Animal Writes
© sm
From 19 September 2004 Issue

The Hunters Become The Hunted
By Anita Chaplin, London - [email protected] 

A great many of us have had our faith slightly restored in the government by yesterday’s debate in the commons about hunting. MPs backed a ban on hunting in England and Wales by 339 to 155 votes. Hurray! Who cares if Tony does have an ulterior motive – finally he’s doing something that the caring leftfield public want.

Of course, it still has to be debated in the Lords and would not be due to come into force for nearly two years, but fingers crossed!

Of course there are a lot of people who are infuriated by this, namely the upper classes and rural communities, but any rational person can see the gaping holes in their selfish arguments.

Fox hunting is a thinly veiled excuse for a jolly day out riding with their friends – with the added bonus of being able to shed the thin veneer of civilised behaviour and revert to their baser instincts for the day.

Hunt advocates defend it by saying it is a sport. The dictionary defines sport as an activity, usually involving physical exertion that is partaken for pleasure/recreation, often in a competitive manner. A fox is not much competition for a pack of hounds and people on horseback, and it certainly is not getting much pleasure from the activity. The pleasure, therefore, is on the part of the hunters as they watch a helpless fox being ripped apart for their entertainment.

On the other hand, if it is just a sport, why are they reacting to the ban so strongly? If sport is just recreation, why do people take it so seriously? They could easily take up another sport instead – put their energy and “community spirit” into something more constructive. Of course, many people do take sport very seriously – some football fans are like religious fanatics, but then their sport is not harming any other living creatures. If it did involve the exploitation of vulnerable people such as children, nobody would protest against that being banned.

There are also those who defend fox hunting because they believe it is a necessary way of culling a rural predator. As a believer in animal rights, I won’t advocate the deliberate slaying of any creatures unnecessarily, but for the sake of argument, if it is absolutely necessary, then it should be done in a discrete manner, which doesn’t involve a public spectacle that allows bloodthirsty people to celebrate their alleged “supremacy” over a more vulnerable species. I don’t know all the details of alternative ways of killing foxes (nor do I want to), but I don’t think it is necessary for me to know that either. All I know is that death by the teeth of a dozen hounds is not the best way and there are better alternatives.

One pro-hunting protester was quoted in the news as suggesting that the government were trying to “mess up the countryside.” How? What? It just doesn’t make sense. Does country life revolve entirely around hunting? In what way does altruism mess up the countryside? By banning fox hunting, they are not indulging every whim of country folk, but the world does not consist only of human beings.

There is a prevailing attitude of “us and them” – that urbanites don’t understand the special needs of the countryside. That is akin to suggesting that those in the city are stupid and uneducated – that just because they don’t live in the country, they are incapable of learning about or imagining what happens there. In fact it is more likely to be the opposite and a bit of distance from an issue allows people to make a more objective and rational decision.

Whenever some big changes to society are proposed, someone always brings up the issue of jobs being at stake. Keeping people in jobs is not the most important thing in life. People need to be able to adapt to a changing environment. A factory that produced high levels of deadly gases and refused to change it’s practises would be closed, regardless of whether people lost their jobs. If a practise is unethical it should be stopped - this is the way it should be. Industry does not purely serve the purpose of providing jobs – it also needs to contribute something productive (however tiny) to society.

The arrogance and hypocrisy of those pro-hunt supporters who turned up at the Commons yesterday had to be seen to be believed. This is the same demographic who promote themselves as being law-abiding, upstanding members of the community, while criticising animal rights campaigners who resort to direct action. Yet interestingly, reports about yesterday’s events claim that fifteen people are being held over clashes with police and 19 people, including two police officers, were thought to be injured. Very civilised…

At least when animal rights activists protest, they are standing up for vulnerable creatures who are unable to defend themselves. The pro-hunt supporters are trying to preserve their own self interest- thinking only about themselves. The phrase that sums it up is ‘throwing their toys out of the pram.’ It’s not about hunting specifically, it’s an ego thing – they are just sore because they weren’t “consulted.” Since when were the general public consulted about the introduction of new laws anyway?

These are people who are not used to their views being ignored. Welcome to the real world, where the government doesn’t always represent your interests, but hopefully, over time, benevolence towards all living creatures will prevail.

Go on to O'Barry Ban Lifted
Return to 19 September 2004 Issue
Return to Newsletters

** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Home Page




Your comments and inquiries are welcome

This site is hosted and maintained by:
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for visiting

Since date.gif (991 bytes)