fox hunting




"The House of Lords" has shown itself to be open minded and to protect the interests of individuals and minorities. David Cameron (The Prme Minister since may 2010 and the leader of The Conservative Party) has the same interests at heart. He has stated that the Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition will introduce a Bill to "Repeal the Hunting Act" and that "The House of Commons" will be allowed a free vote on the issue. Nevertheless, the dictatorial anti-hunting stance of a majority of "Labour" MPs and many MPs from other parties is not likely to have changed; a majority in a free vote is not a certainty. Nevertheless there is hope that those that support Rural Culture can prevail. Not least because there have been several cases of prominent "Antis" adopting a stance of, at least, compromise. The latest, in early 2009, was James Barrington ( former Director of the League against Cruel Sports and Adviser to the Middle Way Group of MPs) who stated:

"My ex-colleagues in the anti hunting movement are increasingly frustrated by the failure of the Act, but it is their law. After literally decades of campaigning, millions of pounds spent and numerous Bills and debates, they got it wrong. They now expect the police and the courts to sort out this mess. If only some of the many other animal welfare issues, such as the plight of primates in Africa or dog farming in China, could attract such attention.

"The Act is sheer nonsense and I cannot understand or accept the proposition that it even addresses the issue of animal welfare. There is only one answer. The Hunting Act must be repealed. Only then can the welfare of wild mammals start to be properly addressed."

Nevertheless, the mere entry of a "Repeal Bill" will reignite the Hunting Contoversy, particularly since it will be stoked up again by well funded "animals rights " groups repeating their alarmist propaganda to incite the public against hunting. It is important, therefore, to avoid wasting the time of Parliament, that "The Repeal Bill" is as simple as possible to give little for "The Antis" to get "their teeth into" during the unavoidable debates. Nevertheless, these organisations and their propaganda will always be waiting in the wings, even after a Repeal. They will await the return to power of Labour and anti-hunting bills will remain a threat. It is important, therefore, to stabilise Hunting for the Longer Term. In framing a Longer Term Solution it is necessary to bear in mind the fact that GB is not a True Democracy. In the current "Constitution", the justification used in attempts (some successful) to impose several bans (e.g. on keeping so called "dangerous dogs") is that if, say, 71% of the British people think that something should be banned then Parliament should ban it. In other words it is often accepted by Parliament that the will of the majority should prevail in all circumstances.  But this position is dangerously against "True Democracy".


The House of Commons

"True Democracy is defined as  government vested in all of the people" . That is on  behalf of small minorities (such as people of "rural" culture) as much as of the majority "urban" culture. In a True Democracy, Parliament is  elected to govern wisely. This requires it to balance the sensitivities and well-being of the majority against the sensitivities and interests of all minorities in the light of the well-being of the nation as a whole, in order to achieve a compromise that is just acceptable to all parties. E.g. is the distress of the minority owners whose "dangerous dogs" have been put to death really balanced by the number of woundings that might have been avoided? May be. BUT IN THE CASE OF HUNTING THE SITUATION IS NOT EQUIVOCAL.  HOW MUCH WOULD THE WELL-BEING OF THE UK BE DISIMPROVED BY REPEALING THE BAN ON HUNTING? I CANNOT SEE ANY, BUT THE DAMAGE TO THE INTERESTS OF COUNTRY PEOPLE AND THE COUNTRYSIDE  (INCLUDING THE FOX POPULATION) WOULD BE SIGNIFICANT IF THE BAN WERE TO BE ALLOWED TO PERSIST. 


In devising a longer term solution to forestall repeats of attempts to Ban hunting again, discussions should not be clouded with issues that are not pivotal. In other words those drafting the rules should concentrate on how to ensure that there is no unnecessary suffering ( i.e. no cruelty ) and nothing done which is ethically unacceptable ( i.e. hunting does not degrade "the good order of society" ).

Foxman agrees that there should be a ban on inflicting unnecessary suffering upon animals, such as Lord Donoghue's proposal. It should be noted, however, that Hunting does not inevitably involve inflicting unnecessary suffering. What did the Commons really vote for (1) To ban all hunting because a majority of MPs assumed that it always inflicts unnecessary suffering (i.e. is Cruel) or (2) Banning an activity because of dislike of its practicioners?

Even the bigots knew from The Burns Report that Inevitable Cruelty had not been proved. Therefore, their bigotted opposition must have been based on an ASSUMPTION of inevitable cruelty and/or dislike of "hunters". It was cowardly of the Government to be unwilling to halt the efforts of the bigots to destroy a significant part of the culture of the UK without proper proof of inevitable cruelty in hunting.


Should the Hunting Act be repealed, we must not miss this opportunity to establish the soundest possible defences against what I am afraid is an inevitable eventual return of an Anti majority in Parliament.

Existing proposals for a Hunting Regulatory Authority are based on Codes of Conduct established and enforced through the Council of Hunting Associations. Such self regulation would be almost impossible to defend against the foreseen renewal of attacks by the so called “Animal Rights”movement. It seems important, therefore, to make it difficult to impugn the impartiality of the Hunting Regulatory Authority by decreasing its direct association with the “Hunting World”. Ideally, it should be seen by:

a. The Public to be truly balanced between those representing Hunting and those representing "animals rights" .
b. The Hunting "world" as fully in possession of all relevant facts about the details of Hunting.
c. The Animal Welfare "world" as fully in possession of all relevant facts relevant to the welfare of the species.

Such a “Hunting Regulatory Authority" (HA) might be drawn from:

a. A representative of the judiciary concerned with human rights, ( to chair ).
b. Relevant sectors of agriculture and business significantly involved, culturally or economically, with Hunting.
c. Representatives of each type of Hunting.
d. Persons experienced in maintaining the welfare of species of wild mammals (Vets, Zoologists, Environmentalists etc.)
e. Representatives of the “Animal Rights” movement.

The Department responsible for Rural Affairs would seem to be the best choice to sponsor such an HRA. It could be tasked with:

a. Setting and maintaining a “Code of Conduct”, for each type of Hunting, that aimed to ensure that it is carried out
in a proper manner. That is to say "does not inflict unnecessary suffering" ( is not cruel) and "does not interrupt the
good order of Society" (is ethical).

b. Proposing and maintaining a Statutory Licensing System that required the actual "hunters" (i.e. Hunt Staff, not
the followers) to hold a licence from the H.R.A. before a wild mammal could be deemed to have been killed "in a
reasonably swift and humane manner", please see The Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 para' 2(b).
Such licences would require that any " licensed hunter" abided by the relevant Code of Conduct, enforced by the sanction of withdrawing a Licence to Hunt. The System would make the use of any deliberate means (e.g. a dog, a gun, a ferret) to kill a Wild Mammal while hunting without a licence an offence under The Wild
Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.

c. Implementing, through local representatives of the HRA, the necessary monitoring and instigation of sanctions
aimed at precluding Unlicensed Hunting and breeches of the Code of Conduct.



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