Children should be prevented from attending foxhunting activities as it grooms them

NEWS AND COMMENT: A-list celebrities who are animal advocates, namely Ricky Gervais, Twiggy, Sir Mark Rylance, Peter Egan, Amanda Abbington, Gemma Atkinson, the sailor Tracey Edwards, the television presenter Kirsty Gallacher, and the singer Shirley Kemp are urging the British government to ban children from attending all hunting activities including trial hunts. Their campaign is supported by the animal rights group PETA.

Foxhunting. Picture in the public domain.

They have written to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and in their letter, they state:

The animals killed for ‘sport’ or morbid tradition have the same capacity to feel pain and suffer as the dogs and cats who are treasured family members. Watching wildlife being terrorised, gunned down or otherwise slaughtered is inarguably traumatic and can be psychologically scarring for young people. What’s worse, some determine from such experiences that the lives of others are not valuable and that it’s acceptable-even enjoyable-to inflict pain on others.

Yes, it is the indoctrination of children into believing that causing animals pain for the entertainment of humans is acceptable when it plainly is not.

They added that, “Certain foxhunting groups start grooming children as young as four to chase foxes to their deaths and… some parents start teaching kids to shoot as young as the age of three. Recently an 11-year-old boy was shot in the hip leaving him with potential life-changing injuries during a hunting trip in Sussex.”

The organisation which supports foxhunting activities and all field sports in the UK is the Countryside Alliance. They argue that the government should reject the proposal “if it wanted to be taken seriously” (the words of Geraldine Scott writing in The Times today).

You might know that in the UK genuine foxhunting with dogs is banned and has been since the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004. But trial hunting in which the dogs chasing artificial scents are allowed. Unfortunately, some foxhunting groups have been exposed for using what’s allowed to cover up what is disallowed namely killing foxes. There have been several cases and prosecutions in this respect.

A rather spiteful and petulant response, Tim Bonner, the countryside Alliance chief executive said that those who signed the letter were “C-list celebrities”. Comment: they are not and you’re just being petulant.

He added that: “Shooting and trail hunting contribute substantial sums to the UK economy and invest millions in biodiversity and conservation efforts. No government should ever attempt to dignify or normalise PETA and their hysterical demands”. More petulance from Mr Bonner.

Mr Bonner wheels out the same old tired and lame excuse every time he opens his mouth that killing foxes for pleasure improves conservation and makes lots of money for the UK economy. The problem is that it is incredibly cruel and something inherited from the Dark Ages. It is time the toffs of Britain grew up and jointed the modern world.

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