The last ha­rangue

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

Tally-ho – Yoiks, You’re Un­der Ar­rest. So Thurs­day saw another huge turnout for the tra­di­tional Box­ing Day meet of my lo­cal fox hounds.

More than 1,000 peo­ple turned up, as they do at meets all over the coun­try. It is a peace­ful and happy event: there is the smell of sausage rolls and mulled wine; there is a mix­ture of laugh­ter and re­gret. The laugh­ter arises from old friends meet­ing and Christ­mas tales told. The re­gret is sim­ple, that hunt­ing foxes with hounds is still il­le­gal, and hunt­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial trail still the only le­git­i­mate sub­sti­tute. The re­al­ity is that the “hunt­ing ban” may never be lifted as the Bri­tish peo­ple be­come ever more ur­ban and sub­ur­ban, di­vorced from the re­al­i­ties of coun­try life and ru­ral liv­ing – and that in­cludes hunt­ing.

At the same time, pseudo“an­i­mal rights” dom­i­nate sec­tions of the me­dia, and have in­fil­trated parts of the BBC; and so “hu­man rights” – the rights of those peo­ple who want to hunt – have been cur­tailed. And be in no doubt, the mix­ture of hard-core prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion at the heart of the hunt­ing ban takes a lot of beat­ing.

So the Box­ing Day meet was a great suc­cess, as usual, and as usual I ha­rangued the crowd. Over the years I have done it from ta­ble tops, sit­ting on a huge horse more than 16 hands high and from a large tub con­tain­ing a small sil­ver birch tree. But this year was my last ha­rangue, and I will not do another un­less the very ex­is­tence of the hunt it­self is threat­ened. I feel let down – I feel let down by a Tory-led gov­ern­ment that

Ar­ti­fi­cial: rid­ers and hounds fol­low

a false trail

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