Archive for September 16th, 2004

Pro-hunt protesters storm Commons

BBC NEWS- Pro-hunt protesters storm Commons
So it’s been another day when the country folk come to town. I remember the last time they were here, all ‘we hate the city’ placards and then off to starbucks for a coffee and a whinge at the prices.

There’s a great many injustices in this world, things that I feel strongly about are issues like global poverty and child welfare, these are worth donating too and caring about, whereas today’s demonstrations just make me mad.

Who’d have thought that in the 21st Century it’d be the aristocracy that would be rioting! How ironic. There was a chap on BBC Breakfast this morning saying he was coming to London to protest about the hunting ban as it’d mean he’d loose his job, bit like the guard at the Berlin wall in 1989. The interviewer said ‘well under the ban you’ve got two years to retrain..’ and he said ‘this is all I’ve done since leaving school, my father and grandfather did it too, we’ve done it since the middle ages’ well whoopdidoo, my grandfather was a coal miner, my father a chef in the Navy, both of those things have been scaled back, welcome to the real world mate.

For to long now the countryside think that we owe them a living, due in part to WW2, where the Government nationalised food production to feed the nation, so it wouldn’t have to depend on the merchant fleets that were being sunk in the Atlantic. So it kept the farmers happy, giving them massive subsides, thinking there’d be enough farming space to grow food for the nation and we wouldn’t have to dig up Battersea Park and plant potatoes again. But times have moved on, there’s far to many people in the UK than there is land to grow crops to feed them, the UK imported tons of food and ‘other stuff’ last year, so why are we giving all this money to farmers? Go to your average supermarket and see how much, especially veg, is made in the UK?

The posts on the BBC message boards are right, this is about class war. The problem with fox hunting is this; they say it’s a form of pest control. Well why does it take 20 men and horses and 40 dogs to eradicate vermin? Badger baiting’s illegal, 5 man can’t send a dog down a den and then smack the badger over the head with a spade. Rabbits are considered vermin, they spread disease and eat crops, but snares and pellets are considered good enough for them. We live in a world where chickens are mass-produced from chick to bird in six weeks, in sheds the size of a football pitches, with each bird having an A4 sized area to grow in. More than 30% of the chickens die due to disease, fatigue and exhaustion before reaching six weeks, this is considered an acceptable loss of the ‘crop’. The old idea of a fox getting in and stealing a farmers livelihood in this context is hypocrisy. ‘sides, most foxes nowadays seem to have given up on the country and come in to town via the railway lines to pick old KFC out of our bins. Their own data says ‘well half of all foxes get away’ thus proving it’s ineffective.

The countryside alliance is pro all forms of hunting, including fishing and shooting. it’s website says this:
As a recreational/leisure activity, country sports account for approximately 130 million activity days per year, with the number of people participating directly in country sports in the UK making it the fifth largest of all recreational/leisure activities – broadly equal in number to football. Hunting undertaken by the same amount of people as play football a week? I think not. If ever there were a case of battery farmed hormone injected statistics, this is it. At least other forms of hunting are considered fair game for the pot, who ever heard of eating fox?! No, what I object to is the whole ceremony, the red coats and stupid little horns, it’s not about vermin control, it’s not about employment nor one man against nature using skill and a tool. It’s about rich people getting together to trample all over the countryside and hunt down an animal. There was a story in the Metro today about a gang of city youths who kicked a puppy to death, anyone in there right mind would see this as barbaric, yet if it were a fox, they wouldn’t be sought for arrest on animal cruelty.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the countryside. I think it’s very pretty, I want it preserved, even if it’s just to keep the cities apart. But what I don’t want are anarchic rituals and institutions disguised as ‘history’ paid for by my taxes. No tourist ever came to Britain and said, ‘Ooooh, let me see a pack of dogs rip apart a fox’. It’s no place in our national culture anymore, along with bear baiting and cock fighting. Ban it, and make the countryside do what it’s best at, preserving nature, for everyone, forever.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
September 2004