Hunting banned

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Hunting with dogs has finally been banned in England. Personally I’m glad. I used to live in a rural area and remember hearing a really good pro-hunting argument, but it escapes me now. I can’t see what’s sporting about chasing a fox and ripping it to pieces, or see that it’s a particularly efficient form of pest control.

The only worry is that the hedgerows that make the English countryside look the way it does may disappear as farmers don’t have a reason to keep them anymore. We’ll see.

The two arguments that really get to me are that it’s traditional (so was burning witches – doesn’t make it right) and that the ban infringes on human rights! Well so does the ban on me thumping idiots like this one, who left a comment on the BBC’s news site:

BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Hunting with dogs: Your views: “I am disgusted at this decision by the government, to once again infringe on the rights of the people of the countryside! It is a sad and sadistic government that puts the rights of an animal, before the rights of a human being! How long will it be before I am forbidden from walking on the carpet in my workplace, for fear of killing dust mites and other organisms, whose life now appears more important that my own personal well-being?”

What a dick head. If that’s the most eloquent argument you can come up with maybe we sohould investigate a link between supporting hunting and loss of brain cells. (I know, I’m sinking to his level). I’m not a big fan of this fashion for news programmes to let people ‘have their say’. It’s more wool to pull over people’s eyes – I wonder what Chomsky would have to say about it? But for entertainment value (and a dangerous increase in blood pressure) they’re well worth a look.

But what really gets my goat is the assertion that this ban is some sort of ‘prejudice’ – please, I think there are far more important forms of prejudice to get all worked up about. If they put half the energy they put into this into tackling race hate, or even the vast gulf between rich and poor in their own back yard, the world would be a much better place.

The claim that it will ruin the economy of the countryside? I don’t buy it – whole regions of the UK were decimated by the decline of manufacturing and mining in the 1980s, so I think this pales into insignificance next to that.

They also claim that thousands of dogs will have to be put down, and that this is more cruel than hunting foxes. Well let me make a few points: why will they have to be put down? When were ‘country folk’ ever sentimental about ‘working dogs’? And isn’t that just part and parcel of breeding vicious killers for your own entertainment? Stop breeding the bloody things and then you won’t need to put them down.

And the threat of mass civil unrest makes me sick. How would these fools feel if the rest of us decided to flout the law against breaking into their houses because we thought it infringed our civil liberties? This policy was in the last two Labour manifestos, and both the last two general elections resulted in the biggest majorities since the second world war (in fact, ever, if memory serves.) My advice is get over it – you’ve known about it for over a decade, you’ve marched, you’ve had your say. Throwing missiles at ministers, dumping dead cows and horses in Brighton city centre, threatening to break the law – these are not civilised actions and only throw your barbaric practices into even greater relief.

At the end of the day, these people are not being banned from riding horses as fast as they want over fields, nor from blowing horns and having parties. But they are being banned from ripping mammals to shreds for the fun of it.

Quite why it took us so long, I really don’t know.

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