MP inflames hunting debate: have your say.

PUBLISHED: 10:18 30 December 2011

I SEE that James Paice is sucking up to the hunt supporters again. He and they are living in a darker and past age. The Hunting Act 2004 was progressive and well-meaning legislation passed with support from all parties.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Send your comments to: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

I AM dismayed, though not surprised, to see that James Paice would support a return to the cruelty of fox hunting. As a countryman who has both shot and fished in my time, I have always been opposed to the prolonged suffering inflicted on the quarry by hunting with hounds. There are no justifiable arguments for hunting a live quarry on any level, either pest control or as a country tradition.

If you want to preserve tradition then fine. Simply go drag hunting where hounds follow an artificial trail laid by a runner. There are several packs that do this in the region, notably the East Anglian Blood Hounds.

If your motive is that you simply want to kill animals after a prolonged chase, then this is something that is rightly to be legislated against.

Please readers do not buy spurious arguments about pest control. A fox is a mammal the size of a large domestic cat. It is perfectly possible to construct a fox proof chicken run as we are not talking about a predator the size of a leopard or bear that poses a genuine threat to human life or domesticated animals.

No one in their right mind would insist on laws to check the behaviour of people who want to go boating, play cricket on the village green or go country walking. These are all true country sports that everyone has a right to enjoy. With hunting it is different; a third party is involved and that is the unfortunate fox, hare or deer that do not have a voice. What about their rights not to be treated in an unjustifiably cruel manner?

Not every human activity can be justified on the supposed rights of the individual. Otherwise we would not have laws against dog fighting, bear bating, and cock fighting or other unjustified cruelty. It is right and proper that there is legislation to check the excesses of some human behaviour. The Hunting Act is one such piece of legislation.

By the way, don’t be fooled into thinking that the law is unworkable. There have been dozens of convictions under the Hunting Act. The people perpetuating cruelty brazenly break the law with no regard for it whatsoever. It’s their own illegal law-breaking that promotes the myth that the Hunting Act is unworkable, not the soundness of the legislation.

True hunting as conducted by tribal peoples the world over, seeks to minimise any chase and dispatch the quarry as quickly as possible. Tribal peoples simply cannot afford the time and energy for prolonged chases and live an almost symbiotic relationship with animals in the wild. They thus treat them with dignity and respect and honour quarry species for providing food and clothing for the tribe. This is reflected in the way they hunt, which seeks to get it over and done with as quickly and humanely as possible with respect for the animals.

Fox hunting is not like this at all. The whole point is to provide a prolonged chase for the benefit of horse riders. This means running a fox or hare as long as is possible and up to the point of exhaustion. The quarry if caught in the open is then literally torn limb from limb. Please don’t insult my intelligence by saying this does not happen.

As a countryman, I have seen this happen before my very eyes. Even worse cruelty happens if the fox goes to ground and is then dug out with spades, with assistance from terriers. It will sustain multiple bite wounds and spade blows before being shot through the head with a bolt pistol. It has been known and documented for a live fox to be thrown to the hounds after being dug out.

Clearly this is no tradition worth preserving as the levels of cruelty are simply too high. Hunting live quarry with hounds has rightly been consigned to the history books and that’s where it must stay.

Let’s get on with dealing with more pressing matters to do with the economy and the natural environment, rather than wasting time trying to resurrect support for a non sport such as hunting.

NICK

By email.

I SEE that James Paice is sucking up to the hunt supporters again. He and they are living in a darker and past age. The Hunting Act 2004 was progressive and well-meaning legislation passed with support from all parties. If it has fault, it is that it needs tightening up. I write as a farmer and as a countryman born and bred and I have no wish for our country to regress in its attitude to the so-called ‘sports’ of fox hunting, hare coursing and stag hunting. They have had their day, along with bear baiting and cock fighting.

Mr Paice is my MP here in South East Cambridgeshire. He wrote to me - somewhat illogically - saying that he disliked ‘hare coursing intensely but would be reluctant to ban it because “of my libertarian instincts”.

By that logic, we would still have bear baiting and cock fighting as well as fox hunting and stag hunting. I like libertarianism to a point but not beyond the point where animals are chased to exhaustion and torn limb from limb for the amusement of man.

Man - and Mr Paice - ought now to know and believe better than that.

GEOFFREY WOOLLARD

Chapel Farm

Upware

THIS is the first time I have aired my views on hunting to anyone except family and I think this is why the majority goes to the anti-hunting brigade. Not enough people speak up for hunting.

I think the ban should be lifted completely giving the police time to chase the real criminals in the countryside. Hunting is a great tradition which finds a lot of people employment as well as enjoyment, it’s just a pity a few people seem to think it’s their right to dictate to others how to live their lives.

SUE CONSTABLE

By email

MR Paice is a hunter himself - of course he backs a repeal of the Hunting Act. He says it isn’t working - well if that were true, why not leave it alone? Interesting how the hunts have spent millions trying to overturn the Hunting Act if it is so utterly ineffective. As for Ms Barnard’s comments about ignorance and prejudice, perhaps she’ll invite us all to watch them cubbing in the autumn. These people are so ashamed of their own lust for the kill, they have renamed cubbing season ‘autumn hunting’. They are the lowest of society. Remove the pink coats and they are just dog fighters desperately trying to protect their perversion while decent society moves on.

MS M HAYWORTH

Surrey

Via website (www.elystandard24.co.uk)

1 comment

  • Well said, Nick, whoever you are. Your splendid piece merits reproduction in newspapers and other media throughout the land. Thank you.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Saturday, December 31, 2011

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