Posts Tagged ‘repeal’

As you may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here and that’s because I took my annual pilgrimage north of the border to watch some wildlife on the western isles. However a lot has happened while I’ve been away so it’s time for a bit of a catch up.

Obviously the election result must have been a shock to those at the Countryside Alliance who thought they would get enough pro-hunt tory MP’s in place to push a repeal of the hunting ban through. No doubt old Bonner was crying into his cornflakes on the 9th when he realised that all the leafleting and lobbying by hunt lackeys was going to count for nothing. As I pointed out previously, Cruella De May’s support for a repeal was in fact political suicide and despite claims by some pro-hunt tory MP’s to the contrary this indeed was the case and the fact they can’t come to terms with this show’s their complete lack of understanding of the British voting public. This arrogance and indeed that of May was another major stumbling block for them. While Labour and Corbyn in particular were making all the right noises and actually talking to the people the tories were relying on a noisy, privileged blood sport minority to do their bidding. It was also hugely refreshing to see so many younger voters registering and getting involved. Make no mistake this played a significant role in the results and it bodes well for the future.

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CA predictions – hilariously wrong

Of course there will be more to come from this election result. The repeal free vote will be omitted from the Queens speech today (along with several other poor manifesto decisions), while the coalition of chaos argue among themselves and do dirty little deals in an effort to stay in power. This was effectively the last chance for the pro-hunt lobby to get their way. The repeal is dead, long live the ban. Now is the time to move on and get it strengthened and properly enforced.

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Micheal Gove or Harry Enfield?

Micheal Gove is also now the new Minister for Defra and the 4th minister in that position since I started writing this blog. Looking back I’m not sure who was the worst although Paterson took some beating for comic sound bites & quotes. Gove claims that policies including the badger cull will be looked and decided on from a scientific stand point. The problem there lies with the out of context and cherry picked science supplied and the power of those with influence over that department. The badger cull will no doubt continue with the further roll outs and more innocent animals will die for no reason whatsoever other than it’s something the NFU want. Gove has a history of voting against environmental protection issues and I don’t expect his tenure to improve the current situation.

A bit closer to home I’m still waiting for a date when the Fitzwilliam case will finally be heard. If the other side were delaying in the hope for a repeal then that threat has now passed and I’ve been told to keep the whole of August free so hopefully we can get these murderers into court and a guilty verdict secured.

We’ve also had some success against the Mink/Otter hunts locally. These people really are the lowest of the low, putting a pack of hounds through a delicate environment like a water course is nothing more than environmental vandalism and it’s clear to anyone with half a brain that Otters will be the main quarry as the Mink have been largely displaced now by the returning Otter. I was also pleased to see the UK Wild Otter Trust come out with a statement regarding this.

The full statement:

MINK HUNTING

“As a leading charity dealing with the European otter, we are concerned that mink hunting can & does cause issues for otters. The hunting act of 2004 bans the hunting of mammals with dogs whether they are native or not including mink. The control of any predator if required should be done in the most humane way – hunting with dogs is not. Unfortunately, this type of hunting still continues and therefore poses an ongoing risk to the otter.

UKWOT would question the methods used during illegal mink hunting as the dogs would not be able to distinguish between an otter or a mink. There are several points that require intervention by the law because it will cause disturbance to otters at the holt, place of rest or shelter and of course will disrupt its territory. There is also a very huge risk that the “mink hounds” will “accidentally” take an otter but of course that would be covered up. Do we believe that these packs actually hunt mink? No, we don’t but having proof is paramount to any such investigation and subsequent prosecution. The UK Wild Otter Trust would not hesitate to take legal proceedings should this ever be proven against any such hunting packs and we will never endorse this barbaric act”.

Hunting is still firmly in the public eye and while this is certainly not the beginning of the end I would suggest that it could be the end of the beginning. There’s still plenty of work to do, but it will get done, make no mistake.

So old Cruella Deville (Teresa May) has finally nailed her colours to the repeal mast. It was hardly surprising to be honest when you consider how deeply the Tory party has been penetrated by the Countryside Alliance and with old saggy chops Leadsom in charge of the environment being openly pro hunt you would expect nothing less. Of course Dim Bonner and all his murdering chums at the CA have been crowing ever since, one would almost think that the law had been repealed already but there’s a long way to go yet.

First off you have to consider if this was a particularly shrewd move politically in the first place. When you consider all the challenges the country is currently facing in the grand scheme of things the hunting act is relatively small fry. Having said that it is something which is likely to stir emotions from both sides and become a hot topic of conversation. The main stream media were all over this and of course it was trending on social sites as well, something the Tories have no control over (unlike the BBC and press). There has also been coverage on several local and national radio shows where listeners were phoning in with their opinions (more on that later) along with experts (and some not so expert)  in the studio but some facts are simply not up for debate.

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What future for this little one? I took this photo only a few nights ago.

The most recent polls show that 84% of people, and remember these will include Tory voters as well, don’t want to see a return of fox hunting but the repeal will cover all hunting with hounds (a fact often ignored in the media) and will also allow hunting by Harrier packs (Foxes & Hares), Beagles & Bassetts (Hares) and Stag Hounds (deer). All these grotesque minority pass times will be legal if the law is repealed. By focusing on the fox hunting side the pro hunt lobby think they have a justification they can sell to the public by demonizing the fox as a cold hearted killer that needs controlling (nothing is further from the truth but I’m not going into that now). They’ve been trying to do that for years and by and large the general public have seen through their lies so it begs the question will some of these Tory voters that stand against hunting turn their back on a party which is so open to promote cruelty? If they lack the compassion in these instances then it’s not a huge leap of faith to think the same will apply to people and particularly those parts of society which need the help the most. Just look at their record with the NHS and the removal of benefits from the disabled.

So what about the opening salvos fired from the warring parties. I had a call asking to go on the radio last week to speak for the anti-hunt side however as it turned out it didn’t happen but the pro argument in this occasion and several occasions since all followed an all too familiar pattern. It was if these pro hunt members of the public were almost reading from a prepared hymn sheet. Funny that.

There are too many foxes. Foxes are killing my chickens & lambs. Foxes are killing hedgehogs (weren’t the badgers getting blamed for that?), foxes carry disease etc etc.

What amazed me was that none of these claims could be backed up with any proof or evidence whatsoever. The fox population in the countryside has actually been in significant decline for some years (43% between 1995-2015) most likely due to excessive killing by gamekeepers. One small holder claimed to have lost over 50 lambs and they were coming into the sheds and taking them and had seen them.

Had seen them.

And yet did nothing to stop it? It would seem like some sort of door which could be locked would be in order. I know foxes are clever but I’ve never known one open a locked door. The funny part was this person only noticed they were missing 50 odd lambs after they had returned from market (probably cause their sales were down). Surely if Mr Fox had been taking them so regularly there would be evidence? Apparently they knew of a “fox cub sett” on their land but had left it there because that’s nothing to do with them. I just shows the level of ignorance here. A cub sett? Oh my days. If you don’t even know the correct names for things I doubt you’ll understand the basics in fox ecology let alone looking after your livestock and keeping them safe. The research done on losses of livestock regarding lambs has proven that less than 1% can be attributed to predation and by far the biggest losses are due to poor husbandry.

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Cruella Deville – “Killing animals is fun”.

One dim witted pro hunt caller claimed he’d watched foxes brutally killing his chickens as well as lots of hedgehogs. Witnessed it first hand.

Yet again did nothing.

Luckily in this case we were represented by Penny Little, a hugely knowledgeable and passionate person who completely took this other callers nonsensical argument apart and called them out as complete liars.

I’ve no doubt these argument will go on for some time to come but if the Tories do get in with a big majority (I sincerely hope they don’t) what chance do they actually have of pushing through a repeal?

Well the CA may have significant sway on Governement policy but the anit-hunt side is also supported within the Tory party as well. Blue Fox have senior MP’s and front bench ministers in their organisation including Tracey Crouch (Minister for Sport), Caroline Dinenage (Equalities Minister), Sir Roger Gale, Sir David Amess and Dominic Rab the former Justice Minister. Whether they can hold enough influence to convince other Tory MP’s to vote against any repeal remains to be seen but it has to be said that any new seats won at the election could just as likely contain anti-hunt MP’s as pro. Some Tory MP’s are already coming out as anti-hunt which had previously voted against a ban after discussions with their constituents.

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Just a thought . . .

The Tories have made previous commitments to repeal the ban and it hasn’t happened yet. May’s popularity is likely to be affected by her support of something that the vast majority of the British public simply want to see an end of and with Labour now gaining some points in the opinion polls perhaps it might be something which may come back to bite her on the arse. From my point of view I’ll be voting Labour although living in a Tory stronghold as I do I don’t hold out much hope. I sincerely hope anyone reading this will consider their vote very carefully and stop these murdering bastards from getting the majority they desire. The British people will get the chance to make that happen, albeit via a deeply flawed voting system. If a repeal of the hunting Act really is political poison then May has quaffed a glass full.

We all knew it would happen sooner or later but perhaps what is a surprise is the method Cameron is attempting to use and the speed in which the story developed.

If the information being leaked to the media is to be believed it was looking increasingly unlikely that Cameron would get what the Countryside Alliance were aggressively lobbying for through the house. A total repeal of the Hunting Act was looking like it may be in serious trouble as MP’s from all sides were distancing themselves from something which obviously had so little support from the general voting public. However Cameron, in an effort to push through with his manifesto promise has chosen a somewhat unscrupulous method of watering down the current legislation without risking a potentially damaging free vote on a repeal.

The solution for him involves amending the Hunting Act by statutory instrument. This would allow hunting for pest control purposes, using an unlimited amount of dogs to flush a fox to waiting guns. Of course calling the fox a pest in the first place is up for debate, most with any understanding of wildlife and ecology will know the fox has an important part to play in the food chain and can in fact be hugely beneficial to farmers by naturally controlling the numbers of rodents and rabbits that chomp their way through millions of pounds worth of crops each year and quite frankly if you can’t protect your livestock from a small wild dog then perhaps you really shouldn’t have the responsibility in the first place. Of course it’s been proven beyond doubt that hunting with hounds is an inefficient way of killing any animal, this is nothing more than a back door approach to appease his sponsors at the CA and save face by avoiding an embarrassing commons defeat.

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How these changes would affect how the hunts operate would in fact be minimal in real terms but would muddy the waters enough to make prosecution even harder than it is already. Regardless of the number of hounds allowed once flushed the fox would have to be shot. Any continued chase by the hounds would then be in contravention of the law and this is the crux of the matter. The whole point in fox hunting is the protracted chase and the kill. This is where the hunters get their kicks, the “thrill of the chase”. It would also mean the hunts would have to employ a number of gun license holders who would have to be in a suitable position to kill the animal once it bolted which, when you consider the fluid nature of hunting, would prove to be totally impractical.This whole situation also has the makings of a complete disaster. Most shotgun license holders probably couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo let alone a fast moving fox, throw into the mix 30 or so hounds in hot pursuit and a bunch of sabs hell bent on preventing any killing and it doesn’t take a genius to work out what could happen next. The boys in blue would also be getting increasingly twitchy with all those firearms knocking about, especially considering how easily the hunts and their lackeys like to get violent when someone interferes with their idea of fun.

It’s somewhat odd then that such a staunch supporter of fox hunting, our old friend Owen Paterson supports such a weakening of the act. He’s on record as stating that shooting foxes is not a good way of controlling them as often the shooters aren’t good shots and many will die from their injuries over a period of time (although that didn’t seem to bother him when it came to badgers). We can only surmise that he must now be doing the fastest U turn ever in an effort to support Cameron who now seems think it’s safe and humane. Of course that’s neither here nor there as it has nothing to do with animal welfare in the first place. The whole issue has an overwhelming political stink about it. Bury the issue behind the first Tory budget and go in by the back door and hope no-one notices. If ever you had any doubts about the integrity of the Government and Cameron in particular then this issue should answer everything you needed to know.

Sign the petition here.

Write to your MP regardless of their stance on the matter. Find out yours here.

Stop the Cull – Protect the Foxes

UPDATE: Having now had chance to read and digest the amendments to the act it would seem things could be more serious than I previously perceived. If this gets approved it would in effect make the act utterly pointless and give a free reign to those who like killing things for pleasure with little no risk of prosecution. Please contact your MP, contact the SNP and encourage them to get involved and if you can get down to Westminster next Wednesday and make your feelings known in person.