This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Hunting Act, which bans the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales.
The idea of hunting animals for sport has always been abhorrent to me, and I find it perplexing how people can so willingly inflict cruelty on vulnerable creatures. I’m aware of the damage caused by wild foxes on livestock; they are known to break into a chicken coop and destroy every hen, after which they will eat only one. To combat these attacks, foxes can be caught by pest-controllers and killed in a quick, humane way; this is certainly the best option, although a better one would be not to eat chickens in the first place..
Thankfully, the majority of people are against blood sports these days, but there are a few trying to lift the ban in the name of ‘tradition’ or to ‘revive rural life’. I’m a great lover of the pastoral idyll; horse riding, pub lunches and walks in the wood are all my cup of tea, and I watch Countryfile and Downton religiously. But as American philosopher Bernard E. Rollin once said: ‘Immorality sanctified by tradition is still immorality’. There is no place in the modern world for blood sports, just as there is no place for slavery, religious crusades or gender inequality, all of which have once been an accepted part of ‘tradition’.
Whilst the ban seems fairly secure for now, there have been numerous cases of people flouting the law, chasing foxes with hounds and other offences. The League Against Cruel Sports are a fantastic charity working to expose and end cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of sport. If you would like to keep hunting banned and help convict those who break the law, please have a look at their website and support them.