Posts Tagged ‘UK Wild Otter Trust’

This week I have a guest blog for you and it’s written by National Dis-Trust.  They are a group of voluntary campaigners from across the country calling on The National Trust to save their reputation & kick off the criminal hunts from NT land. They are working alongside other grassroots groups and volunteers for this sole objective.

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Convicted wildlife killers the Meynell Hunt still use NT land

Earlier this year in March, staff from The League Against Cruel Sports met with The National Trust to talk about concerns relating to illegal hunts on their land, concerns
which are shared by an increasing amount of people. The League’s statement on this meeting shows that The Trust make little effort to enforce or monitor the conditions that
the hunts agree to; instead, the hunts simply state they are adhering to the licenses, regardless of the truth. Subsequent internal discussions within The Trust, it seems, have
resulted in little change and apparently no further correspondence with The League. Subsequent to this meeting, The Trust claimed it would do more for declining wildlife – strange, then, that they rejected The League’s offer of assistance in monitoring hunts on their land, given that brown hares (a priority of conservation) sometimes find
themselves amongst the unfortunate legion of victims. We can’t imagine why they would
refuse such an offer.

If you flick around The Trust’s website for long enough, you may find their (seemingly
deliberately hidden) policy that demonstrates their unwavering faith in so-called ‘trail
hunting’ whilst conveniently omitting all information regarding their licensing of fox
hunting in Northern Ireland, where this bloodsport sadly remains legal, hence the
existence of the campaign group ‘Ban Fox & Stag Hunting Northern Ireland’. Given the
overwhelming opposition to these ‘sports’, is this not something The Trust should tell the
public before taking their subscriptions?

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There are two huge problems with their ‘trail hunt’ policy; the first is the Trail Of Lies
report published by The International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 2015. This
report drew on hundreds of field reports from hunts across the country and surprisingly,
99% of them failed to lay ‘trails’. The Trust’s Director-General, Dame Helen Ghosh, is
well aware of this evidence; it has been presented to her and she has read it (watch this
video of a lecture she gave as proof, from 59:30 to 63:00), though seemingly to no avail.
The second is that it is not actually legal to use fox urine to lay ‘trails’ for a myriad of
reasons, and that the supplier of fox urine that some hunts tell The Trust they use doesn’t
actually exist (shocker!). A recent Freedom of Information request to DEFRA’s Animal &
Plant Health Agency (APHA) has revealed that there have been only one license granted
for importing fox substance from 2014 onwards, and it wasn’t related to hunting. As with
the ‘Trail Of Lies’ report, The Trust are well aware of these facts.

Fox hunting, and the fate of The Hunting Act 2004 which remains the only real legal
protection for the brown hare, were huge issues in the election earlier this year. Some
Conservative MP’s who lost their seats said fox hunting was a crucial factor in the result.
The blind arrogance of those who think fox hunting has a future even led Countryside
Alliance CEO, Tim Bonner, to claim that the Conservative landslide would result in a
majority of 103 seats. The irony in this is that earlier in the year, Dame Helen Ghosh was giving talks under the title of ‘What Are The Challenges Facing The National Trust In The 21st Century?’

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So perhaps it is time The Trust heeded the message of the recent election. You need only briefly skim their Facebook page to see how little weight their defense of ‘trail hunting’ is carrying with the general public, and no wonder; fox hunting and their counterpart packs for hares or mink and otters rightly sicken the overwhelming majority of us, and few people believe in the lies of the hunt lobby anymore. On mink hunting, The Chair and Founder of The UK Wild Otter Trust, Dave Webb, recently offered an unexpected (but welcome) interjection by stating that not only did he believe that mink hunts were continuing to hunt illegally (regardless of your opinion of mink, it is illegal to pursue them with packs of hounds) but that they also implied that they considered them to be pursuing otters, which are thankfully increasing in number. He said if proof was brought to his organisation, he would begin to take legal proceedings. The National Trust, on the other hand, appear to have no objection to offering ‘trail hunt’ licenses to mink-packs.

So what can people do about this? Well, a members resolution has now been submitted to put a stop to these ‘trail hunt’ licenses on The Trust’s land. It will be put to a vote on 21st October this year, at their AGM. Anybody who has been a member for 70 days before this date is entitled to a vote, according to their regulations. We urge anybody capable of doing so to offer their votes to this end, and help us shut down ‘trail hunting’ on Trust land.

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.