I found it sad to read of the Rev Gordon Gatwood's belief in the
need to cull foxes by hunting them to death (Recorder
5), and also of his views on the Countryside March.
Obviously, as an agricultural chaplain, he moves in farming
circles and has come actually to believe the National Farmers' Union
(NFU) propaganda, even to the extent of organising a coachload to
the event for them. Thankfully, he didn't attend himself with his
A Methodist and a farmer, long retired, I am still a member of
the NFU, having farmed for over 50 years in "deepest" Oxfordshire
and served on its political committee for some 10 years. I know
these circles well.
Lincolnshire may typify what is left of rural England, but in
this "neck of the woods" it is vastly different. The overwhelming
majority of country dwellers don't hold those views and stayed at
home. They want, and it is their right, the countryside to be shared
and opened up - not just the moors and commons either.
Yes, the march was a well-organised show of political opinion.
Who was behind it? What one might call "subsidised spontaneity" -
shades of Jarrow and Aldermaston!
I think it is sufficient to say that hunting is the least
efficient method of controlling the fox - it is cruel and
unnecessary. There has been for many years now a baited wire cage in
use in the remoter parts of Wales in which they are caught alive. If
it is thought necessary, they can be disposed of humanely.
The hunting lobby well know this, but will always trumpet
gassing, shooting and snaring. One can partially understand this as
they love the exhilarating ride and spectacle of horses and dogs.
But if ramblers caused half the damage hunters do over a swathe of
the countryside, they would be prosecuted by those same landowners.
Hubert G Busby