Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after footage has emerged allegedly showing a huntswoman on a horse whipping a protester with a riding crop.
The video was posted on Facebook and Youtube and revealed the alleged clash between East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt and a group of protesters.
The protesters from Brighton Hunt Saboteurs and South Coast Hunt Saboteurs filmed the incident while shadowing the hunting club. According to the Brighton Hunt Saboteur’s Facebook page, the group’s mission is to protect “wildlife through non-violent direct action.”
The incident occurred in a field at Herstmonceux, East Sussex, on Nov. 18, reported HuffPost citing a police statement.
The members of the hunting club had initially told the protesters to return to the public road, but the saboteurs ignored them, according to the video.
“This is private property. Back to the road,” one member of the hunting club said repeatedly.
One protester then accused a huntswoman of charging at them with her horse before one man grabbed hold of the reins.
The huntswoman could then be heard yelling “get off my horse” while allegedly striking at the man a number of times.
According to the police statement, the victim “received a bruise and bump to the head, but did not require medical treatment.”
An East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt spokesperson said in a statement that the club does not “condone any form of violence even when faced with extreme provocation, personal harassment, and other offences,” reported HuffPost.
“The hunt acts lawfully within the confines of the Hunting Act 2004 and takes every measure to ensure the law is adhered to,” the statement also reads.
The video has received mixed reactions over the two social media platforms.
One viewer commented on Facebook that he disagreed with hunting but did not approve of the protesters’ actions in the video.
“[I]n this case I have to disagree with your actions, by grabbing the head collar like that, not only could you of injured the horse, but the rider could also of [sic] been thrown off which could of [sic] resulted in either no injuries, minor injuries or very serious. A bystander could also of [sic] been kicked or injured etc. I have no problem with peaceful protests, and making your point known, just don’t put yourself or others in potential danger,” Joe Klenk commented.
Some viewers praised the protesters for staying calm during the alleged assault.
“Well done for staying so calm when that horrible woman was assaulting you. I’m not sure I could of [sic],” Roland Browning commented.
Some viewers also commented on the motives of the anti-hunting movement in the UK.
“The whole anti-hunt movement is driven by a petty hatred for the ‘upper classes’, not by any concern for animal welfare. If you were concerned about animals, how about focusing on the lampers who can slaughter hundreds of foxes in a single night? … I’m a horse rider. I don’t hunt myself as I think it can be quite risky to both horse and rider, and I don’t see the appeal of it,” Oliver Edwards commented.
Police said that they have identified the alleged victim and investigations are underway.
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