Are the Conservatives losing their nerve on hunting?

On Tuesday, Nick Herbert MP, shadow Secretary of State for Defra, spoke at the annual conference of the National Farmer’s Union in the midlands. He used that speech as an opportunity to launch the Conservative farming and agriculture policy at the next general election.

It’s interesting to note that the new policy includes nothing on hunting, despite the oft-repeated claim that hunting (as a form of pest control) is central to the livelihoods and success of farmers up and down the country. The fact that Mr Herbert is himself a hunter, and former political officer at the Countryside Alliance, makes the absence even more stark.

We wonder if the tide is changing at Conservative Party headquarters. We have never quite understood why a Party would want to push forward a policy so contrary to public opinion, and so perhaps we are seeing a silent withdrawal of the ‘commitment’ to a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act.

We are packing our bags for our fun packed weekend at the Conservative Party Spring Forum in Brighton. We look forward to engaging Conservative PPCs and MPs on this issue and persuading them of the importance of animal welfare over dogma.

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Don’t bank on it for some of these people are fanatical and appear to think of nothing else. I hope that the Act is not repealed or otherwise undone. We British led the way in banning the slave trade and in banning slavery in the Empire, we led the way in banning bear baiting and cock fighting, and we led the way in banning hunting and hare coursing. We must continue to make progress and not let our civilisation take a backward step. And, besides, if Cameron, Hague, Herbert, etc., think that repeal would be a vote winner in rural areas, they are very much mistaken.

    Post edited by the moderator.

  2. 2

    gilesbradshaw said,

    “the importance of animal welfare over dogma”

    I would very much agree with this.

    Examples of dogma exist on both sides such as:

    . Hunting with dogs is never cruel and always better than alternatives

    . Hunting with dogs is always cruel and never better than alternatives

    . Animals always need to be controlled

    . Animals never need to be controlled

    A law which put animal welfare over dogma would apply to all forms of control/sport/management that affects animals and would apply the same standard of cruelty to them.

  3. 3

    gilesbradshaw said,

    Of course one of the key features of a dispute involving dogmatism is that neither side are able to admit to it.

  4. 4

    saynototories said,

    There is no evidence of any climbdown or lessening of the threat from the Tories and even the idea that there is possibly a ‘silent withdrawl’ on the issue by the Tories is far removed from reality.

    The fact remains as it always has done that the tories will repeal the hunt ban. It is a cast iron commitment and the Tory hierarchy are working hand in glove with the Countryside Alliance to bring this about. They have activists in every marginal seat in the country working to bring about a Tory victory.

    Herbert does not need to include hunting in a speech to the NFU as the pro-hunting NFU and its members know full well that the Tories will deliver on their pledge.The Tories and their hunting allies will not make a song and dance about it at events like the NFU conference as there is no need to.In fact they want to keep it under the radar. It is unfortunate that some people take this as a sign that the Tories are not serious on the issue. This only serves to help the Tories and their hunting allies by casting doubt in the minds of the public that the Tories might not be as great a threat as they really are to the Hunting Act.

    The Tories and the hunters do not care about public opinion and never have done.

  5. 5

    alwoodcock said,

    It is the sheer arrogance of the pro hunt lobby that show complete dogmatism. The gentry are NOT used to being told what to do and, therefore, probably get very much more angry than is necessary. They, after all, have lost something, that we, Joe public haven’t. This is why they, so aggressively, defend their corner. At least 75% of the population oppose what they do. They are, and ALWAYS will be, in the minority.

    Oh and Saynototories. Do you SERIOUSLY think that the labour government have EVER cared about and listened to public opinion?

    • 6

      saynototories said,

      Well alwoodcock its your call. You can have a Tory government hand in glove with the hunters who will give you nothing and repeal the hunt ban or you can have a Labour government where we do get some progress on these matters,more than any government has ever done on animal welfare. So you can slag off Labour if you like but in the end it was Labour who used the Parliament Act to push forward the will of the people on the issue. I know who I would rather have in power and where our best hope of any future progress lies.

  6. 7

    gilesbradshaw said,

    Oh well not to worry I have just got in from an early morning Hunting Act breaking mission to the woods with my dogs.

    A beautiful morning, let’s hope spring is around the corner.

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