Is anyone surprised that this transpired, given the dirty tricks AR people have pulled on their targets?
AN animal rights group has been bombarded with abusive mail from hunt supporters in a scam that has cost it thousands of pounds.
The League Against Cruel Sports was targeted after it launched an appeal for donations using a Freepost address.
Hunters sent out a round-robin email urging supporters to abuse the system by sending heavy parcels for which the League would have to pay.
Van loads of bricks, telephone directories, heavy books, abusive letters and animal excrement were sent to the League's offices. So far the cost is more than £10,000.
Among the hunt supporters who apparently forwarded the email is Amelisa Robinson, the wife of the Queen's equerry Simon Robinson.
And the scam was backed by TV host Jeremy Clarkson who said in his newspaper column he was going to send a "paving stone or a horse".
Mike Hobday, of the League, said: "Not content with abusing our wildlife for their own entertainment, they are now trying to deprive us of funds donated by our supporters. Many of our supporters who use Freepost are pensioners."
Actress and model Lisa B, an animal welfare supporter, was outraged when she received the email.
She said: "It is so wrong, so below the belt. It is a fraudulent way of taking money from people who believe in the cause."
By my standards, she is right.
But by the standards adopted by Animal Rights activists — which includes harassment and terror tactics — what the hunt supporters have done is mild, and if the shoe were on the other foot, I'll wager the League Against Cruel Sports would have thought the scam to be jolly good fun — or at least wouldn't have condemned it.
Now, an Animal Rights group is getting a taste of its own medicine and they are calling foul.
The scam was sparked after the League appealed for funding for its Hunt Crimewatch campaign which gathers evidence of illegal hunts after they were banned in February.
Hunt supporters seized on the chance to send an avalanche of mail to its HQ in Southwark, South London.
Tory MP Michael Gove and Richard Dodd, of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, were sent the email. There is no suggestion they took part in the scam.
Top Gear's Clarkson urged hunt supporters to take part in the scam, saying it would leave the League less to spend on surveillance gear.
I disapprove of the scam.
But the logic underlying it — that it would siphon funds away from surveillance gear to pay for postage — is the same logic that underlies AR people making threats to huntsman, guinea pig farmers, construction companies building animal care facilities or researchers.
In each of these cases, the harassers force their target to divert limited resources away from their intended use to something else — either paying for security to guard against AR harassment, or paying for postage fees to cover the cost of mailing bricks.
My moral framework allows me to condemn illegal actions regardless of whether they are undertaken by AR groups or groups I might be in sympathy with.
The moral framework of most AR people does not.
The only time an AR person has sufficient moral authority to condemn the hunt scammers is if they, the AR people who condemn, are equally vociferous in condemning (not merely "not approving") the disruptive scams and violence of their AR brethren.
My advice to the League is either to condemn the tactics of their brethren — the ones who operate in behalf of SHAC, for example — or stop complaining.
Another newspaper's gossip column urged "those who like to hunt - or just don't like the animal rights lobby" - to send an empty envelope to the address so that the League "incurs a Royal Mail charge".
But yesterday Mr Hobday insisted: "It is clear so far that this trick has backfired. The reaction we have had from the public is one of disgust and dismay that the bloodsports lobby could stoop so low.
I doubt that.
"We have passed this material to the authorities and believe there is enough evidence to land many pro-hunters in hot water."
So . . . when the worm turns and pro-hunter people use AR-like tactics against AR targets, the targets now appeal to the government for relief . . . would that be the same government whose laws some AR people — like SHAC agents — regularly and egregiously flout, without condemnation from the League?
What am I missing?
Lisa B notified the League, set up in 1924 to stop violence against animals, as soon as she got the email.
She said: "There has been no grace in the behaviour of these people trying to bring the organisation down.
"I believe people are entitled to their own opinion, but I don't see how this behaviour can be remotely justified. It is also an injustice to the whole postal service."
I condemn the scam, and I condemn equally Lisa B's double standard.
Unless she's been forthright in condemning what her AR brethren have done, for example, against the Hall family (link, link, link) and HLS (and link), she and her supporters should stop their whining.
Police confirmed they were investigating if the culprits could be charged with theft, fraud or sending malicious post. Just forwarding the email could result in criminal proceedings. Mrs Robinson was not available for comment.
When the Mirror called her, she said: "This is not a good time, I'm bathing the children. Speak to the press office."
Buckingham Palace, where her husband works, said: "The email was not sent on a Palace computer. Amelisa is not employed by Buckingham Palace."
While I condemn the scam, and I would investigate it and prosecute any person who violated the law if that were my job, there is still an emotional part of me that, to my immense discredit, delights in the turned worm.
Alas, I am only human.