Archive for November, 2009

Six foot Irish Hare on the loose in Belfast…

League campaigners were out in force in Northern Ireland today to highlight tomorrow’s reinstatement of the temporary protection order for the Irish Hare.

Pictured outside Queens University, Belfast, is the League’s Northern Ireland Campaigner. Mary Friel, with the six foot hare.

Please visit the Northern Ireland pages of our website to find out why we want the Irish Hare to have permanent protection status, and email the NI Environment Minister, Edwin Poots MLA.

And if you’re interested in our work in Northern Ireland, you might want to consider joining our support groups at Queens University Belfast, and in the northern town of Coleraine. Email Mary Friel for further information.

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Temporary ban on coursing Irish hare reinstated

A temporary ban on coursing the Irish hare will be reintroduced in Northern Ireland tomorrow. The Special Protection Order prevents the killing, taking, sale or purchase of the Irish hare, but only at certain times of the year.

We have welcomed the reinstatement but warned that it fails to go far enough to adequately protect the Irish hare. The species has suffered significant decline over the last 30 years. This is attributed to, in part, by illegal hare coursing and poaching.

The Department of the Environment (DOE) currently has the opportunity to upgrade the protection status of the Irish hare from temporary to full permanent protection under the review of the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985. By granting permanent protection the animal would have full protection of the law to prevent it from being killed or taken from its natural environment. The League believes permanent protection, a more robust piece of legislation which brings higher penalties, would act as a stronger deterrent to individuals who may think of committing this wildlife crime.

Northern Ireland campaigner, Mary Friel said: “The League is deeply concerned that the current ban on coursing the Irish hare is only applicable at certain times of the year. We would urge the Department of the Environment to show its commitment to preventing wildlife crime by adopting long term, sustainable legislation to fully protect the Irish hare from cruelty in the name of ‘sport’.

League supporters joined by Harriet the Hare, will be staging a demonstration outside Queens University, Belfast on Monday 30 December to raise awareness of the cruelty of hare coursing.

Hare coursing would become legal in England and Wales again if the Hunting Act was repealed. Join our campaign to Keep Cruelty History.

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Don’t mess with Tia!

In yet another story of the havoc and distress caused by hunts, the Dorset Echo reported last week on how a hunt in their area has been accused of sinking to a new low after a man wearing a hunting outfit allegedly insulted a young girl by sticking his middle finger up at her, after she asked them to get their hounds out of her front garden.

The full story is here.

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Image of the Day – 16

When hunting hounds rampage through a farm, this is the damage they can cause. Repeal the Hunting Act, and this becomes even more common than it already is, causing not only horrific suffering for the livestock involved, but distress for the farmer too. Support our campaign to protect the Hunting Act: Keep Cruelty History.

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Quote of the year

Some things really make us chuckle down here at League HQ, but nothing more than the various apologists for Otis who, at various times, attempt to make one’s heart bleed for the bloodsports fanatic.

His father – ageing rocker Bryan Ferry – provides us with what must be our Quote of the Year in an interview for The Times. Speaking of his son Otis, he says:

“The poor lad just wants to live the traditional country life.”

They must be inhabiting some parallel universe where cruelty to animals can be justified on the basis of tradition. Bonkers!

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Image of the Day – 15

Not exactly the idyllic countryside scene most people would want to see on a Sunday. Please help us to Keep Cruelty History.

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Image of the Day – 14

As our Board of Trustees meets in London today for its bi-monthly meeting, an horrific reminder of why we do what we do: to prevent a return to this sadistic cruelty. Keep Cruelty History.

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The hunters’ tactics

This week’s note from Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive

In a democracy one of the key ingredients of due and fair process is the freedom, and of course, the reliability of the information provided to both the voters and to the politicians who seek their votes.

It has been a constant feature of the campaign to end the cruelty of hunting that the hunters have consistently sought to misinform both the public and the political process. Over the years the misinformation and downright false claims that have been made public have been exposed for what they are and the record put straight. But now we have a more sinister development taking place; the behind the scenes campaigning tactics of the pro cruelty lobby.

Tactic number one: Shoot the messenger
Shooting the messenger takes many forms, from; they are all animal rights activists, to he or she has a criminal record and or is a paedophile, through to that information has been got illegally and can’t be used. Rather than address the issue of hunting or shooting, the first move by the accused is to attack the methods and the motivations of the person who has tried to film their activities. It is as if the crime can be made to disappear by rubbishing the witness.

Tactic number two: Tell a bare faced lie
There are people in the hunting fraternity who are prepared to lie under oath and to claim that the witnesses to the crime are in effect making false statements and that what they allege did not happen or was not seen by other people who were present.

Tactic number three: Intimidate the witness
There are people associated with the hunts who make it as clear as they can to witnesses, that it would not be a good idea to upset them, or violence will follow. This can take the form of verbal aggression, physical aggression and threats to visit them at home. “We know where you live!”

Tactic number four: Make a false claim to the police
The latest wheeze by some hunters is to get an early call in to the police to claim that their lawful activity is being disrupted by hunt saboteurs. They claim that children are being verbally abused and hunt followers and supporters are being stalked by vigilantes. The police are getting used to this particular tactic, but nonetheless are obliged to take such claims seriously until they are proven incorrect.

Tactic number five: Seek to mislead the police and would be law abiding followers
At the start of the day some hunt masters and huntsmen announce that their intention is to follow an artificial scent and to obey the law. This claim is made despite their knowing that arrangements have been made with terrier men to bolt foxes for hunting, and or that no trail has been laid, or that the trail is deliberately laid where there is the greatest likelihood of supposedly accidentally finding a fox.

Tactic number six: Claim harassment
They’ll write to the Chief Constable claiming legal hunters are being harassed by vigilantes and animal rights activists, and seeking police protection for the local hunt from any who seek to monitor their activities. The letters are usually signed by a well known name, either locally or nationally, so that the Chief Constable is bound to read them. The letters also seek to provide information which puts the known monitors in the worst possible light so that the police will be less inclined to believe any claims they may make.

Tactic number seven: Spread the rumours in the press
Write to the media controllers saying that country sports do not get enough coverage and that they should get more because they allegedly are a core part of rural life. This claim is widely accepted by media controllers who wrongly assume that the countryside actually supports bloodsports, despite the polling evidence that the vast majority do not.

Tactic number eight: Criticise the polling
Claim that any poll which produces evidence of public support for the ban on cruelty to animals for sport is supported by the public, is a flawed poll. Despite the fact that poll after poll by nationally and internationally respected pollsters shows support for the Hunting Act and opposition to repeal, the bloodsports lobby continue to claim that the polls are not right and do not indicate the true public view.

Tactic number nine: Write to the press
Write to papers claiming to be the true voice of the countryside and intimating that the countryside wants and needs wild mammal hunting for sport as a method of pest control. The assertion is constantly made in the press that the countryside wants hunting. No polling evidence is produced to support the claim and the fox, hare and deer are demonised as pests needing to be chased around and killed by hunters because of the awful damage that they supposedly do to chickens, lambs, crops and trees.

Tactic number ten: Write to politicians
Write to politicians claiming that the number of people who support the ban on hunting for sport is a tiny minority of the population and that their views can be safely disregarded because there are so few of them.

The bloodsports apologists fly in the face of the facts when they claim that there are not many people who care. Opposition to hunting for sport has been at over 80% for the last twenty five years. Since the passage into law of the Hunting Act 2004, support for the ban on hunting for sport has actually increased.

The suggestion that voter preferences with regard to animal welfare can be disregarded is disingenuous to say the least. While research tells us that most votes are usually determined by the big ticket issues, there is also clear evidence of other issues being relevant when it comes to two quite separate voter choices. The first being whether or not to vote at all and the second being who to vote for. Issues like animal welfare and hunting according to the research certainly affect turnout. If the hunters believe that they are irrelevant in election terms, why are they working so hard for Vote-OK and why are they telling election candidates that the votes of those opposed to hunting don’t matter and can be disregarded?

Finally it is worth remembering that some of the people who abuse animals for sport and some who support such abuse, are prepared to lie and to cheat and to commit crimes in order to bring back hunting. Make sure you know where the local politicians really stand with regard to hunting for sport. Take nothing on trust. You need to get a firm and public commitment from them to Keep Cruelty History.

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Image of the Day – 13

Another example of the horrors of hunting they’d rather you didn’t see. Here, someone holds a gun to the head of hound, before blowing its brains out for some reason best known to him. After all, these perverts get a kick from killing, so it’s hardly surprising.

Support our hunting campaign here.

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Here we go … again!

James Barrington

In the latest hatchet job attempt at denigrating the Hunting Act, the Countryside Alliance have trotted out Jim Barrington, their ‘animal welfare advisor’ in an article on the Politics.co.uk website (in case you’ve never met him, here’s a photo from our archive).

The Countryside Alliance just don’t get it. Only the bloodthirsty hunters want to see a return to hunting, and they’re pulling the wool over no-one’s eyes by claiming that hunting is more humane than other forms of ‘pest control’. It’s interesting in this article that they claim hunts take the weak and the ill; presumably not the ones that kill chickens and lambs. Or do they? Errr… some confusion somewhere.

We absolutely must Keep Cruelty History.

PS: Anyone else think that the Countryside Alliance having an “animal welfare consultant” is akin to the Saudi government having a human rights consultant?

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