Shocking attack on hunt protester

Sid Leigh
Sid Leigh

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man was left unconscious and with a hoof print on his head in an alleged attack by hunt supporters in Devon.

Sid Leigh, 46, a hunt monitor from Bodmin, suffered a broken nose and extensive bruising after being punched - and was also trampled on by a horse.

The altercation between members of South Devon Animal Rights and Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers happened on Saturday at Gullet Farm near Kinsgbridge, Devon Live reports.

Police said he was being treated at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

'Clearly a premeditated attack'

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteur Association, stated: "This was clearly a premeditated attack by a hunt that have been put under increasing pressure by South Devon Animal Rights. Unable to kill with impunity they are taking out their frustrations on those that stop them."

The hunt denies the allegations.

Hunt supporters appear to be becoming increasingly violent towards saboteurs, who film their activities in order to report cases of illegal foxhunting under the 2004 Hunting Act.

Many hunts are supported by masked terriermen on unmarked quad bikes. Terriermen dig out foxes that have gone to ground before throwing them to the hounds (warning: graphic video).

They often attack hunt saboteurs - these thugs threw rocks at cars in Yorkshire.

Sussex Police declined to prosecute this hunter after she was filmed driving her horse towards hunt saboteurs and striking one several times with her riding crop.

A fundraising drive is under way to pay for a private prosecution.

The fox hunting debate was ignited during last year's general election campaign when Theresa May promised to put the ban to a vote in the House of Commons again – a pledge that has since been dropped.

Opposition to hunting remains at an all-time high, with 85% of the population not wanting a return to hunting. Even in the countryside, opposition to fox hunting is at 81%.

Indeed, many believe the ban should be strengthened to close loopholes exploited by hunters who claim to be following a trail and that foxes are killed by accident.