“Vote Labour or the fox gets it”

Rather belatedly, I picked up the story of a Labour flyer at the recent Norwich North by-election.  The slogan read “Vote Labour or the fox gets it”, and it argued the case that animal lovers should vote Labour to prevent a future Conservative government re-instating fox hunting.
“The fox gets it”, says the slogan, but it’s very clear that the animal rights lobby, and the Labour Party, don’t get it.  Leave aside for a moment the fact that the Act is unworkable, that something very like traditional hunting continues, that many hunts are going from strength to strength with increasing membership and support.  Leave aside the fact that the Hunting Act was about class warfare and class prejudice (“Getting our own back for the miners”), not about animal welfare.
The fact is that the Hunting Act is bad for the countryside, bad for bio-diversity, bad for the environment, bad for the rural economy.  But most of all, it is bad for foxes.  Foxes continue to be culled and killed, and the anti-hunt lobby don’t or won’t recognise that all other culling methods threaten the fox with a slow death in a ditch from gangrene or starvation.  There are no hospices for foxes.
Hunting with hounds is the only culling method that can guarantee either that the fox gets clean away, unscathed, or that it dies in seconds in a rush of adrenaline.
Hunting is also the only ecologically selective culling method, that preferentially takes out old or sick foxes, and so promotes the general health of the fox population.
Recently, one or two media commentators have asked whether a new Conservative government, facing a fiscal crisis and perhaps battles with Brussels, will really have the determination to honour its commitment to reverse the Hunting Act (actually, to make available government time for a free vote, which should amount to the same thing).  I believe it will.  First, because it is a prominent commitment which would be difficult to ignore.  And second, because thousands who hunt, and millions who live in the countryside, would never forgive the Party if it reneged.  Members of the hunts, and of the Countryside Alliance, have provided wonderful grass roots support to the Conservative Party and to Conservative candidates.  They deserve the outcome they’ve been promised, and they must have it.
Labour’s Norwich North flyer is typical of Labour’s approach to politics.  A snappy slogan, beautifully spun.  And a total failure to engage with the real world or the real issues — especially with countryside issues.

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