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Time To Properly Ban Fox Hunting

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It was over 100 years ago that the remarkable and multi-talented playwright, novelist, poet and critic, Oscar Wilde, uttered the brilliant caustic observation above in relation to those who participated in the ‘sport’ of fox hunting.

He was indeed an Irishman of courage, wit and wisdom born way ahead of his time in relation to love, homosexuality and the injustices of inherited privilege. He is a treasure trove of profound quips worthy of detailed examination but his beautiful take-down of the fox hunting brigade is precise and impeccably appropriate.

READ MORE: Trophy Hunting Onus is on African Countries — Researcher

Another genius in the field of words and the performing art of comedy and entertainment is English born writer, actor, producer and director, Ricky Gervais. In common with Oscar Wilde he has also issued stern assessments of those who ride around on horses with fancy uniforms and packs of dogs ‘hunting' foxes to physical exhaustion before cheering like hyenas when the trained hounds rip the fox apart in a cruel blood fest:

"Sheer barbaric psychopathic cruelty".

"I don't understand why loads of inbreds get the f***ing horn when they see a fox cowering in fear."

I already liked and admired Oscar Wilde and Ricky Gervais but reading their opinions on fox hunting enhanced my affection for them both.

Maybe it was the Basil Brush show (a legendary children's show about a wee fox glove puppet called Basil) that I watched throughout my childhood that influenced me but for as long as I can remember I have always despised fox hunting. Those born in rural areas and from farming stock will probably dismiss my hatred of the practice as ignorant and naive due to the livestock harm foxes can often be responsible for in their attempts to sustain the lives of themselves and their families. I reject these critics. I accept legitimate pest control is often required to protect sheep, hens and other livestock from hungry foxes but I don't accept that hunting foxes with up to 35 hounds, horses and adult human beings amounts to legitimate pest control. It is no more and no less than a barbaric practice that those participating in it pathetically call ‘sport'.

Although practiced for several hundred years fox hunting has always had its detractors like Oscar Wilde concerned with animal welfare. During the early days of the anti-poll tax campaign in 1988 I met some guys in a friendly print shop who belonged to a hunt saboteur group. They were committed to physically disrupting fox hunts across Scotland. I was impressed by the commitment and courage these guys displayed in solidarity with the foxes. I wanted to attend an attempted disruption.

It was pretty cloak and dagger as the police often infiltrated hunt sab groups to........

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