Ban the Atherstone Hunt from Atherstone Market Square on New Years Day 2020
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A few years ago the Atherstone Hunt and their supporters were responsible for violence and anti-social behaviour in Atherstone Market Square which resulted in numerous convictions for some of those responsible. The violence included hunt supporters throwing horse manure at peaceful protesters, protesters banners were stolen and destroyed, hunt supporters waved fox tails in protesters faces and several protesters were assaulted by the supporters of the Atherstone Hunt. These events made the national news (https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteCrossTV/videos/1379495565414939/ and did not portray the town of Atherstone in a positive light. It should also be noted that efforts were made by the protesters to warn Atherstone Town Council that violence was likely to occur from the supporters of the hunt several months prior to the event taking place, the Town Council chose to ignore this information.
A freedom of information request to the town council has revealed that the risk assessment submitted to the Town Council for the New Years Day 2019 hunt meet by the Atherstone Hunt contained no reference to the risk of violence from members of the hunt, no mention of how likely or how severe this threat was or any reference to any precautions or steps taken to minimise this threat. Of the risks identified by the hunt the risk of violence which was omitted from the risk assessment was perhaps the risk that was most likely to occur and the risk that could potentially have been the most severe.
It is also noted that the Atherstone Hunt provide their own stewards for the event, however these stewards were no more than just regular hunt supporters wearing high-vis jackets. Indeed some of these stewards have been involved in anti social behaviour themselves at past hunt meets.
Several pubs around the square were open and serving alcohol on the day which would also potentially contribute to drunken / anti-social behaviour.
We also note that there was no reference to any disease control from the Atherstone Hunt. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh published (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/tbed.12969 An outbreak of tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis infection in a pack of English Foxhounds on 31 July 2018. It investigates the Kimblewick Hunt, whose hounds were killed following an outbreak of bTB in December 2016. The investigation also discovered that one human had subsequently contracted latent TB.
The Atherstone Hunt failed to identify this as a risk in their risk assessment and failed to identify what disease control methods they would be using at the hunt meet. Their hounds were in fact allowed to roam freely around and amongst the crowd of people in the Market Square.
A freedom of information reqest was submitted to North Warwickshire Bourogh Counicl who confirmed that the Atherastone Hunt did not have permission to collect money at the hunt meet. However several members of the hunt were photographed collecting money from the crowd in a bucket.
Ultimately we would ask Atherstone Town Council not to approve any application they receive from the Atherstone Hunt to use the Market Square on New Years Day 2020. Over the past few years the Atherstone Hunt have been filmed chasing and killing numerous foxes (https://www.facebook.com/WestMidsHuntSabs/videos/1016916958453378/ (https://www.facebook.com/WestMidsHuntSabs/videos/755145201297223/ . Their supporters have been convicted of violence, anti-social behaviour and homophobia. It was in fact a member of the Atherstone Hunt board of directors who was convicted of using homopobic language towards an anti-hunt protester (https://youtu.be/exip32wMYvo Fox hunting is cruel and barbaric and allowing a fox hunt to use the Market Square to celebrate fox hunting does not fit in with modern 21st Century values especially when senior members of the hunt and other supporters have been filmed being homopobic, racist and sexist.
We would like the Town Council to take a more robust and thorough approach to checking any risk assessment submitted by the Atherstone Hunt in than in previous years.
We would like the issue of disease control to be properly addressed. We would like the issue and real threat of violence and anti-social behaviour to be addressed along with all of the points raised above before any application to use the Market Sqaure is approved for the hunt.
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