The Real Reason People are Anti-Hunting

Jan 3, 2012 by

The furore that erupted over “that” photo of Rachel Allen today, prompted me to put forward my theory about the real reason people are anti-hunting and field sports.  I should say firstly that I hunted with the Meath Hunt for a good number of years as did both my children from quite an early age.  During that time I was able to observe the type of people who hunt in this country and the type of people who are vociferous in their opposition.  I have overheard some of the “antis” comments while they were demonstrating against the hunt and the vast majority were more against their perceived bias of the participants than any real empathy for the fox.

The people who hunted were from every walk of life – farmers, professionals, titled and manual workers.  Everyone who hunted had both a love of, and respect for the countryside.  Most were into hunting for the joy and freedom of galloping through fields and the excitement of clearing huge ditches, drains, stone walls, gates and barbed wire.  The feeling of being at one with your horse as he shivers in anticipation when the hunting horn is sounded.  I always remember my daughter’s pony used to get so excited when we arrived at a hunt he was often in a sweat before he even got out of the horse box.  Every horse loves hunting with a passion.  I only ever “saw” one fox caught in all the years I hunted and I didn’t even witness the actual killing as the hounds caught him in gorse bushes.  In contrast I have seen hundreds of foxes killed on the roads.  I have seen foxes lead hounds on a right merry dance as one sauntered up one side of a ditch with the hounds in full cry on the other side hunting in the wrong direction.

The anti-hunt lobby have been vocal at their perceived cruelty of hunting.  However the fox is classified as vermin and therefore the population must be controlled.  The fox is a natural predator as are the dogs that chase him.  The people who hunt are not a rabid, bloodthirsty mob.  I never met one person who expressed a wish to see any fox killed while on a hunt.  The only sentiment ever expressed was that we got a good chase which led us over decent country (by country they meant good jumping).

The hunt members are very far removed from the idle-rich landed gentry with their nose-in-the-air.  They are, for the most part decent, hard-working people who love horses and animal and outdoor pursuits.  They are considerate of road users, land owners and each other.

I have always wondered why the anti-hunt lobby don’t turn their energy into doing some good for animal welfare and employ their energies against intensive, factory-farming which inflicts real cruelty on animals.  Intensively farmed animals in this country have probably the worst life imaginable.  Instead they concentrate their energy on an animal that has for the most part a natural, wild life and against the people they perceive to be something that they are not.

                  Myself and my daughter hunting St. Stephen’s Day, Kells, 1999

Fox Hunting   Meath Hunt  Rachel Allen  Anti Hunt Lobby  Fox and Hound

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