ANTI-BLOOD sports protesters have launched a campaign in Cheshire to “out” vets involved in fox hunting. They hope this latest tactic in the fight to ban hunting with hounds will expose, to animal lovers, how the experts who care for their animals spend their spare time.
Yesterday at least 10 members of the North West Campaign Against Bloodsports targeted well-known Cheshire vet Campbell Thompson, a regular rider with the Cheshire Foxhounds Hunt. But Mr Thompson defended his actions saying foxes were humanely killed by the hounds.
“We find it absolutely abhorrent that any vet can associate themselves with the cruel and barbaric practice of hunting with hounds,” said campaign spokesman Simon Blakemore. He also said it made a mockery of the declaration vets make when they join the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons which states: “I promise above all that I will preserve the work of my profession with uprightness of conduct and that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of the animals committed to my care.”
But Mr Thompson, whose Nantwich practice was picketed yesterday by placard waving protesters, said: “Before I took it up, I rode with the hunt myself to see what it was about and I got a clear picture of hounds killing a fox. And I could not possibly put down a fox more humanely or quicker than the hounds do and I am happy that the hounds cause foxes no suffering.” He added: “There’s far more cruelty caused by ignorance. I see animals neglected and chronically suffering and that is far worse. If we banned hunting tomorrow we would write the death warrant for foxes more than hunting ever will.”
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons with which all vets must be registered before they can practice said it monitored the standards of professional conduct relating to animals in their care.
Mr Blakemore said: “The view of the general public would be that a vet’s job is animal welfare whether that animal is in their care or the wild. Do pet owners really want to take their animals to a vet that goes out hunting foxes?”
A spokesperson for the British Veterinary Association, a voluntary professional body, said hunting was a matter for the individual’s conscience.