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Hunt Master vows to defy saboteurs' attempts to 'bury Boxing Day meet under paperwork'

Hunt master Ivan Massow (left) rides out with the hounds ahead of the Boxing Day meet 
Hunt master Ivan Massow (left) rides out with the hounds ahead of the Boxing Day meet  Credit: Jeff Gilbert

S三级成人视频taring at the risk assessment for the fourth time when he would rather be out on his horse, Ivan Massow might have been forgiven for feeling like he wanted to give up.

But as Master of the Southdown and Eridge hunt he had vowed that he would not be beaten by the saboteurs and their attempts to “bury” the Boxing Day meet under a pile of papers.

三级成人视频Animal rights campaigners have made numerous attempts to tie the hunt in red tape, including calling on the council to ban them from public land, making health and safety complaints and complaining that they did not have a licence for the toast they raise before setting out.

“The antis have tried to bury us under a pile of paperwork and it is very, very clever of them but everything will be covered and we will go ahead, we won’t be defeated,” Mr Massow said ahead of his hunt’s traditional meet in Lewes town centre on Thursday.

三级成人视频The multi-millionaire financier and leading gay rights campaigner has spent his life standing up for what he believes in and says that there are parallels between the fights he has taken on.

“It does feel like a struggle,” the 52-year-old told the Daily Telegraph. “That is one of the reasons it is so aligned to my previous experience in gay rights activism.

“Now I feel that the countryside needs a champion, needs a bit of help in so many ways.”

Mr Massow is in his second season as Master of the Southdown and Eridge hunt Credit: Jeff Gilbert 

Mr Massow, who grew up in East Sussex and now spends most of his time farming, believes that the attacks on hunting is one of the many ways in which traditional rural life is being threatened.

As a result the former Tory Mayoral candidate, who once said it was harder to admit he was a Conservative than that he was gay三级成人视频, has opened up about the extent of his involvement for the first time.

The current Southdown and Eridge hunt was formed in 1981 by the amalgamation of two packs, but it is believed the tradition meeting in Lewes goes back hundreds of years.

It was immortalised by Siegfried Sassoon in Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, which was based upon his friendship with Norman Loder, who was master of the Southdown Hunt from 1911 to 1913.

三级成人视频Mr Massow is in his second season as Master but has been involved in different leading roles in hunts for more than two decades.

A friend of Joan Collins and the former chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he is not the stereotype of a hunt Master, and this may be why he has been reluctant to talk about it in the past.

But he has come to the conclusion that it is not animal welfare that motivates the saboteurs三级成人视频 but a “Corbynesque” idea of class warfare, and he  is precisely the type of person to prove that the stereotypes of wealthy landowners in red coats is wrong.

Ivan Massow with partner Ed and son Theo ahead of a meet in Hailsham, East Sussex Credit:  Jeff Gilbert

A三级成人视频dopted as a teenager before making his millions in the insurance industry, he now lives with his partner Ed and his son Theo near Lewes and dedicates a lot of his time to running the hunt.

Whilst to the outsider this might also seem a million miles from fighting for gay rights, Mr Massow can see parallels.  “They both feel like issues of liberty,” he said.

Since the 2004 act banned fox hunting, packs across the country have adopted drag hunting instead in which they chase a scent trail rather than an animal.

But the saboteurs did not give up when the act passed through Parliament, and have continued to relentlessly pursue hunts which they allege are breaking the law.

三级成人视频Mr Massow said that they have tried to engage with protesters and have in the past offered to let them lay the trail and given them a map of their routes.

But the sabs merely used it to get ahead of them and jump out in front of their horses, scaring them and endangering the riders, he said.

“They think that they are suffragettes throwing themselves in front of our horses but all they are doing is saving a piece of tissue being dragged along by a man in sportswear.”

Ivan Massow at a meet in East Sussex on Saturday Credit: Jeff Gilbert

F三级成人视频or the animal rights activists it is their own day out, they are themselves hunting the hunt, he believes. 

三级成人视频“The sabs have their own uniforms with the black balaclavas and the black clothing and they have their own mission,” he said.  

三级成人视频“That mission is not to work with the community to create something wonderful; it is to destroy a tradition. This is a lifestyle struggle against the people they perceive as being the enemy.

三级成人视频“If we meet at a pub they will go online and destroy that pub's rating on Trip Advisor.

三级成人视频“They have tried everything they can with the council to get us closed down and most recently the antis claimed that we are in breach of licencing law because we are serving drinks.”

For hundreds of years hunts have traditionally had a drink, usually of port, from a stirrup cup before setting out for the day. 

The objection that they needed an alcohol licence for this was rejected as the pub providing them with the drinks will not be charging, Mr Massow said.

A三级成人视频fter meeting with the police, the council and filling in endless forms the hunt has only just managed to jump all the hurdles thrown at them days before they are due to meet.

“These complaints are all very well organised,” said Mr Massow as he returned from meeting farmers on the hunt's country.

三级成人视频“Part of what concerns me is that it is a terrific waste of money. I felt terrible that I was involving the tax payer in all these meetings.”

三级成人视频It is not all bureaucracy, as he alleged that those who opposed the hunt had also rewired jumps, putting riders at risk, and tampered with shoots including releasing young pheasants before they could fly and protect themselves.

But none of  their actions, or the protests that are planned for Boxing Day, will stop the riders.  

三级成人视频Personally Mr Massow would like to see the 2004 hunting ban overturned as he believes that it is having a damaging impact.

The ban means that foxes are being shot in their droves by gamekeepers because the growth in population has seen them threaten other wildlife, he said.

When the hunts cannot ride as has happened frequently this season because of bad weather, the activists turn their attention to other countryside pursuits or the local abattoir, which is now considering  closing its doors. 

This in turn would see animals forced into cattle trucks for long journeys to slaughter, he argues. 

But in ban or no ban one thing is for certain, that the Southdown and Eridge hunt will continue to wow the crowds on Boxing Day.

三级成人视频“Lewes is a really lovely example of how thousands of people turn out on the street,” Mr Massow said.

三级成人视频“It is quite a rebellious town and the people are not frightened easily and I think that this has helped us to push through. We are acting within the law.”