Newspaper reveals hunts in “utterly desperate attempt” to secure return to bloodsports

The League Against Cruel Sports has described plans by hunts to support pro-hunting candidates in the election as the “final, utterly desperate attempt” to bring back hunting.

According to today’s edition of The Independent, the newspaper has seen leaked papers which confirm plans by a grassroots hunting organisation called ‘Vote OK’ to organise a ‘Barbour cavalry’ of hunters to try and unseat anti-hunting MPs in marginal seats. Vote OK, which claims to be politically independent, is focusing only on ousting anti-hunting Labour MPs, and is supporting only Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates.

The League, which campaigned for eighty years to secure the ban on hunting with dogs, said the Vote OK plans were misguided given the strong public opinion in favour of the ban.

“In Ipsos-MORI polling in September, 75% of people said they support the ban on fox hunting. 84% support the ban on stag hunting. 85% support the ban on hare hunting. There is simply no public appetite for a return to the cruelty of hunting,” said Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League. He pointed to a poll commissioned by the Countryside Alliance in December which found that only 19% of people support repeal of the Hunting Act. “No recent poll says anything other than “keep the ban”.”

The League Against Cruel Sports says that the Hunting Act is working well and that there have been over 130 convictions in the last five years. “In just the last few weeks the Crown Prosecution Service have begin prosecutions against a huntsman of the Quantock Staghounds, and a terrier man linked to the Ullswater Foxhounds,” said Mr Batchelor. “We have a number of other cases in progress and we are confident of more convictions as the year progresses.”

Details of how Prospective Parliamentary Candidates say they would vote on repeal of the Hunting Act have been published on a dedicated website for the League’s ‘Keep Cruelty History’ campaign at www.keepcrueltyhistory.com.

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22 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    journosteve said,

    I think you should tone down the hyperbole. “Final, utterly desperate” – I’m sorry, but given that it is highly likely there will be a Tory Govt after 6 May, and one committed to restoring hunting with hounds, the description is wrong. Like the vast majority of this country’s people, I do not want to see that happen at all. However, until the message goes out – a vote for the Tories is a vote for hunting – your campaign is moribund. The Tory PCCs have been instructed very carefully over this issue; my own local candidate robotically repeats, word for word, what he’s been told to say by Conservative Central Office. Your charitable status means you can’t make openly political messages, but that’s something that should have been reconsidered long before now in the run-up to the vote.

    • 2

      gilesbradshaw said,

      If the Hunting Act is repealed I hope the debate will turn to it’s replacement.

      This should be a law which focuses not on just the use of dogs but that regulates all activities which kill or otherwise manage wildlife populations according to animal welfare based criteria.

      I am convinced that my activities would be legal under any such law.

      Untill that point I will not obey the Hunting act.

  2. 3

    “Hundreds of hunt supporters are under orders to ride into action in key marginal seats within hours of a general election being called, in the knowledge that David Cameron will allow a return to hunting with dogs if he gets to Downing Street.”

    I am an independent candidate against bringing back fox hunting and hare coursing in the supposedly safe Conservative seat of South East Cambridgeshire. The sitting MP has said that he will vote to repeal the Hunting Act 2004. I have lived in the constituency all of my 71 years. I am a countryman born and bred. I have been politically active for much of my life. I was a Conservative County and District Councillor and a Conservative activist until I got fed up (in 1999) with their leaders’ deep-down and perceived priorities – fox hunting, hare coursing, etc. I know ‘my’ constituency like the back of my hand. I have been actively canvassing for eight weeks. Very, very few electors want the Hunting Act 2004 repealed. They are with me on this (and many other things, like the dreadfully wasteful adventure in Afghanistan) and, if the Conservatives think that repeal of the Hunting Act 2004 will do them any good in this constituency, they are daft. Add this factor to the widespread disillusionment and distrust of all sitting Parliamentarians and it then becomes clear that South East Cambridgeshire is no longer a safe Conservative seat. It is another marginal. Add in some silly and ignorant invaders and we have the sure-fire recipe for trouble for the sitting MP. So I say, ‘Bring ’em on!’

  3. 4

    davegb2 said,

    If you read it again you’ll see thay didn’t tell supporters to ride like a ‘Barboury cavalry’. They claimed that was a term used by their anti-hunt opponent.

  4. 5

    gilesbradshaw said,

    The newspaper did not use the words “utterly desperate attempt” you did, so your title is typically misleading.

    • 6

      Not really, Giles. The quote in the headline is a quote from our Chief Executive. The whole entry is a News Release, published verbatim on our blog.

      • 7

        gilesbradshaw said,

        ’m really confused following comments on the previous blog which suggest that you are actually against the requirement in the law for wild animals to be shot.

        Could you clear this up for me once and for all.

        Do you support the condition that reasonable steps are taken to shoot animals dead being in the Hunting Act or not?

        I’m really surprised that people seem to think I should obey this requirement. I have never killed a deer and in the context of the management of my coppiced woodland killing Red deer is not necessary. The deer exist as a herd if I flush them out they simply move on.

        Surely you should support non lethal alternatives to killing animals.

        ta xx

      • 8

        gilesbradshaw said,

        ps well it mislead me! had me searching through the indy article to find such an apalling example of biased journalism.

  5. 9

    gilesbradshaw said,

    I’m really confused following comments on the previous blog which suggest that you are actually against the requirement in the law for wild animals to be shot.

    Could you clear this up for me once and for all.

    Do you support the condition that reasonable steps are taken to shoot animals dead being in the Hunting Act or not?

    I’m really surprised that people seem to think I should obey this requirement. I have never killed a deer and in the context of the management of my coppiced woodland killing Red deer is not necessary. The deer exist as a herd if I flush them out they simply move on.

    Surely you should support non lethal alternatives to killing animals.

    • 10

      Oh Giles, we have told you umpteen times on here, on Facebook, on twitter, and in private correspondence you’ve had with our Chief Executive. Of course we are opposed to you flushing and chasing deer with your dogs. It is cruel, unnecessary and illegal.

      End of story. Now please PLEASE stop hijacking EVERY post with your incessant questions!

      • 11

        yvonnet123 said,

        Surely you don’t think flushing should be legal if the animals are shot dead though!

        That’s the point he’s making that shooting the animals doesn’t add anything to their welfare but it does make his activities legal.

        It’s got to be better for him not to shoot the animals dead than to shoot them.

        I’d have thought the dividing line should be whether or not the animals are chased or not. Just flushing isn’t cruel. I have flushed deer out with my dogs although not deliberately like him. They just run off.

        If he wants to take his dogs down to the woods and the deer run out I don;t see the problem. It’s any chasing that is cruel.

        However crazily the law doesn’t mention chasing at all just flushing.

      • 12

        gilesbradshaw said,

        @Yvonne123 it would be really good if you could let me know who in LACS you spoke to that said they do not actually support the shooting requirement.

        ta

      • 13

        gilesbradshaw said,

        ps Yvonne twitter me if it’s easier

      • 14

        yvonnet123 said,

        I can’t give you that specific information as I do not betray confidences however as you know perfectly well from forums you go on it is universally recognised that this exemption is flawed.

        Talk to Gary Hills, he will explain that it is a pro hunt exemption.

        That is why it is ridiculous that LACS support it.

  6. 15

    davegb2 said,

    GILES – PLEASE STOP BANGING ON ABOUT DEER! YOU ARE BORING EVERYBODY TO DEATH WITH THE SAME OLD LINE EVERY TIME! IT’S OBVIOUS TO EVERYBODY BUT YOU THAT THE HUNTING ACT IS MAINLY ABOUT HUNTING FOXES. DO YOU THINK WHEN THE LOCAL HUNT GOES OUT THEY CHASE DEER? IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMETHING NEW TO SAY I’D BE GRATEFUL IF YOU WOULD JUST ****-**!

    • 16

      yvonnet123 said,

      Hi DaveGB that’s exactly what he is saying. The law just isn’t well thought out when applied to deer dispersal.

      He posted some really interesting stuff about this on the LACS facebook group.

      Whereas foxes are highly territorial and there is little point in just flushing them out because they just come back to their territories Red deer live in herds which roam all over the place. This means that there is no need at all to shoot the flushed out herd of deer they will just run off somewhere else.

      I am convinced LACS realise this.

      Also from what I understand he lives in Devon and his local hunt is the stag hounds so yes they do go out and chase deer.

      • 17

        davegb2 said,

        yvonnet123 – I understand what he is saying. He’s been saying it non-stop for the past 5 years! But hunting to most is about fox hunting. The blood sport lobby are mainly interested in fox hunting. When I read comments from hunters they always talk about fox hunting.

        The Act as it is needs amending as having to shoot deer once flushed out is obvious;y wrong. But continually talking about this one flaw is simply deflecting attention from the main issue.

      • 18

        derekbaines said,

        DaveGB it may not be the main issue to you but it his to him because it makes what he does illegal. He goes out of his way to use a method which does not kill animals. It’s illegal because it does not kill animals and that has to be wrong.

        From what I understand he doesn’t hunt foxes he flushes deer. Surely it is right that he cares about the criminality of his actions (although I do accept that he should not break the law).

        It can’t be right for us to turn round and say that he can carry on flushing deer but only if he kills them.

        I’m quite sure LACS don’t agree with the shooting either 😦

        The more I think about it the more I realise that there is a fundamental issue here. How can we turn round and insist that people obey a law that we know is wrong. Not only is it wrong but it involves the very thing we are against, the use of dogs to kill animals.

        How can LACS sell its principles out so much as to support such slaughter.

        We should support the law being changed so no animal needs to be killed in any circumstance.

  7. 19

    It’s quite clear from the comments and emails we’ve been getting that our supporters are fed up with Mr Bradshaw spamming our blog comments, just as he did on Facebook.

    We respect his right to hold a different view, and to express it, but he’s got tiresome. We won’t be publishing any more of his comments on the League’s blog.

    • 20

      derekbaines said,

      You’ve got totally the wrong end of the stick. What he’s doing is dispersing the deer, he’s against the killing of them.

      Stag Hunting is flushing out deer and then shooting them. He doesn’t want to shoot them.

      Giles gets loads of abuse for his views and yes he shouldn’t break the law but surely you sympathise with his distaste for those deer being shot.

      It seems to me that LACS are being very very hard hearted. It’s not just Giles and his family who would suffer from the deer being shot dead but the deer too.

      I can’t see whose interest these animals being killed serves.

      Please think again LACS

  8. 21

    derekbaines said,

    Giles used to make a lot of posts on your facebook page. Actually he managed to persuade a few people on there that the law was flawed as regards flushing and shooting, myself included.

    That’s why you banned him. You have no argument against what he says because you agree that the deer shouldn’t have to be shot.

  9. 22

    […] The article titled “Tally Ho” in The Independent this week revealed the extent of the campaign by the bloodsports and hunting lobby to do what they can to get pro-repeal candidates elected to Parliament in the election. Now that the hunting season is almost at an end, the hunt supporters are being asked and encouraged to get out into the target constituencies and deliver leaflets and generally do what they can to support the candidates who have the Vote OK seal of approval. […]


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