Bloodlust: A backdoor plan to bring back hunting

Blood. Sport? Not all foxes are ripped to pieces by the hounds that hunt them - but this one was. [Picture: INS News Agency]

Blood. Sport? Not all foxes are ripped to pieces by the hounds that hunt them – but this one was. [Picture: INS News Agency]

It seems that killing badgers is not enough to sate the Conservative Party’s bloodlust and its members are now trying to restore fox hunting with packs of dogs.

According to the Daily Telegraph, The Federation of Welsh Farmers’ Packs (who?) has commissioned a report to assess whether lifting the limit on the number of dogs used to flush out foxes (for farmers to shoot) will improve efficiency.

Unsurprisingly – because these studies always provide the result desired by the people paying for them – it showed that using a full pack of hounds can be almost twice as effective as using just two dogs, as required by the current law. It also claimed that this could improve animal welfare, as the pursuit could be over much sooner, and use of snares – condemned as cruel – could be reduced.

It isn’t a reintroduction of ‘The Hunt’ by the strictest interpretation of the idea, but restoring the right to use a pack of hounds to chase a single fox would be wide open to abuse, especially by the kind of landed Tories who think they should be able to do whatever they want, to whatever they want, and the Hunting Act 2004 was a gross imposition.

The Coalition Agreement of 2010, of course, includes a commitment to a free vote on repealing the Act – but many Conservative MPs now accept that they might not get enough support to secure the reversal. Many see this as the most convenient alternative.

It’s the old ‘bait-and-switch’ trick again, isn’t it? They have transferred it to the countryside but the form is still the same: Find an acceptable pretext that will act as a cover for the real change to the law that will be imposed.

And there’s no mystery about why they want to bring back hunting. It’s a metaphor for the Tory lifestyle, isn’t it?

They say they’re going to “get tough”, or some similar flannel, and then – after they have wheedled their change into law – we all discover that this means siding with very large, or very bloodthirsty animals to bully, hound (in both senses of the word) and possibly even cause the death of a much smaller creature that they have isolated from its fellows.

Oh, how brave. Oh, how sporting!

It will be bloodier than the DWP’s attack on the disabled.

16 thoughts on “Bloodlust: A backdoor plan to bring back hunting

  1. jed goodright

    This just one step away from shooting disabled people, the poor and unemployed. “There’s no jobs, so what else can we do with them ?” a DWP spokesman said this afternoon.

  2. Martin McMillan

    Honestly Mike, this makes very little difference to anyone, or to the foxes. Hunting with dogs has never stopped, and killing foxes for pest control reasons will never stop. The vast majority of fox hunting with dogs is not and never has been done by a load of toffs dressed in their red jackets, with fifty grand worth of foxhounds and beagles, in the light of day. Most has always been done by working class lurcher men, at night under a lamp. This has never stopped and won’t. If you accept the premise that fox numbers need to be controlled, then surely the most efficient method is the best. The problem that some “on principle” anti hunting people seem to have is with people enjoying it as a sport. I don’t believe that foxes make that kind of value judgement and I don’t see that it benefits the foxes in any way for us to do it on their behalf. A portion of them are going to be killed each year, by whichever method, as they are an agricultural pest, and that’s all there is to it. I’m not a fox hunter by the way, nor do I live in an area where those bugling toffs cause havoc all over the countryside but I am from the countryside, and have been witness to the predation of spring lambs by foxes and fully understand why farmers need them controlled. Your articles are always good Mike, keep up the good fight, but as for this, it’s just a non issue.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I don’t think it is. I was a newspaper reporter in the run-up to the hunting ban in 2004, and it was a burning question at the time. Hunt supporters have never reconciled themselves to the fact that their fun was over and if they can bring it back through the backdoor this way, they will.
      I can’t say I’m particularly bothered about what kind of value judgement foxes place on hunting as a sport, but I would be extremely concerned if we all suddenly decided that we don’t mind the chinless classes getting all dressed up to inflict sadistic cruelty on comparatively helpless animals, and calling it fun.

    2. PendanticGeek

      I have never objected to hunting foxes but I always objected to red coated vandals riding rough shod through hedgerows and over private land with no consideration for trespass laws.
      Banning fox hunting was never about the welfare of foxes for me it was about the upper class twattery of it. When you have guns and trapping WTF would you need a pack of (effectively wild) dogs and a dozen riders on horses to catch a fox? It’s a waste of time and money.

  3. S. Markham

    ‘The Federation of Welsh Farmers’ Packs’ – website only registered in March this year – they appear to have done nothing apart from ‘commissioning’ this ‘study’. As for ‘The Federation of Welsh Farmers’ of which David Thomas is supposedly secretary there doesn’t seem to be such an organisation. The ‘study’ as far as I can see is a pdf document created by some race horse trainer, laughably set out to look like a scientific paper, complete with an abstract and lots of ‘confidence levels’.. Needless to say it has not been published in any scientific journal or reviewed by peers, so as such it is complete and utter nonsense. The fact that the title of their ‘research’ is ‘A pack of dogs is more effective at flushing red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to guns than a pair’ says it all I think! Love the use of the Latin name though, I expect they thought that it would sound more ‘scientific’. Fools.

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  5. drewdog2060drewdog2060

    The report in The Telegraph refers to cross party support for a change in the law as regards fox hunting. It talks about support from a member of the Welsh National Party together with backing from some Labour and Lib Dem politicians, I wasn’t impressed with the Telegraph’s reporting as the paper’s employment of the quote from the League Against Cruel Sports appears at the very end of the piece while the views of those who approve of the change are given major coverage. However in the interests of balance I wanted to correct the impression given by your post that the proposal is purely one eminating from the Conservative Party, it is not. I, personally dislike the idea of hunting with dogs. I find the idea of human beings taking pleasure in the suffering of a creature being chased profoundly distasteful. Farmers obviously need to protect their livestock but the use of shot guns (a good clean shot to the head to avoid suffering) would, one would hope be sufficient to control foxes.

    1. Mike Sivier

      The impression I got was that Conservatives generated this call for change and then enlisted support from others – but I don’t mind putting forward the different point of view.

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