Hunt followers are being urged to tighten their security settings on Facebook to protect themselves from online abuse.
The Countryside Alliance (CA) put out the warning in reaction to the Scum Watch Facebook page, which posts photographs of people it believes are involved in hunting and other country pursuits. The posts are often accompanied by offensive comments.
In a recent incident, the group posted a picture of a 14-year-old whom they mistakenly thought was an older follower of a hunt in the Midlands. One comment posted underneath suggested she should be raped.
The group also celebrated the recent death of a hunt master, saying that the news gave them a “warm fuzzy glow”.
“The best way to ensure your photo does not end up on this unpleasant page is to change the privacy settings on your Facebook account, to ensure only friends have access,” advised Charlotte Cooper from the CA.
“You should also make sure your email address and phone number cannot be seen by the general public.”
The CA is still campaigning against another Facebook page called Hunting Accidents. The group, which has nearly 2,000 likes, “celebrates the death and serious injury of hunters”.
The page was temporarily taken down in the spring, but resurfaced a couple of days later (news, 25 April). The CA is encouraging supporters to report the page to Facebook’s administrators.