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We are fortunate enough to live in the best democracy in the world. Our society is fantastically tolerant of the enormous diversity of cultures within it. Democracy is fundamentally about protecting minorities. It is not about enforcing the will of the majority on a law abiding, tax-paying minority: at its best that is bullying, at its worst fascism. The huntsmen are undoubtedly a minority. They are becoming persecuted by people who harbour the same sentiments as racists do about coloured people and homophobics about gays.
The root cause of these feelings is simple- IGNORANCE. Tolerance and understanding come from education. Education must overcome the knee-jerk hatred exhibited by many anti-hunt lobbyists. The ignorance of most hunt protestors shines through their weak arguments. I do not hunt, it does not appeal to me enough to warrant the expense- both time and money. I can however see the attraction; comradeship, shared excitement, danger, tradition and a deep love of the countryside and animals. I know people who hunt.
You only have to see them with their hounds and horses to know the real affection they have for animals. These are decent people, with families and not the faceless, Range Rover driving snobbish elite that the League Against Cruel Sports would have you believe. Hunting with hounds began because it is an effective way of controlling the population of a pest. It remains the most effective way of doing this. Those who advocate other methods are again showing their ignorance, I’m afraid.
Shooting. This is not as easy as it sounds. Foxes, we all know, are cunning. They have incredible senses of smell, hearing and sight. Their habits are largely unpredictable. This makes getting into a stable firing position without scaring the fox off very, very difficult. The fox is a small animal, making the humane target area (i. e. that which will kill it instantly) very small indeed. On a Stag it’s small enough, a fox is almost impossible to shoot cleanly.
Trapping. Well it doesn’t take much brainwork to see how cruel, indiscriminate and dangerous this is. Poison. Again, indiscriminate and painful for the animal affected. If you still do not approve- that’s fine and healthy for society. Please think about the point I made at the start of this, unintentionally long, opinion: let’s not persecute a small minority, who do not affect the majority of citizens, just because we don’t like what they do.
I do not like football, or the hooligans that follow it but I do not rant about banning it because at the end of the day it does not really affect me. By making a ban on fox hunting a manifesto pledge the Labour Party is seeking to deny a large minority their liberty and to destroy a proud community in return for short term political gains. I wonder how much influence the i?? 1 million, given to Labour by the Animal Political Lobby pressure group, bought? Quite a bit, I bet. Education and Tolerance are what I think is needed here.