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Hunt Saboteurs Association
Hunt Saboteurs Association (logo).jpg
Formation1964; 58 years ago (1964)
FounderJohn Prestige
Founded atBrixham, England
Legal statusActive
PurposeProtect wildlife from hunters

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) is a United Kingdom organisation that uses hunt sabotage as a means of direct action to stop fox hunting.[1] It was founded in 1963.[2]


In 1964 John Prestige founded the Hunt Saboteurs Association in Brixham, England, after being assigned to report on the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, where "he witnessed the hunters drive a deer into a village and kill her."[3] Designed to "oppose blood sports",[3] the HSA eschewed parliamentary reforms and instead went directly out onto hunting grounds to do everything they could to prevent the killing of British wildlife.[3] "Within a year, HSA groups appeared across England in Devon, Somerset, Avon, Birmingham, Hampshire and Surrey. Ronnie Lee, founder of the animal rights group Band of Mercy (and later the Animal Liberation Front), began his activism within an HSA group in Luton, England. HSA now operates throughout Europe and North America.


The HSA uses tactics such as: hunting horns and whistles to misdirect hounds, spraying scent dullers, laying false trails, and locking gates to interfere with the progress of a hunt.[4] In the mid-1990s, members used a "gizmo" (a portable cassette tape player linked up to a megaphone or other portable amplification equipment) to play the sound of hounds in cry, causing the dogs to break off the chase. These are examples of "non violent direct action tactics".[5]

The HSA has expanded into Europe, Canada and the United States, and have adapted their tactics depending on the type of hunting being disrupted. The HSA now routinely disrupt deer, fox, waterfowl, turkey, mink and hare hunts, as well as angling and other types of fishing.[6] As a result, some US states have passed laws forbidding the disruption of legal hunting activities.[7]

HSA UK publishes a quarterly journal, Howl.[8]


Hunt saboteurs have been seriously injured after clashes with hunters.[9][10]

A public order act was created to help control HSA members on private land. Part V Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA) Section 68(1) created offences in connection with trespass by hunt saboteurs, including giving police officers the power to "direct trespassers on land (who are there with the common purpose of residing there for any period) to leave the land where the occupier has taken steps to ask them to do so, and either: they have damaged the land; or they have used threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour to the occupier, the occupier's family, employees or agents; or between them they have 6 or more vehicles on the land".[11]

The Act also created the offence of aggravated trespass which was formed (in part) to give the police power over HSA activists: "a person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land in the open air and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land in the open air, does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect: a) of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity, b) of obstructing that activity, or c) of disrupting that activity".[12][13]

See also


  1. ^ "Meet The People Who Throw Themselves In Front Of Hunters". The Dodo. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Ten years on from the fox hunting ban, has anything really changed?". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Best, Steven (ed), Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?, Lantern Books, 2004
  4. ^ "HSA Tactics Book". Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2006.
  5. ^ "About the HSA". Hunt Saboteurs Association. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  6. ^ "". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  7. ^ Yount, Lisa (2007). Animal Rights. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4381-3063-7.
  8. ^ "Howl Subscription Information". Archived from the original on 27 June 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  9. ^ BBC - Hunt saboteurs' car 'rammed' in Nottinghamshire
  10. ^ Gayle, Damien (26 December 2018). "Anti-hunt protester taken to hospital after Boxing Day clashes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994". 1 January 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Trespass and Nuisance on Land". Retrieved 31 May 2015.