For many people the countryside at this time of year means misty mornings and falling leaves. But for a small violent, sadistic portion of the population it’s an opportunity to cause untold suffering and death to some of our most wild and beautiful animals. Yes it’s hunting season again.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to see fox hunting as barbaric. Even before the official season begins, the most hardcore animal haters are out ‘cub-hunting’. This involves training young hunting hounds by setting them loose in woods that are home to young fox cubs. This is no sport, the cubs stand no chance. All the underground escape routes are blocked by terriermen, and hunt followers surround the wood. The inexperienced hounds often maul the cub for several minutes before they die. Aware of how distasteful this practice is, hunters now refers to it as ‘autumn hunting’.
The argument that hunting controls fox populations has been dropped by most hunters. Even they agree that foxes are territorial animals that control there own population, meaning that if one fox dies another will move in to replace it. The vast majority of fox hunters now claim the practice is “a recreational and social force embodying a traditional rural pastime”. Like it or not this so called ‘traditional rural pastime’ is hated for its class issues as well as its animal rights issues.
Many people in the hunting community claim there is no class issue here. Of course there are working class people involved, but hunting could carry on without them. Wealthy land owners and the upper classes are essential to the continued practice of hunting. A gang of dressed up working class people on horse back would soon be arrested for trespass if they tried it on.
So the fight against fox hunting is as much about reclaiming the land that should belong to those people who work it – the working class – as much as one to save animals from suffering. The 2004 Hunting Act that banned hunting is clearly a farce. These blood-thirsty low-lives continue to maim and kill foxes, hares, stags for no better reason than their own perverse pleasure.
We at the Heckler fully support the actions of the brave saboteurs that try and stop the hunts happening. You can get in touch with them at www.hsa.enviroweb.org