The country or the
believe that banning foxhunting has little to do with animal welfare, and a lot
to do with class warfare. Modern
townies and recent arrivals to the country, who care little about real animal
cruelty like factory farming and animal experimentation, want to impose their
sentimental views on farmers and real country people.
Last month in the Times Simon Jenkins put a different
slant on the conflict. He agreed
with our analysis, but argued that rural people deserved all they got from
supporters of a ban because they started it.
He is right. The first
intolerant prohibitionist shot was fired by the countryside.
bull and dog fighting were all banned by Act of Parliament in 1835 and cock
fighting in 1849. At that
time most people still lived and worked in the countryside and parliament was
dominated by MPs from rural areas. It
was these MPs who supported prohibition, while permitting their own favoured
sports of hunting, shooting and fishing to continue.
prohibited activities were most popular among the inhabitants of the new cities
of the industrial revolution. At
that time such populations were, like rural ones now, relatively weak and their
pleas to rural MPs to respect their liberties and livelihoods fell on deaf ears.
The urban MPs lost the votes and town dwellers had to turn to other
itís a nice point, and Iím delighted to give it an airing here.
However, it carries little weight. We
donít blame people for what their ancestors did 10 generations ago.
If it is wrong for a majority to prohibit the activities of a minority,
it remains wrong even if the ancestors of the minority were equally intolerant
170 years earlier.
Thornton - Nottingham 23 October 2004
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