Friday, 18 February 2005

Hunting gone - what next?

by Captain Oates

As a fairly casual observer of the hunting ban, the thing which worries me most of all is where is the country heading? In a so-called democratic country it seems wholly farcical that a law can be passed purely to satisfy a minority with a large amount of political sway - i.e. funds. This entirely undemocratic law bypassed the scrutiny of the upper chamber, as the chances are it would have been voted against – I do find myself questioning the democracy therein!

The thing which I find worrying is what happens now? There is now a minority (i.e. the anti-hunt lobby) who know that they have a back door into number 10, and are experienced at railroading the Government into creating laws to suit their point of view. What happens if this group decide that they dislike fishing, horse racing, ferreting or most possibly shooting? (an article about just this can be found here) There is almost certainly a fairly watertight welfare case to be made against each of those pastimes. On a slightly more flippant note how long is it until cats are legislated against for playing with rodents before dispatching their quarry?? My point is that nature is cruel – laws cannot change that fact.

The question arises what future has the fox now in the rural landscape? I see protection the only salvation for the fox now. In the past – a certain level of rural foxes have been ‘tolerated’, as they were saved for the hunt. Hunting is a relatively ineffective method of reducing fox population – only about 20% of trails result in a kill. The silenced rifle however is a much more efficient method of pest control. I feel that the rural fox – seen as a pest, will be hunted to near extinction, and protection may his only rescue. We need only look at what a problem badgers have become in the rural landscape to see that protection is not the answer…

I happen to feel that this new ban on hunting is almost entirely unenforceable, and I feel certain that overstretched rural police forces have their priorities elsewhere. Are we to see a massive investment in horse trailers with hoof cuffs? As the police will need to securely transport not only the arrested hunter to the cells, but also his trusty steed as well – it would be cruel to leave a horse to find his own way home!!

The local hunts are all meeting tomorrow (Saturday 19th) and I happen to know a considerable number of people who are planning to go along to the meet and follow the hunt; several of these are people who have not been hunting in years, but feel incensed by the way in which the Government has behaved in this matter.



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