(He was however reprimanded for his imprudence at a later date). Unfortunately for Mr Barnfield et al, the evidence of blatant hunting was irrefutable, and they had no option but to ‘fess up, and Justice Tim Pattinson had no other option but to bring in a verdict of guilty.
He fined the Heythrop hunt and its members £6,800, but then he rounded on the RSPCA for spending £330,000 to bring the case.
“Members of the public may feel that RSPCA funds can be more usefully employed,” he told Oxford Magistrates' Court. Perhaps he’d not heard that the Spindles Farm prosecution, brought against farmer Grey for cruelty to his horses, cost three times that amount and the RSPCA was praised on that occasion for their professionalism and diligence.
Obviously Prince Charles feels the same.
He wants the RSPCA to spend its time on other cruelties, the likes of which won’t affect his hunting chums. The police don’t seem to bother, and the CPS are not in a good place right now with funding cuts and no real experts to take on hunting cases.
If only the RSPCA would just concentrate on more working class sadisms, like lamping and dog fighting, fox hunters could then carry on Tally Ho Ho Ho-ing and hollering all over England’s green and pleasant land with no hindrance to their enjoyment.
The disembowelling of our precious wildlife for the sheer entertainment value of it all would go on as before with little fear of prosecution.
Of course the Countryside Alliance (CA) is cock a hoop with his Royal Huntness. That bastion of all that is wrong and bloody in the UK countryside thinks it’s a great idea for Charlie to threaten the RSPCA with dissociation from all things Royal.
The CA CEO, Tim Bonner, had this to say, "Anyone considering taking on the patronage of the RSPCA would have to consider its future direction and whether it is going to continue down a radical campaign path. If it reverts to its traditional role as a welfare charity protecting animals I am sure nobody could have any reason not to support its work."
In all honesty, would it be so bad if the RSPCA dropped the ‘R’? RSPCA supporters think not. In fact many people have been unhappy for some time that the bloodthirsty in the highest circles continue to support killing wild animals.
Prince Charles’ grandsons and his daughter in law, with attendant family, celebrated Kate Middleton’s thirty fourth birthday ‘low key’ blasting away at birds in the seclusion of a private estate.
Charles’ sister, the Princess Royal, was a one-time patron of the RSPCA until it was deemed unfit for someone so rabidly pro hunt to front a charity which was founded to promote kindness to animals. The upper echelons have tried for some time to get their bloodstained paws on the RSPCA. In 2001 the RSPCA expelled the Olympic showjumper Richard Meade for orchestrating a campaign to infiltrate the society and overturn its longstanding opposition to hunting.
Fortunately the RSPCA has resisted all efforts at take over and has stood firm on its policies against hunting. This ethical and moral stance has not been an easy ride. The Charity’s last CEO was bullied mercilessly for daring to take the rich man’s sport to task. Lies and smears in the pro hunting press, together with continuous bad mouthing from the Country side Alliance, forced Mr Grant to retire on health grounds.
At present the Charity is without a new chief executive; a job, in the light of the bile and spite pouring forth from the hunting fraternity, is not one any prospective candidate would take on lightly.
In a way, Price Charles is right. The RSPCA will do very well without pro blood sport Royal Patronage.
The Sports Minister, Tracy Crouch is particularly vocal against killing for entertainment, and with a growing army of opponents the poor old Countryside Alliance who, in spite of the bluster, are floundering in a shortage of funds and a lack of enthusiasm for their blood thirsty pastimes, can only fight back with smears and insults.
Tim Bonner took to Twitter again in a flurry of annoyance and accused Ms Crouch of having a sugar daddy in the form of Dr Brian May; Dr May is an important campaigner against fox hunting and the British badger cull.
With so many MPs, and 83% of the public, against cruelty to UK wildlife it is looking increasing likely that even with our pro-blood sports front bench, David Cameron will be unlikely to muster the numbers required for a free vote to repeal the hunting Act.
It’s far from over, however, and it would be a mistake to be too complacent.
We have just over four more years of Tories like Mr Cameron in power, and if we want to ensure the legislation to protect our wild heritage stays in place we must remain ever vigilant.
[The fight is far from over as "Ministers consider new body to prove hunting helps animal welfare to win over anti-hunting MPs"]
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Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting
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