Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: Jim Barrington, our animal welfare consultant, presents a film on hunting which should be prescribed viewing for those on both side of the argument.. The film, entitled “Foxhunting: cruel sport or natural chase,” sees Jim present the case for hunting in a calm, factual manner, beginning by observing that despite the Hunting Act “this is an issue that has not been resolved”.
In the film our President, Baroness Mallalieu QC, is interviewed. Hunting is not, she comments, strictly a party political issue. In her experience as a member of the House of Lords, Lady Mallalieu recalls that more Labour peers voted against the Hunting Bill than for it, and many who voted for it at the time have since commented that they wish they had not done so. Ann also goes on to talk about her love of hunting and the true friendship and community that can be found there. She also hopes that “sanity will break out” at the increasingly animal rights led RSPCA which she believes “has fallen into disrepute” and clearly realises the Hunting Act has failed.
Exmoor Huntsman Tony Wright speaks to Jim, stating that his job “is all about animal welfare. I am paid to look after the hounds, therefore animal welfare is more or less 100% of my life.” Tony speaks of his surprise to be convicted under the Hunting Act, especially since he was using an exemption at the time – while Tony was subsequently acquitted his testimony enables Jim to expose the flaws in the Act and the fact that it simply doesn’t work. Jim cites the Police, the Judiciary, veterinarians and the Prime Minister at the time the law was created, Tony Blair, as he demolishes the Act’s credibility.
The ridiculousness of the Hunting Act is further illustrated by Devon farmer Giles Bradshaw. Giles is infamous for openly telling the Police and Defra that he has broken the Hunting Act by allowing his dogs to chase deer to protect his coppiced woodland: flushing without shooting is not allowed and Giles does not want to shoot deer, so finds himself foul of the law. As Jim ponders, this must mean there are many convictions under the Act. Not so, and the majority of those who have been convicted have been poaching (ie not had landowner’s consent), already a crime before the Hunting Act became law.
Jim’s observation “it’s the hound that hunts, not the human” leads him to talk about the natural chase and the similarity of hounds and wolves. Both have traditionally hunted the old, weak and sick prey, weeding them out of the population to keep it healthy.
Jim then goes on to talk about anthropomorphism, where human characteristics and feelings are projected onto animals. Standing in front of an animated film of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” Jim asks “I wonder how many people actually think chipmunks do act like this?” The clear point being that the animal rights lobby does.
I commend this film to you – it covers all the bases from animal welfare to animal rights, and it makes a compelling case against the Hunting Act. Our thanks to Jim and to everyone who took part in this film – please watch it, and encourage your friends to do likewise.