Thugs with attack dogs

This week’s note from Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive

One of the consequences of living in the digital age is that news, views and comments are a 24/7 phenomena. Gone are the days when the radio and television stop for the night. Gone are the days when the internet had not even been thought of and long gone are the days when nothing much ever happened on a Sunday.

It is a statement of the blindingly obvious, that the clock does not stop for any man or woman, and nor can time be turned back except as an illusion. Time passes, attitudes change, and what was once thought to be acceptable becomes unacceptable, and that is what has happened to hunting with dogs for sport. The time has passed, the bell has tolled and Parliament has outlawed and made criminal an activity which is now regarded as cruel and barbaric.

What the bloodsports lobby cannot come to terms with is that they are the past and not the future. Look at them and you look backwards in time, to some sort of yesteryear where hunters and shooters could do as they liked never mind what the rest of the population thought of them. The trouble is that there are many in the bloodsports lobby who just do not accept that their activities are no longer regarded as acceptable by the vast majority in society.

I know from the marvels of the 24/7 media that last week I upset the traditional hunters who want to turn the clock back to the cruelty of pre-ban hunting, by saying that they are nothing more than gangs of thugs with dangerous dogs which they deliberately set onto other animals for sport. The hunters and shooters have always tried to perpetuate the myth that theirs is a gentleman’s sport. Dress nicely, be well mounted and equipped and be a competent shot or rider, and then you are supposedly socially acceptable in the best of company, whatever that may mean. Being called a thug with an attack dog is clearly not how they want to be seen, but it is nonetheless a reasonable description to apply to them.

The hunters struggle to accept the Hunting Act. But they have to accept that what they used to do – and some still want to do – is cruel and barbaric and has no place in a modern society. They just cannot bring themselves to do that.

So rather than accept that times have changed, they long for a suspension of the social and legal reality of the ban on their activities for sport. They want to believe that the future they now face can be rolled back by a different government. They forget that public opinion can’t be rolled back whatever governments may do or not do.

Hunting has changed since the Hunting Act was passed. While the thugs with attack dogs may want to carry on as before, there is no real appetite for law breaking amongst the more responsible followers of the hunts, who have been told that the day’s activities are all legal.

If the law is being obeyed, there is no reason to change the law and if the law is being broken deliberately to make a campaigning or political point, then that’s anarchy and the end of the rule of law. It may sound obvious to say it, but the law is the law. It is not for the hunters to decide which laws they will choose to recognise and which they won’t. If they break the law they are criminals, it is that simple.

The last few weeks have been really interesting from a legal perspective. Two more cases are on their way to court with summons having been served on two men accused of offences under the Hunting Act. And there are certain to be more on the way. Those involved have in some cases already been interviewed, for others that has yet to happen and the investigating officers are still gathering all the evidence they require and seeking guidance form the CPS before conducting formal interviews. While the hunting season may be drawing to a close, some of those involved in hunting are going to be spending a lot of time with their lawyers shortly and in all likelihood in Court as well.

The other case that is likely to come back to haunt some of the supporters of hunting is the recent gyrocopter case, which followed the tragic death of Trevor Morse just over a year ago. Judging by the evidence reported as being given in Court there are some questions to be asked about the actions of hunt supporters on that day. Why were they where they were? Why were some of them apparently acting in concert? What was the planned use of the pilots name and address found in the back of a hunt supporter’s vehicle? Who called whom and what will the mobile phone records show? And last but not least, what possible legitimate reason could they have for seeking to prevent an aircraft from taking off?

It seems clear to me that given what has come out in Court about the whole sad case, that there are a lot of questions still to be answered by hunt supporters. The focus of the investigation and the case so far has seemingly been on the actions of hunt monitors. Now following the not guilty verdict no doubt the police will be turning their attention to the reported actions of some of the hunters, following the revelations in the Court case.

Finally it is well worth reminding people that despite what the Countryside Alliance say, the Hunting Act is working. With over 130 convictions under the Act, it is clear that it works. And yes it is also true that there are far too many breaches of the Act, but that is more to do with deliberate law breaking than it has to do with there being any major problems with the law itself.

The hunters like to claim that the law is unenforceable and that it should therefore be removed from the statute book, but 130 convictions and more people on the way to court says the law does work. What is required is the will and the knowledge to enforce the law. In that regard calling hunters ‘thugs with attack dogs’ helps to concentrate police and prosecution minds wonderfully. A traditional hunt isn’t really about a bunch of jolly red faced and red coated gents out for a cross country ride, it is about a now criminal gang setting their attack dogs onto wild animals for sport. Help us to name it, shame it, and Keep Cruelty History.

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14 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    gilesbradshaw said,

    I break the Hunting Act regularly to make a political point.

    Anarchy? Yeap and what is wrong with that? Many of our rights were secured and are safeguarded by law breaking.

    The Government cannot prevent me breaking the law because it is absurd and they know it.

    I am not a thug or a gang and my dogs are not dangerous.

    I have just reported myself to the police here:

    http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=151265442987&share_id=109253779101192&comments=1#s109253779101192

    • 2

      davegb2 said,

      I doubt if the police take you seriously. Nobody here does.

      • 3

        yvonnet123 said,

        If you bothered to listen to him you would realise that he is 100% correct.

        It’s wrong for the law to make what he doers illegal UNLESS he kills animals. No one will enforce that because no one supports it.

        It is just plain dumb and in actual fact that part of the legislation was introduced by the pro hunt lords and their blood junkie friends in the CA.

        Just how idiotic is that?

    • 4

      auntykill said,

      Crikey Giles are you so desperate for attention that you’ll report yourself to the police? That is sad.

      • 5

        yvonnet123 said,

        He’s trying to get an idiotic part of the Hunting Act changes and people should support him pro or anti.

        The police will not prosecute him because the law WRT his activity is quite clearly daft.

    • 6

      derekbaines said,

      Everyone sympathises with your objection to killing animals however you are going about this the wrong way.

      You cannot just break the laws you do not agree with.

      I am quite sure that if you started obeying the law then LACS would give you their full support.

      • 7

        gilesbradshaw said,

        derek I can and I do break the Hunting Act. It’s an absurd law.

        If LACS really supported making what I do illegal they would come and monitor me.

        They don’t.

    • 8

      derekbaines said,

      Giles I have spoken to several people in LACS and the RSPCA about this. They all recognise that this part of the law is flawed even at a high level. However the objection is to your insistence on breaking the law.

      I can understand your distaste but you really do need to employ a marksman and start campaigning within the law. If you did that then you would get their support.

  2. 9

    gilesbradshaw said,

    Ps the voting system for this is highly dubious I voted ‘very poor’ and it sent the stars from 2 to 2 1/2

  3. 11

    auntykill said,

    This is an absolutely brilliant, logical and well thought out article stating exactly what is happening, what will happen and what should happen. Bravo!

    It’s also made me think about this law in comparison to the law banning the use of mobile phones when driving a vehicle. There is a hard core of individuals who think they are above this law in just the same way as there is a hard core of individuals who think they are above the hunting ban, and that because the ban isn’t desirable to them they can ignore it and carry on regardless. But the government isn’t thinking of repealing it just because a minority like using their mobiles whilst driving one handed and the police are still prosecuting people doing it so why should a government repeal the hunting ban to suit a few “thugs with dogs” when the majority of the country are solidly and rightly behind the ban?

  4. 12

    davegb2 said,

    yvonnet123 – This person is not what he pretends to be. Please read his comments here …

    http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2010/03/05/hunting-is-the-tories%E2%80%99-achilles-heel/

    Basically, he wants the same thing as every blood thirsty hunter – the hunting act to be abolished.

    And don’t believe their usual lies either (how humane hunting is, it’s natural, painless – one nip and the fox is dead, etc)

    • 13

      derekbaines said,

      I’m not saying that LACS would support Giles as far as repealing the law goes but that they would surely support him as far as his campaign against the shooting condition goes.

      Everyone I speak to supports him on that it is just him breaking the law that they object to.,

      I can see it is a difficult situation though because he clearly objects very strongly to having to shoot the deer he flushes and I can see why.

      From what I understand it is just him with some dogs and he would have to hire marksmen and also sometimes he is with his kids.

      The law is clearly very badly thought out in this respect.

    • 14

      gilesbradshaw said,

      I don’t ‘pretend to be’ anything I am completely open and up front about my intentions.

      I want the law replaced with one that targets animal welfare and I want my use of dogs to be legal irrespective of whether I kill the flushed out animals.


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