Vile internet trolls condemned for comments on hunting death

  • Vile anti-hunt internet trolls have been condemned for sickening comments made in relation to the death of a “popular and talented” horsewoman.

    A post on an anti-hunt Facebook page about Sue Webb (pictured), who died as a result of a fall while out with the Mid Surrey Farmers Draghounds on 4 March, has been removed, but only after the comments had been allowed to remain for “a number of days”.

    The Countryside Alliance (CA) has spoken out about the trolling after a hearing in Parliament yesterday (16 March), in which MPs criticised Facebook and Twitter for not doing more to ban inappropriate content.

    CA spokesman Tom Hunt said: ““Sue Webb was an incredibly popular and talented horsewoman who will be missed by her friends, family and associates in the equestrian world and beyond. The vile and insensitive comments that have been posted on social media are totally unacceptable.

    “Sue was out draghunting when this tragic accident occurred.

    “In draghunting, hounds follow an artificial scent laid over a pre-defined course and those on horseback follow them, usually over a jumping route. At no point have there been any allegations of illegal foxhunting taking place by a draghound pack, yet the internet trolls deem it acceptable to make revolting comments about the legal pastime Sue chose to take part in.

    “If this loss is not great enough for her family, at a time when they should be given time to grieve in peace they are now being subjected to reading these revolting comments that are based on pure ignorance and prejudice.

    “The type of person that thinks it is acceptable to post comments about somebody they do not know following such a tragedy should not be welcomed in a modern society, and we call for the social media channels to respond respectfully by banning these users and bringing them to account.”

    Yvette Cooper, chairman of the home affairs select committee, said she understands the challenges social media sites face.

    “You all have millions of users in the United Kingdom and you make billions of pounds from these users, [but] you all have a terrible reputation among users for dealing swiftly with content even against your own community standards,” she added.

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    The CA is compiling evidence of the online abuse aimed at hunt supporters and will write to Mrs Cooper.

    Mr Hunt added: “We welcome the strong line the home affairs select committee has taken on this issue. It is vital the social media giants step up to the mark and ensure they robustly tackle the chilling comments so often posted on their sites.”

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