Hunting Ban – Countryside Peace?

It’s appears to me that many in the United Kingdom have come to the conclusion that there will never be an acceptance of and certainly never be an end to the endless discussions and disputes over the thorny issue of hunting.

Now – and I know some will disagree with me – I have never understood the apparent glamour or need to dress up, mount a steed, join with other like minded people, gathering a large number of hounds and the careering around the countryside in the pursuit of a prey – namely a fox.

I should also say that whatever I think about Tony Blair – and my feelings about him are well known to those who have known me for some time – I at least give him credit for bringing in the controversial Hunting Act.

I suppose one of the major errors of judgement that those who supported the Hunting Ban had was in believing that its implementation would see an immediate end to having packs of hounds tearing foxes apart for the pleasure of the hunters.

They clearly didn’t understand that even though in comparative terms the number of those who enjoy the hunting experience may not be very high their passion for hunting is tremendous.

In similar fashion those who enjoy hunting failed to take into account or understand the commitment and passion of those who supported the ban and opposed hunting.

So here we are almost two decades since the ban was brought into being facing a situation where two absolutely committed and passionate groups remain at loggerheads.

I recall at the time the Hunting Ban that many argued that the number of prosecutions would be minimal due to two important factors the first of which was the lack of police resources and the second the fact that it was very clear the hunters were going to break the law with a very high degree of impunity.

It is also clear that politicians – with the exception of our Prime Minister and her immediate cronies – have absolutely no appetite or intention of repealing the Hunting Act with the effect that what we now have is what we are going to retain.

The reality of course is that whatever the impact of Hunting with Hounds has it is seen by the majority of the population as having no immediate impact on them.

The other factor to take into account is that foxes in spite of the fact that more are being shot than were killed when hunting with hounds was at its height have not become an endangered animal.

The increased number of foxes also doesn’t appear to have increased the threat to livestock that the pro-hunting lobby claimed would be the case if the Hunting Act was brought into being.

However arguments about any need to control the numbers and/or how if it is necessary how it should be carried out are totally irrelevant when you take into account that our parliamentarians appear committed to never changing the current legislation.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that those who want to continue dressing up and charging around the countryside on horseback with a pack of hounds will obey the law.

OK I know it may be a forlorn hope but then again sometimes even forlorn hope is occasionally realised.