So as our wet but largely warm winter merges thankfully into spring and the hunting season draws to a close it’s time for me to reflect on lessons learnt and what my next steps will be. This weekend is the final chance of gratification for those who seek to torment and kill our wildlife in the name of sport and as usual all the various groups of monitors and saboteurs throughout the country will be out there to oppose them. The fact hunting has a season at all just shows how these people’s personal desire demands a kill. The pro hunt lobby will claim they’re acting in the interest of their prey species by not hunting during the breeding season (which is nonsense as many vixens are now in dens with cubs) however the reality is far from that. Surely if, as they claim, they’re following a trail (As legal as a round of golf) why would they need a season at all? Regardless of the time of year a pack of dogs and a field of horses rampaging through the countryside are going to disturb much of our native wildlife but with care a trail can be laid to minimise disturbance provided certain areas were avoided. The trail itself should also be changed. They currently use fox urine which will ultimately lead to the hounds picking up the scent of, and hunting a real animal and regardless of claims to the contrary this is exactly what the hunts really want. The legislation which is currently under threat (We need to bolt the back door) needs to be changed in this respect with the hounds following something completely artificial, biodegradable and in no way resembling the scent of a real animal.

The Mock Badger courtesy of the Fox Project

The Mock Badger courtesy of the Fox Project

Other aspects of the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004 also need to be strengthened; these are being pioneered by the Hunt Saboteurs Association and include:

– Removing the ‘Bird of prey’ exemption.

– Removing the ‘Digging out’ exemption.

– Require all hounds to be muzzled.

– Include a recklessness clause i.e. if a huntsman puts his hounds through an area where he would reasonably expect to pick up the   scent of a fox he could be prosecuted.

– Make the offence recordable – so it carries a criminal conviction.

With all of these in place the risks associated to wild animals will be minimised and should those who chose to do so still flout the laws then prosecutions will be easier to gain.

From a personal point of view I’ve learnt an amazing amount in since the badger cull drew me (accidentally) into activism. I’m amazed at some of the courage shown in the face of intimidation and extreme violence, I’ve been shocked by the totally biased way in which our police force often deal with the situations arising in the fields every week and the lack of conviction shown by the CPS to follow up on complaints made by hunt monitors, sabs and the general public. I also noticed how those hunt followers seem to fall into a distinct demographic of mentality and to a certain extent age. The levels at which some people will stoop to protect an archaic blood-sport is worrying to say the least and it concerns me that this behaviour will only get worse as they’re backed further into a corner as society no longer accepts their outlandish justifications and lies. It could only be a matter of time before another monitor or sab makes the ultimate sacrifice as the footage below well illustrates.

I will of course continue on my chosen path and any attempted intervention by those who stand against us will only enforce my determination and those like me. I look forward to a quiet summer although the decision on the proposed further roll-out of the badger culls is still to be announced and should the Government choose to ignore the mountain of evidence and public opinion stacked against them then I’ll no doubt be turning partially nocturnal once more and joining the many others in the badger army to protect another of our iconic species. Should this come to fruition then I’ll publish advice on how to get involved and the best action to take in certain situations, fingers crossed it won’t come to that.

Finally I’ll leave you with the endearing sight of this cute little chap with a word of caution. Please remember to crush all cans so this kind of incident can be avoided if your local urban fox gets into your rubbish. Luckily the guy who shot this footage was on hand to deal with it before the worst happened and the little cub seemed relieved that its predicament was over with no ill effects.

I’ll be out with the Berkshire Hunt Sabs again this weekend. They’re currently fund-raising for a Landrover to help with their activities as many use their own vehicles which are constantly damaged by the hunts and their supporters. Every little helps, click here to donate. Click on the link below and fill in the necessary details, it’s that easy to make a difference.

Tell your MP that you don’t want a repeal by the back door.

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