Updated - Hunt saboteurs release video of hunt staff saying they 'don't give a f***' about Covid. Hunt statement added
The incident happened on Saturday, December 19 when the hunt met just outside Shipston-on-Stour. At the time, the area was under Tier 3 restrictions and the meet attracted scores of riders, pictured.
While attempting to film the hunt in chase, one of the saboteurs was instructed to leave the field by a hunt staff member. When he walked up alongside her she reminded him of Covid distancing and he replied that he didn't give a f*** about Covid.
The group published the video on its Facebook page on Christmas Eve. WARNING - there is swearing on the film.
The Banbury Guardian this week approached Warwickshire Hunt for a response to the saboteurs' film and claims but received no reply.
The West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs said: "On Saturday, December 19 over 100 riders from the Warwickshire Hunt met in Honington near Shipston-on-Stour, a tier 3 area at the time. During the course of the day a member of West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs asked a member of the hunt to get out of their personal space and respect social distancing. The hunt member replied by telling them that he didn’t give a f**8 about Covid.
"It doesn’t come as any surprise that they just carry on living in this alternative bubble, where nothing affects them and that they think they are immune from any rules the rest of us have to follow.
"Most people across the country have made difficult sacrifices, they’ve potentially lost their jobs or family members. We can’t do things we would normally do so it’s taking the mick that a fox hunt are going out in such large numbers and disregarding the hard work of our NHS workers.
"It’s shocking that they can meet up in such large numbers in the middle of a pandemic. They make no attempt at social distancing, no one seems to be wearing any facemasks and there doesn’t appear to be any kind of track and trace system in place. It seems like business as usual as far as fox hunting is concerned.”
A spokesman for the Warwickshire Hunt said: “The Warwickshire Hunt has been very concerned about Covid and the resulting potential risks so we have therefore been operating proper Covid protocols during the trail hunting season.
"This includes a strict Track and Trace system for all members and followers of the hunt. However, we were not able, despite repeated requests, to get the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs to sign up to this Track and Trace which they should do as followers of an organised sporting activity. It has been a great concern to us that the saboteurs think they are above this important safety check.
“The person in question in the video to which you refer is, of course, worried about Covid, but that day they had been harassed and provoked by the saboteur filming while the saboteurs had been repeatedly trespassing across private land despite frequent and polite requests to return to the footpaths. However, we understand that the full picture cannot be gleaned from that video and obviously this sentiment is not one to which we concur.”