Hunt Saboteurs Association

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The logo of the Hunt Saboteurs Association UK.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) is a worldwide organization using direct action to stop the hunting of animals. HSA activists use a model of leaderless resistance and have been using the same basic tactics since their inception in 1963; the underlying principle being to directly intervene in a day's hunting, historically by delaying or confusing the horses and hounds.

Origins[edit]

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 pregnant deer into a village and kill her." [1] Designed to "actively oppose blood sports," [1] the HSA eschewed parliamentary reforms and instead went directly out into the fields of Britain to do everything they could, sometimes breaking the law and being consequently arrested, to prevent the killing of British wildlife.[1] "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. Hunt saboteurs often refer to themselves as "sabs", however they are typically called "antis" by hunts; short for anti-hunter.

Early evidence[edit]

A group of hunt saboteurs both appear and are a critical part of the plot in the 1963 film The List of Adrian Messenger.

Tactics[edit]

The HSA uses tactics as varied as using hunting horns and whistles to misdirect hounds, spraying scent dullers, laying false trails, and locking gates to interfere with the progress of a hunt.[2] 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.


The HSA has expanded into countries such as the United States and Canada, so tactics have shifted depending on the type of hunting being disrupted. The HSA now routinely disrupt deer, waterfowl, turkey, mink, and hare hunts, as well as angling and other types of fishing.[3] As a result, numerous states have passed laws forbidding the disruption of legal hunting activities.[citation needed]

Journal[edit]

HSA UK publishes a quarterly journal, Howl.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

National Groups