COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE

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Hunting

The Hunting Act 2004 came into force at midnight on 17th February 2005. The Countryside Alliance fought a long and successful campaign to expose the damage the Act would do to the rural economy, traditions and local communities without any evidence to justify it on grounds of animal welfare. The Chairman of the Government’s own inquiry into Hunting with Dogs stated during the debate on the Hunting Act said: "Naturally, people ask whether we were implying that hunting is cruel... the short answer to that question is no. There was not sufficient verifiable evidence or data safely to reach views about cruelty"

Our campaign has guaranteed that the Hunting Act is now widely acknowledged to be bad law. It is no accident that many political commentators, Chief Constables, senior civil servants and a majority of the public have taken this view. The Countryside Alliance has worked tirelessly to expose the law for what it is: unjustified, hard to interpret and enforce, illiberal, bad for animal welfare and a waste of police resources.

Thanks to our determined efforts working with hunts the vast majority have managed to adapt to the legislation whilst continuing to offer a legal wildlife management service and retain the support necessary to sustain the infrastructure of hunting and the jobs that go with it.

There have been only a handful of successful convictions under the Hunting Act involving hunts. Over 97% of convictions under the Act relate to casual hunting or ‘poaching’. However, it cannot be right that a large section of law-abiding citizens continue to be targeted by animal rights groups and forced live in fear of malicious prosecution. Our campaign has ensured that hunting remains firmly on the political agenda and the Coalition Agreement includes a commitment to a free vote in this Parliament.

The Countryside Alliance also continues to promote legal hunting and all the benefits for individuals, the environment and the rural economy that it brings.

 

Campaigns - Hunting:

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Hunts helping flood-affected farmers

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Three local hunts join forces to assist farmers stricken by the floods in Somerset and Gloucestershire. At the Ten Rides meet in Cirencester Park last weekend a cheque for £4,300 was proudly presented by the Beaufort Hunt, the V.W.H. Hunt and the R.A.C. Beagles to The Addington Fund to assist farmers stricken by the floods in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

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Jamie Foster says Weston & Banwell result is blow for LACS

Monday, 14 April 2014

On Monday 14th April the Western Morning News carried an opinion piece by Solicitor Advocate Jamie Foster on the recent Weston & Banwell case and the ramifications. In "As another hunt prosecution fails, defence solicitor calls for the repeal of the hunt ban... Defence solicitor Jamie Foster says the case is another blow for the League Against Cruel Sports." Read Jamie's piece here.

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Our submission to the RSPCA prosecutions review.

Friday, 4 April 2014

In December 2013 the RSPCA announced a review of its prosecutions policy, to be led by Stephen Wooler, a former Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. It was announced that Mr Wooler would spend four months examining how and why prosecutions are taken. His findings will most likely be published in the middle of 2014. The Countryside Alliance met with Mr Wooler and gave him the below submission which makes clear our view that investigation and prosecution are two separate issues and prosecution should not be the first step. Jamie Foster, the solicitor advocate who acts for hunts, has written an article on the review (click here to view) which appears in our Spring 2014 magazine. We will keep you updated on Mr Wooler's findings in due course.

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Another not guilty verdict in Hunting Act case

Thursday, 3 April 2014

 
Weston and Banwell Harriers huntsman George Milton and whipper-In Toby Lee have both been acquitted of charges of illegally hunting a fox in October 2012. The case before District Judge Davison at Taunton Magistrates court started on Monday 31st March and lasted for 4 days.

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What to do if you or your business is targeted by anti-hunt activists

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Even though anti-hunt activists are very small in number, if you are targeted it can be a frightening and unpleasant experience. With the explosion of social media such as Facebook and Twitter has come the rise of internet bullying and therefore this advice maybe useful for anyone experiencing such action. 
Firstly, report the details to the police via the non-emergency 101 number who, based on the full facts, will advise what offences are being committed. However, the offences that may be considered are;
Main offence if directed at particular businesses or people - Harassment - see links below :
https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q497.htm
https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q151.htm
https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q153.htm
In relation to messages on Facebook/Twitter/websites - Malicious communications - see link below:
https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q770.htm
E-mails or other electronic messages, if they are menacing in character - could be misuse of communications.
Could also be possible public order offences - words/messages could fall under sections 4A or 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, depending on the circumstances.
If they are openly planning physical action (turning up at the hotel on a particular day to target the business) - depending what they are planning, they could be conspiring to commit a public order offence.
Please call our Police Liaison Officer Phil Davies if you need any further advice on 07738 456075


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Young Countryside Writer's closing meet report from the Golden Valley

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Countryside Alliance Young Writer Competition winner Georgie Archer offers us an enthusiastic review of the closing meet of the Golden Valley. We are very proud to have such a committed and passionate young hunt supporter as our correspondent. Georgie writes: It seemed like only two minutes since the opening meet, but the Golden Valley Hunt (GVH) closing meet was upon us. This meant, of course, no more early starts and hectic plaiting; but also no careering around the countryside leaping over jumps or stuffing my face with hot sausage rolls at meets! I will have to find something else to do every week on a Saturday, but I'm sure it will have something to do with horses!

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Ex-League press officer finds hypocrisy in reaction to Richard Course's death

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Richard Course, a former Chairman and Executive Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, has died. Steve Taylor, the LACS’ Head of Communications from 2009 -2011, sees more than a little hypocrisy in the way he is remembered. Click here for Steve's guest blog on animal welfare consultant Jim Barrington's blog.

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Send us your memories of Clarissa

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Following her death on 15th March, the funeral of cook, author and countryside champion Clarissa Dickson Wright was held in Edinburgh this week. Hundreds came to pay their respects at St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral in the city centre and the tributes paid to her were fulsome.

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Questions should be asked following the Weston & Banwell result

Friday, 4 April 2014

Countryside Alliance Director of Campaigns Tim Bonner writes: In the last two or three years anti-hunting groups have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on 'investigating' the activity of hunts. They have employed a strange mixture of retired police officers, hunt sabs and private investigators who stalk the countryside with sophisticated surveillance equipment. The sole aim of all this activity is a desperate attempt to prop up the failed and discredited Hunting Act by bringing prosecutions against hunts.

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Ascot Race for Repeal won by Avon Vale joint-master Stuart Radbourne

Monday, 31 March 2014

Avon Vale hunt master Stuart Radbourne drew on his past as a point-to-point jockey to romp home 14 lengths ahead in the Countryside Alliance Race for Repeal at Ascot on Sunday (30 March).
Stuart, who also hunts the Avon Vale hounds, only sat on the Richard Hannon-trained Red Refraction for the first time three days before the race but felt confident that the four-year-old colt could win. And now he wants to do it all again!

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