NEWS AND VIEWS (COMMENT): Here is great news for people who dislike foxhunting. I hate it. I believe that there’s no place for it today. In the UK, it should be trail hunting these days because foxhunting with dogs is banned in the UK and therefore the Swedish billionaire, Carl Persson, who owns the fashion chain H&M, has banned fox trail hunting from his Ramsbury Estates. However, foxhunters have been accused of using trail hunting as a smokescreen for hunting foxes in violation of UK law. This is the crux of the matter so the ban from this estate, if the accusations are true, has banned foxhunting itself and therefore a cruel activity.
The news comes from the Reading Hunt Saboteurs who announced it on their Twitter and Facebook pages. The Vine and Craven Hunt use Ramsbury Estate for their trail hunting. It covers 19,000 acres across Wiltshire, Berkshire and Hampshire. The hunt saboteurs contacted the estate owners and they also asked followers to do the same. We don’t know what they disclosed. It is likely that they provided evidence against the foxhunters accusing them of breaching the law as referred to above. Anyway, it worked because they said that, “the estate have now pulled licences for the hunt to operate”.
The Reading Hunt Saboteurs are well-organised. They are well supported judging by their Facebook page. Like many other campaign groups and charities, their fundraising has been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic but they say that their supporters have been generous in allowing them to buy their first “sab wagon”, which I presume is a Land Rover or some other 4×4 vehicle. Personally, I’m an admirer of the saboteurs. They do something that a lot of people don’t want to do but wish they could because they hate foxhunting and any derivative of it.
Violating the law
Although foxhunting is banned with dogs, the allegedly foxhunters try and circumvent the rules surreptitiously and it is down to organisations such as Reading Hunt Saboteurs to keep an eye on these toffs who historically have enjoyed persecuting and being cruel to foxes, to make sure that they comply with the law. That takes commitment and discipline and some courage too because they clash with foxhunters.
Sometimes these clashes end up in court on minor criminal charges. I remember on one occasion a middle-aged female foxhunter struck a saboteur with her horse whip several times. That ended up in court.
We should praise Mr Persson as well for taking a bold step. It took some courage to do that. Although he allows shooting on his land. It is therefore impossible to admire him. He supports animal cruelty. It is said that his wealth has been trimmed back by about $10 billion since 2013 when Forbes reported that his net worth was $28 billion whereas today it is claimed that it is $18.5 billion.
He inherited the fashion company H&M from his father who founded it in 1947. He owns a lot of property in London, Paris and Stockholm including, as mentioned, the Ramsbury Estate. He may own this estate through his real estate company Ramsbury Invest. He is seventy-three years old. He owns 36% of H&M and was the former chairman.