Children should not be encouraged to Kill at Christmas
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) has branded as “sickening indoctrination” a Countryside Alliance (CA) initiative called ‘Take a Young Person Shooting this Christmas’. A mailing intercepted by the HSA encouraged CA members to “Give shooting lessons as a Christmas present, hold a young person’s drive, ask your local keeper to take a young person out with him”.
HSA spokesperson Nathan Brown said “This is supposed to be the season of goodwill, not the time to hunt and kill. Yet children will be dragged along on a pony to partake in fox hunting, encouraged to shoot birds or hunt other wildlife with little awareness of the consequences of their actions.”
The HSA also fears that its members may be subjected to attacks on Boxing Day after violent pro-hunt protestors clashed with police outside Parliament on 16 December. HSA members have already suffered numerous attacks this season, including one recent incident in Surrey when a prominent anti-hunt protestor’s house was paid a visit by hunt supporters and her daughter’s rabbits were killed. The HSA spokesperson commented: “Actions like this prove that people who hunt have no regard for animal welfare as they claim but are motivated by a desire to inflict cruelty.” Speaking of the trouble on 16 December he said “They have revealed their true colours. These people have no regard for the law and we would not be surprised if they attacked people protesting on Boxing Day. We will not bow to intimidation and will continue to use non-violent direct action to save the hunted animals’ lives”
Some hunt saboteurs will be joining traditional banner demonstrations with other anti-hunt organisations before using hunting horns to distract the hounds from their quarry, but many more will have spent the morning unblocking badger setts and fox earths or covering the animal scents that the hunts will follow. Without this kind of intervention up to 30 hounds will catch the hunted animal and rip it apart.
As well as the traditional Boxing Day meets, hunts hold specific ‘Children’s Meets’ in the winter holiday period with the aim of introducing young people to a sanitised version of hunting where they are shielded from the kill at the end of the hunt.
Beagling – the forgotten form of hunting enjoyed by rosy-cheeked public schoolboys, tight-faced old ladies and retired colonels in which brown hares are chased around fields by 30+ yapping beagles will be having their ‘big’ day on January 1st. Generally overlooked by politicians who lump it in with hare coursing, and so secret that only 2 or 3 of the 80 packs in the country ever advertise their meets, it is where many future huntsmen start to learn their bloody business. The hare is always referred to as female (just as the fox is always male), and sometimes by other names (e.g. ‘Cunny’ – work it out for yourself) it is sometimes hard to believe that this is 21st Century Britain!