Features

Ten years after the ban, why are there still hunt saboteurs?

It’s clearly not about animal welfare. But then it never was

14 March 2015

9:00 AM

14 March 2015

9:00 AM

If you don’t hunt or listen to The Archers, you might be forgiven for assuming that hunt saboteurs had become obsolete. Hunting with hounds was banned ten years ago, and the law is respected: convictions for illegal hunting against registered hunts are rare. But as this year’s season draws to a close, masked saboteurs are still a regular sight. Some made headlines in January when a video emerged of a group, faces covered, beating a hunt master unconscious with iron bars.

What few people seemed to ask was: why? Why on earth do the protest groups still exist when the ban they demanded came in so long ago? And when you consider the effects of the ban on the animals that tend to be devoured by foxes, indeed on animals in general, why won’t they countenance the argument that hunting — and keeping the fox population down — was actually good for all animals?

Jim Barrington, an animal welfare consultant for the Countryside Alliance, shows it is possible for hunt sabs to see the light. Jim first got involved with the League Against Cruel Sports in the 1970s, after seeing pictures of horribly mangled dead foxes. Jim loved sabbing hunts. At first, he says. it was ‘like stepping into a Dickensian world… The smell of the horses and things — and doing something for animal welfare; it was just a lovely thing to get involved in.’


Barrington stayed with the League until 1995 and eventually became its director; but by then he was becoming disheartened with his group’s attitude to hunting. A hunting ban was their absolute aim, and any examination of whether it was in fact good for animals was shouted down. He had joined to improve animal welfare, but it became clear to him that the ban and animal welfare were two different things. That’s something that the League continues to ignore today.

Unlike the iron-bar-wielding bullies of the post-ban movement, Barrington has grown to see hunting from a wildlife management perspective. He sees the benefits that hunting confers on the fox’s prey, as well as its benefit to foxes. Within months of the hunting ban (which included hare coursing) coming into force, for example, ‘ten of thousands of hares were shot out’ on coursing estates, since the incentive for keeping them had been removed.

But Barrington’s that rare thing, a former sab who genuinely cares about animals enough to think through the ramifications. The problem is, why would we expect hyped-up antis to stop and think when the general population has become almost as radicalised as they are? Increasing numbers of people, when asked, say they’re opposed to the idea of killing animals for any reason — even for the benefit of other species. A recent survey found that just 15 per cent of British people living in urban areas understand the need to cull deer, while 14 per cent see no reason to kill any animal at all, including rats and mice.

People seem to find it hard to remember that rats spread disease, or even what meat is. When the young daughter of Susannah Constantine (of Trinny and Susannah fame) was photographed holding a dead duck, commentators were — as the Daily Mail put it — ‘outraged’, and both Constantine and food writer Rose Prince were provoked into defending the photographs, arguing that at least the girl understood where her food came from.

Ironically, given the ban, foxes are one species which people do seem to understand need controlling. In the same survey, 33 per cent of those questioned supported killing a certain number of foxes in the name of pest control — perhaps because even sentimental Londoners see foxes trotting along the road and picnicking in the bins daily.

Those figures probably won’t do much to cull anti-hunt protestors: they’re far too dedicated, and sabbing has become a way of life. As the former deputy prime minister John Prescott said last year: ‘I was proud to vote for the Hunting Act in 2004 to prevent the brutal killing of foxes to satisfy the blood lust of a few brainless toffs.’ There’s no excuse for a 21st-century saboteur, but their continuing presence does serve one purpose. They show that this was never really about the foxes; it was always about fighting a class war under the guise of animal welfare.

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Show comments
  • Randy Janssen

    People living in urban societies seem to forget where meat comes from. I understand that. I saw enough human death when I was in the army and I worked at a penitentiary. I though I was immune to it. Then when I was raising pigs, I took one to be butchers and as I left, I heard a squeal and realized it was dead. It took me aback. The more I got into raising livestock, the more I realized that that there were things that needed to be done, that would make most city folk puke. This was especially true when I held my first leg at a calf castration. Then, not only did the calf survive, it grew into a nice animal that was sent to be butchered. For that calf to grow, we ended up killing a coyote that was attacking the animals. Nothing in life is free, there is a price to pay for everything. If you want meat, which is still the best source of protein, something has to die.

    • Rhian Waller

      Eat a lot of foxes, do you? I don’t know about you, but when I bite into my canid, I prefer for it not to have been tenderised first by another dog.

      • Old Nick

        Eat a lot of eggs do you ?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Eat much humble pie do you?

          • Old Nick

            Umble pie, as I am sure you are aware, is made of the pluck of a deer (the parts, that is, which go into a venison haggis). I had you down as a vegetarian.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Eating Humble pie in common usage means being humiliated. What you refer to is the medieval derivation of the word humble. This is middle French a nomble pie became an omble pie.Made of deer guts. I am no veggie, just draw the line at tripe.

          • Old Nick

            You clearly do not know the difference between guts and pluck.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I have plenty of pluck. You have no guts.

          • Old Nick

            Humble pie is in common usage as a comestible in the land of the wild red deer. I need hardly remind you that the red deer has survived there largely thanks to the fact that it is hunted by hounds, thereby ensuring that numbers are neither excessive (as they are in parts of the Highlands of Scotland) nor non-existent (as they became, for instance, on Dartmoor). And my guts are, thank you, in perfect working order.

        • Rhian Waller

          Eh?

      • Randy Janssen

        You have to keep foxes under control because they kill anything smaller then them and some things larger. They kill chickens and even piglets. The same is true of coyotes, wolves and bears. It is a matter of survival for farmers.

        • Rhian Waller

          This may be true, but it is far, far more efficient to trap them or shoot them than it is to run across fields for five hours with a pack of 40 foxhounds while blowing into a bugle.

          It’s disingenuous to argue that the number of foxes killed in hound hunts is anything to do with livestock protection. For one thing, the number, compared to shooting, is relatively small. For another, it’s a very inefficient use of resources when the farming industry is all about efficiency.

          Hunting with hounds (except when using hounds solely to flush prey which will then be shot) is done for fun.

          • HJ777

            The flaw in your economic/efficiency argument is that hunts seem to operate even though they no longer hunt foxes, so it is hard to argue that it is an expensive way to kill foxes. An expensive form of recreation, perhaps.

            Indeed, it is likely that the marginal cost of hunting foxes in this way (were they allowed to do so again) is small or even zero.

            However, I entirely accept that had hunting with hounds never been invented then it is hardly likely that anyone would propose it on the grounds that it would be a cost-efficient way of controlling the fox population.

          • Rhian Waller

            The flaw in your argument is that you’ve missed my point that the goal of a fox hunt was never to keep down numbers in the first place.

            The reason hunts still operate is because they are a recreational past-time (and an expensive one. I’ve spoken to Hunt Masters whose entire livelihoods depend on maintaining the pack – which will kill a handful of foxes a week, compared to a trained gunman or a farmer who will dispatch dozens to hundreds in addition to doing other jobs). They are still expensive to run. The costs of feeding, training and housing a pack of 40-60 fox hounds is exorbitant. The costs of breeding the fox hounds is exorbitant. The costs of conducting an individual hunt, which involves transporting horses and dogs, the cost of appropriate outfits, etc, etc, is pretty high.

            It is disingenuous to describe the act of fox hunting as anything other than a sport. The killing of the fox is a goal only insofar as scoring the winning try in a rugby match is a goal – no one argues that rugby is about anything other than winning the game.

            Justifying fox hunting as an effective way of keeping down fox numbers is redundant, however often people keep dragging the tired trope up.

            The real argument boils down to this.

            Some people enjoy killing foxes in a protracted way. Other people don’t like the fact that some people enjoy killing foxes in a protracted way when there are better and more effective methods available.

          • HJ777

            You have entirely missed my point, told me that my argument is flawed, and then agreed with it.

            I was not making a comment on the merits or otherwise of fox hunting as a method of controlling foxes or as a method of deriving pleasure. I was merely pointing out the economic fact which is that hunts still operate, and incur the same associated costs, with or without being able to kill foxes.

          • Rhian Waller

            I hadn’t noticed the username had changed. The other poster was trying to argue that hunting foxes with hounds was due to an attempt to control numbers.

            Yes, fox hunts continue. That’s a truism.

          • HJ777

            I would think (I don’t know) that controlling the number of foxes was probably the original motivation. When it started there probably were’t other effective methods.

            Of course, since then it also became a recreational activity. However, that doesn’t mean that it is ineffective in controlling foxes.

          • Rhian Waller

            It is ineffective compared to other, current methods.

            Would you, in another arena entirely, suggest that we all go back to churning our own butter because it’s “effective” rather than buy butter produced and processed by farmers?

            People can churn their own butter if they want to, recreationally, but most won’t because it isn’t practical.

            The argument that fox hunting is efficient because the outlay has already been placed down is an odd one.
            To use another analogy, that’s like saying that a creaking, ancient power station is efficient because it’s already been built when there are cheaper, faster and relatively easy sources of power readily available elsewhere.

          • HJ777

            You continue to misunderstand the point I was making. Please read and think before replying.

            Whether or not it would be a cost-effective method if introduced now solely for the control of foxes is neither here nor there. Hunts continue to operate, and people continue to pay the attendant costs, for recreational reasons – I am not aware of a cost reduction because they no longer kill foxes.

            And yes, some people probably do churn their own butter because they enjoy it. And others (most people) prefer just to buy their butter (probably cheaper). The two things are not incompatible.

            Your power station analogy is false because people do not operate power stations for recreational pleasure.

            In any case, people do all sorts of things that are economically inefficient. The law doesn’t ban things purely because they are economically inefficient.

          • Rhian Waller

            Yes, but it does somewhat undermine the argument that the act of hunting foxes with hounds is to keep fox numbers down, i.e., for non-recreational purposes.

          • HJ777

            I think that fox hunting advocates cite that as a benefit, not the sole reason.

            It could be argued that they have the economic argument on their side. As they enjoy riding around with hounds anyway and are already incurring the costs, then if they can do something useful at the same time, i.e. helping control the fox population which would otherwise have to be done another way at additional cost, then fox hunting is economically efficient.

          • Rhian Waller

            That would be true, if the killing part hadn’t been, for the majority of the history of fox hunting, the primary goal. A great many fox hunting advocates have gone on record to say that it remains the primary goal. False trail hunts are, in effect, considered training exercises.

          • HJ777

            But I row and originally that was all about moving goods about (an economic activity) or in ancient times, war, and now it is all about recreation and racing.

            Should i stop because it no longer has an economic benefit?

          • Rhian Waller

            I would suggest that if you row with the intent of concussing and killing fish and river fowl and not eating them then yes, you should probably stop (and I would question your sanity). But rowing isn’t about that.

            I’d say rowing is more analogous to going on a hack.

          • HJ777

            You should question any rower’s sanity.

            You have to be utterly mad to put yourself through the torture of rowing training and racing.

            Hunts would argue that although they enjoy it, the element of pest control is a bonus. Many also argue that it is more humane than other methods (and I don’t pretend to know whether or not this is the case).

          • Rhian Waller

            I’ve done a bit of rowing (I’ve done a bit of lots of things) – but never competitively or with any great enthusiasm. I preferred kayaking.

            The humane killing argument is highly questionable at best.

          • HJ777

            I’d ban kayaking on account of the fact that they come through ‘our’ stretch of river and frequently paddle on the wrong side (i.e. contrary to the navigation rules).

            🙂

          • Rhian Waller

            I’d also like to add that your contribution to the discussion has been interesting and also considered, which is nice to see.

          • HJ777

            That is because I don’t have a dog in the fight (if you’ll excuse the expression).

            I have zero interest in hunting but I am very wary of preventing others from doing something just because someone else may dislike it or may dislike the people who do it. If we were all to adopt such an attitude we would all be banning each other from doing things – and where would that end? We should think very carefully before encroaching on the liberties of others.

            In my opinion, the only case for banning hunting is one of unnecessary cruelty (and I really don’t know whether it is especially cruel compared to other methods of pest control – I am not an expert). However, it is clear from many of the posts here that that is not the main motivator of many anti-hunting people, and that I deplore. The debate should be centred around whether it is unnecessarily cruel – and nothing else.

          • Rhian Waller

            This is absolutely true.

            I think what happens is that anti-hunt campaigners take the unnecessary cruelty to be a given. I am inclined to agree, given the visual evidence, the length of hunts, hunt tactics and the fact that there are other methods available.

            Efficiency, after all, is not just about cost. It’s also about speed, ease and effectiveness. The hallmarks of a hunt are none of these.

            Unfortunately, because anti-hunt campaigners take the cruelty factor as read they don’t bother to explain it and will jump into ad hominem attacks (i.e., you are barbaric, rather than one single activity you take part in is barbaric) rather than analysis.

            That said, so do pro-hunting parties. The quality of debate on this article will attest to that.

            My interactions have been relatively calm so far, but my ability to question a cultural artifact (and I firmly believe all cultural artifacts should open to questioning, from music to sex) has, apparently, been linked to whether or not I’ve butchered an animal – which is an irrelevance (even though I have.).

            You don’t have to be a classically trained opera singer to know when someone’s singing karaoke badly.

          • HJ777

            If you read the comments here you will see that there are people who have admitted under examination, that they would be against hunting even if were established that it is more humane than other methods of pest control. They dislike the people who do it and that is enough reason for them.

            In other words, they’d be quite happy to increase cruelty to foxes in order to ban people from hunting.

            Such views are doubly unacceptable, in my view.

            As for the opera singer example, it really doesn’t matter how badly someone sings karaoke – that doesn’t lessen their right to do it (in fact, I was under the impression that being terrible was part of the fun).

          • Rhian Waller

            Yeah, that’s just unacceptable and, to my mind, weird.

            Re: karaoke – I’m not talking about banning karaoke – only suggesting that you don’t need to be an expert to recognise when something isn’t working very well!

          • HJ777

            But isn’t the whole point of karaoke self-humiliation?

            If it worked well, what would be the point?

          • Rhian Waller

            Hah! I enjoy it when someone steps up and the hairs on the back of your neck rise for the right reasons.

            I have a signature song which I love because people actually get up and dance to it.

          • HJ777

            If it were me stepping up to sing, any sensible person would be making a beeline for the exit.

            If there were any danger that I would indulge in karaoke, I would support a law banning it on the grounds of unnecessary cruelty to people within earshot.

          • Randy Janssen

            You obviously have never ridden of horse and jumped. It is exciting and fulfilling. The animal rights fanatic want to reduce life to some sort of yoga pose, reciting a mantra. A lot of people think life is more then that. Foxes kill small animals in the same manner. They bit them and then tear them apart to be able to swallow them. What you are spouting is vegan nonsense.

          • Rhian Waller

            Ah, we’ve moved on to ad hominem. Classy. Actually, I have ridden ‘of horse’ and jumped. I am not a vegan. Try again.

            Yes, foxes kill small animals to tear them apart and swallow them. Swallowing being the pivotal part of the equation. Foxes do this to survive. Huntspeople hunt for fun. Someone else decided to use the fact that they still hunt, (ostensibly) without a fox, as proof that the hunt is efficient. I’d argue that actually, it’s proof that it’s recreational and inefficient.

            In the wild, no animal would chase another one for miles and miles for fun without a significant chance of a decent energy exchange at the end of it, because if they did that they would starve to death.

            Suggesting fox hunting with hounds is part of the natural order is disingenuous and shows a complete lack of understanding of the nature of, well, nature.

            Shooting a fox is an act that can be justified by protecting resources. Hunting a fox with hounds is an act that can only be justified because it’s enjoyable and ‘traditional’. Traditions change. Enjoyment is subjective.

          • Randy Janssen

            Who care if it is efficient. It is fun. What do they say about rugby players, “they eat their dead”. In the US, 50,000 children as hospitalized with serious injuries and about 20 die each year in high school football injuries. We do things that are dangerous because it is part of our humanity. So don’t tell me that I have to live my life as some sort of nervous Nelly, contemplating my navel.

          • Rhian Waller

            I haven’t told you anything like that, although I will tell you your analogy is flawed.

            50,000 children might be hospitalised because of high school football injuries, but they consented to take part and were aware of the dangers they would encounter.

            The target of a blood sport does not consent and presumably has no awareness of the concept of a hunt.

            There are plenty of other hair-raising, exhilarating activities out there which are legal and do not result in the protracted death of an animal. That includes trail hunting.

            Fox hunting with hounds is only justifiable as a personal preference, one that happens to now be illegal. Just because a person wants to do something does not mean that they should automatically be allowed to do it.

          • Randy Janssen

            Bet you have never butchered an animal. Ever slit the throat of a goat, hung it up so the blood can drain out. Makes for some good eating,, if you cook it right. Ever shoot a dove or quail. Don’t like dove so much, have too much of a liver taste for me. Quail is not too bad, but you have to be careful of the shot. Do we ask pigs and steers if they want to be killed. Do we ask chickens if they want to be stew. Quit being silly.

          • Rhian Waller

            Wrong again. I’ve had my hands inside fish and rabbits. I then jointed (or filleted), cooked and ate them. I didn’t kill them for fun. But carry on flailing. You might hit on a relevant point some time.

            “Do we ask chickens if they want to be stew”

            That’s the crux. By comparing fox hunting with hounds to livestock slaughter you are arguing (erroneously) that fox hunting is somehow comparable to killing for survival when it isn’t. Fox hunting is killing for recreation, just like bear-bating, dog fighting, cock-fighting and badger digging, which are likewise illegal (and likewise occur illegally). These lack the pageantry of fox hunting, however, and the vocal countryside lobby, though.

          • Randy Janssen

            You don’t hunt for survival in England or the US. You do it because you enjoy it. It is easier to get chicken or beef from the store. Certainly no one eats dove to survive. You know how many you have to kill for one meal. I don’t hunt deer, because I prefer grain fed beef to venison. Finally, fox hunting is not dog fighting. It is a legitimate method of predator control. Why not have a little pageantry with it. Too much of tradition is being lost to political correctness. Your argument that it is OK to kill in one instance and not another is just plain silly.

          • Rhian Waller

            My argument is that it’s justified to kill in one instance and not in another. That’s at the core of quite a lot of law. It isn’t silly at all.

            I’d argue that hunting wild animals and consuming them is actually more ethical than going to the store. For one thing, the animal lives a natural lifecycle. In terms of animal welfare, the animal isn’t kept in close conditions, freighted around and them forced to wait in a slaughterhouse until it is killed, alongside its peers.

            For another, it doesn’t contribute to the centralisation of resources that factory farming does.

            If you eat supermarket food you are just as culpable in the animal’s death as if you shoot it. You just haven’t done the deed yourself.

            I don’t shoot doves because I don’t eat doves. If you’re killing them for fun then it’s a bloodsport and therefore
            unjustifiable and comporable to shooting dogs just for the sake of shooting dogs.

            Shooting and (on occasion) trapping are legitimate methods of predator control because they are efficient, fast and as humane as it is possible to be. Fox hunting is none of those things, which delegitimises the process as a form of predator control.

          • CouchSlob

            What a shame, after HJ777 and Rhian’s thoroughly civilised and respectful debate, to then have to read your patronising claptrap. They actually made progress with their discussion. Your closed-minded idiocy really brings things back to square one with a dull witted thump.

    • 9sqn

      Yes, but not a fox. Idiot.

      • Randy Janssen

        You have never farmed have you. You have to keep foxes under control because they kill anything smaller then them and some things larger. They kill chickens and even piglets. The same is true of coyotes, wolves and bears.

        • 9sqn

          You don’t need to be a farmer to know that chickens etc. need to be protected from foxes. But hunting with a pack of hounds has virtually nothing to do with pest, aka fox control; more foxes were killed on the roads than ever hunted – in fact, you may recall one of the many defences of fox hunting was that they hardly ever get the blighter. If a farmer does not have the wit to protect his chickens et al from the native wild fauna of the countryside he really should not be trusted with the nations food supply.

          • Randy Janssen

            You say the riders hardly ever caught the fox. If they don’t kill the fox, then why stop it?

        • styants64

          I know of two Jack russells that had to be put down because they killed Neighbours chickens and piglets this is in Essex the owners left the dogs to live outside in kennels, I used to look after their gardens when that happened I was upset and left the place never to go back, but it proved that’s domesticated dogs can go back to the wild animal state.

  • Peter Stroud

    The sabs never cared a jot about foxes, hares, deer or mink. They are, and always were, a collection of foul mouthed thugs – hell bent on causing trouble. As to Prescott’s pride in voting to ban hunting: what more would one expect from probably the most ignorant, uncouth politician ever to hold high office. His sport, if I remember correctly, was rolling around on his office carpet with his secretary. When he was not playing croquet during his work time.

    • Molly NooNar

      Prescott was indeed uncouth and ignorant, I have no issue with anything that you’ve said about him.

      However, as regards the sabs, maybe they exist to try and collect evidence of illegal activity with the intention of passing it on to the police (since the law is poorly enforced), or maybe they are trying to disrupt illegal activity which again could be justified. It is not dissimilar to what environmentalists do at abbattoirs showcasing the immense cruelty and suffering experienced by animals at such places.

      Let’s not pretend that hunting is in anyway designed for the purposes of animal welfare. It is savage and cruel and has no place in a civilised society. Nor should we dismiss the violence meted out to these sabs when they dare to expose or cause a nuisance to disrupt this barbaric ritual.

      • MountainousIpswich

        Hunting with dogs is utterly cruel and I completely support the ban. However foxes do need to be controlled and I see no reason why people cannot cleanly shoot them unmolested.

        Attacking a hunt master with iron bars on the other hand is attempted murder. Let’s not pretend anything otherwise.

        • Helen Wood

          That incident has been entirely disproved. The “iron bar” was a whip that the hunting chap had just been beating the sab with. Get your facts right.

          • Alltaxationistheft

            I never hunted although I respect the right of those that choose so to do . On balance the hunts people seem though roughly decent human beings compared to the sadistic vicious thugs that make up the anti’s .

          • Clued-Up

            Very many hunt supporters have been found guilty of using or threatening violence – examples include serious assaults on hunt monitors and making death threats to a farmer objecting to hounds rampaging through his flock of pregnant ewes. Successful prosecutions of hunting people (for a variety of offences) run at around one a week.
            To my knowledge, none of the hunt monitors have EVER been found guilty of using or threatening violence.

          • Alltaxationistheft

            And the sabs all wear balaclavas because they are peaceful protesters

          • MountainousIpswich

            Here is the video

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h1Cb2qoHVo

            Quite clearly throwing solid bars at the mans head with force. Another man has been beaten to the ground.

            Are you defending people clearly guilty of GBH/attempted murder on the grounds of class? If so, I think you are pretty despicable.

        • Jules Wright

          Do you know how hard it is to shoot – dead with one clean shot – a fast moving target? Thought not. Or would you prefer random-killing choking snares? Or random-killing poison bait? Or a fast, targeted kill with pack-dogs? Animal husbandry is red in tooth and claw. If you understood that, you might realise that the controlled kill is better than the random or slow kill by gunshot trauma/sepsis. Think sir, think.

          • MountainousIpswich

            It is hard to shoot. I didn’t claim it was easy, I claimed it was humane. If we only ever took the easy way out of things we wouldn’t have bothered to stop the holocaust.

            That’s why you employ a trained professional hunter with a rifle. Not let any farmer wander about with his blunderbuss shotgun. A fox is only a fast moving target if it knows it is threatened. Which it certainly does when there are 30 horses, riders and a pack of hounds chasing it. A single hunter can quite easily catch a fox unawares from 50 m.

          • Tellytubby

            They might as well make a rule enforcing veganism by rule of law. The natural world is full of death. It is the way it works and it is entirely normal. To ensure it works properly some animals must be culled. The denizens of our modern metropolises have forgotten (if indeed they were ever aware) that.
            They all want their nice vaccum packed steaks or supermarket chickens, their hamburgers for a quid or the odd bacon butty – but they don’t want to know where it came from, or acknowledge the fact that someone had to kill the animal for it to be eaten by them.

          • Andy B

            oh right, so people are eating the fox after the hunt?

            its such a patronising argument in favour of hunting that people should know where the food comes from, yet people don’t eat foxes, so what is the justification of hunting them in such a manner, when as said before a trained marksman can shoot a fox cleanly from tens of metres away.

        • Clued-Up

          IF the hunt master really was attacked … I understand the videotape record doesn’t support this allegation.

      • Tellytubby

        Actually hunting is intended to protect and promote animal welfare. There is no “pretending” about it.
        The issue is to do with class tension. The ban was a mistake and should be repealed immediately.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    Because it has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with class warfare. They hate the posh people on horses, whether they’re hunting foxes or not.

    • Rhian Waller

      Is that why we hear so often about random plebs attacking people hacking around an estate?

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Completely right. It is about attacking toff culture at its roots.Laying bare the pathetic claims to tradition and rural way of life and stopping the hoorays from induging their banal pastimes. Much in the same way the toffs have allowed nearly every Skittle alley in Devon to be turned into a restaurant or letting cottage and every Bingo hall in South wales into a crappy nightclub or storage facility. The posh lot attack us , so we attack them back.

      • Arthur Ascii

        What’s a toff? What makes someone a toff? How do you define posh?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Them up at the big house. The public school kids. The horsey types. The plummy accented who prevent social mobility. You know…..the toffs.

          • HJ777

            My sister-in-law is very horsey. She didn’t go to public school and has a broad Lincolnshire accent (far from plummy). She grew up with her mother (father died when she was young) in a little bungalow and she now lives in a big house (brother-in-law did well in his garden centre business). Her daughters did go to an independent school.

            How would she be categorised? I’d like to understand your classification system better.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Aspirational toff.

          • HJ777

            And what if she succeeds in her aspiration? Would that not disprove your point about preventing social mobility?

            I was recently described by someone I work with as a ‘posh Berkshire public schoolboy’ on account of my supposedly posh voice. In reality, from a fairly young age I grew up in a single parent family, lived in a small terraced house, and went to the local comprehensive school. We lived on my mother’s nursery nurse salary (which wasn’t much). From there I went on to one of the country’s best universities.

            How am I classified?

          • cornish

            See above..this is a fact!

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            What is a fact? Please show as evidence just one of the hundreds of thousands of ocean liner tickets from 100 years ago.

          • Arthur Ascii

            Your inverse snobbery is self-evident. To judge someone and make assumptions about ‘because they talk posh’ is just as snobbish as doing so because they speak with a regional accent.

          • The Laughing Cavalier

            You make a very good point.

        • cornish

          POSH…folk who could afford to ride Port Side Out and Starboard Side home, on ships about 100 years ago…P.O.S.H

          • Arthur Ascii

            Yes, I was aware of that idea, but many sources say that this explanation is a myth

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            My goodness. If you believe that you’ll believe anything. That definition of POSH is entirely made up. Posh is a gypsy word.

      • HJ777

        “Much in the same way the toffs have allowed nearly every Skittle alley in Devon to be turned into a restaurant or letting cottage and every Bingo hall in South Wales into a crappy nightclub or storage facility.

        So if ‘toffs’ prevented people from converting skittle alleys, you’d be in favour of them?

        By the way, if there was enough demand for skittle alleys wouldn’t there be plenty of them?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          No. Toffs attack working class culture, whether rural or urban.They love tradition and heritage as long as it is not the poors.

          • HJ777

            Could you explain what form this ‘attack’ takes?

            Are you really saying that people of the same social class get together to ‘attack’ people of another social class. I have to admit that I have never observed this and I would think they have better things to do.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            No it is more insidious. A shared contempt for the poor. Read Mind the Gap by Ferdinand Mount or Chavs by Owen Jones.

          • HJ777

            You’ll have to excuse me for not wanting to further enrich Owen Jones. He moved from The Independent to The Guardian for more wonga, you know.

            Besides, I prefer to read works written by adults.

          • cornish

            Not everyone who hunts or are involved with the hunt are “toffs”. they range from farmers, green grocers, shop workers,farriers, vets,butchers, children, police,cleaners..shall I go on. Not all hunts are fox hunts..trail, drag, blood hounding falconry ( hunting with birds & dogs)!. Btw hunting in MANY forms has been around for centuries. as for the “toffs” allowing skittle allies to become “posh nosh” etc..I believe most of this is due to the city folk making far to much money on property and buying second homes to have the “country idle” 2 weeks of the year and bleating about the fact they can’t stand the country smells from local farms etc…time I think to let sleeping dogs lie leave rural affairs to rural folk and concentrate on things that are more important…….

    • 9sqn

      A little arrogant to believe you know all this, is it not? I don’t hate posh people, on or off, horses. But I hate hunting with dogs. Unlike many of the participants, I have seen behind the scenes; the cub hunts, the shooting of the dogs when they pass their peak, the fox breeding lairs laid by, yes, you guessed it, the hunters. Arrogant hypocrites.

  • styants64

    I used to have a vixen come into the living room through the patio doors it had been humanised by some builders who fed it scraps, the fox was just like a domesticated dog and would play around like one quite funny at times, I think perhaps that’s where the dog came from thousands of years ago when humans tamed foxes, but with all that said we would not tolerate wild dogs living without control in our towns and cities Bering in mind they move in from the countryside as well.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      No. But we’d shoot or poison them ,not chase them for hours until exhausted while gussied up like a fancy dress pirate.

      • styants64

        That goes without saying really i don’t relate to the toffs anyway, the majority of town foxes get killed on the road my little vixen did and that upset me because she was like a pet dog that came to visit.

    • HJ777

      I think that all domestic dogs are derived from wolves rather than foxes.

      • styants64

        H, I watched a BBC TV documentary a couple of years ago in which they tried to tame Wolves as Cubs they were ok but when they reached adolescence the Wolves became to aggressive and dangerous, in Russia the same tv programme silver foxes were humanised and tamed as Cubs they grew up to act and behave like domesticated dogs.

        • HJ777

          We know from the DNA that domestic dogs are derived from wolves.

          Indeed, certain natural behavioural characteristics of dogs are still the same as wolves – for example, the way they ‘circle’ before lying down.

          • styants64

            I wonder were Foxes came from they seem so tameable they are like a cross between a dog and a cat, the vixen I knew used to stand up and put her paws on my knees, also walk around the house with me.

          • HJ777

            I’m not sure that is because they are tameable.

            They have no natural predators so don’t fear other animals – and that includes us. That’s why they can be very bold and confident.

  • Shorne

    Here we go again hunt supporters whining because they can’t have their own way.
    Whilst I live now live in London I grew up on a farm in Kent.
    If we had problems with a fox (they were always after the capons my mother
    raised for the Christmas market) Then my father, or grandfather who had been a
    gamekeeper, would wait up and shoot it quickly and cleanly.
    This method was adopted because it was infinitely more efficient
    than having 20 or 30 couple of hounds and the accompanying riders charging
    about churning up crops and upsetting the stock.
    People who hunt don’t wake up on the morning of a hunt thinking
    “Oh how tiresome we have to go and do some organic pest control” The
    think “Goody we are going to have some FUN”. Now there are lots of
    things people would like to do because they regard them as fun and some of them
    involve inflicting pain and fear on animals, dog fighting, badger digging etc.
    but these are illegal because the majority of the population are against them. It’s
    the same with fox hunting, 80% against in the latest poll in 2013 and that
    included people living in rural areas This is not “criminalising a
    minority” as is so often alleged, it is, in effect, democracy. Hunt
    supporters idea of democracy is ‘We’ve always done this, we like it, we should
    be allowed to do it so there!’ This is reflected in the fact that there have been 304 successful prosecutions under the 2004 Act and that is why people need to monitor Hunts.
    The biggest lie about foxhunting is that it is somehow efficient. I can still remember my Dad or Granddad coming home carrying the body of a fox they had just shot and saying “Give it a couple of weeks and the next beggar’ll be along” as foxes always move into vacant territory.
    Moreover the Burns Committee set up by the Government to report on hunting prior to the Act (a committee which was initially criticised by the League Against Cruel Sports as many of its members were from the hunting World) said this “ the overall contribution of traditional fox hunting, within the overall total of control techniques involving dogs, is almost certainly insignificant in terms of the
    management of the fox population as a whole”
    If you need to cull foxes this is the way
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlVHhVdbXzQ

    • Malcolm Stevas

      Irrelevant tirade. It’s about the freedom of the individual to pursue an ancient sport. I’ve shot lots of foxes, but if others prefer to chase them on horseback that’s fine – a very long standing part of rural life. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

      • Shorne

        Tirade
        noun
        ‘a long, angry speech of criticism or accusation.’
        No I don’t think my comment qualifies
        ‘Ancient sport’ well the first pack was established in 1668, old certainly, ancient no.
        Something that is ancient however is ‘the freedom of the individual’ being curtailed by the law of the land and in this case a law enacted by a democratically elected government and if you don’t like it well as somebody once said ‘that’s the way democracy democks’

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Remarkably smug – the law is OK when it suits your repressive purpose, but it’s also OK in your view for “sabs” to attack, intimidate, molest, injure and burn in the name of their spurious concern for foxes.
          There’s democracy, and democracy: if lots of people vote on something they know nothing about, they might well be indulging simply in a crude tyranny of the majority. Not my idea of democracy.
          Fox hunting is not something with which government should concern itself in the first place.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Says the man with the Blunderbuss and the blood lust.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Your language is suggestive of The Beano.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Your hobby is suggestive of a deranged bloodlust.

          • He’s hot on porn as well. Figures.

      • George Holliday

        Except that shooting has a purpose in controlling pests. Hunting doesn’t, it’s a sport.

        • Ed  

          Error. Hunting is both sport and pest control at the same time. Sort of like voting against Labour.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          I enjoy my shooting immensely – great sport. Gets rid of pests at the same time, two for the price of one.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Good grief ,I should have guessed.Posh Greek grouse slaughterer.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Wrong on all counts, as usual. If you were interested in facts you’d discover readily that the great majority of people who go shooting, fishing etc are far from “posh”.
            Your excitable, childish language is par for the course. You combine oppressive intolerance with the moral compass of cartoon characters.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            ….amd you combine bloodlust and Greekness.

          • A Pansy Resting On Its Laurels

            Is that a closet intolerance of a person’s ethnicity surfacing? Tut tut.

          • You know all about childishness and, to judge by your lust for killing, oppression as well.

          • No, you in your puerile self-indulgence just do what you like regardless of the cost to other creatures. Don’t try to dress it up, moron.

        • HJ777

          If someone enjoys shooting foxes does that make it as unacceptable to you as hunting them?

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        It is not an ancient sport.The first hunts were founded in the 1780’s and then regulated in 1833. Think about it. Very little land was enclosed until 1700, so no hedges and no gates and no landowners.
        Best statistic I heard was number of foxes shot each year 7,000, number killed by hunts, 600. Hunting is an unecessary ,cruel way to cull foxes. It has no place in the civilised world just because Farmer Giles and them up at the big house’s grandads used to do it.

        • HJ777

          That something is ‘unnecessary’ is hardly an argument in favour of stopping people doing it.

          I really don’t know whether it is crueler than other methods of controlling foxes. Opinions seem to differ.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Your opinion is wrong. Chasing a fox for hours, exhausting it and ripping it apart is inefficient and cruel.As a tradition it should go the way of bear baiting and cock fighting.

          • HJ777

            If you had read what I wrote you would know that I said that I didn’t have an opinion as I know very little about the subject.

            What I said was that opinions differ (as is clearly apparent).

          • mbbman

            ‘your opinion is wrong’ – I presume you have studied this? NO. There has only been one fully funded government report on the subject and this is known as the Burns report. It concluded that although it could not condone hunting with dogs, it was the most efficient method available. Blairs government commissioned the report – and then went against the recommendations – no surprise – as has been said, it was never about animal rights, it was about prejudice.

          • HJ777

            The crazy thing is that I didn’t express an opinion because I simply don’t know (as I said).

            What I said was that opinions differ (as they clearly do).

          • The Laughing Cavalier

            Blair didn’t care one jot about banning hunting but threw a bone to the left of his party to keep them happy.

        • cornish

          Henry V111 pretty much started hunting as close to it’s form is today, he hunted with his court on horse back with hounds and falcons, hunting deer hare boar and rabbit, also foxes! he also bred his hounds and birds of prey for the purpose of hunting, I believe that the oldest pack of hounds today, can be traced back to the 1300’s..

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            So Henry 8 dressed up in a red blazer and jodhpurs and blew a little trumpet while galloping over the non existent hedgerows of the 1530s did he?

        • Tom M

          I posted something like this on another thread already. So here goes again.
          Your comments on the age of hunts and the enclosed land has precisley nothing to do with the fox hunting argument. So what if it is inefficient would you be happier if it were more efficient? So what if people enjoy riding a horse over the countryside (if the land owners have no complaints so what).
          “…Hunting is an unecessary ,cruel way to cull foxes….”
          As far as the fox is concerned what exactly is the difference between a fox hunt and David Attenborough and his film crew tramping around Africa till they find a cheetah chasing an antelope pulling it to the ground and killing it?
          I watched this spectacle on the television some time ago where Attenborough in his hushed tones explained this was nature at work.
          The dogs in a hunt are indeed doing what comes natural to them (that’s why they use them).
          Are you sure that is not just killing animals that offends you and not the hunt?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            St

          • Tom M

            First of all you didn’t anwer my question. Secondly unfortunately for your prejudice I have never been on a hunt or been near one. Further I’m not at all sure what end of a horse does what either.
            I drew the comparison and asked the question out of interest

          • Tom M

            Second time I’ve tried to respond. Let’s hope Disqus is working better this time.
            First of all for your prejudice I have never been near a hunt ever and I have never ridden a horse.
            I drew the comparison and posed the question out of interest because I think there are a lot of people claiming to object to foxhunting but for unsupportable reasons. Comments such as inefficient way to kill foxes or rampaging over other people’s land are good examples.
            In you case I believe that you just don’t like to see animals killed. That is also a logically unsupportable reason as I pointed out in my first post.

        • Dave Griffiths

          Number of foxes killed by hunts 600? Where did you get that statistic from? Will approx 300 registered hunts and many private packs that would mean each hunt only killed about 2 foxes a year which is blatantly untrue. Before the ban our local hunt used to account for about 60 foxes a year, going out twice a week during the season. Many hunts go out 3 or 4 days a week so obviously the numbers would be higher.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Number killed here in Somerset. Ten times as many are shot.

        • A Pansy Resting On Its Laurels

          Your understanding of the history of land ownership is interesting. And you have no understanding of the countryside

      • dan

        It’s not the chasing on horseback that people don’t like, it’s the fact the foxes are being mauled to death by packs of dogs that people find distasteful.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Really? How squeamish and childlike. I find many things distasteful but do not seek automatically to ban them.

          • It’s neither squeamish nor childlike but decent. Which you, evidently, are not.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            That makes you both oafish and uncivilised. Strive to be better.

    • Moog

      While I agree with you comments about fox hunting not being efficient and shooting foxes being a far better method of pest control, I don’t think it’s fair to call the article ‘hunt supported whining because they can’t have their own way’. That’s not what it’s about, it’s asking why there are still hunt sabs when fox hunting is banned – quite a valid point considering they can cause so much damage and can be very violent. There’s no excuse for the way some of them act, pulling small children off ponies and beating up members of the hunt.

      • Shorne

        Hunts need to be monitored as they cannot be trusted to obey the law, as for violence both sides are as bad as each other, not that that excuses it.

        • La Fold

          And the hunt saboteurs dealing out summary justice by kicking several shades of the brown stuff out of some one is the best way around it? Na, thought not.

          • Shorne

            As I said ,and you have deliberately ignored, both sides are as bad as each other and both are wrong in this regard.

          • La Fold

            You certainly did not say anything of the sort in your post my pedigree chum so I “deliberately ignored” nothing, so thats one straw man firmly demolished. In fact you said, “there have been 304 successful prosecutions under the 2004 Act and that is why people need to monitor Hunts.” I do assume you mean the proper authorities such as the police and not self appointed “hunt saboteurs”?

          • Old Nick

            And the overwhelming majority of those successful prosecutions, in fact nearly all of them, have been against non-registered hunts, who would have been guilty of offences under existing poaching legislation, so let us drop the half-truths and smear shall we.

          • Shorne

            I said “as for violence both sides are as bad as each other, not that that excuses it.” The overstretched rural Police haven’t got the time

          • No: kicking a man unconscious in the head is NOT the same as pursuing a traditional sport. Your moral equivalency will not do and is not accepted.

          • Shorne

            “IAN RANDELL, the son of the Badsworth FH’s huntsman, was convicted of Actual Bodily Harm to a Sheffield sab.
            ROBIN FOYD, LENNOX FOYD, KENNETH LUXTON and IRENE LUXTON were each fined £100 for Affray after they attacked a L.A.C.S. monitor who was trying to film a kill.
            MARTIN PHILIPS’ ‘sympathies’ towards the hunt were so inflamed by the sight of two HSA sweatshirts, that he attacked the people inside them, leaving one requiring stitches to his face.”
            There are scores of further examples.

            As I said both sides are as bad as each other.

          • GraveDave

            It’s all good fun. Or maybe they just cant get off on football.

        • KN

          What gives a group of individuals (most of whom hide their identities) the rights to ‘police’ the law? Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of hunting there are certainly no rights in taking the law into your own hands and therefore no excuses for hunt sabs to be using. Two wrongs never have and never will make a right.

          • GraveDave

            I haven’t got a dog in the hunt race (no pun intended) but if you don’t occasionally challenge a wrong – or put out for your beliefs – how do you ever effect change?

          • spiritof78

            All individuals have a duty to contribute to policing the law. And a right.

        • Old Nick

          It has been perfectly clear to those who have watched them fo 50 years that the so-called saboteurs cannot be trusted.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        The clue is in the title hunt saboteur. They intend to sabotage hunting. They are not called Fox preservers.

        • Helen Wood

          To sabotage it, it has to be happening. If people stop hunting illegally, we won’t need the sabs. Until then, I am very glad they are out there.

          • terrier78

            Demonstrably false. Hunt sabs also sabotage perfectly legal hunts, as well as perfectly legal shooting, perfectly legal fishing & on one occasion a perfectly legal children’s party (that was organised by the local hunt).

          • terrier78

            It’s possible to sabotage a legal trail hunt.

    • HJ777

      But democracy isn’t everything. That is why there are various constitutional and legal rights to protect liberties from the actions of democratically elected governments.

      My mother was very anti-hunting when I was very young for the entirely sensible reason that we lived in a house in the countryside with a 3-acre garden surrounded by a farm. The hunt, on several occasions came riding through, jumping over fences into and through what was our private property and where there were frequently young children playing. They were trespassing, they were endangering other people and they did not have permission – yet they were arrogantly dismissive when she remonstrated with them. These particular people were not pleasant.

      However, despite this, I feel very uncomfortable about banning people from doing something, or disrupting them while they are doing it, because you don’t like the sort of person that does it.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        As kids we would buy some Mackerel. Set off on our bikes about 30 minutes before the toffs and lay a false trail for their slavering hell hounds. How we laughed.

        • HJ777

          It’s a bit of a myth that all hunt riders are ‘toffs’.

          Some are, some aren’t. I really have little patience with class warriors.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Most are. Or they are their accolytes and employees.

          • HJ777

            My brother in law (who has no interest in hunting) has a labourer who works for his business who goes on the hunt.

            He’s the polar opposite to what anyone would consider a ‘toff’. As rough and ready as they come.

          • And he’s clearly an exception, isn’t he.

          • HJ777

            I have no idea.

            However, he does rather illustrate that the idea that hunting is all about being exclusively for one ‘class’ doesn’t seem to be correct.

            It may be (I do not know) that hunting tends to be far more prevalent amongst a certain social ‘class’ but that doesn’t mean that it deliberately excludes people from other social classes.

            There are many activities in which the general public image is totally at odds with reality. Indeed, I participate in (and coach) a sport that some people think is a socially exclusive preserve of the rich. In reality, it is open to anyone who walks through the door and it is much cheaper than most sports (and we waive fees for juniors whose parents can’t afford the modest annual subs). The public image is the exact opposite of the reality.

          • GraveDave

            Tally – ho – chaps and chavs.

          • Polo?

          • HJ777

            No, not Polo.

            I think that you do have to be well off to do that because each player needs several horses for each match.

            I row and coach rowing. Our juniors pay £220 per year for everything, including all equipment use and five coached sessions per week. I have frequently been told by people who have never set foot near a rowing club that we’re all ‘toffs’. Nothing could be further from the truth, yet people still seem to think otherwise (BBC Boat Race coverage doesn’t help – anyone would think that all top rowers come through Oxford and Cambridge watching their coverage).

          • Good point! I think you’re right about polo, too.

          • HJ777

            But that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with Polo players.

            They may all be perfectly charming. However, I suspect you need a bit of money to do it (but who knows, they might have development programmes for the talented but impecunious?).

          • The only polo players I know of are rich, have several acres and horses of their own and at least two residences, and can afford private school for two children….

          • HJ777

            You mix in polo-playing circles when you were born in Walthamstow?

            Do stop trying to get above your station in life!

          • balance_and_reason

            I ‘m seriously thinking of taking up hunting; I live in a town…does that make me a toff….?

          • HJ777

            I don’t know. I will have you refer you to one of the resident class war experts on this board.They have a sophisticated system for working these things out, I believe. Probably some sort of points-based system.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            That proves it then hunting is for scuzzers

          • HJ777

            I have no idea what a ‘scuzzer’ is.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            In Somerset scuzzers are people who go to the shops in their slippers, and latterly in onesies.

          • HJ777

            Well this is in Lincolnshire and i can think of no-one less likely to go to the shops in a slippers or a onesie (indeed, I can think of no-one less likely to wear a onesie on any occasion – other than me, of course).

          • I was born in Walthamstow, and I can assure you that none of my family was ever in the pink. You can say it’s not about class but I know better.

          • HJ777

            Class warriors always think they know better.

          • You can’t be referring to me, then.

          • HJ777

            if the cap fits…

          • And — it doesn’t. I’m not a class warrior, couldn’t be further away from it. I believe in free markets, representative democracy, and capitalism. Get stuffed.

          • HJ777

            Well you don’t believe in manners.

            You were the one who asserted that: “You can say it’s not about class but I know better”.

            Like I said, if the cap fits. It’s your choice.

          • Oh shut up!

          • Helen Wood

            Nothing to do with class. People who torture animals to death for fun come from all classes and have none.

        • balance_and_reason

          are you for real?…

      • Now THAT I support: private property must always be upheld. As the toffs themselves would insist, were the land their own.

      • Helen Wood

        So presumably you want child abuse legalised? After all, people enjoy doing it.

    • 9sqn

      Absolutely spot on. At last common sense from someone who clearly knows what they’re talking about.

    • All this fuss over a few chickens. A fox is more than a chicken. Humans should have the savvy to protect their stupid hens (or capons — who cares?). If they don’t, then let the fox have at ’em: you’re at fault, not the fox.

      Sometimes, reading these posts, I get the feeling that humans are just irrationally angry at the fox because they’ve been… outfoxed.

    • GraveDave

      Now there are lots of things people would like to do because they regard them as fun and some of them involve inflicting pain and fear on animals, dog fighting, badger digging etc. but these are illegal because the majority of the population are against them. It’s the same with fox hunting, 80% against in the latest poll in 2013 and that included people living in rural areas This is not “criminalising a minority” as is so often alleged, it is, in effect, democracy.

      When it comes to old Blighty and some of her dafter traditions I am as ‘traditionalist’ as they come. But even I have to agree that there are some things that no longer don’t look right in a 21st century society.

      • Shorne

        Where do you stand on Morris dancing Dave?

        • GraveDave

          Morris Dancing? Ha, well it’s harmless enough – I suppose.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Why? Because the “sabs” hate (some) people more than they actually care about animals; because they’re dimwit class-war thugs who enjoy violent yobbishness; because their benefits-dependent lifestyle allows them free time to roam the countryside being nasty; because our mealy-mouthed over-managed culture prevents victimised groups from fighting back with the sort of salutary counter violence that might deter them; because legions of suburban sentimentalists who might barely recognise a fox have skewed judgement. Etc.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      You have a biased and skewed view of those who seek to disrupt your grizzly pastimes.

  • MC73

    They hate the countryside and they hate the people who live there. Foxes scarcely come into it.

    • George Holliday

      Erm, no. The Countryside isn’t just about fox hunting you know? Believe it or not, it’s a minority pastime.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      I was brought up in an East Devon village and have abhorred hunting since I was first blooded in 1971. I detest the crass claims of tradition and I despise the oafs who take part. Red coats , penny whistle trumpets and all.

      • HJ777

        “I detest the crass claims of tradition and I despise the oafs who take part. Red coats , penny whistle trumpets and all.”

        None of which is an argument for banning it.

        I am also sure that you haven’t met everyone who takes part, so how you can know they are all ‘oafs’, I don’t know.

        If it is established/considered that it is unacceptably cruel, than that is the only good reason for wanting it banned. I really can’t think of another valid reason – your personal dislike of the people who take part isn’t a valid reason. There are all sorts of people I don’t like undertaking activities for which I don’t care. Provided they don’t harm either me or others, I see no reason to condemn them.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          I condemn hunting. It is unacceptably cruel.

          • HJ777

            Leaving aside the issue of whether or not it is unacceptably cruel (I don’t pretend to know and opinions seem to differ) would you be perfectly happy for people to hunt foxes if it were established that it wasn’t (or at least was more humane than other pest control methods)?

            Or would you be against it anyway?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            …..against it anyway.

          • HJ777

            So what you are saying is that even if it were more humane than any other method of pest control, you would want to ban it. This means that you put this above considerations of reducing animal cruelty.

            In other words, you are not concerned with avoiding animal cruelty at all. Indeed, you would be happy to increase animal suffering because you would consider that a price worth paying to ban hunting.

            By the way, how free a country would it be if we all went around banning things because of our personal prejudices? My wife would happily see football abolished because she thinks players and fans are uncouth and she can’t watch the other side when I’m watching it on TV.

          • Freddythreepwood

            Which is the crux of the matter. We got there in the end.

          • LastmaninEurope

            A moral ambivalence, however grudgingly, must be admitted re hunting. No such ambivalence can exist over dog fighting. On every level dog fighting is reprehensible.

            Why is not the same degree of outrage and action by those opposed to hunting directed toward dog fighting?

            Would not hunt saboteurs, whose declared motive is to stop animal cruelty, be better employed targeting this illegal activity and leaving the Police police the legal one?

      • balance_and_reason

        we hate you too.

  • La Fold

    Cause upper middle class, university educated white kids got to upset mum and dad somehow?

  • Rhian Waller

    The very simple answer is because there are still illegal hunts.

  • C. Ferguson

    I thought the definition of a toff was someone with a double-barrelled surname…

    • Pacificweather

      No, that’s people whose parents weren’t married (or are Spanish).

    • GraveDave

      Or a poncy Norman name. All being descendants of murderers and thieves

  • BoiledCabbage

    Why should a Class War, if that is the cause, be limited to the underclass, or benefit/thug class, attacking those on horseback – who are from many walks of life these days and not an elite? Freedom , free speech and democracy have to be defended.

    • GraveDave

      Do you really imagine benefit claimants want to go round beating up fox hunters? What else can you blame the unemployed for?

  • Malus Pudor

    The verminous, scurvied and unwashed hunt saboteurs are not interested in the similarly afflicted foxes, but are driven by spite and hatred for people who choose to hunt foxes.

    They also suffer from the same intellectual shortcomings as are apparent in Chelsea fans and those of other football clubs.

  • Brogan75

    These are the same kind who does nothing when Al Qaeda supporters rally our streets, on the contrary they support them. The commies, basically.

    • GraveDave

      Be fair, when it’s about radical Muslims or ‘Islamists’, you get outnumbered by both police and Muslims and probably beaten up by both.

  • David Rose

    Hunting was banned for the same reason that religiously mandated slaughter methods will ultimately be banned.

    It has nothing to do with animal welfare. There will never be a successful campaign to end industrial slaughter and factory farming.

    Hunting was banned because “everybody hates toffs”. Religious slaughter will be banned because “we’ve had enough of those Muslims and Jews”.

    As with hunting, the debate will be hysterical and nobody will give a toss for the hated minority.

    • I disagree. I care very much for animal welfare and believe that we should kill, if we must kill, in the least cruel and quickest manner possible.

    • Resnonverba59

      Don’t hold out much hope for same sex marriage when Sharia rules.

  • Helen Wood

    The ban is not respected and the police are failing to arrest those who break it, so sabs are needed to protect our wildlife from people who get off on killing it.

    • GraveDave

      One way of getting the police busy is to get a few black sabs snd hope you bump into a few racist fox hunters along the way.
      Tee-hee.

  • Freddythreepwood

    John Prescott calls someone ‘brainless’! Beyond comedy.

  • Hunt Watch

    If hunters weren’t hunting our wildlife there would be no need for sabs. Real registered trail / drag hunts don’t get attention from sabs / monitors. Oh and we are all still waiting to see the iron bar and full unedited video of the so called iron bar incident.

    Author you’ve failed to mention all the attacks on sabs by the masked hunters. Is that because you are pro hunt?

    People are still spinning the line of foxes need to be controlled; yet no hunter will address why are hunts still encouraging breeding, feeding foxes and building artificial earths? All this has been captured on video and not some made up lies, like the Countryside Alliance do. Not to mention the Brown Hares and Stags they rip up and chase to exhaustion. We have people shooting deers so there is no need for 20+ people on horse back to chase one to death.

    Everything is the same since the ban as far as going out, employment etc the only thing they can’t do is chase and kill foxes, deers, brown hares and mink with a pack of hounds, but it seems 10 years after the ban hunters seem desperate to bring back just this barbaric practice. Its always been about the thrill of the chase and not about the quarry being a pest.

    Lets discuss the amount of hounds shot and killed by hunts, when they don’t do what they are told, fail to chase, don’t have the nose or reach 6 years old.. Why is it when asked about hounds the Countryside Alliance or hunters don’t wish to discuss it. Why is that?

  • Ambientereal

    It is open season to hunt hunting saboteurs.

  • William_Brown

    “…Ten years after the ban, why are there still hunt saboteurs?”

    Because the ‘weekend crusties’ are now working in the public sector, Monday to Friday – they only have the weekends free…

  • Guest

    HMM REALLY

  • Sara Jane Anstee

    The sabs still exist because Hunts are still killing foxes – illegally! Simple really.

  • steve mac

    What a dreadfully misleading and wilfully ill written piece of rubbish! Beggars belief
    In a nutshell politicians like Barrington have done their damnest to reduce the hunting act to an almost unenforceable piece of legislation. The thrust of the act was to stop hunting with hounds altogether, but with pernicious propaganda Barrington and his seedy mates have tried to divide the country into toffs and layabouts, urbanites and country folk as a smokescreen to justify animal abuse.Of course it has never been about either.
    The CA, Barrington et al will argue long into the night about animal welfare and control. Witness a pack of hounds ripping apart a hapless member of our indigenous wildlife to the unashamed pleasure of the horsemen and women in red and judge for yourself. As muddy as these sociopaths will stir the water, it’s not complicated. Shame on you Spectator, you are right down there with the Daily Mail for this sensationalistic claptrap

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