Sunday, 21 May 2017

Vote NO to Conservatives bringing back barbaric hunting with dogs

I am sure you are aware that we have a general election on 6 June 2017. Teresa May has announced that if she forms the next government she will have a free vote on bringing back hunting with dogs. This would make it legal again to not just chase foxes, hare, deer and other animals with packs of dogs until the petrified animals are completely exhausted but to then set packs of dogs onto them, which are trained to rip the live animals apart. 

Fox killed by hounds

My message to those MP's who think that hunting with dogs will be supported, think again:

Come Members of Parliament
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall 

For he that gets hurt 

Will be he who has stalled 
There's a battle outside 
And it is ragin'.

This is an extract from my July 2015 letter to my Conservative MP, Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg - No more hunting with dogs, which still appies now

"Dear Mr Rees-Mogg"

"In relation to our meeting, you told me that you supported foxes being killed by hunting with dogs for the following reasons:

That the Burns Report into hunting with dogs, which came out before the Hunting with Dogs Act was brought  in, was inconclusive on the issue of whether when a fox is being chased by dogs it understands fear above a flight or fight instinct.  That based on this report, you could not say that chasing a fox with dogs was cruel. I have looked at the report.  It found that “death was not always affected by a single bite to the neck or shoulders by the leading hound”, which was not what you thought.  It also said that it was satisfied that “this experience seriously compromises the welfare of the fox”.  The report also stated that lamping, the use of torches and rifles at night “had the fewer adverse welfare implications”.

You stated that fox numbers had to be kept under control as they killed farmers’ chickens and lambs, saying that there were four methods for killing foxes:

  • Poison – this was a risky method as other animals might eat the poison and the fox would die slowly in its den.
  • Trapping – this was a cruel way of killing.  I completely agree with you here but why is using traps still legal?
  • Shooting – that the marksman had to be extremely good to be able to shoot a fast running fox and hit it on target, killing it in one shot.  That you needed to be an accurate shot otherwise the fox would die a slow death.  However, farmers are able to employ excellent marksmen to kill foxes for them.  I think that people should need licences to shoot animals based on shooting ability.  Shooting happens at night when foxes are active.  Lamping, with the use of a spotlight can be used on a fox, freezing them, so that they can be shot easily.  This was demonstrated on a recent BBC programme on foxes.  The Burns report said that this was the quickest and most humane method of killing wild animals.
  • Hunting with dogs – you said that if you disregard the chase, the fox was killed very quickly by the dogs  with a bite to the neck and were only ripped apart after they were already dead.  You said that this method was quick and always certain.  However, prior to the hunting with Dogs Act being passed, scientific research was carried out on dead foxes by vets doing autopsies.  This is set out in the following article with the conclusion being that trauma was found in the animals before death and that the death was not quick. Post-mortems showed no evidence that foxes are killed by a 'quick nip to the back of the neck' and found that in many cases foxes are disemboweled first. 

I then asked you if there was a fox in the area of a farm did you think the farmer was entitled to kill the fox straight away or should the farmer wait and see if anything was killed by the fox?

You said that we were talking about a wild animal with wild instincts.  If a fox with lambs then it would try to kill the animal as it is wild, it needed food for its cubs and so if a farmer saw a fox in his field, he would have to kill it. You also said that with the rise of free range chickens, these were at higher risk to being killed by foxes.  However, the statistics show that only 1% of lambs that died were killed by foxes.  Foxes are scavengers and so they are far more likely to take a dead lamb then kill one.  Based on the statistics, the risk to lambs from foxes is tiny. In relation to chickens, there is quite a lot that can be done to protect them like high electricity fences buried underground.  At most times of year foxes kill at night and so chickens should be locked securely away even if free ranging.

At our meeting, I talked to you about a recent case where 16 fox cubs were being reared by a hunt.   I made the point that case proved that rather than having high numbers and needing to be controlled, that there were actually low fox numbers and too few even to be hunted.  You said that you would absolutely condemn any hunt rearing cubs for hunting.  This is good to know, as it something that seems to have been uncovered quite a few times before. The same article reported that The International Fund for Animal Welfare had discovered that the Royal Beaufort Hunt - used by Prince Charles, his sons and Princess Anne – had been filmed rearing fox cubs for hunting.   There have been many cases of this over the years since.

When we discussed whether it was democratic for you to vote for repeal that 80% of your constituents oppose.   You said that when  you stood for election, you set out a number of policies that you stood for and that people voted for that package and so you had the mandate to vote for the issues that you had told voters about.  However, I think that most people who voted for you voted for Conservative Party economic policies, especially on the economy/NHS/Schools etc.  I think you would agree (based on what you said at our meeting) that almost no one would have voted for you because of your policy on Hunting with Dogs.  As our MP, you represent the all people living in your constituency.  80% of them oppose hunting with dogs and therefore I think that it would be wrong for you to vote for something that 80% of your constituents oppose. 

I hope you will reconsider your view based on the scientific evidence and the fact that the most humane way to kill a problematic fox is to shoot it at night using a spotlight.

Yours sincerely

Mya-Rose Craig"

David Cameron MP with a hunt

Fox hunting is something I despise.  Jacob Rees-Mogg is in  favour of bringing back hunting with dogs and so I went to see him back in 2015, heard his arguments (the same as he raised at the recent Ubley hustings where my mum asked the candidates on my behalf whether they would vote to bring back hunting with dogs), did my research, wrote explaining why his arguments sucked (above) and then did a video message to him two days before a vote was due in the House of Commons (with was withdrawn as the government knew they would lose.  I never had a full letter from him in relation to the research on this issue.

The polls shows that 84% of the UK population both in the oppose hunting with dogs of foxes,   88% are against hunting deer adn 91% are against hunting hares. So what about the countryside, well 82% are against in rural areas like where I live and even 72% of actual Tory voters age against. So why would Teresa May prioritse such a vote and say that MP's will have a free vote, with important issues like Brexit to deal with ( For the same reason that tax has been reduced for the richest in this country ( during times of "austerity". Our Conservative Government have prioritised helping their rich and elite friends and relatives, rather than serving the needs of the majority of the population. Watch this video with the facts

Mr Rees-Mogg told me that his stance on bringing back hunting with dogs was clear and so by voting for him, people within his constituency were giving him a clear mandate to vote for the return of hunting with dogs. Please do not vote for anyone who pledges to bring back hunting with dogs. If you live in my area, please do not vote for Jacob Rees-Mogg. Please do not give him a mandate by voting for another candidate.

These are my blog posts against hunting with dogs

No More Hunting with Dogs Part 1
No More Hunting with Dogs Part 2
No More Hunting with Dogs Part 3
Meeting with my conservative MP
Letter to Mr Rees-Mogg MP -
To Mr Rees-Mogg - I am fox video

I believe that anyone who supports hunting with dogs has an inner cruelness and nastiness that must not to be acceptable in our civilised society. Cruelty towards animals is only one step away from cruelty toward humans. The inhumanity that the conservative government has shown to the poorest and most disabled people in this country as well as to refugees, to me, shows that clear link.

I know that some people say that they grew up horse riding and hunting with dogs is part of that tradition. I do not accept the argument of 'tradition" on many levels. First, my friends and I have grown up riding on the Mendips, without hunting with dogs. The two do not have to be linked. Secondly, just because something has been done for years, it does not make it alright to continue. My grandfather grew up in rural Bangladesh shooting migratory birds. He did  not understand the conservation issues and the birds seemed plentiful back then. Now the birds are almost gone and people in his village understand that they can not carry on shooting birds, otherwise they will disappear completely.

Many people in this country are opposed to bull-fighting in Spain. Those who take part in it, say it is a tradition that they should be allowed to continue. Six million people have signed a petitition to stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China where dogs are beaten, tortured, skinned and also boiled alive as the meat is considered to be tastier if the dog is petrified at the time of death. Should they be allowed to carry on? Just because you have been doing something a long time, doesn't mean you should continue. Otherwise we would never have change; why shouldn't we go back to the Victorian tradition of sending tiny children up chimneys? My brother-in-law is a chimney sweep so maybe he should be allowed to send my 4 year old nephew Lucas up chimneys to do the dirty work for him?

About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 15-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer-songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She is an Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day, See It Her Way and a Charter Champion for The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. She organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans to run her third Camp Avalon camp in 2017. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Black Asian Minority Ethnic people. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.

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