Friday, December 26, 2008

A-hunting we will go - in record numbers.

Been down to Welshpool this morning to the traditional Boxing Day meet, outside the Royal Oak. I'd not been before 2005, when Parliament supposedly, and unwisely in my opinion banned hunting with dogs. I've been every year since, and so have many hundreds of others. The country past-time has never looked back. As always, the hounds were looking well. They have not been put down, as they would have been if the hunting ban had been as successful as had been intended by those who supported it. This thought provoking article in today's Telegraph, questions whether the Act has been effective. It also asks what seems to me will be a tough question for a future Conservative Government. Should we seek to repeal what is an increasingly ineffective law. We are committed to giving Parliament an opportunity to reconsider the ban. Personally, I feel that the current Act will have become so discredited in another year or so, that reopening the issue may not be the best option. We'll have to wait and see on this one.

There were 79 horses following the hounds today - a new record for the Tanatside. Severn Street was full of horse flesh - a truly impressive sight. Last year there were 59 horses, and we all thought that would take some beating. Encouragingly, there were lots of young people there today. The future of hunting looked extremely rosy.

I suppose there's a case for claiming there were 80 horses today - but this little fellow didn't follow the hounds. He wouldn't have been able to keep up, and anyway, he's probably afraid of foxes.


Anonymous said...

"As always, the hounds were looking well. They have not been put down, as they would have been if the hunting ban had been as successful..."

I expect when these hounds get too old, by that I mean around four or five years they will get put down and fed to the rest of the pack, although Fox Hounds probably have a better life than Greyhounds.

Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you can support this unspeakably cruel sport. Does it not concern you that more than 75% of the population supports a total ban on hunting with dogs? The hunt supporters claim they just "go for the ride" and don't tear foxes to bits anymore - pull the other one, who do they think they are kidding? The very reason people hunt is so they can witness a kill and glory in it. Foxes manage their own population by breeding well when food is abundant and keeping pests like rabbits under control, and breeding less when food is scarece. And don't tell me that huge numbers of lambs are taken each year, because that is a lie, especially since nearly all farmers bring their ewes in for lambing. I was born and bred in the country from farming stock, and if our chickens and ducks have been taken, that's down to poor husbandry. Foxes are beautiful creatures and I still get a thrill from hearing them and (rarely) seeing them. We won't allow the hunt on our land and never will, so at least they have a haven here.

Foxes are hunted because it is "fun" and not for controlling their population, that's an excuse which is not based on any evidence and which fools no-one.

Shame on you Mr Davies - you won't be getting my vote next year, or any of my family's.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Must admit that I have no idea what happens to foxhounds when they become too old to hunt. I really don't think they will be fed to other hounds though. I will ask about this tomorrow and let you know.

anon 2 - I accept that many people disagree with my views on this, but I do not accept that hunting with dogs is any more cruel than any other form of fox control. There has never been any evidence to support this assertion, and my view is control by shooting is much more cruel.

On your second point, I don't believe that 75% of people opppose foxhunting. Other surveys show a majority in favour. It depends how the question is asked.

I do agree with you that hunting on horseback is essentially for 'fun'. When I took over the farming business after my father died, I decided to ban all forms of hunting from my land. It was two or three years later that I realised this was a wildlife unfriendly decision - and hunting and rough shooting is now allowed. In fact, I was so disgusted with the ban, that I now allow the hunt to unload the hounds and start from my farm. My main farm adjoins foresrty land and as it happens the local footpack kills several foxes every year. I don't think the hounds ever catch more than one, and sometimes none. They enjoy themselves tough.

I don't expect those who consider this issue to be the deciding factor in a General election to vote for me, but I would be interested in who will get your vote. I have always opposed a statutory ban on hunting with dogs - even though I've never wanted to participate. I gave up all forms of country sports when I was about 20 years old. The Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire is a very high profile supporter of hunting with dogs, though it seems he was strogly against hunting before he moved to the Montgomeryshire constituency 12 years ago. I would be very surprised if either the Plaid Cymru, or the Ukip candidate opposed hunting with dogs. Nick Griffin and his family were at the meet this morning so no joy with the BNP either. I don't know what the Labour candidate thinks yet - so could be some hope there.

Left Field said...

Ah, I've always loved the arguments for fox hunting:

(i) It is essential for pest control

(ii) We hardly ever catch them anyway.

(iii) We are animal lovers too. We love out dogs.

(iv) If you ban it we will shoot our dogs.

Incidently, my word verification for this post is "flymo" I've a sudden urge to get a new lawnmower.

Glyn Davies said...

Left Field - I'm not defending my sport. I've never hunted, and never will.

Lets take these one at a time.

1) I don't think hunting on horseback is effective as a method of fox control. Its a country sport. The footpacks, supported with lots of guns are the most effective for fox control, and these are carrying on, sometimes ridiculously with a bird of prey on hand to make it legal. Lamping is also a much more effective control, and more cruel too - all entirely legal.

2)They hardly catch any anyway. Well they don't. Today there were 79 horses out and I'll bet they caught no more than one - if that. I'll try to find out and let you know. And I've always reckoned that the ones they do catch are on their last legs, and would probably die some rather more disagreeable death before too long.

3)We are animal lovers too. Personally, I'm not too bothered about the dogs, but I do love the fox. Its cunning and and a real killer, but its a beautiful creature in the country - not the scrawny scavenger of the town. Always give me a thrill to see one - and specially hear a dog close up in the breeding season.

4)Of course they'll shoot the dogs if there is no further use for them. What else do think's going to happen if there were to be no hunting. So happens, the current law is such a mess that hunting is thriving, which the question whether it will be wise to repeal the Act is being increasingly asked. At the moment there is some legal consideration of when the act of hunting actually starts - which could render the whole thing pointless.

Anonymous said...

3)We are animal lovers too. Personally, I'm not too bothered about the dogs, but I do love the fox......

4)Of course they'll shoot the dogs if there is no further use for them....

So Glyn, what is the average life expectancy of a Foxhound? Did you find out for us?

eric said...

i'm with you on this Glyn, you can't even debate this subject sensibly anymore.
I have never hunted, but my working class rural living grandfather did regulalrly. I don't even see it as the best form of fox control, but a fully trained marksman out hunting is not likely to happen so we are returning to untrained shooters often winging and injuring foxes, to posionong and even trapping. Its not ideal but hunting is one one of the best solutions we have. In my grandfathers experience they hardly ever caught anything.
Also, as a believer in animal rights I have always been annoyed that fox hunting takes the headlines while grouse shootong etc never gets a look in, at least hunting is arguably for pest control, grouse shooting is just for fun, and is easily stopped and replaced with clays.

Anonymous said...

So Fox hunting is a "sport". What kind of people ride out on horse back to watch a fox being ripped to pieces and call it "sport".

If a poll were taken I reckon about 75% of the population would be against hunting of any kind.

It will be a sad day if the Tories repeal the act.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I did try to contact one of my colleagues who is involved in hunting, but failed. I'm interested in this, so I will find out.

Eric - I fully agree with you. Personally, I find the idea of spending the day shooting down beautiful pheasants to be a grotesque way of enjoying oneself - but the fact that thousands do create a huge number of jobs in the countryside. I do like the idea of a man and his dog strolling around shooting one or two for the pot - which is what I allow to happen on my farm.

Dalesman - I've never been told by anyone that they've been in at the kill.

At present our policy is to allow another vote on the issue. As I commented in my post, I believe that the Hunting with Dogs Act will become so discredited that there may not be much point in repealing it. If I were to be an MP, I would vote to repeal what I see as a vindictive, pointless piece of legislation that has increased the level of cruelty to animals.

Anonymous said...

Something always strikes me as shocking with the fox hunting debate, and that's the response of anti-hunt people. I'm not particularly fond of hunting myself and I wouldn't defend it, but I take exception to the passionate, angry and sometimes hateful remarks it draws out of people, who when faced with terrible human inequality and suffering, say and do nothing anywhere near as passionate.

Anonymous said...

>>Anon - I did try to contact one of my colleagues who is involved in hunting, but failed. I'm interested in this, so I will find out.

Cheers Glynn, at least you allow Anonymous Comments unlike Leanne Woods


Glyn Davies said...

anon - I agree. Its almost impossible to have a rational debate about foxhunting. I suppose that as a livestock farmer, I lived with the slaughter of animals all my life. It does not shock me in the least, though I'm a wimp when it comes to actually killing creatures myself. What matters to me is whether what happens is 'cruel' - and that means more or less cruel than what would happen. My view is that banning hunting with dogs has increased the sum total of cruelty, rather than decreased it.

Anonymous said...

Glyn - why do you waste your time responding to comments on this issue? It's always dangerous to write about this subject, since it stirs up the animal rights nutters, who get very excited about fox hunting, but seem quite happy to inflict pain and distress on people. Just look at their conduct towards anyone involved, even distantly, with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

It's very courageous of you to discuss this issue, and I do take my hat off to you, but do take care for your own safety. These people are seriously mad.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - you might as well ask me why I blog at all. If I don't offer opinion on issues because someone is going to disagree, there is no point. And if someone goes to the trouble of commenting, I will go to the trouble of responding.