Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Hunting thrives since ban says Telegraph

One has to be careful of the biased source but today's Telegraph tells us that hunting is alive and well and thriving, and all thanks to the ban which came into force in spring 2005. According to the article there are: 322 packs of hounds in the country; 320,000 who turned out to last year's Boxing Day meets; 8000 people employed full-time directly in the activity; and only one huntsman convicted under the act and even this was overturned on appeal. In addition the article tells us that since the act 215 out of 563 Masters and joint Master of Foxhounds have been confirmed in post.

Given the symbolism of the day, this is clearly a deliberate thumbing of the nose at the Labour government's Hunting Act. Yet I'd guess the figures probably near enough correct. Should Labour supporters feel any chagrin or angst? Well, it depends on how you regarded the act in the first place. Personally I was agnostic and felt a huge amount of time and emotion were being expended to little effect. I feel sure many Labour MPs were enthusiastic for the measure because it was bound to get up the noses of Labour's traditional enemies in the 'hunting and shooting' classes.

In other words, it was more about class spite than concern for the poor old fox. When more urgent measures, relating to ordinary families and children, were being backed up by this apparently endless process, I could not raise much enthusiasm for it. It was also clear, as I tell my students when we cover the role of pressure groups, that the Countryside Alliance organised a massive and effective campaign which surprised Blair and his ministers with its force and wide bases of support. Its success extended the time-scale, modified the act and brought comfort to a Conservative party way down in morale overt signs of revival.

So I'm not so surprised or distraught at the report. Whether hunts properly abide by the nebulous 'exempt hunting' rules laid down by the act, is unclear though Barry Hugill of the League Against Cruel Sports, whilst possibly being naive, seems happy enough:

"If it is the case that membership is going up - and I am sceptical - could it not be that people are happy to go trail hunting without killing animals?"

When I heard on the wireless this morning that a quarter of a million people would attend hunts today I rewrote the headline in my head as a ‘good news’ one - 60 million people will find something better to do than going hunting today. It's sad that the BBC wasted any airtime on the silly little story – amongst others they didn't bother to mention was the "more than 100 people are feared dead after a steel footbridge collapsed into an icy river in western Nepal today" one reported on the Indy’s site.

Few people at BBC News seem to care enough about foreigners to let their plight get in the way of their corporation's "incompetent government" agenda; I guess it’s still smarting from the below inflation licence increase...
Nothing wrong with a little "class spite", Skipper. Interesting, isn't it, that these people are apparently above the law?
Agree that a little class spite adds spice to our drab lives, but wasting so much legislative time is taking things way too far.
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