Comment and analysis by Leicester Green Party, and its fellow-travellers
You may have missed the news in the Leicester Mercury and Stamford Mercury but recently The Cottesmore Hunt, who take pride in being one of England’s ‘Premier Hunts’, were voted down in their request to have their Boxing Day Hunt at Cutts Close which belongs to Oakham Town Council. You can see Councillor Martin Brookes‘ video of the Cottesmore debate here (the minutes have not been uploaded to the Council website yet); 7 Councillors voted against the Hunt for various reasons with 2 voting for. Any small victory against fox hunting is a step forward as The Green Party strongly oppose all blood-sports (see Policy AR422).
There is no doubt that The Cottesmore Hunt remain an organisation devoted to attacking wildlife despite their claims to the contrary and despite the Hunting Act 2004 prohibiting such acts. In September this year one of their employees was convicted by the League Against Cruel Sports for filling in a badger sett contrary to the Protection Of Badgers Act 1992. The only reasonable explanation for this is that they were actively pursuing foxes and wished to prevent their escape underground. Prior to that a League Against Cruel Sports investigation into ‘Hunts & Artificial Earths‘ published in October 2011 linked The Cottesmore Hunt to the deliberate breeding and encouraging of foxes. Again, the only reasonable explanation is that 6 years after the Hunting Act came into play they were still actively pursuing foxes. Interestingly, The Burns Inquiry 2000 states artificial earths are used to encourage foxes & that this is inconsistent with the stated aim of controlling fox numbers (see P150, point 9.27).
So the Cottesmore Hunt decision is to be welcomed. Charnwood Green Party quite rightly state this is being celebrated by Leicestershire & Rutland’s animal rights community and the League Against Cruel Sports hope this encourages other councils to stand against illegal hunts. On that note, there’s so much more to be done to stamp this out of Leicestershire; here’s three simple things you can do to support & expand on this decision:
i) Sign the petition that Leicester Animal Rights & Northants Hunt Saboteurs started to help make sure the Cottesmore Hunt ban stands up to the pressure of the bloodsport community: http://tinyurl.com/nuk29sl
ii) Sign up to a demonstration* outside Oakham Town Council offices on December 9th as they may be raising the issue again: http://tinyurl.com/oa7fk2n