Friday, 8 October 2010

Can I have my vote back please?

Oh dear! It seems my local MP Dominic Raab and his chums are the driving force behind the Conservatives Against Fox Hunting group (whose website's main argument against repealing the Act seems to be that it would bring back hare coursing). Local Conservative Association chairman Chris Platt and his wife Lorraine apparently founded the group. Worse still, at the party conference Dominic shared a platform with Douglas Batchelor of the League Against Cruel Sports. To think I voted for Raab because he said he supported shooting!

In fact, I dug out the email conversation from January. I wrote to Raab saying:

"...I wonder if you could take a moment to clarify your position on shooting and other "field sports". As a lifelong shooter, and someone who earns a living editing a shooting magazine, I would hate to vote for an anti!"

And he replied:
"Thanks for your email. I support shooting sports conducted according to the relevant codes of practice. The Party has given various disciplines of the sport backing in recent years, including setting out plans to amend the law to ensure that all competitive target pistol shooters can train and compete in this country.
I hope that gives you the reassurance you are looking for!
Best wishes,
...which doesn't sound to me like "I'm a huge fan of the League Against Cruel Sports and plan to support their campaign to retain the Hunting Act." But then I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to politics.


vicky said...

Humph. When will people realise hare coursing was amongst the least cruel forms of hunting- hares are designed to be chased and the aim was not to kill them. GRRRRRRRR

James Marchington said...

I'm not even that bothered about foxhunting myself - it just makes me fume to see my MP smarming up to that odious bunch who would ban shooting, snaring, and going 'boo' at squirrels if they could.

Alan Tilmouth said...

Vicky I always thought Hares evolved to evade predation, I wonder if the Hares agree with your analysis of 'least cruel'?
James I'm sure you'll excuse me a wry grin at your predicament with your MP, 'priceless' might be the phrase to use here in modern parlance.

James Marchington said...

Yeah, I thought you might enjoy that one!

vicky said...

Alan, you fall into anthrapomorphism. Humans who are chased by a predator- say a rapist with a knife will suffer all kinds of ill effects mentally and perhaps physically afterwards for varying lengths of time as we have evolved into a pretty much untouchable super predator with weapons at our disposal to defend us against most natural nasties- a touch of adrenaline and cortisol and most of us go to pot. Prey animals can certainly suffer fear but their reaction to 'normal' stressors- such as being chased if you are a hare- is very different from ours, and even to a foxes. Studies can look at cortisol levels in hunted animals but that can never tell the whole story of how that animal has mentaly and physically responded to that cortisol. If being coursed caused severe negative stress responses in hares then folloing a coursing match dead hares would be found left, right and centre. I am not aware of any reports suggesting this to be true. If you treated a domestic rabbit this way then I'm pretty sure there would be dead bunnies as they do not cope with any stress at all well after their domestication. The aim of all other field sports is killing; for pest control or for food. Hare coursing was only about the skill of the running dog and most healthy hares evaded the dogs; therefore no more cruel to the hare than life itself.
If you want to get into the mentality of humans who enjoy pitting two animals against each other that is a different arguament. I wonder where the birdwatcher 'enjoying' watching a harrier quartering for prey or a sea eagle grasping a wriggling fish in it's talons fits in. Is it ok 'coz it's natural? Or is enjoying the 'cruelty' the bird inflicts on it's prey just as morally wrong for them as it is for the hare courser?

Sooty said...

Hi Vicky the bit about the bird watcher,I think most would not enjoy the cruelty of it but if we want to watch B O P and wild animals more like something we have to endure,Most of us probably get no pleasure from actually seeing a hawk tear a bird to pieces but suspect that some do as well.

vicky said...

I'm just being Devil's Advocate Sooty :-)