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jim 8th Sep 2004 13:47

Fox Hunting
 
This issue always reminds me of school as whenever there was a debate or we had to pick a topic to speak about somebody would always choose this old chestnut; and being townies (more or less) the argument was always the same: oh how terribly cruel, vicious hounds tearing poor cuddly little foxes limb from limb etc etc.

As I've got older I have become I think more socially liberal in most things but over this particular argument I have contraversially gone the other way. At school I would definitely have been in the "this house believes foxhunting should be banned" camp. Now my view is that if the mad buggers want to charge around the countryside in pursuit of the odd fox (which are hardly an endangered species) then why not let them.

It seems now that the Government are going to try to force a bill banning fox hunting completely through Parliament in order to prevent a backbenchers revolt! Are these people mad? Attack Iraq and polarise the entire Arab world against us - no problem. Preside over the destruction of our environment by failing to deliver a viable public transport system - I know, let's build a few more runways. But allow a few odd bods to practise their centuries old tradition of chasing vermin around the countryside and we'll revolt. Twats!

Wavid 8th Sep 2004 14:14

I'm with jim on this one. I think legislating over this sort of thing is a total waste of time.

It's actually a pretty ludicrous way to spend your time, and it's impossible not to be slightly nauseated by the sight of a load of toffs prancing around in daft outfits on horseback, but if that's what they want to do, then let them. I don't want to come across all Jeremy Clarkson (now there's an image) here, but I don't really give a stuff about foxes. There are other things to worry about.

The other way of solving the problem, although again it would be giving it more time and thought than it deserves, would be to allow local areas to decide for themselves. That way, the metropolitan areas could (pointlessly) ban it and feel good about themselves, and the country folk who like it can keep it, without feeling that they have been interfered with. Of course, some rural areas might want to ban hunting. Fair enough. But I don't think it's up to the generally metropolitan types to ban something they don't like the sound of, despite the fact they've never actually come across it before in their lives.

amner 8th Sep 2004 14:27

The importance levelled at this issue in the media is absurd, ditto the inability of the Government to tackle the damn thing and remove it from the radar.

I care not a jot either way (this will change if one of the wee ginger buggers has it away on his toes with my chickens), what I think is the bigger issue is whether the hunt is executed responsibly. Take a dekko at the growing trend in DIY hare coursing and reasses what's being done here. Bloody wide-boy Essex types 4x4-ing it across muddy fields with starving mutts and nary a care in the world. Mental.

I don't think the toffs have quite the same lack of pastoral respect, somehow, despite the lack of burberry, Argos gold chains or strong chins.

Colyngbourne 8th Sep 2004 14:28

I am no zealous animal lover but fox-hunting would seem to exemplify a certain wanton cruelty that is in small, what we inflict on others in macro-situations: accepting cruelty for entertainment is not good for our moral health, and our moral health impacts on how we view conservation of the countryside, the environment, etc. and our attitude towards suffering in general.

Wavid 8th Sep 2004 14:33

A good point Col.

I mean, I wouldn't ever want to be involved in a hunt myself. The idea of it appalls me.

But I think that if people really want to, then fair enough. The idea of foxes being torn asunder by a pack of crazed dogs is pretty unpleasant, but then, it probably goes on in the wild all the time.

After all (and to be honest I am not sure whether I am being facetious or not here - if I am, then apologies all round) wildlife programmes regularly show the gruesome deaths of animals on TV - over and over again. If this were for purely educational purposes, then why show these things more than once?

jim 8th Sep 2004 14:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colyngbourne
I am no zealous animal lover but fox-hunting would seem to exemplify a certain wanton cruelty that is in small, what we inflict on others in macro-situations: accepting cruelty for entertainment is not good for our moral health, and our moral health impacts on how we view conservation of the countryside, the environment, etc. and our attitude towards suffering in general.

I can see where you're coming from but I don't think the cruelty element is the point otherwise they would presumably just put the fox in a cage and stick pins in it or something. And many of those involved in hunting being farmers and landowners are directly responsible for the conservation of the countryside.

Also the Government's original proposal was to licence hunts which would have had the effect of allowing traditional hunts to continue whilst outlawing the eminently undesirable practices referred to in Amner's link.

The fact is that we are cruel; battery hens are raised in appalling condition, calfs live in darkness to preserve the colour of their flesh, geese are force fed. These practices involve millions of animals and as I am not a vegetarian it would be hypocritical of me to get upset about what is by comparison a tiny number of foxes.

amner 8th Sep 2004 14:55

It is, without doubt, for me, the least of New Labour's "issue" pieces of legislation. The column inches attached to it, you'd think, put it on a par with WMD and the Euro. It's not even the biggest of the conservation issues (can we surely not genetically modify mixymatosis and zap the grey squirrel population, encouraging reds back where they belong? Just a personal thing, there).

All in all, further evidence of the Government's uncanny ability to put off making an actual bona fide decision yet again. We've been waitying for this since '97 haven't we?

jim 8th Sep 2004 15:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by amner
It is, without doubt, for me, the least of New Labour's "issue" pieces of legislation. The column inches attached to it, you'd think, put it on a par with WMD and the Euro. It's not even the biggest of the conservation issues

And that is my point - that some backbenchers would threaten to revolt on this issue whilst other much more crucial issues are not addressed. It really ticks me off.

Colyngbourne 8th Sep 2004 15:05

I suppose the cruelty aspect is not the purpose of the hunt (oh, of course not!), but it *is* conducted with an attitude that doesn't care less about the torment of the animal involved. Farmers and hunt folk care very much about the countryside but they also care more about the fun of chasing an animal than about culling it by some other, less brutal, method.

Eating animals for food, and their appropriate welfare, is another matter. I have no problem with meat, but would prefer far more humane conditions for livestock - eg. Amner's hens in the back yard.

Wavid 8th Sep 2004 15:09

With amner's reputation, I wouldn't have thought those hens would be too safe from cruelty...


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