I am annoyed and appalled at the new Government’s priority of changing the law on hunting. Some people say that the intention is merely to neaten up the law to bring English law into line with legislation in Scotland. I don’t understand, then, why pro-hunting people are so gleeful. To me, this government has some odd priorities.

Now, I did not vote for my local MP but he appears and speaks often in the House of Commons on diverse subjects. I was disappointed that, in the last parliament, he voted against marriage equality, for example, but he stated later that he had 250 communications from his constituents asking him to vote against the proposal and only 4 urging him to vote for it.

I was ashamed at my lethargy about something I care about deeply so later, when there was a vote on banning the sale of puppies and kittens at pet shops, I emailed him and asked him to speak for the proposal. I received a response by email almost immediately, telling me that he would try to pop in on the debate and was very surprised when I checked the They Work For You website, that he had actually spoken for it.

This morning, therefore, I emailed my MP, Colonel Bob Stewart with my views. Here is my letter:

Dear Colonel Stewart

I know that you are keen to listen to the views of your constituents and often speak in the House to represent our views. I am writing, therefore, to ask you to vote against lifting the ban on hunting with dogs next week.
I would argue that there is no place in a civilised society for raising dogs specifically to chase their quarry for miles and miles and, finally having exhausted the poor fox, ripping it apart. I find it hard to understand how some people can enjoy this atavistically brutal barbarism and call it sport. To me it only encourages the baser instincts of humankind.

We rightly deplore the activities of local gangs involved in training dogs to tear each other to pieces in dog fights and those who steal pet dogs to be used as bait in these fights. We justifiably condemn those who teach their dogs to snarl and threaten other people as a way of enhancing their own “status.” In fact, it is now against the law for a dog owner to let their dog chase a cat or behave in an “out-of-control” way in public or, indeed, on private property. A dog can be shot by a farmer for causing stress to sheep or other livestock. How, then, can we logically justify making it legal again for people to train packs of dogs specifically to hunt and stress wildlife for the warped enjoyment of people who can pay huge amounts of money to “enjoy” this privilege? Goodness only knows what effect this warped barbarity has on their state of mind when considering allocating the resources of the country.

I am not suggesting that the countryside is some sort of theme park filled with fluffy bunnies and cuddly foxes. I understand how a farmer could be worried by the threat to their stock from animals they see as vermin. I understand that it might be necessary sometimes to cull foxes. Are we really saying, however, that the practice of hunting with hounds, and the bloodlust it seems to inspire in a privileged few, is the most humane way of controlling the fox population? I cannot understand how anyone can truly believe this.

It is set to be a free vote next week, Mr. Stewart and, as an animal lover, I implore you to examine your conscience. Would you be happy for your dogs to be trained to engage in this bloodthirsty practice? Animals cannot speak for themselves. It is our duty as humans to do what is right for them.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

With best wishes

I do not welcome the prospect of bringing back hunting with dogs because I do not agree that we should consider killing animals as sport. It is not a popular view, as I discovered this morning when I was spoken to in most hurtful terms on Twitter by someone I had considered a friend. If you want some statistics on vermin control, they are here.

Due to this morning’s experience, I have prevaricated about posting this letter. However, this blog is my voice and despite feeling rather bruised, I think it’s important to make one’s voice heard in a dignified and polite way, much as I thought it was important to make my voice heard with my MP. How he votes in a free vote is up to him but I feel that I have done my best.