It’s bad enough having fibbing journalists like Carole Cadwalladr – the word journalist used in the loosest sense of course – crowdfunding their court costs and damages bill from gullible supporters. It’s shocking seeing how Chris Packham and his girlfriend have distorted the truth to crowdfund the bringing of tigers from mainland Europe to the Isle of Wight zoo. But having criminals running charities and crowdfunding for legal costs, new 4X4’s, car tax and fuel expenses is, for want of a more civilised expression, taking the piss.
That is exactly what is happening with balaclava’d hunt saboteurs – criminals who happily trespass on private land and get engaged in all kinds of aggressive scraps with the law-abiding hunting community. Some of them are caught by the police and prosecuted, while others with records as long as your arm now play key roles in anti-hunt charities. Perverting the course of justice is their favourite ploy. Some of the items these people have raised many thousands of pounds for beggar belief.
Just take a look at some of the intelligence on the sabs doing the rounds:
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) – yes, such a thing exists, and one wonders if there is a Burglars Association or Association for Shoplifters – are fundraising with Unity Lottery. The spokesperson for the HSA is Lee Moon, convicted animal rights activist and founder of ALF. Unity Lottery only works with charities, so the HSA – not a charity – uses HOWL as its way in on the lottery. HOWL describes itself as an animal rescue charity and operates out of that most rural of locations, Uxbridge.
HOWL is registered as a charity and its accounts do not show much income coming into the charity at all. It produces the HOWL magazine for hunt sabs. One of its trustees is Aubrey Thomas born in July 1957 – the longstanding Director of the HSA (a puff piece about him can be found here). Thomas ran Berks Hunt Saboteurs whose Facebook URL is the same as HSA and certainly was originally the most shared/supported by HSA on social media, whilst Thomas promoted the ‘Affiliated Member’ initiative for the HSA on social media. There are more than close links with Beds & Bucks Sabs, with this group being the first to adopt the logo, push HSA and promote sab group membership. Aubrey Thomas has close links to all the ‘old school’ key ring leaders in animal rights activism and also has many links to Labour politicians, journalists and legal animal rights supporters – aligned with the greens yet runs a haulage business. He has been known to sab with the Beds & Bucks, Berks, Bath, Bristol, Severn, Croydon and Guildford Hunt Sab groups. His financial clout seems greater than HOWL’s and is a director of multiple entities.
So do you get the picture?
Networks of companies, charities and felons using charity fundraising tools designed for gift aid and charity campaigns – all yoked to fund hunt saboteurs’ criminal activities. Details that can be gleaned via the click of a mouse and public records.
So when will this nonsense stop?
The Charity Commission was first established by the Charitable Trusts Act of 1853 in part to prevent these kinds of abuses. The Commission will no doubt be interested in the background of charity trustees as well as the fundraising methods of regulated charities, as will the police. Both can now expect a full report. It will be interesting to see which politicians jump out of the way when more details are exposed.
Protecting animals can be such a noble cause. So why does it attract so many hucksters? Also, why do hunt sabs, animal rights organisations, Wild Justice and the like never gripe about the increasing problem of illegal hare coursing? Could it be because it is mostly perpetrated by oiks in Subarus? Hunt sabbing and animal rights activity is a class warfare thing. Perhaps it always has been. Now let the truth be told.