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(from SCHNews Issue 146, Friday 5th December 1997)

Although Mike Foster's anti-hunting bill looks like being scuppered this time around by a Government more obsessed with cutting single mums' benefit, the days of hunting with hounds are almost certainly numbered and the long-awaited second reading last Friday in the house of commons was the occassion for a number of big hunt sabotages across the country. keen to raise the profile of the cruelty-free alternative of drag-hunting (where hounds follow a fake scent `dragged' by a running hunt lackey), Chiltern Hunt Sabs - past masters in the art of innuendo - chose to engage in high-heeled high jinx on Saturday.

So, amid high-pitched squeals of "Chase me! Chase me!", about thirty sabs, demurely attired in evening gowns and little black cocktail numbers, descended upon the Vale of Aylesbury Foxhunt in Hertfordshire. Casually flicking mud from their flimsy slingbacks, sabs informed the flabbergasted hunt staff that if sabs could do drag hunt sabbing, then the hunt could jolly well do drag hunting After an initial demo, where banners proclaiming "Panty-hose not Tally-Ho's" were waved amid much eyelash-fluttering before the bewildered yokels, sabs casually attracted the hounds away with a mischievous, teasing whiff of alluring cologne. The cross-dressing cuties then proceeded to spoil the day and steal the limelight from the (for once) comparatively un-ridiculously attired blood junkies. "I'd like to wrap my lips around your big brassy horn", "Get off your horse and whip me properly" and similar epithets cooing from seductively-lipsticked mouths, however, only aroused the more conservative of rural passions, for the boys in blue arrived and randomly nicked two saboteurs, unleashing a fresh wave of lewd double-entendre ribaldry. "Ooh, what big, strong manly hands", "I'd like to take down your particulars!" and "Quick cuffs and chains? I didn't know you were into ruff stuff" were among the comments levelled at the stiffly-uniformed officers as they carted away the glamourous queens.

Elsewhere, sabs didn't have such a fun time of it. A mass sab on the Portman Foxhounds in Dorset, attended by sabs from six different groups, resulted in the protesters being violently attacked by heavies brought in specially. Sabs from Reading had their vehicle rammed by a hunt Landrover, which disgorged several large lads armed with pick-axe handles and wearing balaclavas. Sabs stranded in a field were assaulted in the first of several skirmishes that day, ending with a pitched battle in a village street where upwards of 30 gentle, 'sport'-loving rural types- tore up a gate and garden walls to hurl at saboteurs. Sabs did, however, manage to prevent the huntsmen- who were also wielding pick axe handles- from hunting all day. At least two sabs were hospitalised, though none arrested the local constabulary ensured they were well out of the way as the colourful local characters `dealt with' the townies.

Such violence is far from unknown and a far cry from the ludicrous picture of nature-loving countryside dwellers that the pro-hunt lobby seeks to promote. Well, until recently, that is. The violence last weekend- and other 'coincidental 'things like injunctions served on well-known sabs- could well be the start of a last ditch campaign by hunts who know their time is up and plan to go down fighting- literally. Mike Foster was at one point under police protection after a huntsman threatened to "rip out his entrails and feed them to my hounds". Another, "he would not live to see his bill become law." Earth Dog, Running Dog - the magazine for the discerning terrier man- warned Foster: "Don't force the most law-abiding citizens to become terrorists or you and your party will live to regret it." The rag also hinted at forests becoming `charred wastelands'. Janet George, the Jabba The Hutt-featured Australian defender of all things English (spokeswoman for the British Field Sports Society) announced: "The battle lines are being drawn - and this time it's not only the foxes blood which will be spilt." In the wake of the GANDALF 'incitement' trial, SchNEWS awaits arrests of such provocative undesirables. These are crucial times: get out there and get sabbing! Contact the HSA on 01273 622827 for details of your local group.

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