On Sunday, I was at the Blaston Hound Show at Slawston, near Market Harborough. I am a minor sponsor. An annual event, the show attracted entries from hunts up and down the country.
Last year, 2011, the weather had been so hot that the organisers had had to water the centre of the ring every so often to cool it. This year, the day started gloomy and raining, but had brightened up by the time the show started, with bright sunny periods and only the odd touch of rain.
I am hugely encouraged that despite the best efforts of the animal rights brigade, the mindless malevolence and hatred of the hunt saboteurs, and the ignorance of politicians who should have known better, the Hunting Act has totally failed to kill off hunting and the cultural, social and economic activities that support it. In this case we saw how the centuries-old practice of hound breeding continues successfully.
No doubt those who supported the Hunting Act will say that this vindicates their position that hunting could be banned without disrupting country life, equestrianism and the rural economy. Those who know the first thing about it, on the other hand, realise that the Act has totally failed to deliver what its supporters wanted. Its one great achievement has been to waste vast amounts of police time, chasing ephemeral and disputed evidence across the countryside.
As the slogan says on my banner (in the photograph) I am proud to support country sports. Long may they continue to play a leading role in country life.