For anyone that doesn’t know this Saturday I was embedded with a group of hunt saboteurs (people who try and break up fox hunts) for a TV package. The sabs run a rather shadowy group, after an extensive background check they agreed to let me film with them but only if I hid their identities. So early Saturday morning I found myself shivering in the car park of Canterbury West station having no idea where I would be going or what I should be looking for. I was not left wondering long as a group of group of nine black eco warriors in an ancient Land Rover rolled into the car park. While they looked scary they were incredibly polite and apologetic about all the cloak and dagger. This went some way to reassuring me that I wasn’t going to end up murdered despite what many of my friends had been telling me. They were the most Brighton masked mob I have ever seen, in total there were eleven sabs who formed their own version of a vegan black opps. They split into two strike teams named Badger and Fox squad and spent the entire day disrupting two hunts somewhere in East Kent.
It was a real adventure, we went off-roading to lurk in a field spying on a kennels, we hiked across fields trying to cut off a pack of hounds and I got to wear a blue press jacket which made me look like a UN special observer.
The jacket managed to annoy everybody because it made it clear to the sabs what I wasn’t one of them but it just confused the hunters who couldn’t figure out who the hell I was, telling them I was a student journalist didn’t seem to reassure them much that I was a neutral observer.
As someone who grew up in the countryside a day with the sabs also gave me a great chance to practice my poker face as they:
-Were scared of five dairy cows in the corner of a field
-Wore doc martins for a hike through the muddy countryside
-Didn’t know how to use a compass
- Climbed gates wrong
-Complained about cow pats
- After giving in a fiver for petrol money saying “ooh you could never get such a good workout for only five pounds” (YOU WENT ON A 15 MILE WALK AROUND THE COUNTRY SIDE THAT IS LITERALLY SOMETHING YOU CAN DO FOR FREE WHENEVER YOU WANT)
In the end the police were called and the sabs made a break for it. In reality there was no chance of them being arrested as their only crime was common law trespass which isn’t something you can be arrested for. It was a really exciting and interesting experience and I felt like a real journalist for the first time in ages. Now the fun job of cutting this into a 90 second TV package begins.