Racism Overshadows 6 Nations Rugby

“Anti-gypsy bigotry is the last accepted form of racism.” This comment was made by the Diversity Unit at Herefordshire Council. Unfortunately the recent goings on in international rugby shows this to be true.


Joe Marler, what a prick.

England player Joe Marler’s ‘gypsy boy’ comment to opposition player Samson Lee should not be underplayed. Let’s be brutal here, if Marler had called someone a nigger, paki or faggott then he would quite rightly have been severely punished. But the mainstream attitude to ant-gypsy racism isn’t given equal importance.

Under the Race Relations Act, gypsies and travellers are recognised as ethnic minorities who have the right to protection from discrimination.

The comment has been written off as ‘banter’ by Samson Lee. An opinion shared by Wales coach Warren Gatland. But the damage has already been done. The comment was heard by millions of people on live TV or replayed on YoutTube. This will only back up the attitude of people who are happy to use offensive terms like ‘pikey’.

Rugby has always sold itself as a full contact sport with respect at its core. Respect for officials and respect for the opposition. Well we’ll remember this nasty incident next time someone tries to claim that rugby has the moral high ground over football.

Six Nation Rugby’s decision not to take any action against Marler has done huge damage, not only to the sport but also to a large section of the community here in Herefordshire and beyond.

Fuck you Joe Marler and Fuck you Six Nationa Rugby.

Luther Blisset

Thinly-veiled racism at mosque meeting

Putson residents came together on Friday 19th to protest plans for a Muslim day centre on Holme Lacy Road.

The Magenta building where Muslims hope to open a prayer centre

The site of the proposed Muslim prayer centre

Around 60 people attended a meeting at the Saxon Hall community centre to hear of plans that would see Hereford Islamic Society operating a members-only day centre from a former retail premises near Tesco Express.

Two police officers were in attendance throughout the meeting, much to the frustration of one of the organisers, who was constantly having to self-censor the racist comments that seemed to be forever on the tip of her tongue.

“Can you go now?” she repeatedly asked officers, in hope of being allowed to go off on a bigoted rant.

Audience members were urged by speakers from the top table to keep their objections to a purely practical level and were encouraged to bring up the issues of traffic, parking and noise.

Any objections of the grounds of race or religion, it was implied, would hinder the ‘respectability’ of the campaign.

Some moderate members of the audience did seem to care little for the race or religion on the applicants. Others however commented that allowing ‘them’ to get a foothold in Putson would mean ‘they’ would inevitably spread across the whole city.

As the police left towards the end of the meeting, and a check was made that no Hereford Times reporter was present, audience members were encouraged to ‘speak their mind’; racism was now allowed and encouraged.

There is little doubt that the location of the proposed Muslim day centre is unsuitable for the level of traffic it is likely to attract, and planning officers are expected to recommend its rejection (council officials are privately in talks to see whether Hereford Islamic Society might be able to share space with the notorious Freedom Church in Coningsby Street).

An associate of the Islamic society has privately, in correspondence with the Heckler, expressed disappointment that the day centre applicants have done little to introduce themselves to their would-be neighbours.

But what was evident from Friday’s meeting was that had a Christian church of a similar size taken on the old Magenta building on Holme Lacy Road they would be unlikely to face the same stiff opposition.

All three ward councillors and Hereford MP, Jesse Norman, had been invited to the meeting but declined to attend.

Police investigate ‘attack’ on local hunt kennels

Disgraced huntsman of the Ross Harriers, Lee Peters, who was found guilty of racially abusing a saboteur in November, claims to have had his pet dog killed and vehicle vandilised in an attack by animal rights activists.

The Ross Harriers hunt are in the media yet again this week with an article published claiming that the police are investigating an attack on their kennels, including the dumping of a dead dog on the huntsman’s driveway.

Police were called to the address in Coughton, near Ross-On-Wye last Tuesday, 19th March, to reports of criminal damage to a 4×4 belonging to the huntsman, David Lee Peters, and the death of his dog.  In the article an ‘anonymous source close to the hunt’ suggests that the attack and murder of the dog was the work of animal rights activists. The initials ‘ALF’ (standing for Animal Liberation Front) were apparently scratched onto the vehicle and the source claimed that the dog was ‘beaten to death.’

Questions raised

Questions are already being raised about the validity of the claims, especially regarding the involvement of animal rights activists.

Firstly and most obviously, what motivation would activists associated with the animal rights movement have for harming a dog, let alone ‘beating it to death’ and leaving it on the huntsmans driveway? The pro-hunting community often slander animal activists as ‘people haters’ but whatever point the activists could have wanted to make, either about hunting or about Peters himself, would vegetarian and vegan protesters who commit themselves to ending all animal exploitation (often at the risk of injury or arrest) have done something so counterintuitive and  opposed to their beliefs to make this comment? Given the obvious public backlash that would follow and the condemnation and even stronger backlash from the rest of the animal rights movement, we think not!

The ‘hunt source’ in the article heavily suggests that the ALF was responsible for the attack and attempts to explain who and what the ALF is. The Animal Liberation Front is a loose collection, or more accurately concept, often attributed to those who carry out non-violent direct action in defence of animals. Over its 40 year history the ALF has rescued (or ‘liberated’) hundreds of thousands of animals from places of cruelty and exploitation (including factory farms and animal experiment labs). It has also caused £millions of financial loss to those who profit from the exploitation of animals.

In the ALF aims and guidelines, which have to be clearly adherred to for the name to be used in a direct action, it is imperatively stated that activists should:

  • Take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.

If this does not happen, then it quite simply is not an action of the ALF.

Vicious dog murderers or victims of slander campaign? Hunt saboteurs play with foxhounds rarely shown affection at the weekend.

Vicious dog murderers or victims of a slander campaign? Hunt saboteurs play with foxhounds who are rarely shown affection, at the weekend.

Hunt saboteurs are also mentioned in the article, as they are often active in the region close to the kennels and have previously attended meets of the Ross Harriers Hunt. Again there is the suggestion that they may have be involved in the attack, or that they and the ALF are one-and-the-same.

Hunt saboteurs also use non-violent direct action to save hunted animals. They put themselves between the hunted animal and the hunters, using scent-dulling sprays and hunting horns to mimik the huntsman and call hounds away from the hunted animal.

In the 50 years that hunt saboteurs have been active, there have been all sorts of accusations made against them by the hunting fraternity; spraying hounds with battery acid, using trip-wires to trip up horses, even bringing pre-caught foxes along and releasing them in front of hounds to prove that hunts are illegally hunting – none of which have ever been proven.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association introduction literature clearly states that saboteurs should never harm or put animals at risk, whether they are the hunted animal or animals used by the hunt. This is seen as somewhat of a golden rule by hunt saboteurs and monitors. The press officer of the Hunt Saboteurs Association commented on the incident saying:

“We simply do not engage in or condone criminal damage or any attacks on animals,”

“We engage in legal disruption of illegal hunting and we had nothing to do with this whatsoever.

“It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing the ALF would do either, killing a dog. They have been known to steal an entire pack of hounds, but they wouldn’t harm one.”

In short the murder of this innocent animal (if that is indeed what happened) is obviously a heinous crime, something that animal rights activists and hunt saboteurs would also be extremely opposed to, whoever it belonged to.


Attack on saboteurs by members of the Ross Harriers hunt last year.

The Ross Harriers – not so squeaky clean

It seems that the media (including, unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail) are swallowing up yet another animal rights scare story, without looking any deeper and only giving a glancing refference to the recent history of this particular hunt.

The Heckler has reported on the Ross Harriers a number of times in the recent past. In November, Peters was fined £720 by magistrates in Hereford and ordered to pay £200 compensation to a hunt saboteur he was found guilty of racially abusing during a meet at Aston Crews last January. In October a supporter of the Harriers was also found guilty of assaulting a saboteur and around this time last year members of the hunt attacked the vehicle of anti-hunt protesters and some of its occupants with an iron bar. Hardly the track record of law-abiding, non-violent and decent human beings and certainly far from the image of ‘victims’ that they appear to have gained with some.

A ‘false flag’ attack?

So with it looking extremely unlikely that the people who carried out the murder of this dog were associated with hunt saboteurs or the animal rights movement and the previous bad behaviour of the hunt examined, who could have been responsible? A number of possible (and in our opinion much more likely) explanations for the attack and who carried it out have been raised online:

  • It could be part of a smear campaign by the hunting community to slander hunt saboteurs and animal rights activists. Lee Peters is appealing his conviction of racially abusing a saboteur last year, and the retrial will be heard at Worcester Crown Court in the Summer. The media attention and police investigation would serve as a well timed attempt to gain public support for Peters and to discredit and put pressure on the activists who oppose him and who will presumably play a part in the case against him.
  • It could have been committed by somebody with a personal gripe against Peters, or another rival, local hunt. There are often bitter rivalries over hunting territory, support and finances. The pro-hunting community have also been known to dump dead foxes at the houses of hunt opponents, have killed and injured pet animals (such as dogs) and have vandalised vehicles and houses. This sounds awfully similar to the type of attack described in the article, and the ‘antis’ would make for perfect cover for such an attack.
  • It could have been proponents of the upcoming badger cull, which will take place in the area. The badger cull is conveniently mentioned in the article and by the hunt’s ‘anonymous source,’ without anything else suggesting that this alleged ‘ALF action’ had anything to do with the cull. By making it look like ‘animal rights extremists’ are operating in the area, the police would be forced to take more of an active interest in pursuing the animal rights activists who would oppose the cull.
  • The ‘ALF’ attack on the vehicle could have been an action genuinely committed by animal rights activists, with the dog being dumped (or planted) by others afterwards – the dog either dying of natural causes and being made to look like it was killed, or being killed in a more sinister manner. Again this could serve to discredit the action and the activists, by giving a scapegoat for the death and turning the media attention to what the hunting community would portray as ‘hypocritical hunt opponents.’

It is not unheard of for such ‘false flag’ attacks to happen, after all. Back in 1990 an unheard of group called the ‘British Animal Rights Society’ claimed responsibility for having attached a nail bomb to a huntsman’s Land Rover in Somerset. Forensic evidence led police to arrest the owner of the vehicle, who admitted he had bombed his own car to discredit the animal rights movement. He was jailed for nine months.

Whoever the perpertrator of the alledged attack on the Ross Harriers kennels was, we think there is more to this story than meets the eye…

Herefordshire huntsman fined £3000 after racially abusing hunt saboteur

Lee Peters, huntsman for the Ross Harriers Hunt who operate in south Herefordshire, has been found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour after a three-day trial at Hereford Magistrates Court.

David Lee Peters – convicted racist huntsman

Peters, a 33-year-old father of two who lives in Coughton near Ross-on-Wye, was fined £720, ordered to pay £2,000 court costs and £200 compensation to his victim.

The conviction relates to an incident on January 7th 2012, when hunt saboteurs attended a meet of the Ross Harriers hunt at the Penny Farthing Inn at Aston Crews near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. Peters shouted racist abuse at a black saboteur and threatened to attack another. The comments were overheard by a local man who was in his garden next to the road. He soon after reported it to the police.

Lee Peters – shortly before his arrest

A saboteur who was present told the Heckler:

“We hadn’t long arrived near their meet, and were parked up in one of two land rovers on a verge on the side of the road. The Harriers left their meet at the Penny Farthing pub and came around the corner, with Lee Peters riding at the front. His aggressive behaviour started immediately.

“He shouted “you’re all going to fucking get it” and either kicked the side of the vehicle or hit it with his riding crop. He then went to the rear of the land rover and looked through the window. He then said very loudly – presumably to the rest of the nearby riders – “Look, they’ve even got a f***ing w** in here.” This was aimed at one of our number who’s a black female.

“Despite this aggressive and repulsive behaviour, we carried on with what we intended to do for the rest of the day- monitoring the hunt and intervening if we believed illegal hunting was taking place.

“Word had obviously got back to Peters that the police were now after him, as he left his horse and took the hounds into a hard-to-reach area on foot, thinking that he could evade the police who were patrolling the area in a number of vehicles. He was arrested not long afterwards.”

In a press release by the Hunt Saboteurs Association, spokesman Lee Moon said:

“Decent people know that racism is completely unacceptable.  The hunting community however appear to be stuck in some kind of time warp where it is still OK to use this kind of disgusting language.  Maybe they would like to join us in the 21st Century  and realise that racism, along with the senseless murder of animals in the name of sport, is something that society no longer tolerates.  We hope the Ross Harriers do the right thing and sack Mr. Peters immediately to show that they do not condone racism.”

This local hunt has a growing reputation for being badly behaved. Only a fortnight ago we reported that one of their supporters was found guilty of assaulting a saboteur on another occasion.

You can find out more about Hunt Saboteurs and opposing by visiting the local sab group’s website, or by reading our ‘interview with a hunt saboteur.’

London Anarchist Bookfair 2012

On Saturday 27th October the annual London Anarchist Bookfair is being held.


It’s the biggest event in the UK anarchist calender, with stalls from hundreds of different activist groups, campaigns and publishers. As well as these, there are discussion meetings, talks, workshops, films and more.

Hereford Heckler will have a stall there as usual, with items from our shop for sale. Come and find us and have a chat!

The bookfair will be held from 10am-7pm at Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS.

The English Defence League are due to hold a demonstration on the same day, also in east London. Anti-fascists are calling on people to head to Walthamstow to oppose them. If you’ve got time and a bit of a plan, why not do both?