Time’s up for hunt­ing

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR VIEWS -

Ican un­der­stand the ir­ri­ta­tion of hunt mem­bers at be­ing banned from killing foxes with hounds. Just as I can un­der­stand the ir­ri­ta­tion of smok­ers who can’t sit in a pub and en­joy a pint and a smoke.

They are be­ing stopped from do­ing what they want to do, of course they are ir­ri­tated.

But that doesn’t make what they are do­ing right. And it doesn’t mean they can dis­obey the law.

And that is what a judge de­cided Fitzwilliam hunts­man Ge­orge Adams did on a New Year’s Day hunt at Wans­ford in Jan­uary 2016.

I am a lover of tra­di­tion and the sights and sounds of the hunt with the hunters on horse­back in their red jack­ets sur­rounded by their hounds on a frosty morn­ing in a pic­turesque vil­lage is quintessen­tially Bri­tish.

But hunt­ing has a darker side to it than this set­piece for the cam­eras.

I am a meat-eater and have no il­lu­sions about the red raw sav­agery of na­ture nor the cold, clin­i­cal re­al­ity of an­i­mal farm­ing.

But the prob­lem I have with hunt­ing, shared I be­lieve with most peo­ple, is the plea­sure the hunters take in the pur­suit even if it doesn’t re­sult in the death of the quarry.

When the law was changed to ban the killing of foxes by hunt­ing it was a half-way house. The politi­cians should have been bolder and banned it out­right.

Adams was asked in court if his in­ten­tion was to kill the fox with hounds.

His re­ply was: “Ab­so­lutely no. We wanted to flush it out for the bird of prey.’’

That would be le­gal, and that’s the prob­lem, be­cause that’s still wrong.

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