The last harangue
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