Archive for April 9, 2010

Latest candidates list published

The League has published it’s latest list of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates who’ve said they back the ban and don’t want to see a return to hunting. You can download it in full here.

We’ll publish revised lists each Friday from now until the election.

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Mr Fox on tour: Update

Within an hour of our Chief Executive’s weekly note being published on the blog earlier this afternoon, the pro-bloodsports community had fallen for our trap.

Tim Bonner, press chap at the Countryside Alliance, tweeted that the “antis think they are going to stop repeal with fluffy toys”.

Then James Marchington, editor of one of the shooting magazines, blogs about the “sentimental bunny huggers” (?!*!!?) at the League and how all bloodsports enthusiasts should get hold of a “stuffed toy fox, fox glove puppet, etc, into any photo opportunity by any politician, perhaps even dress up as a fox yourself – by way of showing your support for the Repeal of the ludicrous Hunting Act.”

So, at the same time that the hunters are refusing to go on the BBC’s Politics Show South West this Sunday because, they say, “hunting’s not an election issue”, they plan to highlight the fact that some politicians want to bring back hunting with dogs by bringing even more fox puppets to the party.

Brilliant. We couldn’t ask for more.

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Mr Fox on tour

This week’s note from Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive.

The proverbial starting gun has been fired and the parties have all set out on the campaign trail. This election is not going to be like any that have preceded it. The web, the blog and tweet are all going to impact on the public and political process.

Voters will be enabled and encouraged to engage in the campaigns by electronic means and if the results in America are any indicator, hundreds of thousands will use the new technologies to join in the public debates.

The League will be using all the new tools to hand. We will be on blog and tweet, daily and hourly, we will be on the web and in take action emails daily and weekly, as well as engaging in the more traditional campaigning methods.

Now is the time for you to tell candidates and party leaders what you want from them. The League will not as a charity suggest how you vote; it would not be either appropriate or proper for us to do so. But we can and will bring you the facts as we know them and can tell what we think you could be asking of the candidates and parties you are considering supporting. We will also do our best to keep you up to date with what the candidates are saying about how they would use any free vote on the return of stag hunting, hare hunting and coursing and fox hunting via the website.

The media coverage of elections by their very nature tends to get boiled down to headline issues, news soundbites and photo opportunities. Party leaders tend to give much the same speech at every port of call on any campaigning day, and international issues tend to get driven off the front pages of the papers. Journalists become bored with the same old, same old story and look for something new to report.

Journalists have already picked up on the fact that there is a clear difference between most of the candidates for the major parties on the hunting issue. They have also picked up on the fact that the general public are for the most part not at all comfortable with the thought that the Hunting Act could be repealed. Journalists recognise that from the differences of view and the opposing positions of the major parties, stories can be made.

It is already clear that in constituencies where hunting is a local issue and in many cases where Vote OK are active, that the voting public are raising the hunting issue on the doorstep with candidates and or their representatives.

During the campaign it is also clear that while some candidates will want to tackle the hunting issues head on, many will not. As a result there will be an increasing level of questioning of candidates by the press and the public on the hunting issue.

Given the reluctance of some candidates to say where they actually stand on voting for a return to stag and hare hunting and coursing as well as fox hunting, we will do our best to find out. The Keep Cruelty History website will be updated with the information as we get it.

We will also be sending you ‘take action’ emails which will help you with the process of telling the candidates what you think and what you want them to do with regard to the proposed repeal of the Act and return of hare, stag and fox hunting as well as the return of hare coursing. If candidates get a strong message from electors that they do not want to see any return of these cruel and barbaric bloodsports then it cannot fail to have an impact.

Last but by no means least, Mr Fox and the Fox Cubs will be on the campaign trail highlighting the threat to the Hunting Act and the risks of increased cruelty to animals if it is repealed.

It is most unlikely that the candidates’ positions with regard to the future of the Hunting Act will be the stuff of major headlines, but that said pictures of foxes and cubs and of hunters trying to hunt out the foxes before they get near candidates on camera, will become a campaign feature.

There is a certain irony in hunters and hunt supporters being actively hunted by legions of foxes and fox cubs, but the point will not be lost on the wider public who support the Act and oppose repeal. If you want a fox cub glove puppet to take with you to any campaigns meetings please send a cheque or postal order for £12 payable to ‘League Against Cruel Sports’ to our office address (or call us with your card details) and we will despatch one as quickly as we can.

It may sound quirky to be trying to outfox the hunters and their supporters, but at least it is honest. If you wave a fox cub puppet in the air it is immediately obvious where you stand and what your issue is. If you wave it behind a candidate you are clearly making a statement, if you wave it in front of a candidate whilst asking questions, your message is pretty clear.

If the more manic hunt supporters start trying to stifle protests by foxes and cubs and try to remove all the foxes that come within range of their chosen candidates, that message is also pretty clear for all to see.

In the recent American elections, some candidates were faced with a very large yellow chicken that always seemed to be in the camera picture. This election, whilst clearly being about the major national issues could have a foxy theme running alongside it in the media pictures. A new game of ‘spot the fox’ could become the reporter’s and the camera men’s daily game. If you want to outfox a hunter, get equipped and go for it. Liven up the campaign trail and inject a bit of humour whilst also making a serious point about wild animal welfare and bloodsports.

Finally you should not underestimate the lengths to which the pro-bloodsports lobby will go to get their points across to the public and to candidates. We got a taste of that last week when two callers to one of the Radio Five Live debates were “outed”. One was Otis Ferry, using a different name till he was challenged and the other caller exposed was a regional representative for the Countryside Alliance.

The pro-bloodsports lobby are also good at putting across a load of misinformation about the realities of hunting. So go prepared, be ready to counter their arguments and make sure that candidates standing for election in your area know what you expect of them and that they are in possession of the real facts about what would happen if they were to use any free vote after election to repeal the Hunting Act.

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An interesting take on statistics

The pro-bloodsports lobby claim there have only been three or four (their story changes) convictions under the Hunting Act. There have, in fact, been 137 convictions to date.

Here are figures (from the RSPCA) on the number of convictions under the Hunting Act in 2007 compared with other animal welfare legislation:

Badgers Act 1991: 6
Deer Act 1991: 1
Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996: 3
Hunting Act 2004: 48

On this basis you’d expect the hunters to be campaigning for repeal of the Badgers Act, Deer Act, and the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act. But they’re not.

We wonder why…?

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Image of the Day – 140

This is the Quantock Staghounds in 1981. Is this really something you’d want your young son to witness?

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