No U-turn on hunting ban
Could attitudes to fox hunting decide which way the polls go on May 7?
With five active hunts in the Lancashire Evening Post’s region - The Coniston, Wensleydale, North Lonsdale, Lunesdale Foxhounds and the Holcombe Harriers – it’s a particularly pertinent question.
When hunting a wild mammal with a pack of dogs was finally made illegal in 2005, a clear line was drawn in the sand as to what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour in a civilised society. Ten years on, nothing has changed.
The general public, regardless of class or political persuasion, whether rural or urban, as well as the majority of MPs, still consider hunting for sport unacceptable.
The fact is that 80 per cent of people want hunting to remain illegal (IPSOS MORI, 2014) and this conviction is likely to be reflected in how they vote at the forthcoming General Election.
Yet a small minority remain who want to return to an era when chasing and ripping apart wild animals for fun was legal. Some of them carry on hunting regardless of the law and others hope that a new government will repeal the Act.
The pro-hunt minority attempt to keep unscientific myths alive to justify their own cruelty.
But the hard research repeatedly proves them wrong. Hunting is not an efficient method of population control. As one fox is killed, another will take over its territory. And it’s not natural to be chased by 40 dogs while surrounded by shouting, horn blowing hunters.
Nor is it a rural versus town issue. The majority of people (78 per cent) who live in the countryside want fox hunting to remain illegal. Since the Hunting Act came into force it has quickly established itself as the most successful piece of wild animal welfare legislation, with the highest number and rate of convictions since 2005.
The only problem is not the law itself but those who flout it. Illegal hunting is unfortunately a problem across the country.
These problems are compounded by a culture of secrecy, intimidation, disdain and anti-social activity perpetrated by parts of the pro-hunt faction directed at those who oppose their brutish behaviour.
That is why we would like the Hunting Act to be made stronger. Banning the hunts’ cruel use of terriers to corner and fight foxes below ground; inserting a ‘reckless’ provision to ensure wild mammals killed during a trail hunt cannot be passed off as an ‘unfortunate accident’; and toughening the Act by introducing prison sentences for lawbreakers would bring it into line with other animal welfare legislation.
Introduced to end the suffering to animals caused by hunting with dogs for sport, the Hunting Act is one of this country’s proudest achievements. It must be defended against those wanting to return to crueller times.
This country has moved on – and it’s time for the pro-hunt lobby to accept that. They should respect the law, respect our wildlife and respect the will of the British people.
Joe Duckworth, chief executive, the League Against Cruel Sports
No to American style elections
Anybody would think there was a general election in the offing if the media are anything to go by.
Thank goodness that their political debates are finished. Although I realise there are changes in politics coming up I have had enough of the ranting and raving between all the leaders where virtually nobody is listening to what the others are saying. How on earth that encourages more people to vote is beyond me. If anything it will put people off from voting at all.
The only remedy is to stop the Americanisation of the present political system in this country and return British politics to Britain – and the sooner the better
Sheila Heys, Preston
Election time, here’s a rhyme
Most have come from Uni, they didn’t have real jobs.
With fat salaries and expenses they strut around like snobs.
At elections they make promises, most of which they do not keep
Whilst the cost of living’s rising, it continues to get steep
They spend our taxes foolishly, they send lots overseas
Whilst here at home in UK, wage rises start to freeze.
They do a lot of talking, but most of it’s hot air.
‘Cos decisions that do matter, really are quite rare
A phrase that’s often used is “We’re all in this together”
But we’re not thick as we all know they mean the rainy weather
They believe they know what’s good for us, they haven’t got a clue
We are quite aware it’s the Eurocrats who tell them what to do
Austerity’s another word, although we’ve heard of it before
It was in the 1940s when it came to every door
Mums all really struggled then, ingredients were few
But somehow they all managed to make a pot of stew
In those days the doctor, was called when you were Ill
But as well as getting medicine you also got a bill
If you received benefits, t’was love from Dad or Mum
Or the fun of playing outside with your brother or your chum
In the time that lies ahead of them MPs will have to choose
To be our servant not our master or their job they stand to loose
Economy’s the main thing, they’ll just have to get it right
And if they do it properly, we may agree that they are bright.
Charles Monaghan, Penwortham
Face-to-face for toddler vote
How brave of David Cameron and Boris Johnson recently when they faced an hostile audience of three-year-old nursery children, when they engaged them in defending Tory past and future policies.
Contrast this with the Prime Minister’s reluctance to engage in debate with the person who he describes as the only possible alternative Prime Minister in the coming election.
Do old Bullingdon Club members believe it is demeaning for them to have similar engagement with adult adversaries?
Denis Lee, Ashton