The Telegraph story was pretty similar adding that the man who fell off his bicycle lost his glasses and the club members had to barricade themselves in the building as the fox stalked them outside. The woman who was bitten tried to distract the fox with food so the others could escape apparently.
A pest controller was called but when he tried to approach the animal it "went for him" and chased him back to his car. The animal was eventually caught and destroyed but there is no comment on how or when that happened. The only pictures supplied were a generic picture of a fox totally unrelated to the story, and another picture allegedly of the offending fox taken through the window of the sports centre. Apparently the terrified crew inside the building watched the animal casing the joint on the CCTV but no footage has been supplied as yet.
The May / Portillo interview was equally bizarre, with Dr May explaining carefully why hunting should stay banned and Mr Portillo replying that hunting and bull fighting were both great traditions and as such should be allowed to continue as before. He even went on to claim that his practising Catholicism impelled him to hold that view. Animal souls, Mr Portillo said, were not as important as human souls.
Of course we know that those in favour of blood sports twist what has gone before to suit their arguments too, but I have never heard the Catholic Church cited as a reason for enjoying eviscerating those small red cousins of our dogs. The excuses the hunting fraternity come up with for continuing fox hunting are quite similar to the excuses put forward by the slave owners when the Abolitionist movement first came into being, and indeed tradition, when deployed in this manner could be a cover for almost any disgusting and oppressive fetish held by those in power.
Defenders of slavery argued that slavery had existed throughout history and was the natural state of mankind. The Greeks had slaves, the Romans had slaves so why can’t we have slaves etc.. Hunters frequently assail us with similar reasoning, stating that because Richard Martin (a founding member of the RSPCA) was a fox hunter, it makes it okay for us to be fox hunters too.
Traditionally apparently two wrongs always make a right.
I wonder how Mr Portillo feels about defenders of slavery righteously quoting that in the Old Testament, Abraham had slaves. They even cited the 10 commandments saying, ‘Thou shalt not covert thy neighbour’s manservant, nor his maidservant.” So of course that must mean having servants, i.e. slaves was okay. The New Testament was also hauled up to bear witness that Paul returned a runaway slave and Jesus never uttered a word about slavery.
Just like animals today, slave owners said black people, (not just slaves) had no legal rights. They were property, and being property meant rights were not bestowed upon them. They could be used and abused as their masters saw fit. The slavers fought the Abolitionists in the courts and the Judges ruled in their favour. The slave owners were adamant that they had God on their side.
I’m getting a strange feeling of Déjà vu here.
Welfare is another claim made by the Countryside Alliance to persuade the rest of us that they are killing animals not just for fun, but mainly for their own good. Hunters are apparently saving the hunted from growing old and dying from natural causes.
Defenders of slavery argued that slavery was a good thing for the enslaved. John C. Calhoun said, “Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually.” That is almost something James Barrington could have included in his pro hunting blogs as he often infers that hunters are doing foxes a massive favour by killing them.
The slave owners also said that they would protect and assist the slaves when they were sick and aged, unlike those who, once fired from their work, were left to fend helplessly for themselves. Now here I think the slave owners had one up on hunters morally, because hunters never claim to protect the old sick animals. In fact chasing and killing old sick animals is doing the species as a whole a great service according to the Countryside Alliance. (I’m minded here that Dr Shipman had the same idea about the elderly under his care in the NHS) It’s not mentioned of course that there won’t be many old foxes because although they can live as long as our dogs in captivity, a wild fox is lucky to see his second birthday.
Next we come to the labels. James Thornwell, a minister, wrote in 1860, “One party to this conflict are not merely Abolitionists they are Atheists, Socialists, Communists, Red Republicans, Jacobins. The slave owners are the friends of order, religion and regulated freedom.”
Similar insults ring in my head about those of us against hunting cruelties today.
We are supposedly not just against blood sports, we are also jobless, scroungers who don’t wash and who spend our time thinking up terrorist plots to thwart the innocent hunters who after all are only abusing animals for their own good. We are called ignorant townies, which is meant to convey great insult. Only those who live in the countryside should have any say in what is allowed to live and what must die.
Throughout history, when a society forms around any institution, as the South did around slavery, it will formulate a set of arguments to support it. That those arguments don’t hold water didn’t seem to matter to the slave owners at all, and similarly the hunters don’t care that their reasons for the continuation of their barbaric and outdated tradition don’t hold water among the more empathic of their contemporaries.
Hunters talk about horrific cruelty to animals not associated with hunting, and in those cases proudly carry the RSPCA banner, then in the same breath they want that organisation cast down for prosecuting hunting abuse. A bizarre situation where it’s impossible to know if the hunters have managed to brain wash themselves, or if they are hoping that by repeated repetition of a lie, the rest of us will come to believe it to be the truth.
If hunting is a tradition that must be upheld, then it’s only fair that that great old RSPCA tradition of prosecuting those who kill for fun must be upheld too.
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Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting
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