Quotes

  • Vermin or Sport

    If the real purpose of hunting was to kill the fox, then a huntsman would draw coverts according to a technique more or less the opposite of that used.
    Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs

    “I am one of those who has never been happy about our reliance on the ‘pest control’ case…”
    Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance in an email to Lord Daresbury, chairman of the MFHA, 2004

    “There is no secret about artificial earths. We took the Burns inquiry to see artificial earths… The earths are built to encourage them [foxes] to live where they can be hunted safely and do not cause a nuisance, which means not by the motorway and not by the pheasant pen.”
    Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2000

    On February 20th 1987, in the TV programme “Face the Public”, Chris Ogilvie, huntsman of the Coniston Foxhounds, a fell pack, was asked about his foxhunting activities. He stated ‘I don’t hunt foxes to control them and neither does any hunting person‘. At this the programme’s host interjected with a series of short questions.

    Host: “So what do you hunt them for?”
    Chris Ogilvie: “We hunt them for sport
    Host: “…for enjoyment?”
    Chris Ogilvie: “Yes
    Host: “For pleasure?”
    Chris Ogilvie: “Yes….for pleasure

    As I have said, we are not a pest destruction society. I would rather account for a fox at the end of a good run than ‘chop’ it at the beginning.
    Captain RE Wallace, Master of Fox-Hounds

    No hunting country will yield its full measure of sport, however richly endowed it be by nature, unless the fox coverts be maintained in proper order.
    Sir Charles Frederick, former Master of the Pytchley

    “We killed four foxes today, a lot of fun”
    Graeme Worsley, joint master of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt. (Daily Mirror, February 18, 2005)

    “…Everyone is so busy to defend hunting they keep talking about how their only motivation is to control foxes. In fact very few of us hunt for that reason (somewhat altruistic to spend thousands of pounds on horse, kit, etc., to help out some farmers most of us hardly know.) In fact we go because we enjoy it – whether its for the ride, or for the friendship, or the hound work (or even the body chocolate). In the loopholes, the reason we CAN hunt over so much of the country is that farmers are keen on anything that kills foxes…”
    Janet George on the Foxhunter email list, 1997

    ‘The object of cub-hunting is to educate both young hounds and fox-cubs… it is not until he has been hunted that the fox draws fully on his resources of sagacity and cunning so that he is able to provide a really good run.’
    Fox-Hunting by Duke of Beaufort

    Shooting and gassing does not create that “sporting chance”. Michael Farrin, the Quorn huntsman says, “People don’t understand that we go out to control foxes, not to wipe them out. Where there are few foxes, the last thing we want to do is to kill them all. And we only want to kill the sporting ones. A really brave fox takes a lot of catching. I wouldn’t want the hounds to chop him in the cover.
    Max Hastings – Outside Days (Pan Books 1990)

    The science of foxhunting as we know it today, the most sophisticated branch of venery ever devised, was born in England two centuries ago. It is a legacy from the eighteenth-century squires who, in an age demanding greater speed and excitement, found in the fox, a then rather scarce villain of the countryside, a more adventurous quarry than the hare…
    The Book of Foxhunting by J Watson (Batsford 1977)

    If at the case of the seventeenth century the hare was still favoured beast of venery, the fox was giving a greater sense of mission. He was verminous, the rascal of legend and folklore. By now some hunting men pursued whichever quarry was found first, hare or fox.
    The Book of Foxhunting by J. N. P. Watson (Batsford 1977)

    During the eighteenth century many owners of hounds turned from deer or hare in favour of fox by chance. The fifth Duke of Beaufort, threw his hounds into covert; a fox was found, which gallantly faced the open; a capital run was the result, which delighted the young sportsmen.
    The Book of Foxhunting by J. N. P. Watson (Batsford 1977)

    By the middle of the eighteenth century the huge majority of Britain was still unhunted, but, as the science of hunting became a primary hobby (for some almost a religion) among the squires, more foxhunting packs were formed. In those days, foxes were scarcer, the gamekeepers’ antipathy for them was stronger than it is today. From a hunting man’s point of view, foxes were too scarce, but “bagmen” could be bought at Leadenhall market where there was a turnover of several thousand every year. The best specimens were English, but most came from France, where they were a good deal more numerous.
    The Book of Foxhunting by J. N. P. Watson (Batsford 1977)

    Earths were remorselessly dug up, and cubs were sold to the best payers in neighbouring countries. Masters were sometimes desperate to keep their hounds in blood and usually meant to resort to a “bagman”. This deplorable practice continued until the middle of the nineteenth century, by which time there were enough foxes for all. To increase the fox population, Masters concentrated on improving their coverts, while all across the country fresh coverts were planted, especially with gorse, which was a good deterrent to cub thieves.
    The Book of Foxhunting by J. N. P. Watson (Batsford 1977)

  • Cruelty

    “It [foxhunting] is about as terrifying as a small boy being chased off a farmer’s land for scrumping apples”
    John Jackson, Countryside Alliance Chairman, The Guardian, September 6, 2002

    “…nor does she (Prime Minister Theresa May) want to tear apart a live fox – that’s the job of the hounds, something you might have known if you’d bothered to properly understand the activity of fox hunting.”
    James Barrington, Consultant to the Countryside Alliance, Council of Hunting Associations and the All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group. ConservativeHome, 3rd June 2017

    “The hunting of foxes is undeniably cruel…”
    Pro-Hunt Daily Telegraph editorial – 18th February 2005

    “Pain and suffering is inflicted on animal in the course of sport. Nobody who has seen a beaten fox dragging his stiff limbs into the ditch in which he knows he will die can doubt this proposition.”
    Reginald Paget QC MP (later Lord Paget) who hunted with the Fernie and Pytchley Foxhounds, In Praise of Hunting, Hollis and Carter, 1960

    “It is essential that hounds should have their blood up and learn to be savage with their fox before he is killed.”
    Late Duke of Beaufort

    “In every hunt there are one or two people, particularly terriermen, who get a sadistic pleasure from tormenting foxes.”
    Paul Woodhouse, Huntsman to the Derwent Foxhounds; News of the World, 1982

    There is no way that you can get away from the fact that field sports are cruel
    Max Hastings, pro-hunt journalist and bloodsport fanatic, LBC Radio, 6th November 1990

    Of course Stag hunting is cruel
    Paddy Groves, Joint Master of the Quantock Staghounds. Somerset County Gazette, November 5th, 1999

    When one of Mr Bailey’s pack reaches retirement age, usually about 5 years old, he shoots it and feeds it to the others. This practise, according to a hunt aficionado, is apparently to ‘give the hound one last run’. In the stomach of his chums.
    Jim White on the VWH, Independent, 14 February 1997

    Badger damage is a price that must be paid when balancing nature
    Prince Charles, Country Life, July 1994

  • Violence

    “We have to review completely how hunts approach monitors”
    Simon Hart, Countryside Alliance, on Exmoor Foxhounds guilty verdict, Horse and Hound 2006

    ‘I do not want to see any violence or threats, but if people want to protest and throw a few eggs at his (Ben Bradshaw MP) car I have no problem with that.’ Alison Hawes, South West regional director of the Countryside Alliance, Exeter Express & Echo, October 8, 2004

    “God help any Cabinet Minister that comes to the countryside.”
    Richard Dodd, North-East regional director for the Countryside Alliance, Yorkshire Post, September 14, 2004

    ‘It is time for all those seeking to represent rural life … to ask themselves whether they should not take the gloves off.’
    Daily Telegraph, May 2002

    “The day of acquiescence, of timid acceptance, is finally over. The hours of real militancy have come. Gloves are off.”
    Frederic Forsyth, Field, February 2001

    “When it comes to it we will want to set fire to motorways and DEFRA offices.”
    Edward Duke, former chairman of the Countryside Alliance and Joint Master of the Middleton Hunt, The Independent, September 2004

    ‘Firstly we’ve got to harass Alun Michael and anti-hunting MPs in a more confrontational manner,’
    Peter Gent, leader of the Countryside Action Network, The Spectator, January 2005

    “You are all fair game now, I’ve told everybody”.
    Kim Richardson, Hunt Master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, warns anti-hunt protesters. November 2004

    Feelings are running high. People are starting to realise a ban might happen and people might get assassinated.’
    Otis Ferry, joint master of the South Shropshire hunt, The Observer, November 7, 2004

    “If Tony Blair wants war, he can have war – Iraq obviously wasn’t enough for him.”
    Janet George, ex-Countryside Alliance, BBC News, November 18, 2004

    “It’s time for action – not words”
    Advertisement by the Union of Country Sport Workers echoing the REAL CA message.

    “The Shropshire Star on July 31st contained a photograph which I thought was really sad. It showed Cheshire huntsman and farmer Anthony Kirkham, being led, handcuffed, into court where he was remanded in custody after being convicted of an attack on a member of the League Against Cruel Sports and robbing him of his camera at a meet of the Cheshire Hunt. … People such as Anthony Kirkham should never spend time in jail for an offence such as this…”
    Earth Dog, Running Dog Editorial (August 1998, page 6) after Kirkham conviction for a violent and unprovoked attack.

    “No one should ever be allowed to have a video camera anyway near hunting action … We can’t afford to let it happen”
    Editorial, Earth Dog Running Dog, April 2004

    ‘The choice of name may have been tasteless, but it was bloody effective’
    Edward Duke on naming the Real CA after the terrorist group the Real IRA. Independent, September 5, 2003

    ‘If the ban goes ahead then he (Mr Prescott) will soon find that what he and his government have so far experience will be as nothing.’
    Editorial in the pro-hunt Earth Dog Running Dog, June 2004

    “The choice of name may have been tasteless, but it was bloody effective”
    Edward Duke on naming the Real Countryside Alliance after the terrorist group the Real IRA. Independent, 5 September 2003

    “It would never have happened if you had not been there.”
    Pauline Windsor, Joint Master of the Cheshire Hunt, who when asked by the reporter about the threats made against him.

  • Criminality

    “We’ve passed a law that everyone is openly flouting.”
    Prime Minister David Cameron putting pay to the lie that hunts are law abiding.

    “95 per cent are breaking the law big time.”
    Master of Fox Hounds in the West Country, The Independent, 20 November 2006

    “The Countryside Alliance would never recommend its members, or others, to engage in civil disobedience by breaking the law.”
    John Jackson, Chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Guardian, October 23, 2002

    “The Alliance would support anyone arrested or charged with breaking such a law especially at the time of their trial.”
    Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, ePolitix.co.uk, July 29, 2003

    “The mass gatherings on Declaration Day will give individuals the opportunity to make clear their intention to take part in peaceful but committed civil disobedience should a hunting ban ever be imposed. This nationwide show of strength and unity will send a clear message that we will not accept unjust law.”
    Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Press Release, 3rd October 2003 advocating his members break the law.

    “We are well aware that we cannot go onto Forestry land, but if a few of our hounds stray we have to go in and get them back. There’s nothing we can do to stop them.” Nick Gibbons, chairman of Quantock Staghounds (Somerset County Gazette, 8 October 2004)

  • Minority

    Everyone seems opposed to foxhunting
    Arnold Greenhalgh, Master of the Holcombe Hunt, Lancashire Evening Telegraph, January 2001

    The claim that the defence of hunting is part of a wider campaign to defend the countryside is a campaign tool designed for public relations reasons. Janet George the Countryside Alliance’s former Chief Press Officer has confirmed this view: After her dismissal by the Alliance she stated that the strategy was to ‘wrap up hunting in the rural fabric, because everyone hates hunting and loves the countryside‘.
    The Guardian, 13 August, 1998

    “There are so few people who actually hunt that banning the sport would be of no consequence”
    Mal Treharne (Spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance, South West), Express and Echo, January 2001

  • Misc

    ‘You are a f***ing looser (sic). Why don’t you stop waisting (sic) your time and get a real job/hobby, you c***?’
    Isaac Ferry (yes brother of Otis) sends an abusive message from Eton College to an anti-hunt campaigner, February 14, 2002

    “F***ing Piss Off!”
    Prince William at the Duke of Beaufort FH to photographer before riding at him. January 2002

    “It is about freedom, the freedom of people to choose how they live their own lives…It is about listening to and respecting the views of other people of whom you may personally disapprove…”
    Baroness Mallalieu, Countryside Rally, 2 July 1997

    “I have never followed a hunt”
    Richard Dodd, Countryside Alliance Regional Director, Northern Echo, February 26, 2005

    Every time I see the Countryside Alliance’s contorted faces, I redouble my determination to abolish foxhunting.
    Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott (Labour Party conference, 25th September 2000)

    There, behind them, was a stag. Few stalkers would have let me do it, but I fired down into his back as he ran, aiming just behind his neck. On he went, without evident check. Then, fifty yards on the stag suddenly slowed and stopped. He walked two steps, lurched and kneeled over to bounce in the heather. He looked at me once from where he lay, as I came up to him, then that was that. Then I sat down beside to carcase and drank coffee. I talked to the beast as the sun started to appear over the hill, because I felt an intimacy with him at that moment that no grouse or trout could match. When I saw him fall, I had felt a sudden sadness and a sort of shame – not regret, because the thrill of success was too strong – but a sense of assassination.
    Max Hastings – Outside Days (Pan Books 1990)

    It is dismaying that so little support today comes from the Conservative Party. I have always believed that, when so much of the party’s cash is contributed by supporters of field sports, it would do no harm to periodically remind ministers of their political debts.
    Max Hastings – Outside Days (Pan Books 1990)

    …in an increasingly humdrum world, fox-hunting also preserves a great tradition in the countryside.
    Max Hastings – Outside Days (Pan Books 1990)

    I am troubled by the increasing difficultly in finding a market for dead pheasants. In my own mind, one principal justifications for shooting, like fishing, is that we eat what we kill. But now, amid the new prosperity of the eighties, unprecedented numbers of pheasants are being reared to meet the demand from a host of newcomers to field sports, and from very rich men for whom big bags have become as much a status symbol as they were for the Edwardians. For myself, I welcome the newcomers. The more of us who can share in field sports the better. But I am fearful about the consequences – not least the political consequences – of the drive for big bags.
    Max Hastings – Outside Days (Pan Books 1990)

    By the 1930s foxhunting had become a nationally controversial subject. Feeling more sensitive about their image, most hunts phased out their triumph in the death of the fox: the gathering round for the ritual of his “breaking up”, the “blooding” of children and the taxidermists’ mounting of masks and bushes and pads.
    The Book of Foxhunting by J. N. P. Watson (Batsford 1977)

    A hundred years on, we must produce some better arguments.
    Max Hastings explaining to fellow hunters on the why they had lost the arguments – Outside Days (Pan Books 1990)