Banning field sports.  Who started it?
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The country or the town?

iGreens 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.  

Badger, 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.  

The 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 pleasures.  

Well, 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. 

Jim Thornton - Nottingham 23 October 2004

 

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Last modified: February 05, 2006