In April 2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was chosen as Pope Benedict XVI. His Holiness is a gentle man who has spoken passionately in the past about the exploitation of God’s creatures at the hands of man.
In an interview for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in which Pope Benedict was asked about the teachings of the Church concerning non humans, he said, “That is a very serious question. At any rate, we can see that they [animals] are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals, too, are God’s creatures.”
He went further and commented on specifics of animal exploitation, “Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”
If you believe in God, then it is indisputable that animals are God’s creatures too.
Cardinal Ratzinger was echoing Pope John Paul II, who went even further and declared animals have souls, and people must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren.
He went on to say that all animals are “fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect” and that they are “as near to God as men are.”
“By their mere existence they bless Him and give Him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.”
St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of animals said it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.
Catholics and Protestants spring from the same roots, they read the same messages of compassion and empathy in the Bible, and they worship the same God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is therefore reasonable to assume that God’s message to all Christian denominations would be one and the same, and that the words of two Pope’s should be enough to deter even the most bloodthirsty men of the cloth.
Blood sports have a long association with the Church in the UK, and long before the hunting ban in 2004, members of the clergy were riding to hounds, blessing the day and drinking from the stirrup cup.
The notorious Reverend John "Jack" Russell (1795-1883) (after whom the Jack Russell terrier is named) was a passionate proponent of foxhunting and it is said he even wore his hunting breeches and boots under his robes when giving a sermon.
Difficult to equate the Rev Russell with a God who cares for all living things, when he bred terriers to fight below ground with foxes too exhausted to run any further.
One of the first demonstrations to expose the hypocrisy of some men of God took place on Sunday September 26th 1976 at St. Andrew's Church, Boscombe near Salisbury.
The Reverend Robin Ray was the Joint-Master and Huntsman of the local Courtenay Tracey Otter Hunt.
He was also a follower of the New Forest beagles which were used to track and kill hares whilst the hunters followed on foot. Anyway, on that particular Sunday, a large group of hunt saboteurs attended church with a few placards stating ‘only rotters hunt otters’.
They also pinned a ‘Hounds off our Wildlife’ note to the altercloth.
The police were called and the protesters were removed, but the message that hunting has no place in the lives of those who preach the Word of God was made loud and clear.
The following is an excerpt taken from the archives of (http://www.acigawis.org.uk/bloodsports/hunting-and-the-clergy)
On March 20th 1977 on the other side of England there was a protest by some 50 supporters of the HSA at the Mothering Sunday service conducted by 69-year-old Reverend Eric Wheeler at St. Mary's Church, Steeple Bumpstead in Essex.
This time the conservationists carried banners proclaiming: "There is nothing sicker than a hunting vicar" and "Hunting is a Clerical Error."
HSA Secretary, Dave Wetton, explained to journalists that his group felt that the Reverend Wheeler's sporting interests, in particular his lifelong passion for hunting and his membership of the local Puckeridge and Thurlow Foxhounds, were totally contrary to Christianity and to what the Church represents.
Before the demonstration the Reverend Wheeler defended blood sports saying: "Nature is a hard way to live. There has been an ancient order since the dawn of life and, though it may seem cruel, there are no geriatric hospitals out in the wild. I don't feel I have to justify anything. Christianity has nothing to do with wild animals”
A group of about 20 conservationists had joined the congregation for the service and had sat quietly for some 15 minutes.
However, when the Reverend Wheeler was about to read the first lesson the conservationists started to sing their own version of the well-known hymn "All things bright and beautiful". This was as follows: -
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
Your vicar kills them all
At this members of the congregation shouted at the conservationists and the Reverend Wheeler summoned two police officers to eject them from the church urging the police to "pinch the lot" and saying: "Out you go. I will not have anybody in my church interfering with divine worship."
He then explained to his congregation: "They have committed an act against the Lord", and the congregation chanted to the anti-hunting activists: "Out, out you dirty louts!".
After the service Reverend Wheeler was escorted from the church by police officers to the accompaniment of jeers from the conservationists and cheers from his parishioners. Reverend Wheeler later explained his views to journalists: "What happened today had no influence on me whatever. When they try and compare hunting and Christian teaching they are talking about two different worlds."
A local leader of the HSA, Tom Halliday from Cambridge said afterwards: "We can't see how a man can kill animals one day and next day preach about love and goodness. We hope the Church will put some pressure on this vicar."
Astounding as it may seem, hunting is alive and well among some of the clergy today, and whilst many priests do not follow hounds, quite a few are reluctant to ban hunting on church land, or deal with vicars who like to hunt.
One such reverend is Neil Patterson, who has been accused of lacking Christian values after a video of him riding to hounds with the South Herefordshire was shown prior to arrests for cruelty to foxes of ten hunt employees.
The hunt staff were videoed throwing this year’s fox cubs alive into a kennel full of snarling hounds.
A petition calling for Archdeacon Paddy Benson to sack the Reverend Patterson has so far fallen on deaf ears.
Reverend Paddy has not only failed to condemn hunting; he has also said he will not interfere with hunting on Church land.
Anyone who would like to sign the petition may do so here. https://www.change.org/p/the-diocese-for-the-church-to-sack-reverend-neil-patterson
Fox cubs are usually born in March and remain underground with their mother until they are about three or four weeks old.
After this time spent in the den, they emerge and play outside with the vixen not too far away keeping a watchful eye.
At around five weeks, the cubs’ fur changes from brown to red and they start to search around for earthworms and beetles etc to eat although they still occasionally drink their mother’s milk.
At six to seven weeks the cubs are weaned and around June time, the earth where they were born is abandoned.
By July they are less dependent on the parents and by August, when they are six months old they are able to search for their own food, although the family is usually still together at this time.
By August, the fox hunters are about ready to start training new hounds.
Although cubbing has been illegal since 2005, it is no secret that hunts across the country seek out these six month old babies in order to give their new dogs a taste of fox blood and to train them to be vicious.
Cub hunting, like dog fighting, is a sick and cruel sport carried out in the early hours of the morning away from prying eyes. The hunters surround a covert where it has previously been established foxes are hiding. They send in experienced hounds with the new hound trainees, the riders and foot followers are there to chase the cubs back into the wood if they try to escape.
Older foxes may be allowed to escape as they will be considered good sport for later hunts.
Once cornered by the dogs, the fox cubs are ripped apart. Any trainee hound who does not show an aptitude for killing fox cubs is either shot or bludgeoned to death.
In 2012, a hunt master and a member of his staff were found guilty of illegally hunting fox cubs with hounds.
Johnny Greenall and Glen Morris both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them after anti-hunt protesters covertly filmed the hunt in October 2011 Huntsmen from the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt were filmed surrounding a wood near Hilton.
The video footage showed two foxes trying to escape from the wood, on Suffield Farm in Sutton-On-The-Hill. One fox is scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen clapping their hands.
This grisly form of entertainment is happening now all over the UK.
The pro hunting lobby group, the Countryside Alliance is working hard to persuade us that killing foxes the ‘traditional way’ is a natural form of animal management. They also claim that any enjoyment from the activity is secondary to the useful service they are providing.
To even admit that killing animals is pleasurable in any way shows indisputably that people who enjoy this form of entertainment are truly sick.
December 2015, a terrier man associated with the Lamerton hunt, took a tiny live fox cub home in his pocket after its mother had been killed. The same man has a past conviction for starving fox hounds.
In May 2015 a League Against Cruel Sports investigation led to the discovery and rescue of 16 fox cubs on land linked to the Middleton Foxhounds Hunt. The League investigators believe these fox cubs were kidnapped for cruelty as a ready supply of animals to be chased by the hunt.
As recently as June this year, three people from the South Herefordshire Hunt, were arrested on suspicion of causing suffering to animals.
The arrests came after footage was revealed which animal rights campaigners claim shows evidence of "cubbing", using fox cubs to train hounds to hunt and kill the animals.
Footage taken by a new group the Hunt Investigation Team, supported by the League Against Cruel Sports, shows members of the South Herefordshire hunt throwing live fox cubs into a kennel full of hounds. The dogs can be heard baying and snarling and later the bodies of two fox cubs were thrown in the trash. Three people have been arrested and released on police bail. Of course the hunting groups dissociate themselves from this cruelty, leaving their minions the kennel staff to carry the can.
The Master of Fox Hounds Association, which regulates and represents hunts around the country, said it had launched the inquiry "into conduct which suggests breaches of the association's rules at the South Herefordshire Hunt".
However, it would be interesting to hear how the Master of fox Hounds Association explains the training of new hounds if fox cubs are not used in the process.
Traditional hunting foxes with dogs has been banned for more than a decade, with hunts now allowed to only to trail hunt, which involves hounds following a man-made trail across country. But animal rights campaigners are well aware that most hunts break the law and kill foxes on a regular basis.
The only way to stop this cruel and barbaric sport is to ban trail hunting completely.
The hunters seem incapable of obeying the law so we must work towards strengthening the hunting Act and make killing foxes by setting packs of dogs on them a criminal offence.
Hunters caught hunting should receive a huge fine and a term in prison.
With a criminal record and a much lighter bank balance they may think twice before eviscerating one of the UKs small predators as a fun day out.
Andrea Leadsom, Tory MP for South Northamptonshire, is one of two females tipped to become our next Prime Minister.
Ms Leadsom is a committed Christian who claims she carries out her duties as an MP with God always in mind.
She says she became a Christian when her son was born, and she feels God is guiding her hand in all she does.
Perhaps she missed Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all his vanity.
Isaiah 1:11 “What to Me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
Ms Leadsom’s favourite hunt footing. Shocking racist verbals from one of the pros. Hereford hunt rearing fox cubs to train hounds by throwing them alive into a kennel full of hounds.
A sneaky backdoor attempt to make minor changes to the hunting Act (which would have legalised red coat hunting through the backdoor) failed last July because of unprecedented opposition from anti hunt MPs across the board.
Andrea’s own Tory Party has a growing number of MPs who are opposed to this cruel form of entertainment. If she is elected to lead the Party and she does hold a vote on repeal, she may find she has huge opposition from town and country alike.
The UK may be a country in turmoil because of poor Tory leadership, Brexit and the Labour Party coup, but we are still a nation of animal lovers.
On June 10, 2016 we learnt that Hereford hunt kennels based in Wormelow, was closed pending enquiries into cruelty to foxes.
Horses and hounds were moved elsewhere whilst police investigated and made two arrests.
A 37-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were subsequently arrested for animal cruelty, although at that time we did not know the nature of the allegations.
Then on June 13 a THIRD person was arrested in connection with the police investigation linked to the hunt in South Herefordshire.
June 23 we were treated to the full horror of what led to these arrests as a video was released showing fox cubs being thrown to the hounds.
Undercover footage by the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT) shows live fox cubs taken into the hunt kennels.
The League against Cruel Sports commented on the footage saying,
“The footage shows:
- The huntsman removing a fox cub from a cage in a trailer
- A live cub is taken towards the kennels
- The huntsman enters the kennel block with the cub
- The hounds are heard baying
- The huntsman can be heard vocally encouraging the hounds to kill
- The huntsman dumps the lifeless fox cub in a bin
- A second fox cub is taken into the kennel block.”
Eduardo Gonçalves added
“Once again we see evidence which destroys the deliberate deception of hunting as a means of fox control. Fox hunts hunt foxes because they like hunting foxes, not for any other reason. As we have seen time and time again, they will capture foxes, release them on hunt days just to make sure hunters get their gruesome chase, or as we believe this footage shows, throw them to the hounds as bait. There’s nothing sporting, nothing natural and nothing remotely honourable about this so-called tradition. It’s grimy, it’s cruel, it’s going to be offensive to most right-minded people, and we need the police and courts to punish all those involved.”
The HIT team managed to retrieve the lifeless bodies of two of the three cubs. Preliminary investigations showed one animal had been eviscerated and the other was covered in bite wounds.
The Hunt Investigation Team, which campaigns against fox hunting, secretly filmed two of the foxes alive inside the cage at night.
Later the cameras picked up a man removing them using a noose and taking two of them, one at a time, into the kennels nearby. Seconds later, the hounds inside can be heard barking.
A whooping noise, which sounds as though it is being made by a human, can also be heard. The Hunt Investigation Team claims this was to "call the hounds on" to attack the foxes.
On each occasion, the man emerges with a fox's apparently lifeless body and puts it in a bin. Later footage shows the bins being taken away. However, before then, the activists had retrieved two fox cubs' bodies from the bins.
One of the HIT investigation team, who asked to remain anonymous for her safety, said: "When our investigators took those fox cubs out, one of them was disembowelled; one of them had multiple bite wounds. Our feeling is that they were fed live to the hounds. The animals' bodies have been passed to the police.”
Cubbing, or autumn hunting to give it its sanitising term, is nothing new. Young foxes are brutalised to train the next season’s hounds on fox scent and to teach them to be vicious with their prey.
In 2012, a hunt master and a member of his staff were found guilty of illegally hunting fox cubs with hounds.
Johnny Greenall and Glen Morris both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them after anti-hunt protesters covertly filmed the hunt in October 2011 Huntsmen from the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt were filmed surrounding a wood near Hilton. Experienced hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes with new hounds in training in tow. The video footage showed two foxes trying to escape from the wood, on Suffield Farm in Sutton-On-The-Hill. One fox is scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen clapping their hands.
This grisly form of entertainment is not a rare occurrence. It is happening all over the UK. The pro hunting lobby group, the Countryside Alliance is working hard to persuade us that killing foxes the ‘traditional way’ is a natural form of animal management. They also claim that any enjoyment from the activity is secondary to the useful service they are providing. To even admit that killing animals is pleasurable in any way shows indisputably that people who enjoy this form of entertainment are truly sick.
December 2015, a terrier man associated with the Lamerton hunt, took a tiny live fox cub home in his pocket after its mother had been killed. The same man n convicted in the past for starving fox hounds.
In May 2015 a League Against Cruel Sports investigation led to the discovery and rescue of 16 fox cubs on land linked to the Middleton Foxhounds Hunt. The League investigators believe these fox cubs were kidnapped for cruelty as a ready supply of animals to be chased by the hunt.
Red coat hunting is as inefficient as it is cruel. Apart from the fact that only 12% of foxes who die in any season are killed by red coat hunting, removing animals from their home ranges only leaves vacant territories for other wandering males to claim as their own. It is not necessary to ‘control’ foxes, they aren’t over populating, and neither are they a great threat to livestock. Even free range poultry farmers lose only a small number of hens to foxes, and with better protection for their stock, losses can be cut even further.
The vile treatment of young foxes, which aren’t even a year old yet, must stop. Hunting foxes with packs of hounds has been illegal for almost 12 years. If all hunts are hunting within the law, there is no need to train young hounds on fox scent. Hunters who use wild animals in this way are no different from those who enjoy badger baiting and dog fighting.
Time now to ban ALL trail hunting as it seems hunts across the board seem incapable of obeying the law.
Other related stories http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fox-hunters-slammed-letting-little-6785232 16 fox cubs rescued from a barn
News from POWA (Protect our Wild Animals)
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/robbie-marsland/a-busted-flush-as-scotlan_b_9571238.html Scotland’s hunting Act
From complaining about RSPCA uniforms copying the police force to pet owners complaining they weren’t allowed to say goodbye to their ‘beloved’ pets, it seems that the RSPCA is constantly being abused in the pro-hunt press.
Let’s debunk a few myths surrounding the ‘sinister and nasty’ charges levelled at the RSPCA by those who have fallen foul of UK’s animal protection laws.
In 1824 the idea for the RSPCA was conceived in a coffee shop in London. In 1829, five years after the beginning of the RSPCA, Sir Robert Peel, who was Home Secretary at the time, presided over the Metropolitan Police Act which provided permanent appointed Constables who were paid to protect the Capital as part of the Metropolitan Police Force. The early police uniforms were actually not dissimilar to those already worn by the RSPCA, and were chosen because the Peelers wanted to look more like ordinary people.
Richard Martin MP (who was also a keen fox hunter) William Wilberforce MP and the Reverend Arthur Broome wanted to do something positive to protect farm animals from cruelty, particularly cattle. Odd that a fox hunter should be so blinkered in his approach that he did not consider the suffering his sport caused to wild animals in the countryside, but whatever Mr Martin’s blind spot might have been, his Bill, which when it became Law, saw the beginning of the RSPCA which has gone from strength to strength in spite of its detractors.
Today the RSPCA uniform is still more or less as it ever was, minus the tail coat and top hat. The RSPCA insignia is always clearly and prominently displayed. RSPCA inspectors never act without an owner’s permission unless an animal is suffering or in a dire emergency. If the court feels evidence has been wrongly obtained, it can refuse to admit it. All RSPCA officers carry RSPCA ID cards, and their vans are clearly liveried with the RSPCA logo.
“All ranks within the Inspectorate wear a white shirt with obvious RSPCA logo on the left breast. All ranks, except Animal Collection Officers, are provided with a formal uniform for use at special occasions such as Court hearings and ceremonial occasions. During major rescues, specialist teams of Inspectorate staff may opt for a more casual dark blue polo shirt with RSPCA embroidered logo. RSPCA
Anyone, even the most myopic amongst us, can see immediately that the RSPCA is in no way trying to emulate the police force, or imbue its inspectorate with special powers above and beyond the rest of us.
The police and Government Animal Health Officers are the only people who have the powers of entry if animal cruelty is suspected. Usually this happens after a court order is obtained, although there is provision in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in emergency situations.
The RSPCA inspectorate do not force their way into people’s homes and seize animals, if they did, they would be breaking the law and would be open to prosecution. As we have NEVER seen the RSPCA in court for breaking, entering and stealing animals, I think it’s safe to assume that this is because that is not how the Society carries out its work. The RSPCA relies on the statutory powers of the police with whom they have an excellent working relationship.
Similarly, the RSPCA does not keep a band of lawyers on its payroll for prosecuting animal abuse cases. The lawyers used by the RSPCA are independent people who happen to be the best in their field, and well versed in dealing with animal cruelty law. The RSPCA exercises the right that we all have as private citizens to bring private prosecutions against those who neglect or deliberately abuse animals both wild and domestic. In almost all cases of abuse and neglect, concerned neighbours have alerted the RSPCA to the animal suffering, and again in most cases the RSPCA will offer advice and support in the first instance. If the case is escalated because conditions for the animal have not improved, only then is prosecution and seizure of the animal concerned considered.
When taking out a private prosecution, the RSPCA follows the same code for public interest as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The Full Code Test has two stages: (i) the evidential stage; followed by (ii) the public interest stage, and if the criteria are not met for those two stages, the RSPCA does not go on to prosecute.
We must also remember that the CPS can stop a prosecution at any time if it is thought to be not in the public interest. This has happened in only a handful of cases, and the RSPCA has a much better success rate than the hard pressed and underfunded CPS, which is saving the tax payer millions of pounds a year.
No one wants to think an animal has been left to suffer through thoughtlessness or from deliberately inflicted cruelty. The AWA of 2006 puts a duty of care on pet owners today. It is no longer good enough to acquire a pet on a whim and then neglect that pet because the owner either can’t be bothered or forgets to provide clean water or provide proper living conditions, or because they haven’t researched the needs of the animal properly. Neither is it acceptable to neglect an animal because the owner is frail or has special needs. It is a misconception, and one the 2006 Act makes perfectly clear, that to own an animal does not mean someone can treat that creature however they think best without repercussions of one sort or another.
The RSPCA is simply doing what it says on the tin, it is standing up for animals, that is putting animals first. To prosecute someone for neglect or abuse is not undertaken lightly. A full team of experts including experienced vets, is mobilised and each individual case is discussed at length, with prosecution being a last resort. Many people are given advice and help and it is only if that advice is ignored and conditions for the animal don’t improve that prosecution is considered.
Disability Now magazine, one of the RSPCA’s disgruntled detractors, has criticised the RSPCA, claiming the Charity unfairly targets the elderly and disabled people. Yet there was agreement that the animals in those cases did suffer, and the RSPCA, regardless of the reason for the suffering, has a duty to the animals it exists to protect.
RSPCA inspectors receive comprehensive training on the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. If it is deemed necessary to go to court, and if the court has convicted, then there must have been a case to answer. As the only charity who investigates animal cruelty, an RSPCA Inspector’s job is one of a kind. They are on the front line of animal abuse, sometimes dealing with horrific neglect and suffering. The training to become an RSPCA inspector lasts 12 months, it is intense and physical covering all aspects including rescues and cruelty.
The RSPCA does a wonderful job, it is a much needed and respected British organisation at the forefront in the fight against animal cruelty in the UK.
If you care about animals consider joining the RSPCA and be part of that force for goo
A recent report claims that in the last forty years the number of wild animals on planet earth has halved. It seems humans are spreading like viruses across the globe slaughtering everything in their path.
Whole populations of non-humans have been wiped out and their habitats destroyed for food, fun and to make way for money making enterprise.
The eyes of the world have recently turned on trophy hunting after the cruel and unnecessary death of Cecil the lion killed by an American dentist for sport. Millions of decent people are outraged at the senseless slaughter of African wildlife yet there are still those who still attempt to defend this vile practice by claiming it’s an act of conservation. Even members of the British royal family go trophy hunting.
Those who could set such a great example prefer instead to just pretend to care about wildlife, whilst indulging themselves in their bloodthirsty hobbies of shooting and hunting.
Claims that canned hunting helps the local poor by paying millions of dollars into the economy is rubbish. Most of the money paid by the super-rich to indulge a bloodlust goes straight into the pockets of the middlemen, large companies and corrupt government officials. A dead lion is worth much more than a live one to many officials on the take. Two hundred million dollars a year and Africa has nothing to show for it apart from dwindling animal numbers and much animal suffering. It’s a frightening thought that greed and a desire to shoot at living targets may see some of earth’s iconic species disappear for ever in our own lifetime.
Another pathetic argument put about by hunters the world over, no matter what the species they want to kill, is that hunting helps wild populations. Unfortunately, this argument doesn’t hold water. No one wants a mangy looking old lion head on his wall. Hunters take animals in their prime for their trophies, leaving the weak or the sick to take care of the pride. The gene pool of an alpha animal is destroyed and the pride is left open to attack by wandering males who may kill a whole generation of cubs. Similarly, the oldest and most experienced elephants are killed because they have the biggest tusks, leaving the younger less experienced to look after the herd with little protection or guidance.
Governments collude by setting up ‘legal’ quotas and the hunters try to invoke moral arguments because they say it’s within the law. But not everything that is legal is wholesome, and any law, whether good or bad, depends on the humanity and the moral compass of the law makers at the time. Estimates of the lion population is the wild are between 20 to 35 thousand animals, not counting poaching and other deaths, hunters are legally allowed to kill around 600 hundred a year. That is an unsustainable annual population loss of approximately 3 percent.
People who simply like killing will always find an alternative excuse. Tell them the wild populations are in danger of vanishing forever and they come up with canned hunting. A sport even more disgusting than killing in the wild. Bred in captivity, hand reared to trust humans, exploited by tourists as fluffy cubs, then sold on to hunting concerns when then are fully grown, to be shot like sitting ducks on a pond. Some argue that breeding lions in this way can be used to repopulate the wild, but these animals are ill equipped to deal with life in the bush. Most are inbred with a poor gene pool and releasing animals this way into established territories can lead to fighting and unstable prides.
Local people with livestock and crops to protect often kill those animals who aren’t afraid of man and who will wander into human areas in search of food or simply because they are used to being around people.
Change comes slowly, and there are always those who will exploit all living things to make money. Fortunately, some African countries are coming to realise that shooting big game with a camera may turn out to be more lucrative. In Botswana, the government banned almost all trophy hunting at the beginning of 2014. Compared to the 1.8 percent of revenue from killing animals, Africa is coming to realise that 98 percent of those who come to visit, come to see the wildlife. Eco tourism provides jobs for guides and spin off industries like holiday accommodation etc.. Those who come with cameras stay for longer and many come back with friends. In the first year of Botswana’s ban, eco-tourism brought in $344 million dollars.
Change is slow, but it is happening. Let us hope that the day of the backward hunter, who likes to use living flesh as target practice, is coming to an end before we lose any more of our world’s precious animals.
[For now people such as this "Africa Safari Hunting Consultants" still make money out of big game hunting]
Canned Hunting, Cowards Killing Captives
Lion trophy hunting Can the Can
Op-ed: Members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee (EFRA) are currently in discussion about Britain’s animal welfare laws and whether they are still fit for purpose in 2016.
The inquiry will focus on the effectiveness of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in protecting domestic pets, such as cats, dogs and horses, from cruelty.
This is in part response to the growing concern about Internet trade in animals and the easy way unscrupulous people can buy and sell animals for dog fighting, baiting and other nefarious activities.
Included in EFRA’s review of animal laws is a debate about the RSPCA and whether the charity should be allowed to continue in its present form of investigator and prosecutor.
The RSPCA has been saving animals both domestic and wild for 200 years. It is irreplaceable and the work could not be picked up by the police and the CPS.
The Charity has no statutory powers above and beyond any citizen in the UK.
It is a long established legal right of every one under English law to bring a private prosecution, and with a 92.4 per cent success rate, which is much higher than the CPS, the RSPCA has saved the taxpayer £43 million a year, and in 2015, 796 animal abusers out of 1,781 were convicted and punished.
So all in all the RSPCA is fulfilling its remit as a charity by preventing cruelty and helping bring animal abusers to court in the interests of the public. It should also be remembered that the RSPCA has no powers of arrest, and in the case of domestic animal abuse, all arrests and removal of animals are carried out by the police, not the RSPCA. Similarly, in Court it is the lawyers and the judges who decide if a person is guilty or innocent, not the RSPCA.
No reasonable person would argue that RSPCA private prosecutions are anything but about stopping animal abusers and saving animals from suffering but it appears the Charity is a victim of its own success.
Animal experts and others in authority have been invited to submit evidence for the EFRA review, and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has reportedly also submitted evidence to EFRA stating that the RSPCA should step back and leave the roles of investigator and prosecutor exclusively to the police and the CPS.
The NPCC is concerned that the RSPCA has no statutory powers to assume the default role of investigator and prosecutor and it draws attention to the fact that the RSPCA has been shouldering this responsibility outside of a statutory framework for some considerable time.
The NPCC goes on to say that groups such as the Countryside Alliance (CA) have long accused the RSPCA of pursuing politically motivated prosecutions against hunters and it is past time the Charity left the state to prosecute criminals as it does in every other area of the law.
Tim Bonner, CA CEO said, “The time has come for the society to accept that none of its prosecution decisions will be seen as independent whilst it attempts to carry out the multiple roles of political campaigning and criminal prosecutor, whilst running an intensive fundraising operation,"
Tiverton and Honiton MP and Efra committee chairman Neil Parish said the role of the RSPCA is, "certainly something MPs will be looking at and taking evidence on.
We are a nation of animal lovers and that's why the RSPCA is one of the largest and most well-funded charities in our country. They've had a tough period and I think that prosecutions have had a lot to do with that.”
Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Dene, who is also a member of EFRA, said animal welfare is one of the issues constituents contact her about the most and whilst this Government has made huge strides in this area, including taking action on protecting wildlife, there is still much work left to do. Ms Pow hopes the EFRA inquiries can highlight the areas where improvements can be made.
And so the stitch up of the RSPCA begins in the guise of updating the UK’s animal welfare laws.
If we take a closer look at the EFRA committee, half of those on board are pro hunt and pro repeal of the hunting Act.
Neil Parrish, EFRA Chair, is rabidly pro hunt and pro badger cull. Rebecca Pow, MP is also in favour of making legal again the ripping up of Britain’s wildlife for entertainment.
Neither Mr Bonner nor the NPCC have explained in what way prosecuting animal abusers is political. It’s not and never has been political to stop people being cruel. Neil Parrish claims the RSPCA prosecutions have made it tough for the Charity. He’s right, but not because of any political motivation.
The Countryside Alliance has long had reason to hate the RSPCA since the Charity successfully prosecuted the Heythrop hunt for illegally killing a fox.
The unelected, single issue, pro hunting/shooting Countryside Alliance organisation has relentlessly pursued the RSPCA through the pro hunting media with lies and smears and claims that prosecuting hunt abuse of wild animals is because people are against toffs enjoying themselves. There is no moral argument to support hunting, so the next line of attack is to render those against their cruel form of entertainment powerless.
What better way to avoid prosecution than to remove the right of the RSPCA to prosecute?
To this end, the Countryside Alliance has harassed the RSPCA online and in the national press.
The CEO has pestered the Charity Commission, members of Parliament and indeed anyone else who will listen to the relentless carping. This remorseless attack is not in the best interest of animals, it is purely in the interests of the hunting fraternity, who want the RSPCA stripped of its right to investigate and prosecute hunt abuse of wild life.
The police aren’t interested in illegal hunting, and indeed many police officers are pro hunt themselves, so with the RSPCA unable to act, its business as usual for hunts up and down the country with little fear of being caught and punished.
Many reports of police collusion with hunters and the prevention of the saboteurs monitoring hunts can be found on Facebook.
On March 20th this year, the Sheffield saboteurs reported that an inspector based at a Northampton police station, encouraged hunt followers to block the road preventing the sabs from following the hunt for 10 minutes, giving them time to get a head start.
It was alleged that the same officer also witnessed an assault on the sabs but then claimed he didn’t. When challenged he said " I am not bothered about assaults. But I am bothered about aggravated trespass "
In answer to the question, are you going to do anything about illegal hunting? he said "no, but I will be making arrests for aggravated trespass “.
The Accidental Activist wrote in his blog in March that a senior police inspector was present at an illegal cub hunt in 2015, and the Wild Life Crime Officer for Leicestershire police was forced to stand down from her role when it was discovered that she is from a hunting family and she is currently involved with the Duke of Rutland’s Belvoir hunt. (The same hunt that is under investigation after allegations of grievous bodily harm to two monitors from the League Against Cruel Sports.) It has been alleged that on other occasions Leicestershire police regularly harass hunt sabs while ignoring assaults, dangerous driving and reckless & outrageous behavior by local hunt supporters. Leicestershire police are not alone in this.
In 2006 Avon and Somerset and Devon and Cornwall police were presented with evidence against the Exmoor Foxhounds but they decided not to pass the file on to the Crown Prosecution Service. The police prevaricated until such time as the League was forced to take out its own private prosecution against the hunt.
Elections for Police and Crime Commissioners will be held in the 41 police force areas of England and Wales on 5 May 2016. One of the candidates for Durham is Tory Peter Cuthbertson who has declared in an email to a constituent that although he is very much against animal abuse and supports good animal welfare he does not support the fox hunting ban.
Lord Ashcroft, in his unofficial biography of David Cameron, claimed that whilst our Prime Minister was an MP, he wrote to the CPS to get a friend off a hunting charge.
The CPS subsequently dropped the case and a FOI request about the issue was denied on the grounds it was not in the public interest. David Cameron is himself a hunter, and repeal of the hunting Act is in the Tory manifesto.
As recently as June 2015 East Kent Hunt Saboteurs Association presented the CPS with evidence of illegal hunting but the case was dropped before the Court hearing on July 13th. The hunters were accused of illegal hunting on two separate occasions, November 8 and December 23 2014 on the Romney Marsh, and a separate incident when they were alleged to have dug out a live fox. Video evidence was supplied as well as an expert witness statement.
Grant Tilman from the East Kent Hunt Saboteurs said: “It is unbelievable that the CPS believe that there was insufficient evidence, the video footage speaks for itself. The video evidence was also to be backed up by the testimony of a local hunt saboteur/ hunt monitor and evidence taken from two pro hunt websites.”
In disgust Mr Tilman went on to say, “How often does a prosecution case have video evidence of an offence, someone with twenty two years of hunt experience ready to testify, not to mention two websites implicating many of the accused at the scene of the crime. How much evidence do they need? A signed confession?”
So where does all this leave animals if the RSPCA is stripped of its prosecuting rights?
And equally worrying, where will it end?
Will the League against Cruel Sports be banned too from taking abusers of UK wild animals to Court?
People who care about animals are justifiably concerned that with animal cruelty on the rise, and prosecutions left to the police and the CPS, many animals both domestic and wild will not get the protection or the justice they deserve.
Many of us feel that the EFRA committee would serve our animals better if instead of persecuting the RSPCA, they remind Britain’s police forces that they have a duty to uphold ALL UK laws, not just those they deem are more important.
September 2015 - Open letter to EFRA, Cameron, Hart and Parish
Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting