The Prime Minister used a recent interview on Countryfile to call the Hunting Act a bizarre piece of legislation. That was an unfortunate way to describe a law that is backed by the majority of Conservative supporters.
No right to be cruel exists, either to humans or animals. Fox hunting, stag hunting, hare hunting and coursing have no place in the 21st century. Because something was carried out for hundreds of years does not make it acceptable now. For Britain to return to illegal activities would diminish our respect and standing in the world on animal welfare, at a time when we are asking for greater global efforts to conserve habitats and species.
It is significant to remember that the bull baiting ban of 1834 was flouted for decades by a minority of people bent on their illegal activity before it was finally observed. Badger baiting was banned under the same statute and that too still goes on, yet no one is suggesting making that traditional activity legal again.This activity also involves dogs being set upon wild animals for sport.The Hunting Act is only seven years old and a minority of people still have high feelings against it since it prohibits their sport of chasing and killing wild mammals with dogs.
There will always be a minority of people who are bent on flouting laws yet Conservatives should not reward them by overturning legislation simply because such laws are sometimes difficult to enforce. We would never apply that principle to our theft or taxation laws.
Proponents of bloodsports try and paint a picture of an oppressive urban majority that doesn’t understand the countryside. Why then, do polls show a large majority of people in rural areas supportive of the Hunting Act? The latest polling actually shows a higher proportion of people in London in favour hunting with dogs (though still only 22%) compared to Yorkshire (15%).
They also pretend that it is only the left which seeks to ruin their recreation (and it is about recreation) conveniently ignoring staunch Conservatives such as Alan Clark, Sir Teddy Taylor and Ann Widdecombe who abhorred hunting. Indeed, Margaret Thatcher herself voted on more than one occasion to ban hare coursing, a sport that would make an immediate comeback if the Hunting Act was repealed.
Our message for 2012 is simple and positive, it is very much about continuity and spreading our message. We support our 26 anti-hunting Conservative MPs and want to encourage undecided and unknown Conservative MPs to make the right decision and represent the mainstream Conservative supporter’s view against hunting wild mammals with dogs. We will continue to campaign for a fair representation of our Conservative MPs on this issue and to show they are in touch with the majority opinion not only within the party but in the country and say no to Hunting wild mammals with dogs for sport.