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The National Trust Vote!
This morning’s article on the importance of the National Trust vote, comes from Jim Barrington and was previously published in Countryman’s Weekly.
The link on how to vote is below:
Next month, members of the National Trust will vote on a resolution to ban trail hunting on the charity’s land. It follows campaigns by the League Against Cruel Sports, hunt saboteurs and others to pressurise the Trust into doing something these groups demanded four years ago when a similar resolution was voted down.
Some might wonder what has changed, but that would be to ignore a few things.
The first is the illegal hacking of a confidential internet meeting organised by the Hunting Office in which selected comments were published by anti-hunting activists and reported in the media. As a result, some landowners, including the National Trust, suspended the licensing of trail hunting.
The second thing to remember is that opposition to hunting is a kind of war of attrition, the aim being to keep coming back to wear down any organisation or individual that supports or promotes hunting with dogs. In that sense, to paraphrase a famous terrorist group, the antis only have to win once.
A third point to hang onto is that anti-hunting groups tend to be more interested in banning hunting, rather than improving animal welfare. To emphasise that point, as executive director of the League Against Cruel Sports I received a report of an injured red deer that had been seen entering one of the LACS’ sanctuaries. The Devon and Somerset Staghounds were in contact and asked if a small number of hunt staff could bring a few hounds onto the land to find and dispatch the deer. Despite some within the League who felt this would give credibility to the hunt, I had no doubt that catching the animal was the priority. A truce was agreed and the animal duly caught and put out of its misery.
Seeing first-hand how this hunt’s ‘search and dispatch’ process worked was a useful education.
Years later, I and others were determined to speak against another members’ resolution put to the National Trust AGM in 2006, “We the undersigned propose that exempt hunting of deer should not be permitted on land controlled by, managed by or owned by the Trust, where it has the power to refuse such activities.”
Just 2 years after the Hunting Act had been passed and with anti-hunting groups having agreed to an exemption to include the catching and dispatching of a wounded animal, here was a move to ban the very process contained in the law they helped draft. Not only was this motion supported by the LACS, but its then chief executive put forward the resolution at the meeting. You could hardly invent a more bizarre or hypocritical situation.
Thankfully, on that occasion, National Trust members saw this was nothing more than playing games with animals’ lives and rejected the motion. But, as stated, that setback simply spurred on antis to come back again, hence this latest attempt to chip away at hunting.
Similarly, the current resolution to the National Trust seeks to ban the version of hunting they advocated during the Hunting Act debates and now wish to see it eliminated from the choices available to the charity.
In the hope that their Hunting Office ‘revelations’ will change minds and perhaps with an eye on previous defeated motions, some antis have resorted to dirty tricks as revealed in The Spectator magazine, “Hunt saboteur supporters on social media such as the North East Hunt Monitors group have been urging non-members of the Trust to sign up on the charity's website by filling in 'any random 8 digit number' in order to 'vote for the ban.”
Whatever the result this time round, one thing is very clear: when it comes to banning hunting or genuinely caring about the welfare of wild animals, for many antis the former wins every time.
Let’s hope National Trust members see it that way too.