Archive for April 1, 2010

David Cameron’s interview this morning

With thanks to Tom Watson MP.

NC: Now, later in the programme if I may before you go, we’re hearing a claim that the fox hunting ban is being flouted more than another law. Are you going to repeal the ban?

DC: Well we’re going to have a free vote in the House of Commons.

NC: But what are your instincts?

DC: My personal view is the ban has been a, is a mistake. I always opposed the ban…

NC: You’re a hunter though aren’t you you’ve been hunting?

DC: I have in the past. I always thought that the ban was a mistake because I think it is very difficult to enforce. I think it’s somewhere where the criminal law shouldn’t go and I think that the mess we have now pretty much proves that. But it will be a free vote. There are, MPs take different views, there are Conservatives in my party who support the hunting ban, it will be a free vote in the House of Commons and if the ban if kept it’s kept and if it’s repealed it’s repealed.

NC: And will you go hunting again if it comes back?

DC: I personally have got other things I’m hoping to do.

NC: No but if you had any spare… what is it, you’ve been hunting, for those who don’t understand it because it’s a tremendously divisive issue, explain the joys of hunting.

DC: Well I was born, I’m a country boy, I was brought up in the countryside and I love walking in the countryside and riding in the countryside and every aspect of growing up in the countryside. I was taught to fish by a wonderful grandfather. I was taught to shoot rabbits by my dad. You know and I’ve always been a country boy and I went hunting as well.

NC: And was it for pest control or was it just for the fun of chasing the fox?

DC: Well people like, if you like riding and people like riding across the countryside and it’s an opportunity, and lots of people do it together, it’s an opportunity to see parts of the countryside you never see before. That’s a lot of why people go and it’s part of something that happened, something that happened in the countryside for a very many years.

NC: People against it would say you can do that without killing an animal.

DC: Yes of course that’s true and I do, I like riding. But the point is that the fox population has to be controlled – every farmer will tell you that and every farmer will also tell you that the methods now being used in more case gassing & shooting and trapping and snaring, are as the Burns inquiry itself found, very very cruel and the case on animal welfare grounds for the hunting ban I’ve always thought was very very weak. But as I say it’s a free vote issue. This is something I would never whip any party members to have. It has you’re right been a divisive issue, I think the right thing to do now that the ban’s been in place to have a free vote and to see whether people want to keep it or not.

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Charity Commission issues Regulatory Case Report over “nasty party” poll

The Charity Commission has today issued a Regulatory Case Report on the League Against Cruel Sports.

The Report concentrated on a YouGov poll comissioned by the charity last May, which asked “Do you think the Conservative pledge to hold a vote on whether to make the hunting with dogs of deer, hares and foxes legal again is MORE in keeping with a ‘nasty party’ or a ‘Compassionate Conservative’ party?”, and a subsequent Press Release issued by the charity.

According to the Charity Commission: “The Commission found that the press release and a question in the poll that was asked on behalf of the charity were party political in nature in that they could be seen to be critical of a national political party, contrary to charity law and the Commission’s guidance. The charity accepted that it must ensure that it does not engage in party political activity when running a campaign for or against a change in the law or government policy. The Commission provided the charity with advice and guidance regarding the legal and regulatory requirements that must be complied with by charities engaging in political activities.”

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League said the organisation accepted the Commission’s guidance and said he was encouraged by what the Charity Commission have advised is permitted activity by a charity. “The Commission has said that our Keep Cruelty History campaign, through which members of the public can find out where their candidates stand on repeal of the Hunting Act, is an entirely legitimate charitable activity. We’ll be focussing a great deal on this campaign in the run up to the election, but we have to admit surprise that the Commission has chosen to release its Reports on us and another charity just days before the likely calling of the General Election.”

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Royal Corgis go veggie to avoid hunt ban

Her Majesty the Queen has reportedly insisted that her pet Corgis are moved onto a vegetarian diet to make them less likely to chase foxes which stray into the grounds of Buckingham Palace and other royal palaces.

The Hunting Act 2004 made it a criminal offence to hunt a fox with dogs for ‘sport’ and whilst some politicians are promising a return to hunting, Her Majesty is thought to be keen to reflect public opinion on the matter by ensuring her own dogs don’t fall foul of the law. Opinion polling for organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports consistently shows that public opinion is strongly in favour of maintaining the hunting ban.

Renard Chasse, a spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, welcomed the announcement, saying the Queen was leading the way as a responsible dog owner. “We have long said that if a member of the public allowed their pet dogs to rampage across the highway, people’s gardens, and farms, they would be prosecuted. But no-one challenges the hunts when their hounds rampage. It’s one law for them and one for the rest of us. We’re delighted to see the Queen leading from the front in this way.”

Buckingham Palace allegedly sought the advice of the Countryside Alliance on trail hunting, but they were unable to help.

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Image of the Day – 132

Thames Valley Police have charged six people with hare coursing following arrests last Saturday near Witney in Oxfordshire. Ironically, Witney’s the constituency of David Cameron MP, who’s said he’d like to see repeal of the Hunting Act which makes this reprehensible activity illegal.

If you are one of the majority who don’t want to see a return to hare coursing, then make sure your parliamentary candidates know your views. You can do this through the Keep Cruelty History website.

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