Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Alice Barnard writes: A film has hit Youtube and will be of interest to supporters of hunting. Featuring two League Against Cruel Sports employees, Paul Tillsley and Ed Shephard, the film reports that they are trespassing in woodland trying to film members of hunts and being caught on camera by their own surveillance equipment.
In May 2009 The Association of Chief Police Officers published guidance on hunting. Chief Constable Brunstrom, who produced the advice, said: "Hunting is definitely not a policing priority. It is not illegal to wear a red coat and ride a horse in a public place". Chief Constable Brunstrom’s comment seems particularly pertinent in this instance. Snooping on people just because you disapprove of them is not acceptable, yet self appointed vigilantes still roam the countryside trying, increasingly desperately, to collect footage they hope will lead to Hunting Act convictions. As a consequence, valuable Police time and taxpayers' money are wasted.
When the Act came into force in 2005 no one was quite sure what the immediate effect would be, but hunts rallied and are still in the “holding pattern” they have maintained since that time. Yet this cannot be a long term option and repeal is still vital, because while this disgraceful law remains on the Statute Book it shames our parliamentary process and casts a dark shadow over the countryside.
The Hunting Act has been described by League Chief Executive Joe Duckworth as “robust and effective”, but it’s a hard argument to make that shoring up any law should involve grown men creeping around in undergrowth, trespassing and spying on people on behalf of a charity. Even a casual observer of the hunting debate will find it ludicrous beyond measure that animal rights activists are going to such lengths to prop up the Act that they lobbied for and wrote. There have been 181 convictions since 2005, yet only six relate to registered hunts. They must be furious that hunts are still here at all, but that is a fact they will need to get used to. Hunting is here to stay and has a long term future.
Countryside Alliance, company number 5227778. The Countryside Alliance Foundation, company number 5669451, charity number 1121034.
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