If you have any interest in wildlife or indeed animal welfare you’ll have no doubt seen much of the media coverage both in the national press and on TV with regards to the unscrupulous method in which the Tory Government are trying to repeal the hunting ban via the back door. Brain May has been his honest best by telling it how it is by calling these people “lying bastards”. Now any supporter of hunting can try and justify their actions by claiming it’s pest control but the simple fact it they hunt for fun, if it wasn’t fun for them then they simply wouldn’t do it. Brian crossed verbal swords with Owen Paterson on Sky News recently and while good old Owen bluffed and blustered his was through with only multiple repetitions of the pest control claims Brian shot him down with hard facts. Foxes are not pests, I’ve said this plenty of times before and I’m not going to go over it all again but what I will do is highlight a few instances that prove the pest control justification of hunting is a total lie.

Encouraging Foxes. Some year back a national newspaper came into the position of a letter sent by the Masters of Fox Hounds Association to 800 hunt masters and the chairmen warns of a nationwide “shortage of foxes”. It also urged that landowners should be encouraged to breed more foxes to solve the “problem”. The letter came to light when the Sunday Mirror obtained a copy of an email sent in response to it by Simon Hart, chief executive of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance. In the email to Lord Daresbury, chairman of the MFHA, he expressed his concern that if the letter was leaked, “we would be ridiculed in Parliament, the Press and in all parts of Britain where hunting is firstly population control and secondly recreational.” He added: “I do want to re-stress that the Alliance is here to play its part in securing hunting’s future but we cannot do this if the core arguments are undermined. I am one of those who has never been happy about our reliance on the ‘pest control’ case, partly because so few people understand that control is not always the same as extermination – in fact it rarely is.” He calls the letter – which he says “advocates the artificial enhancement of a pest species for purely sporting benefit”“politically naive”. He says the letter’s suggestion that hunt masters “should be firmer with subscribers ‘who do not keep foxes’ dismays me”.

Artificial earth in Cambridgeshire.

Artificial earth in Cambridgeshire.

Artificial Earths. Moving on from what’s outlined above it seemed many hunt subscribers did indeed take action to encourage foxes. The Stop the Cull organisation have been releasing images on social media over the past few days of earths that have been constructed to encourage foxes to breed. These are not exceptions either, it would seem they are numerous and widespread. Footage secretly obtained by the HSA and shown on prime time news by ITV also showed the Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt no only providing a suitable breading earth but feeding the foxes with chicken carcasses and eggs. This would of course enable foxes to produce larger litters and so have more young foxes to hunt come the autumn.On hunt day this means many hunters would know exactly where to find a fox and so would send in their dim witted lackeys and their terriers to flush them in front of the hounds and block up any other holes where they may escape, including badgers setts which is illegal in its own right.

Upland farmers losing livestock. This was the repeated line spouted by Own Paterson on Sky News. Hard working, good old honest, salt of the earth upland farmers (OK I admit I embellished that a bit but that was the impression he was trying to achieve) are finding it hard to survive due to massive losses by aggressive foxes. This is another downright lie. By Defra’s own studies (weren’t you boss of Defra once Owen, you know, when the Badgers moved the goal posts?) lamb losses are below 1% (0.8% to be precise) and chickens a mere 2%, hardly earth shatteringly large numbers. Foxes will no doubt scavenge on the carcasses of dead lambs but actually taking and killing healthy lambs is a complete nonsense. Have you ever seen a breeding ewe defend her offspring? No fox would even attempt taking one on when there are easier meals to be had. The simple fact is that it is down to poor husbandry that so many casualties occur.

Even some hunters are disgusted. Clifford Pellow was a huntsman for 23 years before turning his back on the practice. The Daily Mirror published his story (13/07) with some horrific claims of cruelty but for the point in question here regarding pest control he has to say this: “It is nonsense and lies to say hunting has anything to do with ­controlling a pest in the countryside. When I worked on a farm, it was more effective to flush foxes out with two sheepdogs than with a pack of dogs. It’s got to be the worst method of fox control. There are more foxes killed on the motorways than killed by hounds. The hunting fraternity have a lot of excuses for hunting but not one ­justification. The only justification is to kill something at the end of the day.”

So as you can see and as Brian May so eloquently put, they really are a bunch of lying bastards.

UPDATE: The Tory’s hope of winning on the hunting amendments could be scuppered as the SNP throw their weight behind the no vote.

The Scottish National Party Westminster Group met this evening and decided to vote against the Tory Government’s attempt to relax the ban on fox hunting south of the border in Wednesday’s vote.

SNP Westminster Group Leader Angus Robertson MP said:

“We totally oppose fox hunting, and when there are moves in the Scottish Parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales for Holyrood to consider. 

“We are in a situation where the Tory government are refusing to agree to any amendments to improve the Scotland Bill – which are supported by 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs – and imposing English Votes for English Laws to make Scotland’s representation at Westminster second class. 

“In these circumstances, it is right and proper that we assert the Scottish interest on fox hunting by voting with Labour against the Tories’ proposals to relax the ban – in the process, reminding an arrogant UK government of just how slender their majority is – just as we will vote against the Tory welfare cuts next week, and appeal to Labour to join us.”

I wonder what vitriolic, literary vomit James Barrington will come up with in response to this news?

UPDATE#2: David Cameron has now withdrawn the amendment vote knowing he’d lose it. This looks like an attempt to delay until he can get through the English Votes for English Laws legislation which would effectively end the possibility of the SNP voting on such matters. Whatever democracy we had is now dead.

UPDATE#3: Wow, things are moving quickly. It would now seem that even if the EVEL legislation was brought into effect the SNP would still be able to block any move to weaken the Hunting Act. We won the battle. Now lets make sure we win the war and consign these evil people to history and get hunting with dogs completely banned and properly enforced.

  1. Eilish Roberts says:

    Thank you for bringing all this to light. That video is stomach churning. Evil, conniving bastards

  2. Alastair Thomas says:

    Scum of the earth…population control should be used on pro hunt psychopaths

  3. auntiecon says:

    I totally agree with the above comments. These vile lying criminals have been getting away with their audacious deceit since the Hunting Act was brought in in 2005. We need to keep exposing them for what they really are. Not the wonderful ‘chocolate box’ image that show themselves to town centres on Boxing Day, but nasty very cruel criminals that delight in persecuting our wild animals for entertainment.

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