Fox hunting in England has always been popular with the more bloodthirsty segments of society. Nothing gets the juices flowing quite like chasing an animal to rip it to shreds. Unfortunately this evil practice was limited in 2004, with the hunting of wild mammals using dogs being severely limited. So much so that if you want to kill animals for sport, you have to go to some slightly longer extremes than before. It’s still legal to dress up in full hunting gear and ride your horse across the countryside in pursuit of an animal, but if you want your dog to actually attack an animal, stick to hares, not foxes – that’s perfectly legal. Or alternatively, one or two dogs can still chase a fox – just make sure that you shoot the fox and claim it was for pest control if you do that.
However, those alternatives are just not evil enough. People should have the freedom to kill animals in as inhumane a way as they want, or so say a number of Tory MPs. They are encouraging Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin to set up a commission to explore new evidence, and look in to the “great benefits of fox hunting”.
These benefits are quite simple – they think it’s great fun and they think that the end justifies the means. By which they mean that it doesn’t matter how much suffering we inflict on animals as long as their numbers get cut in the most ruthless and entertaining way possible.
Despite this practice closely mirroring the Tory attitude to the poor, fox hunting is currently opposed by 83% of the population. It is opposed by as many rural people as urban, meaning this is a universally despised practice that most people were very glad to eradicate.
But, as the countryside alliance says “prime aim of hunting is not the numbers killed, but the health and smaller population left alive”. Yes, the fox numbers could be controlled without suffering to the fox (shooting for example), but that’s irrelevant. They point out that remaining foxes will be much happier once their relations have been killed, and it doesn’t matter how that killing is done. So why not dress up and have a bit of fun while killing them.
It should be obvious to anyone that this is a critical issue for parliament to spend it’s time on. No, there hasn’t been the time for a proper debate on some big issues like the bombing of Syria. And in the interests of saving time, numerous do-gooder bills have been blocked from debate by Tory back benchers (e.g. helping carers at hospitals, stopping landlords running unsafe properties, teaching first aid to kids, and many more). But trying to overturn a popular ban on the cruel treatment of animals is surely something that requires the time and cost of a committee being set up to investigate whatever tenuous benefits can be found so that this can be debated by all MPs. Mwhahaha.