fight of classes, the use of the land, etc, while the association of saboteurs is exclusively a group that is fighting to stop the hunting of animals.
What are the objectives of a group of saboteurs on the hunt?
L: The direct objective is to stop the hunting of any animal but, as a broad objective, we seek to end hunting as an industry. The victims of hunting are not only the wildlife, the horses or the dogs used. Our goal is to dismantle the industry itself, challenging the privileged landowners.
In the movement there is a debate on the idea of saving animals now compared to generate awareness to prevent that a larger number of animals die in the future. Does your tactic provides a dual purpose: salváis animals directly and thus generate consciousness?
L: The sabotage of the hunt, as well indicas, saves animals directly and increases the awareness about the hunting. However, it is necessary to point out that raising awareness on hunting has not really helped. The vast majority of british society knows the fox hunting and are opposed to it, but that has not stopped. This is an interesting debate, and probably the two tactics can use each other. Seems to be more important the use of images and information about the hunt in order to question our relationship with other species (of animals) to simply persuade the public that hunting is wrong.
How do you define the HSA fifty years after its creation?
L: Personally I think the HSA is outdated and is not really necessary as an organization. We have throughout the country a network of very strong groups that could stand without it.
In this historical journey, what facts you consider important?
L: Always that have happened to legal changes, the people has thought that they were going to have a greater impact. When it passed the Criminal Justice Act ( Criminal Justice Act), many people thought that the sabotage of the hunt would be illegal, but things have not changed much. The same thing happened with the Act of Hunting ( Hunting Act). Around the world he also thought that would be the end of the hunt, and of new things not change. When some saboteur has died or has been seriously injured, has caused a great impact in the movement, we have received a lot of support, we have had media coverage but, in the long term, you don’t have changed things too much. It is strange, but the sabotage of the hunt as a movement has not changed its thinking in fifty years.
If things do not change despite the involvement of many people and your long-term goal is to end up with the industry of hunting, have you not considered you want to approach it with a strategic plan different? What is it that leads you to continue with the same methodology fifty years after if the results are the mean?
L: In the industry of hunting are some of the richest people in this country. To finish it off under the current capitalist society is not going to be easy. Measuring outcomes can be difficult, the lives of the animals you are saving and the hunts are under the pressure of the spoilers, but yes, the hunting continues to exist. Perhaps a more comprehensive approach from the perspective of animal liberation, which includes more challenges to the ownership of the land and the privilege of class would get the best results.
Is it legal to sabotage the hunt?
L: sometimes. Go out and burn the hunters, and even intervening to prevent that killing animals is not illegal. However, to sabotage the hunt is necessary to cross private properties, something that we don’t hesitate to do if any animal is going to be hunted there. If we also attack us we will defend. But in general I would say that yes, that is legal.
It is important to emphasize that we draw the attention of the authorities much more than the community of hunters, although hunting, from twelve years ago, is completely illegal.
What is your relationship with the police? Do you usually intervene?
Simon: The relationship with the police is minimal. Come to times. Imagine the scene: a patrol of police young people of the village find that they have to keep twenty or thirty people dressed in black and with faces covered sabotage the hunt, an activity that is also illegal. Not that we care too much if something is legal or illegal, when it was legal we were also doing a sabotage, but it is a different scenario to the police.
The police is there to preserve the activity and comfort of hunters –people with enough purchasing power, so they attempt to stop us and sometimes send reinforcements. But it is common to have more problems with hunters and their support groups –the supporters are a kind of fans of the game that are going to support them that day and to defend them from the saboteurs–. When the hunters attack us, the police do not usually do anything, so we defend ourselves. Nor do they need to. Other groups talk and collaborate with the police. We do not. Nor do, nor what we will do.
The Law of Hunting ( Hunting Act banned hunting with dogs in 2004. However, there is still. In addition to demonstrating the need for your work, do you think that gives socially more legitimacy?
L: The Hunting act has been irrelevant because it has stopped the hunting and personally I don’t think that a law of the Government go to stop animal exploitation, but that said, if they had not approved of the ban, saboteurs, we would have many more problems with the police. Right now there is not much they can do because they know that the hunters are doing something illegal.
One thing that surprised me the days I spent with you was the fact that I cubrierais the face to the full light of day. Paseabais by inhabited areas and hablabais with the people. No one seemed to be surprised. In fact, a woman of advanced age I came and I provided information on the location of the hunters. Is it legal to cover your face in such a context? What is the reason that some groups use balaclavas and others do not?
L: Yes, it is perfectly legal to cover your face, except in cases where there is a special law. What do we do to protect our identity.
M: We have to remember that the community of hunters has presented in the houses of the wreckers and has left foxes dead in the door, has punctured wheels of cars or has done things by the style. Their threat is real, it is not a game, this people hate us. Have put the names and addresses of saboteurs in their websites, even photos from Google Maps of where they live, compañeros and compañeras. They have published the names of the places of work of wreckers and have campaigned for the dismissal. Why give them anything? I understand that some people differ about covering the face, but I don’t want to give anything to this people. We take pictures and we filmed constantly… I am Not interested in them on a personal level, I don’t care what you do outside of hunting, but to them they are interested in what we do and will go beyond to find out who we are and hurt us.
How is the day of a saboteur on the hunt? How are you organizing?
L: Oh, that’s a great question (laughs). We have one person, the group contact, that virtually organizes the day, although we have thought about it differently to not delegate a lot of responsibility in a single person. During the week we give a tip of the schedules of the hunters and which are the best for sabotage. And well, we were and we will. We headed to the place where they have been hunters, we’re on, we are insulted, we are usually the apañamos to stop to hunt, and yes, almost all weeks are successful.
S: Depends on the type and the hunting season. In the sabotage to the fox hunt the majority of the participants are going to horse. Usually we arrive at the rendezvous point, if we have managed to determine the place, or in their absence, we start from the place where they kept the dogs. Tend to be for a while drinking and chatting and then leave. There we began to follow on foot. If we have the intention to go very far we will move into our off-road.
Hunters tend to react with aggression because they have paid a high amount of money to hunt that day. Supporters of the hunt -supporters – go for us. When we see that come with the face covered, feeling that they want to fight. Sometimes it appears the police, warn the hunters, but we do not talk to them unless necessary. Tend to tell us politely that you do not enter in the private area but we don’t case. The day usually lasts all day, and just very tired.
The HSA can be regarded as an organization influential in the origins of the movement for animal liberation. However, its history and its discourse is not antiespecista and not all people who participates is vegan, that is to say, there is a strong opposition to the exploitation of animals. Is that so? Is there an internal debate about it? What is your position?
L: Yes, I agree. The HSA only focus their fight against the hunting of wildlife and does not have beliefs antiespecistas firm. This is a problem. In our group there has been debate when someone who has joined a sabotage has eaten meat in our vehicle. Tends to be people from the realm of class struggle, where there is no questioning of animal exploitation. In our group do not have to be a vegan, we oppose you eat beef in our vehicle but we do not ask about what each one does at home. However, I think that is something that we need to talk more, to expand our vision. Many times we do not know the policies of people who go out with us, just that they are against the animals being hunted.
The movement of animal liberation, English was characterized at their source by direct actions of different types, from the sabotage of hunting, through the release of animals or the destruction of infrastructure, to massive releases in laboratories, such as those carried out by the league. A lot has changed since then. How do you value the absence of that type of actions in the current motion? Do you consider necessary to recover that fighting spirit that characterized that time?
L: Yes. I think that the movement of animal liberation in the Uk has been severely destroyed by police repression, by the media, by the general apathy in the society and by the lack of commitment to the policy. The movement that we have today is ineffective. And this is the result of apathy and fear. This is a battle that will never be won if we do not radicalizamos and we started to fight. Any intensification of direct action will be something positive, because his decline has allowed the media to portray the wreckers as something extreme. Things are very different now compared to how they were in the eighties and the increased repression has increased the fear in people. But the more we avoid the resistance, the more marginalized it becomes.
M: I agree. Looking back, some years ago, when the Liberation Front, the Animal was settling down a model of direct action all over the world, when we were a powerful force… But the people have been persecuted, and the harsh prison sentences to people involved in the SHAC campaign have installed a fear within the movement of animal liberation, which has slowed its advance.
My personal impression is that we need to return to those times and to put on the batteries because el animal abuse has not disappeared. The animals still die in the laboratories and day-to-day, in great numbers, in the slaughterhouses. We need, first, to be in the position of being able to save those animals, and, second, to increase awareness of these facts and that people really be aware of what is happening. It seems to Me that people do need to be put in front of the noses.
In the movement of animal liberation, are becoming more and more feminist voices which denounce and confront sexism in the ranks of militants. The aesthetics of combat own of such organizations as yours, has also been called into question by reinforcing a model of masculinity that perpetuates behaviors and relationships sexist. What attracts HSA to a profile of a militant associated with that model?
L: Now come many more women to sabotage than when I started. But I still see sexism in the movement, there are still men who have the most influence on the groups or their voices are taken more seriously. I think that women should work much more hard to take us seriously. Something has changed but not the way I would like to see entirely positive.
In relation to whether the tactics or the aesthetic combative reinforce sexist behaviour, I don’t think that is true and I think that we have to be careful in assuming that the direct action and struggle are things of men, and that women can’t fight. Consider that because something is direct action or the more confrontational and is more masculine, is not correct. In fact, it is a belief rather sexist. But I do think that HSA attracts militants associated to this masculinity, that some people who have attitudes sexists are attracted to the idea of sabotaging the hunt, but should not be so.
When we see sexism in our groups of activism we have to take into account that we live in a patriarchal society and it is inevitable that patriarchy is filtered to not be who we attack so pro-active. If we don’t take it seriously, it will continue to exist.
In the movement of saboteurs, is there discussion on the relations of power and gender? If so, how do you treat these issues?
L: No, I don’t think that is debate. I don’t think that is done because women will not feel safe to bring the subject up and the men don’t take it out because they are in a privileged position, given that this is a topic that is not damaging to them. It is something forgotten, both in our group as in others. But I must say that ours has worked on the subject and, although there are things to Polish, is not of the worst.
Source: the journal.it is