Oxfords dictionary definition of tough is;
(of a substance or object) strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough handling.
‘tough rucksacks for climbers’
While that is true. A definition of tough should simply say, Hunt, Saboteur.
Today we paid a visit to South Down & Eridge
In attendance were South Coast Hunt Sabs, Brighton Hunt Sabs, Croydon Hunt Sabs and North Downs.
When you talk about tough. I guess you immediately imagine a muscular person. Possibly a heavily tattooed biker or someone in the army. They are generally tough people. Visualise this tho, a group of animal activists of varying ages. Trudging through thick mud filled fields in the near-freezing cold. To be yelled at, manhandled, even assaulted. Witnessing people ride around on their horses chasing foxes with a death pack of hounds eager for a kill, due to being starved prior to the day. Clearly, the hunt tries in vain to stay ahead of the Saboteurs.
Then to turn around and head back, jump in a landrover, be dropped off at a location next to the hunt and head back out.
Now that is tough, and it is what took place yesterday.
We headed off to collect the saboteurs, who arrived with a smile and greeted each other warmly. All in black. Some with bags containing amazing vegan food. We had an arsenal of vegan food from sandwiches to vegan sausage rolls and scones.
Once all the saboteurs had been collected. The drive towards the hunt began and then stopped. As Intel came in. As we were told the hunt would not be heading out til a tad bit later.
So a detour for some tea was had.
Imagine. 8 hunt saboteurs all in black jumpers, coats, windbreakers, scarves and boots that had been proven in the fields. Rolling up to a cafe for some tea.
I was completely unsure how this was all going to play out? I know about the hunt saboteurs, but how would this group of charismatic, intelligent tea drinking activists go against the bloodlust driven hunt. Importantly would this Australian be able to keep up?
Conversations flowed over teacups and without much announcement once all were done, we left. Some headed to the shops to grab some food to share. Then it was back on the trip to catch the hunt.
About a minute out I noticed all the saboteurs began to mask up. ( I will talk about this tactic later). This meant we were close to going. I masked up and peeled my eyes to the road.
“Right there they are. All out!”
And with that, we all converged en mass to the hunt.
I was amazed to see young children riding with the pack. What do they understand of the hunt, are they aware of the killing? If they are and they’re ok with it. What have their parents told them? How unloved is it to desensitise your own child.
The field rode off and we waited for the hounds. They left a few short minutes after. We remained on their heels. What followed was something I could only say as muddy! Fucking muddy. Like thick, caked, heavy splattered, sinking your boots in mud. Wholy shit, it was fun!
The hunt was surrounded all day with hounds going into cry a few times. The combined and precision skills of the hunt saboteurs ensured all the foxes lived another day. What a sight it was to see the hunt saboteurs in full action. A force to be reckoned with. No fluffing about. Just onto the task at hand. With military like timing and delivery. No complaining no talk of the elements trying to freeze our bodies. Just focused individuals working in perfect harmony to achieve one goal.
At the end of the day, we hopped into the trusty land rover which now had all my respect and headed to a pub for a debrief, a few pints and hot chips.
Our day was not over. With an organised protest against a hunt ball, This was truly going to be an eventful 12 hours …