Happy Christmas!

© Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons

This blog will start posting again on 27 December

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14 Replies to “Happy Christmas!”

  1. A Happy Christmass to You and all the faithful warriors out there
    May 2018 see a distinct turn of the tide with an end in sight of the disgusting slaughter of our Wildlife, particularly our Raptors.

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  2. And a Very Happy Christmas to you and Rosemary. Have a relaxing couple of days off, hopefully with a bit of birding. In 2018, we will win!
    Richard and Lyn.

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  3. All the very best M & R, hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable break.

    Thank you for the past year and all that you have done and inspired others to do through this blog - here's to the challenges and opportunities 2018 is sure to bring, #wewillwin 😉

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    1. Very best wishes to everyone for the season - and we at the Animal Interfaith Alliance thank you all, especially Mark, for excellent work over 2017 and we look forward to supporting the campaigns in 2018.

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  4. H.C from The Gambia & a reasonably healthy popln of raptors - land use changes here being the issues on that front - w olivaceous in full throttle as I write ... nice to be kept up to speed on blighty matters from a distance inn W Africa. on - on

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  5. Happy Christmas to you and all your regular readers. I'm sure we all wonder at the mentality of the 'dislikers' but it's a day to be charitable, even to the opposition!

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  6. Brilliant work all year Mark and I'm sure you'll continue in the same vein in 2018...and hopefully not in vain either!
    HNY to you both.

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  7. Happy Christmas Mark. Let's keep up the pressure in 2018. We will win and, ultimately, birds of prey will too.

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  8. And, belatedly, same to you and yours, Mark! Amazed that the 'dislikers' had the urge to bother at Christmas! Hope they had a visit from the 3 ghosts of Christmas yesterday and will lose their Scrooginess for the New Year!

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  9. Late, but best of the season to you and yours, plus everyone who looks out for wildlife, the environment and of course raptors. A good New Year to all.
    Oh, and thanks for the blog.

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  10. It’s been mayhem in my little patch of North Devon this Boxing Day. The narrow winding lanes were packed with the vehicles of hunt supporters either frantically careering down them to keep up with the hunt and the hunted deer in the wooded valleys or parked up on the verge with them standing on top craning to get a glimpse of the action over the high hedged banks to either side.

    This is ‘exempt hunting' in 2017 as allowed under the Hunting Act 2004. The aim of pre ban ‘stag hunting’ where one deer was separated from the herd to be pursued and shot has morphed into a frantic attempt to kill everything as soon as possible. The quicker the deer are killed the more that can be killed.

    How hunts can use the ‘stalking and flushing out’ exemption in the Hunting Act to use dogs to hunt deer in order the be killed was made clear by the prosecution of the Quantock Staghounds in 2009. The Staghounds fell foul of the law while flushing and killing deer for two reasons. It was held that the ‘primary purpose’ of the hunt was not killing deer but providing sport and the court found that the hunt did not take sufficient steps to kill all the deer. Wild deer, especially red deer congregate in woodland in large numbers. The hunt on the day only had two guns – the court ruled they must have at least ten. Kill kill kill is the name of the game under the Hunting Act. More guns equals more death.

    I can’t get inside the heads of the hunters that were in the lanes, fields and woodlands around here on Boxing Day to know if ‘sport’ is what motivates them. However I can say for sure that they seem hell bent on killing as many sentient wild deer as they possibly can.

    While the hunters were out complying with the Hunting Act by flushing and annihilating wild mammals I took my dog out for a bit of deliberate law breaking. 'Flushing out' wild deer and indeed other wildlife with a dog is actually pretty simple – all you have to do is get near to some wildlife – and if it runs away – bingo you've flushed it! Personally I can't see what is wrong with this. The deer clearly wants to go somewhere else – and to be honest although I love wild deer if you've ever been confronted by a stag up close (just look at the antlers...) I'm quite glad to grant them their wishes.

    My primary aim which appears to contribute to the illegality of my actions is fun. I can't see what's wrong with this either. Fun to me especially when it derives from allowing other sentient beings to live rather than die is a Good Thing.

    I'm not killing animals for fun; I'm not killing animals, for fun. Why not not kill animals for fun? The law as I understand it is not meant to prohibit not killing animals for fun but to prohibit killing them for fun.

    Many dog walkers will have flushed out wild mammals. It's actually quite exciting especially with deer and it probably doesn't occur to most people that it might be a good idea to take 'reasonable steps' mete out a quick death to the flushed animal as soon as possible post flush.

    Of course such 'accidental flushing' is perfectly legal and is identical in all ways to my 'deliberate flushing' except for what the law calls the 'mens rea' or 'mental element'. In short whereas the flushed deer, hare fox etc comes as a surprise to the accidental flusher – I know it is a possibility and quite deliberately wish the flushed animal no harm whatsoever. In terms of animal welfare allegedly the basis of the law the two situations are identical – so should be their legality.

    This winter may mark a watershed in the politics surrounding the Hunting Act. Not only is the May Government apparently going to drop it's pledge to hold a free vote on the law but the League Against Cruel Sports – the main anti hunting organisation have at long last begun to criticise it. Their recent report “under siege and observed to death the plight of Britain's hunted stags” finally admits what has been clear all along – that the law is deeply flawed. Stag hunts are continuing to hunt stags under the 'research and observation' exemption.

    It's taken the League fourteen years to admit the blindingly obvious fact that the law enables Stag Hunting to continue. They have known this since the law's inception.

    It will quite possibly take them another fourteen years to admit the blindingly obvious fact that deer can be and are also hunted under the 'stalking and flushing out' exemption. This exemption however involves the mass killing of the flushed animals and breaking the exemption – thereby committing hunt crime can actually be completely humane.

    There is a deep irony here – just as the League have embarked on the road to acknowledging the obvious flaws in the Hunting Act the only political party with a policy that might resolve it – allowing MPs the opportunity to debate the matter and vote freely on it might take that possibility away.

    The Hunting Act needs either repeal and replacement or reform. If people won't listen to me they should listen to the hounds howling and shots ringing out around me after wild animal after wild animal is chased and then shot.

    There is a humane and non lethal way of using dogs to manage wild deer which mimics the action of wolves. The presence of a dog or dogs can disperse and deter animals like deer hence reducing the damage they do in specific areas. Whatever one thinks of hunting and killing animals it is absurd to make this illegal in the name of the prohibition of cruelty.

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