In a violent clash caught on camera a huntswoman repeatedly whipping an anti-hunt protester around 17 times, as riders also allegedly used their horses as weapons.
Brighton Hunt Saboteurs filmed the clash on Saturday (18 November) as they interrupted a hunt by East Sussex & Romney Marsh Hunt Club (ESRM) in Pevensey Marshes. As both sides argued and shouted, one huntswoman can be seen beginning to hit a protester with a whip at least 17 times.
Protesters can be heard shouting "stop hitting him" as the attack continues for around 10 seconds, while huntsmen scream "let go of the horse" and the huntswoman herself says "get off my horse". The anti-hunt protesters also accused the riders of using their horses as weapons.
Posting the video on Facebook, the protesters said: "Clearly unable to reconcile with the fact that most people find her 'hobby' abhorrent, one rider also lost the plot and started riding sabs down and attacking us with her whip. Needless to say, we stood our ground and will no doubt be seeing the ESRM again very soon."
A statement released on behalf of the ESRM said they did not condone the huntswoman's actions. It read: "We do not condone any form of violence even when faced with extreme provocation, personal harassment and other offences.
"The hunt acts lawfully within the confines of the Hunting Act 2004 and takes every measure to ensure the law is adhered to."
A spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance, which promotes rural sports such as hunting, appeared to place the blame on the anti-hunt protesters, who they said often "intimidate and harass" supporters.
A statement said: "As we have always known, the reality is that the anti-hunting movement is far more about the hatred of people who hunt than the love of animals.
"Hunts comply with the Hunting Act 2004 by trail-hunting and using other legal forms of exempt hunting however they are still plagued by balaclava-clad animal-rights activists who intimidate and harass hunt supporters and landowners."
"Throughout the hunting debate, those opposed to hunting from Ministerial level down, asserted that it was wholly an animal welfare measure and that they wanted hunts to continue hunting an artificial scent once the ban was in place yet it becomes more and more obvious that the primary aim of the anti-hunting movement is to get rid of people who hunt, rather than to improve animal welfare."
Sussex Police is investigating the incident, which left the victim with a bruise and bump to the head.
A spokesperson said: "A third party report of an assault has been made after a man was allegedly struck with a riding crop by a horse rider in Herstmonceux on Saturday (November 18).
"The incident happened in a field off Church Road around 12.30pm. The victim was reported to have received a bruise and bump to the head, but did not require medical treatment.
"The informant was not a witness to the incident, but police have now identified the alleged victim and an investigation is under way. Police are aware of a video reportedly showing the incident being available on social media."