Charles Moore in today’s Daily Telegraph, “The joy of the Boxing Day survives-even from a wheelchair”
“The sport is in a curious situation. It both thrives and suffers. Far from killing its spirit, the ban has increased hunting’s recruits. On the other hand, the uncertainties of the law make life difficult for those professionally involved.
“It is interesting to learn who is breaking the law. You will be told that 423 people have been convicted since the Act was passed in 2005, which sounds quite a lot. What is less often said is that 94 per cent of those convicted were not connected with registered hunts. They were freelancers, often poachers.”
Camilla Swift on The Spectator Coffee House blog, “Are the hunt saboteours out simply to harass people?”
“In December, though, the House of Lords passed a Government amendment making it easier for the police to force protestors to remove their face coverings. It isn’t a huge change – hunt saboteurs, flash-mob protestors and similar demonstrators will still be able to cover their faces, but the new law allows the police to fast-track the process of ordering someone to remove their covering.
“It won’t make much of a difference. But as anyone who encounters hunt saboteurs at today’s Boxing Day meets will testify, it can only be a good thing.”
Jim Barrington on The Spectator Coffee House blog, “The truth about the fox hunting ban”
“Relying on public opinion polls to make law, especially on a subject that few people know much about (and affects even fewer) is not good politics. Indeed, it almost negates the need for Members of Parliament.
“Hunting with hounds does not exist in isolation and other methods of control will fill the vacuum, yet these points are never included in polls. Add in other questions – ones that imply a repeal of the Hunting Act would legalise dog-fighting and badger baiting – and people who would like to strengthen the current law get the answers that they want. So is a hunting ban really all that popular when the full facts are known?”
Tim Bonner in the Yorkshire Post, “Law based on bigotry and lies will not stop hunting”
“As one anti-hunting MP famously admitted: “Now that hunting has been banned, we ought at last to own up to it: the struggle over the Bill was not just about animal welfare and personal freedom, it was class war.”
“The dwindling number of animal rights activists who remain obsessed with hunts are angry that their (completely misplaced) class war has failed and that hunts have maintained their infrastructure, their kennels and their hounds, whilst support in the rural community has, if anything, grown. Boxing Day will show this. The law that was supposed to have got rid of hunts is now being used as little more than a vehicle to harass them.”