Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:

There are plenty of examples of the idiocy that results from a toxic mixture of animal rights activism, social media and corporate communications, but this week’s report that Tesco has decided to remove a fox hunter fancy dress costume from its website is exceptional.

Not because the ‘costume’ looks more like a lion tamer or a toast master than a foxhunter, but because, apparently, it is hunting that triggers such offense. Next to the hunting costume on Tesco’s website is a pirates costume. Pirates steal, rape and murder people in the most politically incorrect manner imaginable. Foxhunters used to chase foxes, the killing of which remains perfectly legal. However dressing a child up as a pirate does not apparently encourage it to be an ‘abuser’, whereas wearing a red tail-coat will.

The reality is that no-one is actually offended by such nonsense, they just desperately want to be. This is dissent manufactured on the basis of deep held prejudice and swallowed by those who react by corporate playbook numbers. Businesses, politicians and journalists must not swallow the pious nonsense of keyboard warriors who shout on social media yet represent a tiny minority of the general public.

There will be hundreds of children out hunting this Saturday as many hunts come to the end of their season. They will not have brought their coats from Tesco, but they will be taking part in a thriving, legal pastime which is indelibly written into British culture and its countryside. From the hundreds of pubs named for huntsmen, hounds and foxes to the ‘whips’ in the House of Commons it is simply impossible to eradicate hunting from British life, however much a few claim they are offended by it.

Tim Bonner

Chief Executive

Follow me at @CA_TimB