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Minority calling the shots on issues in the countryside

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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In reply to Matt Fincham's letter (October 23), listening to the National Farmers' Union and the Countryside Alliance, you could be forgiven for believing that the only people who live in the countryside are hunters and farmers.

In fact, they are around 10 million people living in rural England, defined as settlements with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants. Of these 140,000 are farmers, or the business partners, directors and spouses of farmers. In other words, they make up about 1.4% of the rural population and that's just 0.3% of the total population.

It is estimated that between 500 and 1000 people nationally are involved in the cruel and bitter sharp edge of hunting; that is digging out foxes, interfering with badger setts, pushing terriers down earths and digging out foxes that have gone to ground. All the other people are either looking on from horseback or viewing from their vehicles or by the side of the fields. So to say that hunting is crucial part of country life is only true for less than 1% of the rural population if we include all the riders and supporters. Yet rural policy which includes the daft badger cull and the repeal of the Hunting Act seems to be geared solely to this tiny minority's needs. It's not enough that taxpayers give farmers and landowners, who are the wealthiest people in Britain, around £3.6bn a year in the form of agricultural subsidies. But also under this Tory-led coalition Government the landowners are permitted to decide how and for whom the countryside is run with 99% of rural people being marginalised. The Countryside Alliance shout the loudest and claim to be the voice of the countryside, but the vast majority of rural dwellers that live and enjoy the countryside play no part in blood sports and farming. It seems that the tiny minority have hi-jacked the voice and views of the rural majority and hunting, shooting and of course this badger cull will be forced down our throats!

Hunting has become politically polarised with many Conservative activists hunting or have ties with hunters and VoteOK is an organisation than is manned by the hunting fraternity to help elect pro-hunt MPs in the marginal seats. The Countryside Alliance is a political pressure group. The previous Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance Chief Executive, Simon Hart is now the Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. The current Chief Executive of the Country Alliance is Lieutenant General Barney White-Spunner, an Old Etonian and former head of the UK Field Army. I think all your readers know what the Countryside Alliance is all about, but I would add that for the up and coming Police and Crime Commissioner elections, hunts are reminding their members to vote as again the way the police operate with this rural minority is of great interest to them and they may wish to have some control on this issue. Again we have this small minority dictating.

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  • Jennypenny  |  November 12 2012, 11:57PM

    What a refreshing & very honest piece of journalism. The pro-hunt scum are the minority. 'We' the 'real countryside' do Not support animal abuse, there is no place for it in a civilized society, its time all blood sports were consigned to the history books. The repulsive, arrogant Countryside Alliance have no one fooled with their lies and propaganda, so Go Away.

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  • redfrog  |  November 09 2012, 8:11PM

    Will the candidate with the real agenda for the countryside and its' wildlife please stand up? We want to vote for YOU!

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  • badger123  |  November 09 2012, 3:50PM

    When you watch videos of sabs being hit and beaten and bullied by huntsmen(thugs if you ask me) and you see the police standing by there is only one conclusion that you can come to.There must be something in it for the police,are they getting a little extra for the policemans ball from the hunts men! Its time that the hunts were stopped and i mean pretending to chase a falsetrail (we've been told that it is to keep in practice for when the hunt starts!)or an animal. Enough is enough!

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  • Freeborn_John  |  November 09 2012, 1:28PM

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mary... The Countryside does not support a cull, the countryside does not support fox-hunting, and the countryside does not support systemic animal abuse. Merely a vocal minority, the real extremists, activists and lunatic fringe.

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  • Hareymary  |  November 09 2012, 1:13PM

    To whomsoever was the author of this article, may I offer my very grateful thanks. I heartily agree with the whole article and am delighted that someone is stating the facts. I just hope that all like-minded people DO vote in the PCC Elections for the candidate who is most committed to vigorously supporting the Wildlife Crime Unit because it sometimes appears to me that the police are very selective in their choice of the crimes they cover. Hunting wild creatures with packs of hounds, whether on foot or on horseback, is a criminal offence just as much as is dog fighting and badger baiting but you'd never know it from the inactivity of the police in this matter.

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