Letter: Saddened at hatred expressed by hunt opponents in online poll

I was sadly unable to take part in the Shropshire Star’s poll on the Hunting Act. I have followed hounds for the last 60 years and, even before the infamous Act was introduced, rarely saw a fox killed by hounds.

Crowds turn out in Newport to see the riders and hounds gather for Albrighton’s traditional Boxing Day meet
Crowds turn out in Newport to see the riders and hounds gather for Albrighton’s traditional Boxing Day meet

At least I can say that this is an unbelievably quick and clean method which I would consider preferable to some alternative means of control when not carried out efficiently.

There are people now following hounds who have never seen them kill a fox. Their pleasure is derived from riding across country and by watching hounds hunting a trail, so what makes those who have never even seen a hunt in progress want to label them sadists and perverts?

On reading some of the online comments on the poll I was saddened to conclude that they were merely an expression of hatred by one sector of the community against another which they did not know or understand in the slightest.

This explosion of vitriol at a time supposed to be the season of goodwill made me fear for the future of our society. If this is typical, what is happening to a country which once prided itself on its democracy and tolerance of others with different customs and beliefs?

Rural people are seldom consulted by pollsters and online polls discriminate against those without access to computers. This mirrors our present political system. With a lack of proportional representation, the urban majority will always prevail against rural dwellers in a way which would not be allowed were they a non-native minority.

B R Lewis, Shrewsbury

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Comments for: "Letter: Saddened at hatred expressed by hunt opponents in online poll"

PJS

I can understand that there is a need to control foxes, and indeed other pests in the countryside. I can even understand that in some terrains, where shooting or other methods may not be effective, that using dogs, controlled by professional hunters, might be the most effective method of culling foxes.

But the bit I don't understand and struggle to find justification for is the idea that people dress up in their finery and pursue animals to their death for their own entertainment.

I'm sure that the majority of people who eat meat would accept that we need to kill animals in abbatoirs - but how would most feel about people dressing up in their best suit and coming to watch? Or perhaps taking the kids to a local vet to watch sick animals being put down? These are extreme examples I accept, but at the simple moral and philosophical level I'm not sure I can see a difference.

I understand that people may want to watch horses and dogs worked by skilled people in difficult countryside - but that can be achieved, perhaps in a slightly different way, by drag hunting. And it isn't just those factors that entertain some hunt followers - if it were, there wouldn't be any of the ritualistic stuff like smearing children's faces with the blood of the recently-deceased animal, would there?

Perhaps the letter writer, or some other hunt supporter could respond with an explanation of the difference from a moral perspective of the examples I've given?

beefbeefbeef

I am fascinated by your reply. Your moral objection is based upon the dress code and the fact that fox hunters enjoy the hunt.

By extension, you are saying that if there was a casual dress code, say jeans and t-shirts, and the hunters did not enjoy themselves then you would find hunting more acceptable. I think that says more about your intolerance of others than anything else.

As far as I can see, the only moral issue is regarding the fox itself and that is a completely separate discussion. I don't think the fox gives a hoot about dress code or any enjoyment experienced by its pursuers.

Suka

I have 'followed hounds' many, many times myself, on various hunts across the country, and if B R Lewis, you've rarely seen a fox killed over your 60 years, I guess you need to take the wool from your eyes.

And when you say that the kill is 'unbelievably quick', may I ask, are you counting the 2 hour chase when the fox is running exhausted and desperate for it's life?

Are you counting the dig out, when the fox has gone to ground and a bunch of thugs with spades and terriers trap, attack, and dig the fox out, before prising the terriers jaws from it's face and either shooting it or throwing it to the hounds?

Are you suggesting that a death by multiple bites to all parts of the body by a pack of dogs is humane?

And when you talk of 'democracy and tolerance', are you forgetting that hunting with hounds has been outlawed? Rightfully so by democratic process, in the face of a concerted campaign of misinformation and propaganda by the powerful pro-hunting lobby. And yet this law is flaunted daily across the country as hunts go about their sordid activities without any effort by police or CPS to stop them.

Many years ago, just after a fox had been torn to pieces in front of my eyes, I asked the huntsman 'Why do you do it?' - his reply was 'Because I can'.

In the name of democracy and tolerance, the law banning hunting with hounds needs to be strengthened and enforced.

Finally, B R Lewis, I am a 'country dweller', a 'rural person' if you like, and I hate the hunt.

Terry

There isn't a need to control foxes, the mange does that quite sufficiently but they are an inconvenience to some.

They actually serve a useful purpose by killing rats which seems to be ignored.

This sugary comment is an insult to country dwellers who are not bumkins who have no access to the web and the majority of whom do not support outdated cruelty in the name of sport/ entertainment.

Port Hill Boy

The gross untruths in this letter need to be nailed.

"Rural people are seldom consulted by pollsters" - completely wrong. A quick look at the methodology shows they are representative samples i.e. they mirror the population by age, gender, employment status and a host of other variables including where people live.

" the urban majority will always prevail against rural dwellers " - I have lived in the heart of the countryside for over 30 years. My family were rural dwellers. I am wholly opposed to hunting as are lots of other people who live in the countryside.

Oliver

"Their pleasure is derived from riding across country and by watching hounds hunting a trail......"

So what is the problem with drag hunting?

hedgehog

Phb

You answer your own question , when did a pollster last go into rural areas or does Shrewsbury high st count as a rural area now? I do not support the hunt but how long till anti hunt pick a new target to berate or ban?

Port Hill Boy

I have no idea what you mean.

I've already pointed out that pollsters include rural views - reliable research is often carried out not in the street but by interviewing people in their homes or on the phone. There are quotas to reach so that the sample is representative. These include types of location of where people live - so rural views are included as an accurate proportion.

What's also important to restate is that it isn't a simple rural/urban split about fox hunting. As I , and others, have pointed out many who live in the countryside support the ban.

pete

Hedgehog I would certainly agree with the observations of your humorous critique, in the context of the article its' reference to proportional representation. The political prose outwits itself upon consideration, gross untruths , I have lived, not I live? ..........................Bless.

Tony in BC

What fascinates me is that Europeans virtually destroyed the seal hunt (and the livelihood of many families) here and yet continue with bullfighting (Spain) fox hunting (England) and seal hunting (Scotland, Denmark) - not to mention whale slaughter (Norway).

Surely if you are going to take the high-moral-ground you should set some kind of example... ?

Two Tone

"Canada's annual commercial seal hunt, which occurs in March and April, is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. The government placed the total allowable catch for 2012 at 400,000, despite the fact that their own scientists suggested a smaller quota in the interest of sustainability."

I have just a few minutes before my lunch break is over = didn't have a lot of time to research Seal hunting in BC but found the above quite quickly. Still seems to be going strong.

Also I thought Fox hunting in England has been out-lawed democratically!

Tony in BC

Two Tone...

There is no sustainability problem - and the catch for 2012 was 91,000 (down from 400,000) according to my information. The traditional predators being eliminated by humans - including Europeans.

This has in turn added to the demise of the cod stocks, not to mention Spanish fishing vessels...

My original point being that the EU would perhaps have more influence if it put its own house in order first. But you folks continue to partake in cruel 'sport', cruel methods of food production, killing animals for entertainment, and the destruction of the seals' natural predators.

pete

In the 1930's the National Socialist Workers Party in Germany abolished hunting with dogs, its a socialist trait, its predicated to support their beliefs of a classless owner less society by persecution of the wealthy elite and their expensive sporting pursuits.

PJS

I'm afraid that if you think the National Socialist Workers party was a party of the left, then there is something seriously amiss in your knowledge of history.

Have you ever wondered where the name 'Nazi' came from?

Good grief...

pete

Nationalsozialismus, in answer to a question,

"there is no right or left only socialism, National and International, its opposition is the Liberal Conservative view constituted in the principles of democracy, it is the policy of madness ".

History is as the Historians openly say is recorded as we interpret it. Post 1945 there was a clear need to for all socialist groups in the victorious western Europe to disassociate themselves from the socialist doctrine, so disambiguated the Left Right distinction and politically sought to label their opposition with the brand. It is notable Thatcherisms' successive electoral success prompted the socialist party of Britain to remove the very word socialism from its literature!

Nazism considered a far-right party, because the NSDAP clashed with other socialist parties, most notably the communists. As such they ended up being branded "right" because the communists were already branded "left". That the nazi ideology is extremely close to the communist ideology only goes to show how useless "left-right" is as a labelling. It tells you nothing other than it is of a socialist doctrine.

Port Hill Boy

You know you've lost the argument when you bring Nazis into it. Goodwin's Law indeed.

I don't think torturing animals is about right or left, it's right or wrong.

pete

German history shows how hard it fought to try and defeat socialism in the 19th Century , Otto von Bismark with the socialist legislation Gesetz gegen die gemeingefährlichen Bestrebungen der Sozialdemokratie, something socialists always seek to besmirch by its failure . Ludvig von Mises best identifies the doctrine .

ThompyJon

Godwin's law ... and so soon too

pete

Foxes are vermin , they are shot, trapped, poisoned and hunted. Hunting is politically portrayed as immoral for purely political ends a fox killed by the pack is a natural instinct of the animals concerned . The analogy is entirely relevant and appropriate , the distraction of ad hitlerum is often used as censorship.

PJS

I think Pete may be more or less the only person who equates Germany in the 1930s and 40s with socialism... but setting aside the complete ireelevance of all that, let's get back to the point.

It's not the morality of the hounds who tear the fox apart that is in question, nor necessarily the morality of those engaged in shooting, gassing or poisoning foxes as part of an organsied cull - though there are clearly those who question the need for such culls. Instead, the moral question relates to those who seek out the spectacle of an animal being killed for their pleasure, seeking trophies from the event or following ritual blood smearing etc.

I'd be happy to see any justifcation for those activities from a hunt supporter - but none has been forthcoming.

pete

I wont bother you with the tautology. The Hunting Act is solely concerned with social policy implemented by "democratic" majority constitutionally ignoring the will of the House of Lords. It disregards fundamental rights having nothing to do with equality indeed justice. It is an abuse of the rule of law, thus its application is of the socialist doctrine. Lord Hope spoke of the rule of law enforced by the courts as the "ultimate controlling factor on which our constitution is based." On such basis the Charity RSPCA funding legal costs of £330,000 to fine Huntsmen £6800 demonstrates the failing of this law. Ignoring the prioritising comments of Police Chief Constables in hunting shires, it is not difficult to understand why this law is fundamentally flawed and incapable of enforcement , socialism doesn't work.............bless.

Mr H

Looks like Pete the Socialist Hunter has discovered Wikipedia.

....bless

pete

Wikipedia is a poor reference source , I would recommend A.V.Dicey or Sir Ivor Jennings though for a humours evaluation consider R.Milliband, The State in a Capitalist Society(1969) pp49-54 which being far to onerous for this social media offers a relevant subject matter. An amusing contribution though,....................................Bless

n3bpml

The fox is vermin, the proliferation of urban foxes are cause of much concern to parents of young children in our towns and cities.

They are not endangered indeed because of being allowed to breed uncontrolled they are responsible for the demise of other protected wild life.

The moral question is, who are you to decry a lawful spectacular boxing day event just because you don't like red jackets?

realitycheck

Never mind the Hitler rant - let us stick to a few unpalatable facts.

The fox IS torn to pieces. A farmer's daughter told me she always 'supported' hunting until, one day and by pure chance, she witnessed the actual kill - she felt physically sick and has never supported hunting anything with hounds since that experience.

Some farmers actually ENCOURAGE foxes to live on their land and have offered the view "that the hunts must have something to chase ..."

I have stood alongside an artifical fox den that is on HRH Prince Charles' farm.

There is a farmer (his quote above) in Shropshire who, despite keeping sheep, chose NOT to disturb a fox den under one of his barns ?

It is a blood sport that was outlawed in just the same way that cock-fighting and bear-baiting were outlawed. The long, long delay only due to the strong but malign influence of land-owning MPs who represented only a tiny minority of people with a blood lust.

The NFU were reported as stating that hunting with hounds was NOT an effective form of control.

Dimbleby hosted a BBC debate and one brave farmer stated clearly that he had NO problems with foxes "... because I do not allow shooters to kill off the natural prey on my land ... i.e. rabbits".

Barely a week ago the local hunt was nearby. Three 'totally uncontrolled' foxhounds detached themselves from the pack and came foraging in my garden. Thank the Lord that my cat was indoors.

The rest of the pack spooked a very large flock of pregnant sheep that ran off as fast as their legs could carry them.

I don't care whether the huntsmen wear red, pink or sky blue - the only issue is ripping a wild animal apart in what is now supposed to be a civilized society.

PJS

Once again Pete is avoiding answering the basic moral question, so I'll pose it again.

What justification is there for taking one's pleasure in watching an animal being chased until exhausted and then killed? The pleasures of seeing dogs chase a scent and riding or seeing horses worked skilfully across difficult terrain can clearly be achieved without the death of an animal, so for at least some non-participants and other observers observation of this bloody spectacle seems the only motivation remaining.

Morally, surely it can be no different to dog-fighting, cock-fighting, badger baiting etc. all of which were banned long ago, so all the 'social policy' nonsense is just a diversion to avoid addressing the point - or are you suggesting that all of these other cruel practices were also banned as some sort of socialist plot invented in your resentful one-track mind?

Doubtless there will be some who see this as a class issue, but that clearly isn't the motivation of most who oppose it here.

pete

Again the rhetorical question?

The moral and political philosopher Joseph Raz in my view identifies the issue in describing the literal sense of the rule of law having two aspects, 1 that people should be ruled by law and obey it , 2 that the law should be such that will be able to be guided by it, the law must be capable of being obeyed. The purposive interpretation is clear, the hunting Act is a socialist dictate incapable of enforcement breaching fundamental principles of English law being an affront to the rule of law.

beefbeefbeef

PJS - There is something called "the thrill of the chase". This is why tens of thousands of people engage in fishing / shooting / hunting every weekend here in the UK, and probably millions worldwide. This hunting instinct is part of our DNA, it is not something which can be switched off in response to metro-sexual do-gooders.

You are clearly uncomfortable about it. It is no doubt something you think is not compatible with the 21st century.

Perhaps if you realise that a hunting instinct is part of being a human being then you will realise that, despite your bleeding heart, some people are different from you.

Stew

Make you feel more of a man does it? @beefbeefbeef

pete

Well BeefBeefBeef understood the issue. I would note comments such as "social policy nonsense" demonstrates a lack of understanding for political science, behaviourism etcetera .

The moral issue is really the legal one. Dicey reasons the rule of law being not a theory of law but a principle of institutional morality inherent to our constitutional democracy. The rule of law holds many values legality, certainty, efficiency which the Hunting Act offends leading to the arbitrary decisions in its application. The Labour Government for its own flawed political reasoning implemented this legislation yet back in 1997 their manifesto clearly avoided to pledge this as its politic was too trivial unlike what they eventually promulgated. Idle hands whilst spending all the gold ?

To clarify the question which answers itself, that rhetorical question:

I don't understand and struggle to find justification try You don't understand and struggle to justify............................................bless

JEWH

I am impressed by the literary prowess shown here but also slightly puzzled that a group of obviously intelligent people have resorted to 'cat fighting' over the web on a debate that will never be resolved. The fox hunting ban has been a hot topic for years now. Unfortunately there is only one thing we can learn from it. No matter how hard you try, you will never change anyone's mind. So we are better to realise this early and get on with life. Everyone has beliefs and everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should not be judged. I believe in Fox Hunting - you don't. I expect there are things that you believe in and I don't - like God perhaps. We probably drive different cars and buy our clothes from different stores. You perhaps love marmite and I detest it. I vote conservative, you vote lib-dem. It doesn't make any of us any better than one another. It just makes us human. I won't waste my time trying to persuade you to agree with hunting a I know you've already made your mind up. You got the ban you wanted so stop moaning on about it.

thomas the tank

So there we have it, jewH says we are not entitled to an opinion or to debate about something...end of!

You're not a relation to Saddam Hussein by any chance are you?

Mr Majestic

NO argument as hunting with a pack of hounds where a fox/stag/hare is dispatched deliberately does not occur any longer in the UK .

Possibly people get confused in the Hare area as lurchers are still legally permitted to be used to dispatch rabbits and again with foxes two hounds can be used to flush to a waiting gun .

The law is adhered to .Hence very few convictions reason no crimes committed .

The issue here is the pro fox group do not want the fox to be dispatched in any form as such the energy they clearly have should be used to campaign to put the fox on the protection list .

I am also amazed at the amount of city and town dwellers actively encourage and feeding urban foxes in their gardens all this is detrimental to the fox , then I amazed at the irresponsibility of the RSPCA who relocate urban foxes out to the countryside .

pete

I would agree with the theme however I would principally state the Law as enacted is not enforced, the comments of the Lib-Dem MP Sir Nick Harvey ,December 2013, described the law as “an ass” and said it cannot be enforced by rural police forces already struggling with budget cuts.

What the law needs is clarity and certainty, on balance it would be far simpler to restore the status quo. It seems the prejudice of anti hunt lobbyists is the main critique of this article; bearing down to stifle debate . Anecdotally a friend recounted that in his street in London people have actually taking their guns and shooting the foxes since the 5 week old baby Denny Dolan was bitten on the head whilst on his sofa in Bromley, the public perceptions of foxes has changed especially the view towards urban foxes.