Taking A Liberty
THE Countryside Alliance marches through London in defence of "liberty and livelihood" but some supporters have already taken more than a few liberties.
Among those marching the streets are farmers, hunters and other rural workers convicted of animal cruelty, breach of health and safety rules, pollution and fraud.
PETER KANABUS, West Grinstead, West Sussex
HE SAYS: "Life for farmers is much worse, there is all the red tape and low prices and a belief that the government just don't care. The countryside is going to become a much less nice place to be in. We suffer more than people in urban areas because we live here."
WE SAY: Kanabus, 52, admitted 43 charges of cruelty to cattle in 1998. His wife, Annabel, 54 - sister of supermarket tycoon and science minister Lord Sainsbury - admitted 22 charges. Their son Jason, 26, admitted 43 charges. In a raid on their farm, RSPCA inspectors found starving cows crammed in a shed which was a foot deep in manure and littered with carcasses. Horsham magistrates ordered the family to pay fines, costs and compensation totalling £44,000. An RSPCA inspector said: "Clearly the Kanabus family had failed to feed their cattle. They had the financial resources to do so but simply didn't."
FRED HARBER, Smallfield, Surrey
HE SAYS: "The government isn't doing enough," said Fred's wife Barbara. "They should give more grants but don't. Poor farmers work all hours God sends and don't get appreciated, just slapped in the face. I can't go on the march but Fred will if he can."
WE SAY: Fred Harber was jailed for eight months in January this year for cruelty to four horses. Harber, 56, denied the offences at Reigate magistrates but admitted the condition of the animals was "disgusting". He was banned from keeping horses for 10 years. An RSCPA inspector said: "I was appalled that animals could have been kept in such dreadful conditions."
RICHARD PORTER, South Warnborough, Hook, Hants
HE SAYS: "Life has got worse under this government. I'm going on the march. I don't hunt but I allow people to hunt on my land. I think people should be allowed to do what they want as long as it's not cruel. I don't interfere with what people do in the towns, so why should they interfere with what I do?"
WE SAY: Porter, 60, was fined £15,000 at Winchester Crown Court in November 2000 for fiddling milk production records amounting to £700,000.
PETER RAYMOND JONES, Brixworth, Northants
HE SAYS: "Like everyone round here I'll be going. I don't think the government wants agriculture, it just wants a theme park."
WE SAY: Jones, huntsman in charge of the hounds for the Pytchley Hunt, is cited in the BSE report of November 2000 because he broke laws designed to stop the spread of disease. He was prosecuted at Daventry magistrates for failing to safely store "risk material" and for failing to quickly dispose of dead sheep. He was fined £2,000.
BERNARD FOX, Akeley, Bucks
HE SAYS: "The government isn't doing enough, I'd like to see it making up the subsidies due to us. Our European brethren get the benefit but we don't. Many small farms have gone and we will lose more. Some would argue it's overdue and that other industries do not get the same support but it will change the face of the country. I'll be on the march."
WE SAY: In June this year Fox was fined £4,000 for polluting a tributary of the River Ouse at Akeley with farm effluent. Fish along a two-mile stretch of water were killed.
Sir HENRY AUBREY-FLETCHER, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire
HE SAYS: "Many sons of farmers have decided they do not want to come into an industry to work for considerably less than the minimum wage.
I don't hunt but that doesn't mean I'm against it, I believe in freedom of the individual. Country ways are not fully understood by urban people. I shall be there on Sunday."
WE SAY: Landowner Sir Henry, 56, caused fury with proposals to build 2,000 homes on green fields by the West Sussex village of Southwater.
One resident expressed amazement that a countryside supporter could be behind the plans, saying: "His position appears ambiguous, some may even suggest hypocritical."
BEN PAYNE, Fakenham, Norfolk
HE SAYS: "Life for rural communities has got worse. The government does not support British farmers. That will do away with people like us in the agricultural feed industry. I expect to be on the march."
WE SAY: A worker at Payne Bros (East Anglia) Ltd had an arm severed above the elbow in May 1999 while cleaning a conveyor belt. The firm had no written safety procedure, there was no guard over the trough and the employee had to stand on a girder just three inches wide. The family firm admitted the offences and was fined £13,000 by King's Lynn magistrates.
OWEN G OWEN, St Asaph, Anglesey
HE SAYS: "We have the world's dearest petrol, sheep medications that cost four times what they cost in Australia, labour laws that are prohibitive, yet we are expected to produce food at world market prices. The government has a hidden agenda to put all British farmers out of business. I'll be there on Sunday."
WE SAY: Last month abattoir operator Owen. 51, was fined £2,000 for pollution. Environment Agency officers found a stream near the abattoir was reddish brown and stank of slurry.
DIANE COLE, Orsett, Essex
SHE SAYS: "Rural life is getting worse. There's increasing crime, increased rubbish dumping, encroachment by gypsies. The Government isn't doing enough. Twelve of us from the farm are going on the march."
WE SAY: Cole was fined £5,000 by the Health and Safety Executive for keeping an illegal pesticide.
MARK GREEN, St Owen's Cross, Hereford
HE SAYS: "The government doesn't want to know country people," said Mr Green's wife, Joan. "Country life is getting harder. It's a combination of red tape, imports, strength of the pound. I wouldn't support a ban on hunting. The hunts only seem to catch foxes that need culling, the old ones. We're going on the march."
WE SAY: Mark Green was fined £1,600 by the Health and Safety Executive after an employee was trapped in a potato harvester. The worker injured an arm, a leg and his genitals in the accident in 1999.
VERA READMAN, Whitby, North Yorks
SHE SAYS: "It doesn't seem as though the government wants farmers. A lot of it could be to do with the EU and the rulings we seem to have to stick by and other countries don't. My son will be on the march."
WE SAY: Mrs Readman admitted five offences of failing to dispose correctly of sheep carcasses at Whitby magistrates in October 2000. She was fined £500.
FINALLY, three farmers who support the Countryside Alliance but will not be able to make it...
BOBBY WAUGH, Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland
HE SAYS: "Town people are trying to tell country people what to do. None of them have a clue about farming. People just want cheap meat and produce, they aren't bothered where it comes from. I can't go on the march because I've got angina but I sympathise with it."
WE SAY: The other reason that the farmer accused of starting last year's foot-and-mouth outbreak will not be marching is that he was electronically tagged in June for three months. He was also banned from keeping animals for 15 years, convicted of failing to alert officials to the disease, causing unnecessary suffering and feeding unprocessed waste to his pigs.
JOSEPH BOWDEN, Totnes, Devon
HE SAYS: "He supports the Countryside Alliance but won't be able to go because he's working," says a friend.
WE SAY: Bowden claimed £156,000 in subsidies for fields that didn't exist. Some map references he gave was for "land" in the Atlantic between Greenland and Iceland. Bowden, 48, was jailed for 30 months at Exeter Crown Court in 2000 for deception and false accounting.
DAVID HOLMES, Silsden, West Yorks
HE SAYS: "I worked under a Labour government in the 70s, Conservatives in the 80s and 90s but this fella Blair thinks he's president. I wish I could go but it's too far away."
WE SAY: Holmes was convicted in 1996 and 1998 of causing suffering to sheep and fined. In 1999 he was jailed for six months and given a life ban on keeping animals after being found guilty of cruelty to cattle. In 2000 he got another life ban after being found guilty of causing suffering to a dog and last October was jailed for five months after breaking the ban.