The Hunting Act became law in February 2005. It made hunting with dogs illegal in England and Wales. As far as I am aware, despite vociferous campaigning by the Countryside Alliance, it has not been repealed.
Which made my alarm call this morning – howling beagles, gruff shouting and backfiring quad bikes skidding around the field next to my house – even more surprising. How could this be?
After morning coffee and a buttered crumpet, I managed to narrow down the possibilities.
a) These people are animal lovers whose desire to protect the countryside is stronger than any law that might be imposed on their activities. They are unable to sleep at night as they realise the fox population in their local area is invariably trebling with every passing hour and if they don’t head out at first light to kill as many as possible, the countryside will be taken over by the dastardly little critters. They’ll be renovating old cottages and driving around in Range Rovers with no consideration for others before you can shout ‘Fight Prejudice, Fight The Ban!‘ in a loud plummy voice.
b) They feel that they have a right to do it because they’ve always done it, and to be fair, most of them are rich and powerful so the law shouldn’t apply to them in the same way it should to scabby people who live on council estates. People from urban centres know nothing about how the countryside operates, how much maintenance is required for its upkeep and the devastation a fox can cause in a hen house. It’s awful. One day we might look back on our foolishness and laud these people as our saviours in a war most of us are too stupid to even comprehend is even happening.
or c) They know it’s against the law but the lure of belting around fields on horseback with a big gang of mates in posh jackets is just too much to resist. It’s like a drug. What could be finer than a Saturday morning spent chasing a scraggy fox who probably hasn’t eaten for three days to an exhausted panic, watching it ripped to shreds by a gang of well fed dogs and then nipping off for a wee Scotch before the rugby kicks off? Marvellous.
And they say it’s the poor, inner city kids who need civilising? Kids? Stop wasting your lives with the mobile phones, games consoles and fast food products that the advertisers want you to buy and rush out to your nearest field, kill an animal and learn the simple pleasure that can be had from rubbing your face in its warm entrails.
You’ll be a better person, I promise.
Image via all-creatures.org