And it’s not just the wild animals that get hurt, terriers are often severely injured in the subterranean fights. The men have little regard for the pain of their dogs. That is borne out by the way they are transported and handled and the injuries the terriers receive which are often repaired using homemade sewing kits and no anaesthetic.
Imagine what is must be like for a small fox hiding in complete darkness. He has been chased to earth by a pack of baying hounds where he lies exhausted and trembling waiting for the danger above ground to pass. The men have either blocked or netted his other escape routes and introduced a dog into the hole. The fox is trapped and can only fight for his life whilst the men dig him out from above.
Sometimes if the fox is facing away from the terrier he may be savaged from behind. His hind quarters will be torn and slashed by the dog which will bite anything within reach of its jaws. Don’t forget dog and fox are fighting in a small space devoid of any light. Terrible injuries can result to both animals from these underground fights which are protracted and always bloody.
Fighting terriers, or hard-mouthed dogs, are forbidden under the hunting Act of 2004, but under pressure from the blood sports lobby, some terrier work is allowed to continue under exemptions for gamekeepers and others. What is not allowed is using a terrier other than to flush a fox from cover, but if you think these men give a fig about the law then think again. They are brutal, callous individuals who often try to claim they are providing a service by exterminating vermin.
This is a lie on two counts. First, foxes are not vermin and second, they mostly don’t need to be killed. The only thing these vile men provide is a grisly satisfaction for themselves and their ‘sport’. Where ever you find a sadistic act of cruelty you will also find an abuser who will defend his actions by claiming the animal he likes to torture is vermin. In 2011 a gamekeeper was convicted of extreme cruelty when he caught a fox in a snare and set his dogs on the animal, who was forced to fight for his life whilst snared and backed into a corner by this horrible thug. This man watched with a friend, and even videoed the fox’s torment on his phone. Eventually, when the fox was too weak to fight any more, it was shot. His defense in court was to claim he was dispatching vermin. He said it was only a fox and he had done nothing wrong by his way of thinking. The RSPCA Inspector said he had never seen anything so cruel in his ten years of working with the RSPCA.
These are the kind of people who often follow the hunt, although they can also be found acting independently, travelling up and down the country in pursuit of their vile entertainment. They are not immoral they are amoral, and they operate in a subterranean culture totally without empathy and without conscience. Setting a dog on a fox is indistinguishable from dog-fighting and baiting. Indeed in 2007 a BBC Panorama program revealed that many dog-fighting rings attend terrier and lurcher shows which are held throughout the UK. Terrier work and cruelty go hand in hand. To find the truth of this we need look no further than Facebook where people openly boast and post their nasty pictures of the wild animals they have persecuted, tortured and destroyed.
The League Against Cruel Sports has reported two recent incidents of cruelty to foxes in Wales. Members of the campaign group Wales Against Animal Cruelty reported that even though it is against the law two men admitted to sending a terrier underground to find a fox. The men had netted the escape holes and were caught on camera shooting the fox as it tried to escape.
The second incident has caused widespread outrage and has even prompted a petition insisting that the people responsible are arrested and prosecuted. The petition wording makes horrific reading,
“They came upon a young vixen who had just given birth to two young fox cubs. She was too weak to defend the cubs, and against the thugs of this hunt group and the dogs, she did not stand a chance.
The vixen whilst battling to defend herself as she was being torn to pieces would have had to watch as her two newly born cubs were also dragged from the den she had made safe and secure to give birth and feed these two sweet little cubs, the dogs then tore the vixen to pieces and killed her, not satisfied with this cruelty the "huntsmen" if you can call them that, teased the terrier dogs with the newly born defenseless cubs and allowed the dogs to take chunks from them.”
The petition calls on the Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police Constabulary to investigate the hunt and people on Twitter also sent messages asking what the police intend to do, if anything.
The League has stated on their website,
“The League has flagged these reports with South Wales Police, in a hope that they will look into the incidents further to determine if any illegal activity has taken place. The information will also be used by the League’s own Investigations Team, which is tasked to investigate cruel sports, illegal hunting and wildlife crime.”
It takes a particularly nasty type of human being to set dogs on a defenseless animal in order to enjoy the outcome. More often than not the animals these vile people torture display a measure of courage that their gutless assailants could never match. This is one of many stories from the archives of the Hunt Saboteurs Magazine Howl 1989
“4th March: Essex Foxhounds hunt a vixen and mark her to ground. Before hunt saboteurs from the mid-Essex group can reach the scene the hunt’s terrier men dig the vixen out and kill her. They left the scene apparently unaware that the vixen was lactating and had obviously given birth. The vixen had been killed just inside the earth where she had stood up to and fought the hunt terriers to protect her young. Hunt saboteurs, on reaching the earth, heard faint mewing sounds from amongst the wreckage of the earth. They started digging and were rewarded with the sight of nine newly born and still blind cubs no more than five days old. Their vixen had sacrificed her life for them – but not in vain. These cubs were taken away to an animal sanctuary and with a great deal of care reared successfully for later release back into the wild, in a safe area.”
Hopefully in 2015, and with a change of Government, the law will be strengthened to outlaw terrier work completely and those found breaking the law will be treated to a spell in prison and banned from keeping animals and owning guns for life.
Resources and related reading
Keep the hunting ban, only civilised way forward
Political skulduggery and the Countryside Alliance
Time to strengthen the Hunting Act
British democracy, don't make me laugh
Sometimes he will be thrown to the dogs alive, and the men may take videos which are later posted up on social media sites like Face Book or Instagram. The terrier men are also the hunt bully boys who are not above committing GBH on others who attempt to disrupt hunting by diverting the hounds away from their fleeing quarry.
(Today it is illegal to use a hard mouthed, or fighting terrier, underground, and rather than risk taking an injured animal to a vet, the terrier men often stitch their dogs’ wounds themselves without anaesthetic or analgesia.)
The story of Copper the fox, named because he was saved by a policeman’s helmet, illustrates perfectly the misleading statement that foxes may escape unscathed. Copper had been chased down a hole, over which was placed a policeman’s helmet to prevent him being dragged out and killed.
The standoff lasted sometime, but eventually when the hunt gave up and moved off, Copper was rescued, and taken to a wildlife centre to recover. Such was his mental trauma from being chased that he suffered multi organ failure, including bleeding from both kidneys.
The other claim that fox hounds generally catch the old, weak, and diseased or injured fox is pure nonsense.
There is no fun chasing an old or sick animal who is quickly caught. Hounds will chase and kill anything, including pregnant vixens and even our pets, when their blood is up. It is also quite despicable to even think about setting a pack of dogs after a creature who is too old or too sick to run away. And why would it be necessary in the first place? Foxes only live for a couple of years in the wild and an animal that is sick can be easily caught and either treated or humanely euthanised by a vet.
Hunters also like to compare their dog-packs to packs of wolves. They pretend that the whole grisly business is nothing more than hounds emulating nature. Nature does not select specifically for a long chase, neither are wolves followed by people on horses, nor do they line the trail with supporters who cheer them on and keep an eye on the quarry for them, whilst preventing it from going to ground or escaping by hiding. Wolves most certainly do not keep terriers in little boxes on the back of quad bikes, nor do they go out equipped with nets, radio collars and spades. Nature determines the health and size of the fox population in the UK.
There are approximately a quarter of a million foxes in Britain, including urban foxes, and that number has remained static since records began. Like all predators, foxes control their own numbers according to food supply and habitat, they are not over populating and they never were. It’s worth asking why, if the hunting set is so concerned with the rest of us being overrun by foxes, that they go to so much trouble to build artificial earths to encourage foxes in areas where they are scarce, or where they can be safely killed out of sight of prying eyes. Pre ban foxes were imported from abroad when their numbers were so low that there were not enough to provide a day’s sport.
Hunting can NEVER be acceptable morally or practically. Hunters don’t kill enough to be termed controllers and foxes don’t need to be controlled. Attempting to justify hunting by claiming that other methods of killing foxes cause worse suffering is simply ignoring the fact that foxes don’t need to be killed in the first place.
It is not entirely certain that the Tories will have the numbers to repeal the hunting Act and the Donoughue proposal is being touted as an alternative. This is nothing more than a Trojan horse which will reinstate hunting exactly as it was pre ban with no possible hope of prosecutions for cruelty.
It’s all smoke and mirrors, all designed to make us believe that hunting is necessary and humane animal welfare. Dr May had it right when he said the only truth the hunters tell about hunting is that they enjoy it.
The European Union have forced our Minister for the Environment to climb down and accept a ban on neonicotinoids. The gang of three clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, are to be phased out with a cut-off time to full ban by Christmas this year .
There is an immediate total ban of the use of the pesticides for all amateur or private gardeners and Homebase, B&Q and Wickes have already removed products containing them from their shelves. This is a two year ban to give scientists the opportunity to discover whether these chemicals are to blame for the loss of our bees. It is thought that the three chemicals may play a significant role in Colony Collapse Disorder, and the decimation of bee populations across the globe. Fortunately for our bees, they are essential to human kind because they pollinate crops such as rape seed, and replacing bee pollinators with hand pollinators could cost UK farmers almost £2 billion a year.
Some people feel the agro/chemical industry has a lot to answer for. It has created sterile deserts of vast green or yellow spaces for growing crops and in the process has decimated hedgerows and the animals and insects that used to thrive there. The trouble is the serious problems that arise from using pesticides/insecticides may not just be limited to one particular group of chemicals. The UK Pesticides campaign in West Sussex states that the current UK policy regarding pesticides, fails to assess the risks of exposure to animals, insects or humans. Georgina Downs of the UKPC says “there needs to be a complete policy shift away from the dependence on pesticides by utilising sustainable non-chemical farming methods.”
Andy Atkins, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth says that while he welcomes the ban we need a proper strategy for tackling other possible causes of falling bee numbers. FoE are pushing for a Bee Action Plan, and this idea has the backing of 180 cross party MPs, as well as tens of thousands of individual members of the public including retailers and farmers. A commentator in the Times, (Letters, Wed May 1st) States that the British Bee-keepers Association is reluctant to call for action on the gang of three because they are worried about what comes next. It is a complex problem, and while we rejoice at the ban, it would appear that little thought has been given to the need for the replacement pesticides required to grow a nation’s crops.
It is a complicated situation, and it has not been helped by our UK government’s lack of independent research. The antis argue that there is no evidence to support the gang of three being the culprits, while the pros say that we cannot be complacent and while we wait for an independent, sound science-based report, some bee species may become extinct.
The Soil Association is also worried about our bees and it even gives practical advice on how we ordinary people can help. They advise us to buy organic food, because farmers who grow organic foodstuffs don’t spray their crops with neonicotinoids. They also produce a variety of crops upon which bees can forage. As consumers we could make a huge impact on farming practice and policies. After all if chemically produced food stuff is left on the super market shelves, the farmers are going to wonder if perhaps they should all join the organic revolution.
The other piece of useful advice from the soil association is to not use neonicotinoid pesticides on home grown crops. Apparently the gang of three are not the only ones available, so it might be a good idea to check all labels when buying garden products
Its not just pesticides that are the problem. Weed killers and fertilisers are also spoiling habitat for bees and other pollinating insects. Professor Francis Ratnieks, at the laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects ,University of Sussex has this to say,
"The use of herbicides and intensive forms of agriculture means that fields of wheat and barley now have few weeds. Fields of grass now have few wild flowers, clover is less used and much of the heather moors have been ploughed up."
As a result of this concern, one of the laboratory’s research areas will be to investigate how changes in land use can affect bees.
Bees need certain things in order to thrive. Food in the form of flowering plants is one thing and finding the right place to build a nest is the other. These two considerations must be within flight range, usually two or three miles, of each other and the route in-between must be safe.
Not all bees like the same plants, so the suitability of the plant species must be compatible with the species of bee. With over 250 species of native bee in Britain it’s no wonder that the majority of these are threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat. The most threatened is the ‘solitary bee, so called because it likes just one type of flower. If the favourite flower becomes scarce due to ‘over-zealous’ farming methods, so will the bee be scarce, and when the bee is scarce, the favourite flower will become even scarcer because it isn’t being pollinated. We end up with a vicious circle.
The Leafcutter and the Red Mason Bee live in tunnels in the ground, or in hollow reeds or twigs, or they make nests in holes in wood. These are the solitary bees who gather pollen from specific plants. Usually, because of the special relationship with their pollinators, these plants are rare and special ‘Solitary bees’ live in wooded areas or log piles and wilder areas on farms. Some of our more caring farmers purposefully leave wild areas to attract solitary bees.
Organic farmers favour red and white clover sometimes as a rotational crop. This help to maintain soil fertility as well as providing bees with pollen. Red clover or ‘bee bread’ is one of the bees moors favourite food. Honeybees in particular love red clover, because it is easier to get at the nectar with their shorter tongues.
So perhaps the true solution to our bee problem is organic farming. Natural ecosystems and a biodiversity of plants and habitats. We need more wild flowers, more hedgerows and more bee friendly places to live, and by supporting the bee’s place in our delicate eco system, we may just find the saviour for all mankind.
Protect our Bees
Will you sign the petition to Elizabeth Truss asking she protect our bees?
Every single poll to date, be it a scientific poll like the ones commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports or IFAW, or the newspaper polls that invite people to answer yes or no questions, have come back with a resounding NO we don’t want repeal of the hunting Act. It all falls on deaf ears. The hunters of course are cock a hoop, they thought their nasty pastime was about to be snatched away permanently with a Labour win, and indeed if that had been the case, protection for many other animals, not just foxes would have been on the table.
The skulduggery and sneaky tricks started long before the general election, with pro hunting Vote OK people canvassing but not declaring an interest in hunting whilst visiting potential Tory voters in their homes. Vote OK claimed after the last election in 2010 that their dedication and commitment to bringing back hunting gained the Tories 20 extra seats in marginal areas.
Lord Mancroft back in 2008 wrote in a hunting journal four years after the ban,
"The reason that we shall win the battle to preserve hunting and our way of life for future generations is simple. We will outlast our enemies. We will keep our hounds and horses, keep our wonderful staff, keep our communities together, keep our farmers' and landowners' support, and we shall put together the necessary resources, both financial and otherwise, to achieve all of this, and we shall continue to do this until this Labour Government falls."
And indeed this is what they have done by killing fox cubs in secret to train their dogs and carrying on illegal hunting with the protection of the police and the Courts. It is a disgraceful state of affairs and one which has opened many an eye to the corruption and collusion in UK politics.
Hunters don’t claim hunting is sport these days. They call it humane animal management. This was not the case pre ban, however. In 1998 on TV’s Face the Public, Chris Ogilvy, Master of the Coniston Foxhounds was happy to admit when asked, that hunting is not fox control, its sport, carried out for pure enjoyment. Difficult to see what enjoyment one can derive from pulling apart a helpless animal for the fun of it.
(Watch the 3 videos posted at the end of this article. A Minority Pastime Parts 1, 2, 3.)
Since the election four days ago, the whole dynamics of the United Kingdom has changed. Five more years of this uncaring, compassionless government will see the land run red with the blood of tormented animals. England’s green and pleasant land will not seem so pleasant, nor will it be a safe place to visit if you object to the killing of its wildlife for sport. The hunters, and their thugs the terrier men, will rule in rural areas and once the ban is lifted they will take it as a red light to maim and insult the saboteurs who will be the only protection our poor animals will be able to rely on.
What can we do? We certainly won’t roll over and give up. There is a very slim chance that with public pressure and overwhelming objection to hunting becoming legal once again, we may be able to salvage some kind of deal from the wreckage.
Please sign this important petition and join the marches and Internet protests that are sure to follow on.
People are still in shock at the re-election of the worst Tory government in living memory; they need a little time to regroup. One thing is for sure, if the nasty party is not for turning and repeal of the hunting Act goes ahead, we will not get another chance to revisit any anti-hunting legislation for maybe 30 or 40 years. The psychopaths will indeed rule the asylum
Charles Mann, a leader of Vote OK, wrote in a leaked email about Henley: "All this effort will build towards repeal."
Similar emails were sent out to hunts to encourage their supporters to not give up hope and to work hard in support of MPs who in return promised to vote to repeal the hunting Act when the time was right to do so.
Robbie Marsland, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: "Vote OK foot-soldiers are acting like wolves in sheep's clothing.
Labour MP Phyllis Starkey said: "This is fundamentally dishonest and undermines democracy."
Despite all this, the hunting lobby is on the ropes and they know it. They have one last hope of repealing the hunting ban and that is if David Cameron is elected outright in 2015.
It’s not just hunting, the shooting lobby know that the heat is on, and the spotlight is beginning to shine on their nefarious activities too. There is a growing sense of awareness of the cruelty of raising birds to be blasted from the sky for sport, and the activities ancillary to shooting which involve gamekeepers slaughtering countless mammals and birds of prey in order to protect the young game birds from predation. Certainly the shooters are not too keen on Labour wining the next election, because they will be under scrutiny, and pressured into curtailing much of what they have been allowed to do unfettered in the past.
Nature is in trouble and every vote in the 2015 election counts.
Some people think why bother? They say all the political parties are the same. Those people are completely wrong and that wrong view belittles the importance of democracy. It is vital for our countryside and its wildlife that we use our vote to protect them. Our wildlife does not get a voice unless the public provides one for it.
If we care, then we dare not let UKIP or the Conservatives have a say in how our wildlife is treated. Too many of their candidates and MPs, and their leaders, Farage and Cameron, are wedded to mindless animal cruelty. Our wildlife deserves so much more than a political party pandering to a blood thirsty minority who get their fun killing animals.
We MUST move forward, and that means securing the hunting ban for the future.
Bringing in a two-year prison term for illegal hunting would be a good place to start. There is also forward thinking needed on banning snares, and protecting birds of prey from poisoning, shooting and the destruction of their eggs and nests. Farmers and landowners must be encouraged to do more to preserve animal habitats, and the activities of shooters must be curtailed. We cannot let the pro-shooting/hunting brigade off lightly; they cause too much suffering and also death of our precious wildlife. The idea that one can preserve a species by killing it must be exposed for the lie it is. It is nonsense that shooting estates cannot adapt and make money from other things.
For too long a minority have sought to make their blood-soaked activities appear wholesome, but it just won’t wash anymore.
Hunting and shooting may be traditional, but they are certainly not noble customs, and it is past time they were consigned to history where they belong. The time has come to speak the truth, and people who kill for sport must be shamed and shunned for their actions, and made to realise that they are nothing more than a minority group whose activities are a stain on the morality of a modern, civilised country.
In short, they simply won’t be tolerated, no matter what the excuse. Blood sports of any kind have no place in the UK today, or anywhere else for that matter.
The pros’ have tried to weaken the Act with a Statutory Instrument and they have even been to the European Court of Human Rights. All to no avail I’m happy to report.
The problems lie with the present pro-hunting Tory government who made a promise of a free vote on repeal before the end of Parliament. That is looking more and more unlikely now with only weeks to the General Election in 2015.
But another sneaky backdoor attempt cannot be totally ruled out, and one can be sure that those bloodthirsty fellows in the Countryside Alliance haven’t given up, and neither must we.
They are claiming that because of the recent failures of some prosecutions the Act is unworkable and should be scrapped.
On the 15th November 2014 we heard that all proceedings against the Devon and Somerset Staghounds huntsman Donald Summersgill and joint-masters David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews had been dropped. The three faced a total of four charges relating to alleged incidents of hunting with dogs on September 14 and October 24, 2013.
The League Against Cruel Sports brought video evidence that alleged illegal hunting was taking place, but the hunters claimed latterly that they had been carrying out research into deer health. This is allowed under the current legislation, as is accidental hunting and the flushing of a fox or deer to waiting guns.
This is not an isolated case, and whether it’s down to sympathetic police forces or magistrates who are unwilling or unable to interpret the law in favour of the hunted quarry, is any one’s guess.
Unfortunately, the wording can be open to malicious interpretation, and hunters and shooters are using the amendments (which were placed there by pro hunting MPs at the time of the original debate) to flout the Law.
No word is too small to escape their scrutiny, and what can be spun is spun in their attempts to pick the Law apart.
Lord Burns is frequently quoted as saying hunting is not cruel, and although he used those words, they were not in that order or with that meaning. The more sophisticated arguments come from the pro hunt Lawyers and a favourite at the moment is the exemption for carrying out research. (Although they are still not permitted to use a pack pf dogs.)
Enough is enough, and the animal charities agree it’s time to push for strengthening the current legislation to make it easier to take the law breakers to court and win.
The animal charities and lobby groups have joined forces and put forward some ideas for MPs. One of the biggest changes is a call for prison time and a criminal record for those who flout the Law. The LACS (League Against Cruel Sports) and POWA (Protect Our Wild Animals) want to see a 6 month sentence, but Fox in Parliament, a political animal lobby group, goes one better and calls for a 2-year mandatory prison sentence.
Hopefully with a change of government this year we will see some strong support for the hunting Act.
In the meantime we must continue to let our MPs know that hunting is a dinosaur and one we don’t want resurrected in our modern British Isles.
It became evident, that once Burns submitted his report, that the Hunting Bill was going to be presented in Parliament, and hunting wild mammals with dogs would be against the Law. Michael Foster MP Presented his Bill to outlaw sport hunting with hounds, and it might be worth mentioning here that when certain self-styled guardians of the British countryside in the form of fox hunt supporters, got wind of his plans, they threatened to murder him. The threats were taken seriously and he was given police protection.
Of course the hunting set did not sit around idly waiting for their unsavoury pastime to be snatched away from them by a law which would forbid them to chase and kill an animal with a pack of dogs.
In an attempt to circumvent the necessity for an outright ban, Lord Donoughue, a pro hunting peer, was working on a compromise which he was hoping would be incorporated as an amendment to the current Wild Mammals Protection Act (WMPA) of 1996. If Parliament had agreed to his proposals, there would have been no need to even think about banning hunting in its entirety.
On March 9th 2001 Lord Donoghue presented his Bill to the House for discussion.
He introduced his legislation by saying,
“The present arrangements for protecting animals from abuse are complex and incomplete. They reflect nearly a century of sporadic legislation, especially the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which absorbed earlier legislation dating as far back as the 18th century and which has itself since been amended nine times. That was concerned primarily with captive and domestic animals where humans have responsibility, not with wild animals, and hunting and coursing were exempt. Cruelty was defined as "unnecessary suffering".
Lord Donoughue said he was concerned that the WMPA was, in spite of many amendments over the years, too rigid in its approach to protecting wild mammals from cruelty. He felt their interests would be better served by his all-encompassing legislation which would make it an offence to be deliberately cruel to any animal, wild or domestic.
In his own words, Lord Donoughue went on to describe his intentions,
"Any person who intentionally inflicts, or causes or procures, unnecessary suffering on or to any wild mammal shall be guilty of an offence".
That’s sounds marvellous at first glance, but then he went on to say,
“The Bill does not assume or establish that the simple pursuit of properly organised hunting, without specific acts of cruelty, such as digging out and so on, set out in Burns, is committing an act of cruelty. However, it would be for the courts to decide, as Burns suggests, with which I would be happy. I do not believe that that is a disadvantage in the Bill. It is quite normal for legislation to be tested in the courts and we should all be happy with that.”
In other words, hunting would NOT be deemed cruel in the first instance. It would be up to the Courts to decide if a particular hunt had killed an animal in circumstances which may possibly be construed as deliberately cruel.
Lord Donoughue’s amendment to the WMPA was not adopted at that time and the Hunting Act which bans hunting with packs of dogs came into UK Law in 2004.
The Countryside Alliance claims, that in spite of many successful hunting prosecutions, that the hunting Act is simply not working, and to adopt Lord Donoughue’s Bill is a simple and effective way to reach a workable compromise.
What they don’t like to mention is that to adopt this legislation will see the return of legal hunting with full packs of dogs and little scope for prosecutions of cruelty.
Let us take a look at Donoughue’s Bill in a little more detail.
The Wild Mammals Protection Bill Amendment No 2 (Printed 7th January 2004)
Presented by Lembit Opik and supported by Kate Hoey, Gwyneth Dunwoody and no less than ten others who are all staunch supporters of blood sports.
The statement reads,
‘Any person who intentionally causes undue suffering to any wild mammal shall be guilty of an offense.’
There are exceptions from offense which Lord Donoughue’s Bill seeks to insert into the existing legislation.
•A person shall not be guilty if they are acting in accordance with a recognised code or normal, humane, lawful, customary activity.
This means that as long as hunters are operating within a recognised code, hunting foxes, deer etc. will not be deemed as causing unnecessary suffering. The ‘code ‘will be a set of rules drawn up by a panel, (which Lord Donoughue calls ‘the Authority’) comprising mostly of those with a vested interest in seeing the return of legal hunting. The RSPCA will be invited to supply a representative, as will the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, but the rest of the Authority will be made up of representatives from the pro hunting/shooting groups listed below.
•Country Land & Business association (Formerly known as Country Landowners Association)
•The National Farmers Union of England & Wales
•The Game Conservancy Trust & the British Deer Society
•The Council of Hunting Associations
•The British Association for Shooting & Conservation with the national Gamekeepers Organisation
•The Joint Nature Conservation Committee
•Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.
There is also a clause in Donoughue’s Bill which allows for the removal and replacement of an Authority member if it is felt necessary at any time. Otherwise each member will serve a term of three years and will be either re-elected or replaced by another from the same organisation.
If Lord Donoghue’s legislation was to be adopted and incorporated into the Law as it stands today, the Hunting Act, which took ten years in the making and over 400 hours of Parliamentary time, would become in effect useless. There would be a loophole big enough to drive a train through and the work and effort that went into the Act we have today will have been entirely wasted.
The rules for hunting would be drawn up by a panel of hunters and they would decide what would be construed as ‘unnecessary suffering’. The token RSPCA and veterinary representative would of course have a vote, but it would be always a minority vote which would have no real bearing on the final set of rules.
What the Authority would deem as undue suffering is anyone’s guess, but what would be certain is that this Bill would be a ‘get out of jail free’ card. No one would ever be prosecuted, and hunters would be given Carte blanche to chase, terrify and disembowel British wild life once again without fear of prosecution.
James Barrington has claimed recently that Lord Donoughue’s proposal has been revisited and ‘tweaked’. He is reluctant to say to date what the amendments actually are, but we can be certain of one thing. Whatever they are, they will bode ill for hunted animals and those of us who don’t want to see hunting with hounds made legal again in our UK countryside.
Political skulduggery and the Countryside Alliance
Use your vote to end hunting cruelty forever
British hunting atrocities going unpunished
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Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting
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