Hunt saboteurs are trying to reinvent themselves and widen their support base by going after golf courses. The move coincides with a slump in donations to worthy causes – and sabs – due to coronavirus lockdowns.
North Dorset Hunt Sabs issued a call to action on Facebook on 17 June 2020 telling people to spam Sturminster Marshall Golf Club because it is shooting rabbits.
Quoting a popular movie line, they offer the club a choice of ‘the easy way or the hard way’, meaning sabs will deploy to prevent shooting if the club refuses to comply. It is a threat verging on extortion.
Another post described an encounter on 14 June 2020, when two ‘locals’ were said to be walking through the course when they spotted two men shooting rabbits. The sabs claim the locals confronted the shooters and told them to stop. The sabs say the standoff lasted about half an hour, then the shooters left.
It is illegal to prevent pest controllers from doing their job.
A spokesman for the course said a member volunteered to do the pest control but they were confronted before they even started. The men left “due to the aggressive nature of the lady concerned”.
The sabs also took to Facebook and Instagram to threaten and insult the club. her email and the infiltration of my Facebook and Instagram. “They seemed nasty in their approach,” he said.
At the same time, WildAct, another sab group on Facebook, called for all golf clubs “to be turned into parks and rewilded sanctuaries”. It slammed golfers as “overprivileged, usually significantly physically unfit individuals” and encouraged followers to harass and shame clubs that kill pests.
Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner slams the post saying it is “further evidence that animal rights extremists are driven by a warped hatred of human beings and are obsessed by class war, rather than love for any animals”.
The call to action by the sabs comes about a month after harassment of Muswell Hill Golf Club forced the course to end its fox management programme.