Rod Liddle

The law doesn’t change just because you’re on horseback

2 February 2013

9:00 AM

2 February 2013

9:00 AM

I’ve just sent off a cheque to the RSPCA in the hope that they will put it towards the costs of bringing another prosecution against those arrogant pink-jacketed psychopaths who continue to hunt foxes with hounds despite the fact that it is against the law to do so. It’s a small contribution towards the upholding of law and order in our increasingly fractious society. I’ve always been in favour of law and order; tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime and so on. If society passes a law saying we shouldn’t do something, then we shouldn’t do it. We can protest our right to do it, we can petition MPs, we can rail from the pages of expensive magazines. But we should abide by the law of the land, no matter how absurd we consider it to be.

I feel very comfortable making this point in what is, of course, a conservative publication, because I know that you all share this conviction with me, this requirement to abide by the law. You’re with me on this one, all the way. Even if you disagreed with the outlawing of hunting with hounds, you would not be so hypocritical as to assert that the law should not be obeyed.

The law is not a buffet at your local Harvester — you cannot pick and choose the laws to which you intend to adhere and those which you will flout. That sort of thinking smacks of the blinkered absolutism of the liberal-left, doesn’t it? I assume Melissa is on her own with this one. Oh, and those Tory MPs who have been sticking the boot into the RSPCA. And some district judges… so, quite a few people then.


Hell, maybe I’ve got wrong. Maybe hypocrisy and blinkered, bone-headed absolutism is alive and well on the right, too. Or maybe it’s an even more delusional thing than that. Perhaps it’s more the case that while fox-hunting is against the law, they hold that prosecutions shouldn’t be brought against the people who continue to do it, simply because they don’t like the law. Now there’s a coherent argument, huh. It reminds me a bit of the metro-left and its attitude to those charges against Julian Assange.

I sent the cheque off, also, because a district judge called Tim Pattinson criticised the amount of money the RSPCA had spent on a prosecution which came before him. ‘Members of the public may feel the RSPCA funds could be more usefully employed,’ he said, having found members of the Heythorp Hunt guilty (his only option, really, as a consequence of the wealth of evidence).

Well, up to a point, Timbo. I would prefer that the £326,000 it cost to compile the evidence came from the public purse, rather than from the coffers of a charity. But that’s the system we have right now: the RSPCA, rather than the police, is charged with compiling evidence. And obviously it’s going to need a hell of a lot of evidence to draw a grudging conviction from the likes of Pattinson.

Actually, if I’m honest, I would like the police to get a bit more involved with this side of their work. I would like to see them treat fox hunters the same way they treat other criminals, or even law-abiding protestors; I would like to hear the cleansing swish of the nightstick and the jangle of handcuffs. Yes, I’m an extremist; I believe in taking a tough line with offenders.

I have to say, I find the gibbering from Tory MPs highly amusing and I hope the RSPCA takes not the slightest notice of it. Sir Edward Garnier, for example, thinks it wrong that the RSPCA is ‘using the weapon of state prosecution for political causes’. No, Ed — it is using the weapon of state prosecution to uphold the law. We will be getting ourselves into all sorts of trouble if we start to carp about laws which we believe were brought in for ‘political’ reasons and those which are simply there to stop the poor nicking stuff. The Hunting with Hounds legislation was not motivated by political or social spite; as I said at the time, the fact that a goodly proportion of those who engaged in such a pursuit were braying high-born halfwits was simply a bonus. The reason it was brought in is that the overwhelming majority of the country’s population, and a very large majority of MPs in the House of Commons, were repelled by the utter savagery and cruelty of this supposed sport.

Now, fine; you disagree with me about these last assertions. You don’t think it’s savage or cruel at all. You may even attempt to persuade me — as several tried, back when the proposed law was being debated — that the foxes actually rather enjoy it all, bloody good fun, what? Fine — cleave to that point of view, and petition the rest of us, and your MPs, to change the law. But don’t carp simply because an organisation charged with the task of upholding the law — which, in this case, the RSPCA is — actually does its job properly. Or better still, just grudgingly accept that fox hunting’s day has gone, that the country rightly loathes it for its cruelty, and that it might be better to take up billiards, instead. Either way, horrible though it may sound, the laws of the land apply equally to upper-middle-class journalists with nice horses and a tangled love life as they do to sink-estate muggers.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • SoberReflection

    Rod, I normally agree with, and hugely enjoy, much of what you write. However, your statement that ‘The Hunting with Hounds legislation was not motivated by political or social spite’ seems somewhat naive. The ban was widely quoted at the time as being ‘pay-back time for the miners’, and was almost certainly voted through by many Labour MPs for whom their desire to bash the toffs was far greater than their desire to take a principled stand on animal welfare issues.

    • Mike Barnes

      I’m a leftie and even I noticed the last Labour government was filled to the brim with sociopaths out for revenge. People like Gordon Brown despised every second of Tory rule in the the 1980s and his entire political career was driven by a desire to settle old scores.

      However they can only get away with that kind of stuff if the ‘payback’ is popular with the public.

      Ultimately lots of us kept voting for them and quite liked it at the time. The people agreed with Labour whether it was revenge or genuine animal welfare. The fox hunting ban still remains very popular, 76% people support it according to an Ipsos Mori poll released on Boxing Day 2012.

    • microrossi

      This is the biggest load of bollox I have ever read .Millions of people of all political persuasions find fox hunting ,deer hunting , hare coursing ,”game” bird shooting (some game!!!! ,living animals suffer hugely ) and any other killing for” sport” disgusting and completely unnecessary .For them its not getting back for the miners ,frankly thats a new one to me , but common sense and morally imperative.

      • Marcus

        If millions of people find shooting a bird disgusting but are not entirely vegetarian, then millions of people are disgusting.

  • Adrian Drummond

    This law was a nasty and vindictive piece of legislation.

  • Mr Creosote

    Barking up the wrong tree on this one Rod

  • Mac

    No, really- the fact is most of us find it abhorrent, regardless of politics or class. Much in the same way gladiator fights fell out of the fashions of acceptability, so has fox hunting. You’ve got to roll with the times.

  • A Libertarian Rebel

    Rod forgets, or omits, that the Hunting Ban wasn’t principally an animal welfare matter, but primarily a red-in-tooth-and-claw class warfare bone tossed to Blair’s left-wing backwoodsmen, as compensation for the fact he was dragging New Labour to the right economically to a degree that threatened to make their eyes water. Its companion in that purpose was Blair’s scrapping of the Assisted Places Scheme whereby bright kids from modest backgrounds had a chance of going to good schools. Both measures were brought in to placate the ideological class warriors who’d had to swallow the abandonment of Clause 4 and the rest of it.

    As for Rod’s slightly sanctimonious comment that it’s all really about merely upholding the law – well, that might have had more validity had not the RSPCA itself, at around the same time as its prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt, ostentatiously declined to prosecute a bunch of travellers for cruelty to dogs most likely kept for dog-fighting purposes, despite allegedly compelling evidence. But of course, that would have been “judgemental”, wouldn’t it?

    • Arlene Harris

      As a member of my local Badger Group, we often look to the RSPCA to bring a prosecution against badger diggers/baiters when the police won’t, and because we simply don’t have the funds to do so ourselves. The RSPCA is a charity answerable to its members and the cost of bringing a case has to be weighed against the likelihood of its success. The cost will invariably include legal aid for the defendent – solicitors/lawyers who spend their careers ‘getting people off’ and they do their job brilliantly. We may know someone is guilty as hell, but proving it in a court of law is another matter entirely – especially if the magistrates hearing the case know absolutely nothing about wildlife crime! Like the police, the RSPCA can’t afford to take on a case unless they think they can win. It might be cherry-picking, but that’s the way of the world.

  • mrordinary

    Hear Hear Rod! well said mate.

    • Evette

      I have witnessed first hand the hunt at the mark of it’s victim. I have witnessed cubbing with terriers. I have witnessed the gruesome blood smearing and the severance of trophy heads and tails. Never can any witness deny that the ‘traditional’ fox hunt is a savage ritualistic celebration of killing.

      It is deemed necessary and defended only by those in the equally vile business of farming animals for profit reaped upon equally savage execution.

      At the very source of this matter is the vital need for human compassion toward fellow creatures.

    • Evette

      Good folk, I urge you to watch this award winning documentary film.


    The fact is that 76% of the population are against fox hunting. So if you believe in democracy it should be banned and remain so. You can’t have an exemption to the law of the land even if you are a Tory, farmer or rich landlord. Foxhunting needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history just like witchburning. It is cruel and barbaric and no amount of wearing fancy dress makes it in any way acceptable. End of.

    • William Thomas

      How do you know that 76% of the population is against it?


        Mori/Ipsos poll : It found that 76% are against fox hunting being legalised, rising to 81% for deer hunting and 83% for hare coursing, based on a survey of 1,943 people.

        • Susie Willis

          Is this the poll in which the question began: ‘Now a question about sports where animals are set on other animals to fight or kill them’?

        • Fattybumbum21

          then its 76% of 1,943 not the population. But Im glad Im one of those 1,943

          • rodliddle

            No, drongo, it’s a representative sample. Duh.

          • Marcus

            70% are pro-capital punishment. Why are you supporting Alan petrie ? He is clearly a.drongo.

    • Little Black Censored

      You would probably find a majority in favour of the death penalty as well. Because most people believe something doesn’t make it right.

      And “end of” implies that once you have uttered your opinion, all others are worthless

  • TowerOfBabble

    Arrogant people continuing to do something even when it’s against the law….. now why does that remind me of an article published last year in this very journal that was in breach of a court order? Clearly when it comes to acts of civil disobedience, all men are not created equal. Or is the benchmark simply four legs good, two legs bad?

    • Marcus

      Good point.


    Surely upholding the law is a way in which an organisation can directly further its charitable aims?


    And now for more good news :


    It was also good to see cross party support for the RSPCA in the debate. The more extreme elements of the Tory Countryside Alliance brigade were shown to be out of touch with general opinion that the RSPCA are doing a good job prosecuting hunts which break the law.


    Paul Flynn – “Is the hon. Gentleman saying that all lawbreakers should be prosecuted, unless they are found to be rich, powerful or Tory”

    • The Elderking

      I think you will find more Labour MP’s in the clink. They were, after all, overrepresented amongst the expenses thieves.

      • Chris Curran

        And what the hell has that got to do with this article?

  • NF

    India and Pakistan. Fuck off now. England for the English engage team.

  • Peter Jackson

    One is entitled to resist an unjust and/or silly law even in a democracy. We cannot have two wolves and one lamb voting on what to have for dinner and if we do the lamb has every right to decline to be bound by the vote.
    A law against sink-estate muggers is just and sensible, a law telling a dog what it can do to a fox is not

    • Peter Crawford

      Peter, you are quite right except you are still permitted to set dogs on foxes so long as there are no more than two of them.

      The ban on traditional fox hunting was all about animal welfare. Yeah right, pull the other one, it’s got fucking bells on it.

      I hate foxes like Rod Liddle hates cats. They are nasty vermin. Kill on sight. I stunned one with a rock once then my Staffie went in and finished it off.. So prosecute me. Well you can’t because it was perfectly legal.

      Perhaps Rod Liddle would insist that foxes should abide by a law that forbids them from laying waste to my chickens. But no that would be a silly law wouldn’t it ?

      Cheers, Pete

      • Peter Jackson

        Thank you for the clarification. That raises an interesting point. Would it be within the law if – say – eight hunters pursued a fox with 16 dogs on the grounds that each hunter was setting no more than two dogs on Mr Foxy Woxy?
        I should’ve been a lawyer

        • Peter Crawford

          An interesting point, Peter.

          Also an academic one. I use a patterdale terrier, a staffordshire terrier and a shotgun. You use the patterdale to corner the little bastards then the staffordshire for the kill.

          The gun is only for show. I would never want to shoot at a fox from a distance with a shotgun. A miserable death even for such a loathsome beast The chances of killing it outright are almost nil. It will limp away to struggle and die in distress and pain (like most humans).

          I want to be bitten in half by a large shark. Quick, easy, and guaranteed to make the news.

        • The Elderking

          Nah. Two dogs per fox. Stick to the day job.

          • Peter Jackson

            What if you could herd eight foxes?

      • rodliddle

        I don’t hate cats. I hate the fact that they are owned by millions of people. Foxes are wild animals. Understand the difference?

      • Evette

        Peter Crawford and Peter Jackson are psychopaths.

        ‘A Psychopath (and a Sociopath also) can be understood as a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, immoral, criminal or perverted behavior without empathy or remorse.’

        Aggressive narcissism is evident here in;

        Glibness/superficial charm
        Grandiose sense of self-worth
        Lack of remorse or guilt
        Callous/lack of empathy
        A propensity to engage in violently antisocial behaviors without conscience

        ‘‘A favored technique of a psychopath is to debilitate your sense of identity with false accusations and/or questioning your honesty, fidelity, trustworthiness, your “true” motivations, your “real” character, your sanity and judgement.’’

        Lack of a conscience in conjunction with a weak ability to defer gratification and/or control aggressive desires, often leads to cruel and violent behaviors towards animals first and then children. Adult humans are the last in line to fall victim to their urges.

        • Guest

          Brilliant contribution Evette. We need a bit of sience here to contradict all that nonsense.

          • Ian Wellesz

            Being psychopaths, they won’t take any notice of these posts though. Remember that to a psychopath the opinions of others are just so much meaningless background noise. Still, at least Peter Crawford’s comment ‘I want to be bitten in half by a large shark’ shows that he has one opinion which is shared by many.

        • Anna Bohach

          Brilliant contribution Evette. We need a bit of science to contradict all that nonsense here.

      • disqus_lAymLBIFxk

        You Sir are a nasty human being who is also daft enough to boast on a public forum about his cruel doings.
        BTW foxes dont take chickens if their owners have proper fencing in place and put them away at night.

        What you enjoy doing to our wildlife may well not be presecutable but you are still a monster for doing it. Keep evolving !

    • A J Brenchley

      Mmm, except dogs don’t ‘decide’ anything; people do. And we are right to govern ourselves as people, however animals fit into the scenario. But the operative term is ‘govern ourselves’, something that Britain seems to be less and less interested in.


    National Trust statement vilifying Heythorp Hunt:
    “Whilst the illegal activity in this case did not take place on land we own, we consider it to be a serious breach of trust. The conviction has given us major cause for concern about how the hunt runs its activities, which is why we will not renew the hunt’s license at the end of March.”
    Take that Dave and your evil cronies!!!!!

  • David Lindsay

    The hunting ban was the means whereby disgraceful Labour MPs were cajoled into supporting the Iraq War. By Tony Blair and Hilary Armstrong. Both of whom went on to vote against the hunting ban.

  • Matt Broadhead

    Whilst watching Question i googled whom the skinny bespectacled gentleman was hailing from the Spectator and stumbled across Rod’s column.
    I personally expected to read right wing rhetoric about culture, job losses and pest control. Instead i was met the good old British right and wrong values and ‘the’ argument which justifies the reason for the outlawing of so-called ‘hunting’ with hounds.
    The vast majority of this country believe that fox hunting is abhorrent, vile and illegal. We as a public demand that the government, justice system and police force uphold the laws of this country’s people as it elected to do so. It pleases me that people like Rod are still alive and kicking in this country for to them integrity, honesty and principle ride buckshot over a political party whip.

    • Marcus

      In the first paragraph of your comment you outline very clearly why you are a pathetic individual.

      Your opinion given in the second is therefore worthless and the sort of thing best kept to the Guardian. I am amazed anyone liked it, but then I think we have a lot of earnest wets on here today.

      • Roger Watling

        Ha Ha I was wondering when the insults would start. Mr Liddle don’t listen to this crap,

        • Marcus

          Ah Roger, you are right I have insulted but I feel it’s necessary to say precisely why.

          It is not because this is a grown man who feels really strongly about the way in which a fox is killed. That seems a bit odd to me, perhaps a bit wet.

          But each to his own. Maybe he’s just a nicer man than me and that is why he feels so strongly. Maybe this strength of feeling is manifested in all sorts of practices throughout his and your life as you strive to stamp out animal cruelty. Maybe, but I doubt it.

          No Roger, It is the line ‘I personally expected to read right wing
          rhetoric about culture, job losses and pest control’ for which I have
          been insulting.

          You see it is this line, this sanctimonious line and the previous line
          that tries to excuse the commenter from ever having sullied their mouse by clicking on a website other than the BBC or Guardian. It is the myopic concept that you need an excuse to read content other than the Weltanschauung of this minute sphere. I guess I felt it was just insulting to read this caveat as to the mere presence of a commenter on this forum. It strikes me as such a pathetic and wet thing to say.

          The sort of thing a man who cares deeply about the manner in which a fox is killed, yet eats bacon from an intensively farmed pig without a sense of irony.

          • mikewaller

            Which aspect of the concept “Rule of Law” do you not understand?

          • Marcus

            Erm. I probably understand it as much as you do. I go 36 mph in 30 speed limit. I sometimes park on a double yellow. If I come back from abroad I don’t always declare every gift I’ve purchased.
            Incidently I am not pro-fox hunting. I think if someone let’s a pack of dogs rip a fox apart then they should be in gaol.
            I do find it odd that grown adult males get so worked up about it though. Peri menopausal women maybe, but not a man. It’s just a bit wet and pathetic. Especially when most of these men (as I do) eat intensively farmed animals, which is infinitely more cruel.

          • mikewaller

            It is very hard to know where to start. A law has been created but unlike speeding, parking offences and smuggling, the relevant public bodies seem unable/unwilling to enforce it. This law seeks to protect a specific animal from a cruel death so a body whose raison d’etre is to prevent such things steps into the breach. For its troubles, it first gets criticism from a very foolish judge and then, in the pages of the Specie, from a very foolish women. Rod Liddle – someone of whom I have not previously been the greatest fan – very eloquently then gives both of them a good verbal kicking (and quite right to) on the grounds that we cannot tolerate a category of people who think that for them the Law is optional. You for so reason then decide that anybody taking an interest in this topic has to be in some way deranged. Given that, to a greater or lesser degree, this encompasses a vast swath of the population, might it not just be that it is you who have the problem?

          • Marcus

            Let’s take John Major’s legislation designed to curb the breeding of fighting dogs that are involved in a practice tremendously cruel in a chronic and systematic way to the dog. Legislation also designed to stop toddlers having their faces bitten off/chewed.
            Now that is important, not least for it’s impact on humans.

            Yet you and Rod devote all this attention and vitriol to the way in which a wild fox is killed in it’s last 5 minutes (because no one has ever even attempted to outlaw killing foxes, merely the way in which it is done).

            Really? From a level headed bloke?

            As I say it is really gruesome to see a fox ripped apart, but as a sentient adult male and not an emotionally labile fool, can you not see that the barbarism endured by a country fox’s last 5 minutes pales in to insignificance in comparison to countless other more chronic forms of animal cruelty, some of which are not even illegal (Goose down extraction/foie gras)

            Why oh why get so worked up about this one?

            ‘Because it’s the law of the land’?
            What sort of person were you at school? What a pathetic thing to say: we all break the law, Rod included, as is pointed out below.

            No, you are either emotionally disturbed from seeing the way in which the fox is killed (as are we all) but unable to process this and put this it in to perspective (like Hitler). Or you are a class bigot. I strongly suspect it is the former in your case.

            I never said people who take an interest in this topic are ‘deranged’ .

            They are not: people who get emotional about the last 5 minutes of a successful hunt, to the point where they’d rather a fox was poisoned and bleed to death internally, just so they don’t have to see it getting ripped apart by other dogs, are pathetic emotionally labile wets with poor judgement and often class bigots (the tow are related by the way).

            I wouldn’t want a man like that in my trench and I certainly wouldn’t want him in my fox hole.

          • mikewaller

            More and more time gets wasted because you will not face up to the core issue. I have already made the point in reply to another posting that I am pragmatically pro-hunting. I would not do it myself as I consider it disgusting as a sport; however I can see that it is probably the least worst way for a fox to die given that humans will inevitably kill anything that gets in their way.

            BUT that is not the point at issue here. Imagine a strong leader emerges amongst a group of teenagers on a sink estate. Learning about hunting, he gets them to train dogs to hunt down feral cats and urban foxes. No matter how well he controlled proceedings and conformed in every way to the protocols of “proper” hunts, the moment the public got wind of it the whole thing would be stopped by the authorities. All that is being asked for here is that everybody who undertakes what are now illegal activities be treated in precisely the same way. Fail in that, and you will very soon have the dispossessed questioning why they should be bound by, for example, laws appertaining to property.

          • Marcus

            I agree with that, but the weight of hysteria that surrounds this sport has always been highly suspicious.
            Incidentally the council estate analogy can be realised: it’s called dog fighting and it exists. I live on a council estate and they are fighting dogs everywhere, although I have to say as yet I’ve not seen a scarred one.
            The thing is that ‘animal right activists’ would face a yob with a crow bar and it is more of a challenge to chuck a brick through his car window than a country boys Land Rover. You see the yob may kill you or beat you up.
            So the courage and principles stops there and its back to Shropshire to pester middle age middle class people in a pursuit of a far less cruel past time.

  • sunnydayrider

    A long article for you Rod? The salient point being the RSPCA have to do it because plod won’t.

    • The Elderking

      Plod knows better. It’s only the stupid, the obsessives and criminal tendency of the animal “rights” fascists who can be bothered.

      Fox populations have to be managed. Fact.

      Anyone who spends a hour or so considering the alternatives to hunting will have to conclude that it is the safest and most humane method of targeting old and sick animals and dispersing others so that they do not over predate an area, inbreed and/or pass on disease.

      How can shooting, trapping and poisoning be batter? They cannot. It is dangerous, cruel and indiscriminate.

      • Rachel Sharman

        Oh dear, what very bold statements “stupid” and “fascists”. I am sorry to go against your stereotype, but being well educated, well spoken, and not a fascist I can, and will, continue to be bothered by people thinking they are above the law. I was also a Tory, until I realised that the whole party is trapped in the dark ages of class discrimination and barbaric blood sports.
        Now, regarding your misconceptions. Fox populations do not have to be managed, during the foot and mouth outbreak, movement on land was prohibited and thus hunts ceased. During this time, we were not overrun by foxes, even “stupid” people, like myself, can make a decent inference from that fact.
        As for alternatives to hunting, personally I would rather be cleanly shot by a trained marksman while I am pondering over my morning coffee than being chased through my office, scared out of my senses, and than ripped to pieces by snarling dogs. But I am a “stupid fascist” who is bothered about animal rights so my opinion is probably completely moot.

        • Hossylass

          But the trained marksman cannot tell if they are shooting a lactating vixen with cubs, or an old dog fox that is starving.
          A hound can.

          • Pip Garrard

            You’re trying to tell me that a hunting hound, when faced with a fox, will stop for a moment and ask itself: “Is this an old, diseased fox, that is no use to anybody any more – or is this a young, lithe, lactating vixen that is obviously supporting cubs and therefore I ought to let her go, to look after her family”? Thank you, Beatrix Potter.

            A trained and skilled marksman, OTOH, when he looks through his telescopic sight, affixed to his high-powered rifle – he can tell whether a fox is old and starving, or whether she is sleek and fit. He can reason, then, whether to take the shot and make a clean kill.

          • Hossylass

            Hounds don’t hunt on sight.
            They hunt on scent,
            A lactating vixen gives off no scent.

            So no, not Beatrix Potter.

          • Rachel Sharman

            So if they hunt on scent, why do the hounds kill domestic cats/dogs/any unfortunate animal that comes into the packs path? They certainly dont smell of a dog fox? Also, lactating vixens will have some sort of scent, they are animals, all animals have scent glands.

            Dogs have a desire to chase and to hunt. Single dogs can be controlled. A hunt involves an unpredictable pack of dogs driven by blood lust.

          • Hossylass

            Hounds (as a breed) are myopic.
            They can see things close up, and if it runs they chase.
            But when they are hunting foxes the run very slowly with their noses to the ground, hence the fit get away.

            Lactating vixens obviously have a “scent” but its not the “right” scent, not the scent that the hounds are trained for.
            Also its a mild scent to protect them and their cubs.

          • Pam Anderson

            what utter rubbish,

          • Evette

            I have witnessed first hand the hunt at the mark of it’s victim. I have witnessed cubbing with terriers. I have witnessed the gruesome blood smearing and the severance of trophy heads and tails. Never can any witness deny that the hunt is a savage ritualistic celebration of killing.

            It is deemed necessary and defended only by those in the equally vile business of farming animals for profit upon equally savage execution.

          • Chris Curran

            What utter nonsense – how stupid can you get? You people churn out the same old garbage in support of your disgusting hobby and most of it is just old countryside myths and not factual.. Fox hounds are bred specifically for stamina to outrun and outlast the fox. It is slower than the fox but has more endurance. The fox has to stop now and again to gather more strength to run on until it is entirely exhausted and the hounds catch up with it and savage it to pieces.

          • Chris Curran

            Absolute garbage – hounds are bred for stamina and will eventually out run the fox unless it has the cunning to get away or go to ground.The fox has to stop at intervals to gain back its strength and move on again until it becomes totally exhausted and can run no more and its organs start breaking down..

          • 8089

            Lactating vixens obviously have a “scent” but its not the “right” scent, not the scent that the hounds are trained for.

            Errr. So why are hounds still being trained to a fox scent when it’s illegal to hunt foxes with hounds? Bit like training someone to drive a car whilst on a mobile phone! It’s against the law. Get it?

          • Chris Curran

            Utter rubbish – of course a vixen gives off scent. Do your research you fool. More garbage from a hunter.

          • Patricia Betty

            Nonsense. All animals give off scent. A pregnat vixen may give off less scent but hound scenting abilities are so acute as to make no difference when a scent is picked up. It is aslo despicable to suggest that you should chase old and ill animals above healthy ones. You twist and turn and bleat and yap but you cannot sanitise what you do. You are cold blooded viscious killers much worse than any fox who kills to eat and feed his family. Animal bullies, you have lost your humanity

          • Patricia Betty

            Try this one A vixen has her unborn cubs ripped from her belly and when you have watched it, read the comments from the hunt supporters You lot make me sick to my stomach

          • Chris Curran

            Are you completely stupid? A lactating vixen gives off no scent? Jeez – what a disgusting excuse for hunting. So how do you account for the orphaned cubs that are constantly being rescued? And the body of nearly new-borns strewn around after the vixen’s been killed bu hounds?

          • Giles Bradshaw

            generally hunts don;t operate when vixens are lactating

          • Auntiecon

            Yes they do and they also hunt when the vixen is pregnant. They also start cubbing in August when some of the little ones are still dependent on their mother. It’s a disgusting hobby whatever way you look at it – and don’t boither to answer because you know so little about the natural history of the fox that you just make yourself look stupid as you usual.

          • Rachel Sharman

            Along with the comment from Pip Garrard… A trained marksman will not kill a beloved family pet. How many horror stories were there prior to the ban of hunts killing domestic cats and dogs that got in the way of the hounds. I used to work in a boarding kennels in the path of a hunt. We were “advised” to keep our dogs in while the hunt went through. In my opinion, those dogs are dangerous, do we not have a law in this country against dangerous dogs?
            As for not hunting vixens with cubs, I have witnessed a hunt flushing a vixen from a den with cubs, then blocking it so she couldn’t get back in, prior to the hunt starting. That vixen would not stray from her den so was an easy target. Fortunately this “fascist” was there to remove the bungs and let her back in, keeping guard until those abhorrent human beings had finished their “sport”.
            I have had family with farms and livestock. Yes they have had problems with foxes along with rabbits. To solve the problem, problem animals were observed for a time, counter measures were taken and if the problem persisted, they were shot cleanly and killed. At no point have they ever considered allowing the hunt through their land and they are not overrun by troublesome foxes.

          • Martin James

            ah the famous quick nip to the back of the neck….here’s a great example:

          • Rachel Sharman

            Unfortunately I have been privy to this “quick nip”, 10 years on and I still never ever want to witness that ever again. Killing should never be considered a sport. Those people, that were apparently just culling, then revelled in the blood, smearing it on a young childs face to mark her first hunt. I was 15, and that was the first time I felt utterly ashamed of another human.

          • OldSlaughter

            Where do you live Rachel?

          • Hossylass

            The hound does to the fox what a fox does to a lamb.
            The one thing I dont understand is why they dont muzzle all the hounds bar one or two… anyone?

          • Chris Curran

            I really do worry about you – the fox does not do what a pack of hounds does. It actually rarely kills a lamb but will take dead and dying lambs and even the after-birth. Statistics have shown that of all the lambs that are born more die from poor husbandry and sickness etc. than taken by a fox.

          • Marcus

            How’s that fox doing? Are we sure it didn’t spend the rest of it’s short life in agonising pain with that wailing creatin?

          • Hossylass

            Dont get me wrong, I’m not against the painless despatch of foxes if they are a nuisance.
            I’m not arguing for hunting either.

            Just passing on facts.

            Like the fact that when this law came out, two separate incidents of “marksmen” shot children, one fatally I think, mistaking them for foxes.

            Horrified by the fact a hunt would separate a vixen from her cubs – that is crossing all the lines. Hunting, good or bad, used to have standards…

          • Chris Curran

            You’re not passing on any facts – you’re talking a load of garbage. Propaganda given out by hunters who need to find justification for their disgusting hobby of persecuting our wildlife.

          • Roger Watling

            And we all know
            that killing a fox is pointless as another will move into it’s territory it’s
            just an excuse to kill things for perverted pleasure

          • Chris Curran

            Garbage – I have seen foetuses strewn across the ground ripped from the body of a pregnant vixen. Foxhounds do not have the skill or sense to scent out and avoid pregnant vixens. Vixens give birth in March/April after conceiving in December/January – right in the middle of the hunting season.

      • Rudi Strubbe

        Fox populations have to be managed ? Not a fact but an opinion based on prejudice and a disturbing lack of science. Beyond that correction, if you break the law, you pay. If it is radical to say so, then I am a happy radical!

      • Pam Anderson

        oh yes? why make artificial earths for foxes and then ask local land owners not to shoot them, as they did once on a farm I lodged at? So that there is something to hunt, thats why. The pest control argument has long been show to be nonsense.

      • mikewaller

        I don’t dispute the core of your argument. Although I find the idea of getting amusement from pursuing an animal with the objective of having it ripped to pieces by dogs, I too believe that it is probably the least worst option for the fox. However, your opening sentence makes clear how comprehensively pro-hunters threw away the debate. “(O)bsessives….animal rights fascists” do not command a single vote in Parliament; it is the great wash of ordinary decent people who despise hunting and it was those who had to be won over. In this the Countryside Alliance” etc were hugely unsuccessful because they followed the same aggressive line as you. The bill having now been enacted, non-compliance challenges the rule of law. Ignore that, and what is to stop millions of people with housing difficulties organising mass squattings in second homes?

      • Chris Curran

        Nonsense – the majority of foxes that are killed by the hounds are quite healthy. Furthermore, the cubbing season which starts in August find hunts slaughtering whole litters of 5/6 month old cubs just to train foxhounds.Hunts do not hunt to control foxes – that’s just the excuse and cover-up for a nasty cruel hobby.

      • Patricia Betty

        I have spent many hours considering hunting and my considered opinion is you dont know anything about the animal you abuse so horribly. Foxes donot need to be managed, and hunters do kill enough to be called managers. Hunting with dogs accounts for about 5% of the foxes killed and more are killed on the roads than hunting and shooting together. This is an excerpt from The Fox Website set up by the Bristol Mammal Research Unit at Bristol University.
        “Research on lamb, poultry and piglets shows that losses to foxes are, in general, low and that simple measure to improve husbandry may effectively reduce predation. Pheasant losses to foxes are low in release pens but there are limited data on predation after release, when losses are slightly higher. However, since estates release a large surplus of birds (only about 40% of those released are shot), the economic impact of fox predation on released pheasants is probably small. Estates can either use lethal control by shooting foxes to increase pheasant populations in the autumn or release more birds, for those estates that rely on rearing game.
        Each year, rabbits cause an estimated £120 million of damage to agriculture in Britain. Foxes cause an estimated £12 million of damage but this needs to be put in perspective, because rabbits are the main prey of foxes in rural areas. By eating rabbits, foxes provide an indirect economic benefit to farmers of at least £7 million annually. Because fox benefits offset their costs, foxes are probably economically neutral to farmers. ”
        Hunting is sustained, viscious cruelty. It is cowardly and animal bullying. It is not a method to be recommended above others, and those who support hunting with dogs are are nothing but cruel thugs who get fun out of watching an innocent animal being torn to pieces.

  • The Elderking

    Oh dear Rod. I hope the cheque was big enough to make a difference.

    As for the RSPCA having to bring such cases, it does not. The CPS and police could do it. I guess however that having seen the evidence they would not have bothered. What we had was an organisation with deep pockets bludgeoning it’s way through the courts with the hope not only of a conviction but bankruptcy of the individuals and the Hunt.

    Thankfully the accused took the only course available and that was to plead guilty, however unjust. The judge saw through it, stuck the RSPCA with its own costs and exposed the RSPCA to unprecedented public scrutiny..


    Finally, up until a few years ago I would have agreed that laws should be followed but we are in a different world. The people on the Left play by different rules and in order to defeat them we need to play them at that game and use their language.

    It is our duty to disobey bad laws. !!!


    • disqus_lAymLBIFxk

      By your reasoning it will be fine for me to not pay my TV licence then. I mean, I feel it is my duty as a pensioner who cant afford it !
      Problem with that is the TV Licensing authority will be round like a shot and I’ll end up in jug. Reason: I dont belong to a group of arrogant thugs who genuinely feel they are above the law of the land, but to one where people worked hard all their lives, paid their dues and obey the law.
      It really is hard sometimes to believe we live in the 21st century.
      Hooray for the RSPCA.

  • superS01

    Probably the best piece of writing I’ve ever seen in the Spectator. It doesn’t matter what the law is or your view on it is, it is the law, so it should be obeyed. Also, the £300K+ fee that the RSPCA had to fund was only because the defendants had the best lawyers they could find so all legal avenues had to be explored to ensure conviction.

  • fred

    Well said Rod. The fact is most people are against these pathetic clowns and for good reason. They would like to think its a town v country issue, well plenty of people in the country loath them. We are not all forelock tuggers. Obey the law like the rest of us have to.

  • Gill Lucraft

    Huge round of applause from here! It’s about time somebody said it like it is. Well done.

  • 02380

    Whether the 2004 hunt ban was politically motivated or not, the RSPCA are certainly not politically biased and these accusations are merely the kneejerk reaction from the hunting lobby….The RSPCA is, what Rod says, tasked with the job of prosecuting animal abusers…The Heythrop broke the law and were prosecuted…End of.

    Oh, and I now donate to them, I didn’t previously, but if they can continue to prosecute ALL animal abusers, including the hunts who flout the law, then they’ll continue to have some of my money!

  • Chris Curran

    Hunters will find any excuse in order to perpetuate their disgusting and cruel hobby of persecuting our wild life. Of course it’s not political for an animal charity to prosecute illegal hunting where the abuse of an animal takes place, and just because one silly MP said it was pay-back for the miners’ doesn’t mean everybody believes that. Excuses, excuses. I am absolutely convinced that virtually all supporters of the RSPCA are pleased about the prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt and that it was fully justified – more so in the case of this partiicular Hunt that is a repeat offender. Well done to the RSPCA – I am proud to support them and donate towards prosecution of any sort of animal cruelty.

  • Evette

    Excellent establishment of the recognized psychopathic personality disorder among these types.

    Peter Crawford and Peter Jackson (commented below) are psychopaths.

    ‘A Psychopath (and a Sociopath also) can be understood as a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, immoral, criminal or perverted behavior without empathy or remorse.’

    Aggressive narcissism is evident here in;

    Glibness/superficial charm
    Grandiose sense of self-worth
    Lack of remorse or guilt
    Callous/lack of empathy
    A propensity to engage in violently antisocial behaviors without conscience

    ‘‘A favored technique of a psychopath is to debilitate your sense of identity with false accusations and/or questioning your honesty, fidelity, trustworthiness, your “true” motivations, your “real” character, your sanity and judgement.’’

    Lack of a conscience in conjunction with a weak ability to defer gratification and/or control aggressive desires, often leads to cruel and violent behaviors towards animals first and then children. Adult humans are the last in line to fall victim to their urges.


    • Marcus

      Psycopath is not a word used anymore in the scientific community. Since the book written by a left author about the disorder it has rapidly before popular as an insult amongst people who are thick.

      • Evette

        Marcus, your comment is vague, loose and of derogatory (not informative) intent. You have effectively demonstrated only that you know nothing about Psychopathy. Psychopathy is a very real and dangerous personality disorder affecting as much as 4-5%of the western population. It is a disorder carrying lesser regards these days for one reason; that being that more and more people of business, political and celebrity status exhibit the personality traits associated with psychopaths. Callous, cruel, selfish and anti-social behaviors are being widely portrayed as normal.

        The historic establishments of Psychopathic studies are still consulted by the medical professions; psychology and psychiatry as well as by the criminal justice and legal professions.

        It may be that the term ‘Psychopath’ has been coined by members of the general public, as an insult, much in the way that the term ‘Spastic’ has been misused. ‘Spastic’ nevertheless still recognizes the condition behind the original definitive title.

        The term ‘Psychopathy’ has been succeeded by the label ‘Anti-Social Personality Disorder’or ‘ASPD’. It is vital that the original condition is recognized within and beneath the newer, apparently neutral term of diagnosis.

        • Marcus

          I am being derogatory because I think you are very dangerous and poorly read and there is a tremendous danger that your misguided pseudo science is could catch on.
          There are many reasons why someone is unpleasant, Borderline personality disorder is another example.
          However the idea that people need to be identified and singled out for persecution for mental characteristics based on poorly understood and controversial science is the worst form of pseudo-science and would result in terrifying stigmatisation and persecution and should be avoided at all costs.
          People who go Fox hunting are unlikely to be psychopaths, as you call them. They are simply people who do not have an emotional labile reaction to the last 5 minutes of the foxes life. This ability to view the death of the fox in it’s context is actually inconsistent with being a psychopath.
          If I were you I’d read a new book and follow that doctrine. Maybe a quasi-religious one involving spiritualism.
          Stay away from scaremongering and psychology.

          • Evette

            I didn’t state that all hunts parties are Psychopaths. I identified specific traits of the disorder with two specific persons.

            I recommend that you look up the definition of the word ‘dangerous’.

            Yes, there can be many reasons why a person is unpleasant (none of them are to be used as justification for a thirst to kill) and yes, there are many and mild personality disorders but you won’t find them constituent to blood lust.

            The ability to rationalize killing without an empathetic construct and without the interference of conscience is an ability sported by mass murderers, time over and the world over.

            Those who watch intently will be assured that time and time again, the blood sport enthusiast wears the red jacket at home and in all aspects of his life. He kills not for the need, nor for pity sake but for the thrill. He very often experiences great perverted gratification in witnessing the struggle of his victims. He is excited by the suffering and fascinated by moment of life departing. He is the man who beats his dog and his horse into submission. He is the man who beats his child a long way past the socially acceptable line of discipline. He is the exploiter of innocence and predator upon perceived weakness. He is the abusive husband. He is the professional success by intimidation, by coercion, by ego domination and by greed for power. He does not know a conscience. He is the mask of charm and sanity when he needs to be. He is the monster behind the mask in private seclusion and in the company of the like inclined to violence and killing.

            If you are deceived you walk with too many of him.

            Scaremongering is one here who tries to justify his entry on the falsifications that toddlers are being mauled by foxes.

            Devious is one here who tries to thwart the vital understanding of a Psychopathic personality.

            Dangerous is not I, illustrating the fundamental lacks of the psychopathic. Dangerous are not the kind and compassionate people who respect a creatures right to life. Dangerous are not the empathetic who understand and deplore the tragic suffering of the animal.

            Dangerous is one who fights to preserve the nonpunishable tradition which allows one partial to killing to nourish his lust without the intervention of laws.

            Above himself is one who seeks to ridicule religion and spiritualism.

            The suggested neutrality of ASPD as a modern label does not in any way detract from the serious dangerousness of the character under observation.

          • Marcus

            English is not your first language. Impressive as your English is.
            Hunters aren’t ‘psycopaths’ end of the story and testing people with an unreliable questionnaire and fMRI or `spurious tell tale signs` is a slippery slope.
            I’m right about this and you’re wrong. Sadly there will be an increase in this name calling/branding of people and most of it will come from the liberals. Or the ‘feeble minded’ as they were once branded.

          • Evette

            It deems that you have been indoctrinated by violence.

            Violence is only ever forgivable as by direct and immediate self defense. This is according to the laws of our inner most soul, our God and the laws of our country. Do you think yourself above them all?

            “Thou shall not kill.”

            “Thou shall repent of your sins.”

            You neglect to take your right place. You instead take a path of darkness, to destroy peace and fight for the right to destroy natures grace and thus destroy humanity. Shame on you.

            “The blood of the timid on his hands, he is a disgrace to his human creed.”

          • Marcus


  • microrossi

    If the tories ever want power again after the current debacle they are going to have to grow up and own up .The top elite have failed in their attempt to bully the country and the attitude to fox hunting is one of them .Its illegal but more important utterly repugnant to many and no amount of spoilt brat foot stamping by Camerons cadres will alter this .They can drag hunt and still enjoy it but no ,its blood lust ,cubbing ,cruelty or nothing , and it reflects very badly on them .The tories have got to get away from policy by clarkson .A few weathy chaps round a table formulating the latest tory wheezes after the gals have gorn to chit chat their pretty little heads off is not the recipe for good government .Get real ,get some proper morals …. and for now ….good riddance.

  • Tommy Woodward

    I’m no great fan of Rod Liddle, but on this subject, you couldn’t get a fag paper between us.

  • Nigel Tolley

    Excellently worded!

  • MarkyMarkSurrey

    The article is well written and makes the point that the law
    covers everyone. I was appalled that the MP Simon Hart actually debated the
    RSPCA bringing a prosecution in parliament and was allowed to do so. My own useless
    MP Paul Beresford actually wrote a letter saying he supported the debate and
    NOT the RSPCA, in other words Paul Beresford supports law breakers. The Tories
    have gone power mad, they are openly arrogantly now saying there is one law for
    us and another for the rest of the country. I thought Labour were bad and have
    been a Conservative all my life, but i can no longer be part of a party that is
    so abhorrently stuck in the past and so corrupt.

  • Karina1

    A very coherent and articulated article. Any arguments against the actions of the RSPCA in this case are totally indefensible. I will definitely consider donating to them now.

  • Karina1

    A very coherent and articulated article. Any arguments against the actions of the RSPCA in this case are totally indefensible. I will definitely consider donating to them now.

  • OldSlaughter

    I for one was disgusted to see an urban majority speaking about that which it knew little of and voting accordingly. What people in the countryside do to their environment should be of little concern to the MP for West Ham.

    Yes, we should obey the law. But what a spiteful and classist law. What a waste of Parliamentary time.

    Labour passed thousands of laws and created thousands of offenses. Like inflation they lessoned the value of law. It has got so Police will stop you in ignorance of the laws safe in the knowledge they will find one that fits eventually.

    I agree with Rod here, but the rule of law has been damaged by those elected to preserve it.

    What a horrid government they were.

  • Augustus

    I hope they use your donation for a more worthwhile cause, such as bringing the abusers
    of horses themselves to justice, rather than against those who love their horses and ponies.

  • Ziggy Simpson

    Yeah, well said….

  • A J Brenchley

    I wonder what Rod thinks about the idea of civil disobedience for a principle higher than law, especially in the case of a law that is itself antinomian. A complex subject: Nazi Germany was highly principled, in the narrow strict sense that it believed in certain principles to the death — as long as they were other people’s deaths; many decent things were illegal in that regime, and indeed, decency was outlawed. Yet we also have the excellent point made by the More of the play about laws being a refuge, that we suffer to have cut down at our peril.

    The point is that laws are an expression and also an enforcement of a polity, or a way of doing politics. Behind the law is a political agenda. In our time, the domineering political agenda is Leftist, and so have been the most significant laws. These are not laws like where you can park your car or how many people may sit in a theatre; these are laws with the aim of striking down traditions and re-making society.

    Surely the issue, as Rod is apparently pretending not to see, is political rather than legal. In the case of fox-hunting and indeed most things to do with rural rather than urban life, the law is a stick with which to beat a political enemy. That is why such laws are controversial, and that is why they arouse such passion. That is also why they rouse people to challenge the legitimacy of such laws, and to engage in what others — in the 19th-century American South, and in Gandhi’s India — have praised as civil disobedience.

  • Dickie H

    Let’s try an experiment. Replace ‘hunting’ with ‘smoking’. Imagine anti-smoking vigilantes going round filming people having a crafty fag at work, and ASH spending £326,000 to bring a private prosecution against a garage owner who allows his mechanics to smoke inside the workshop rather than sending them out into the rain.

    I think the comparison is valid. Parliament chose to ban both activities. According to ASH, the smoking ban enjoyed a majority of public support, and passive smoking is claimed to kill more people each year than foxhounds kill foxes.

    Rod, you are the man who wrote that new Labour’s smoking ban made you more angry than the Iraq war. I work as a classic car mechanic. During the week I can often be found with a Marlboro clamped between my lips as I belt some finely-machined piece of British engineering with a large hammer. On Saturdays I go hunting. Do you feel that the forces of law and order should pursue me with as much zeal on weekdays as you wish them to do at the weekends? And if not, why not?

    The problem we have here that government only works with the consent of the governed. Even murderers and burglars do not argue that murder and burglary should be decriminalised. But in the case of both hunting and smoking, you have a sizeable minority, running into millions, who regards the law as disproportionate, unjustified and intrusive. Like so many of new Labour’s laws, the intention was to force the pace of social change through mass criminalisation. If the law-making process creates laws which are held in contempt by a significant chunk of the population, it is the process which needs reforming, not the people.

  • Marcus

    Hi rod
    Good article, you are however wrong.
    The RSPCA should be involved in stopping animal cruelty; like keeping dogs in flats. The league against blood sports and the police should stop the hounds ripping apart the fox as the final act of a hunt.
    This act is generally seen as abhorent and is illegal. It is not however particularly cruel. It is gruesome to witness; but far less cruel than the chronic cruelty and mistreatment of pets which is widespread across Britain and is the area for the RSPCA should focus.


    Let’s not forget that these packs of hounds are not just tormenting the fox population – the beagle and harrier packs are openly and illegally targeting brown hares. I look forward to the day that they are brought before the courts too.( been waiting since 2004.)

  • ChrisC

    I’m sure that those who believe that hunters are entitled to break the law
    with impunity also believe that trade unionists should similarly be entitled to
    break Margaret Thatcher’s anti-union laws. Really sure. After all, they wouldn’t take the attitude that little people obey the law – important people like us make the law, we aren’t subject to it. Would they?

    Calling a debate to denounce the prosecution of lawbreakers as “political” is reminiscent of Labour leftwingers circa 1972.

  • Ann Johnson

    I am not a reader of the Spectator; this article was forwarded to me. What an incredibly refreshing piece!

    This paragraph, in particular, seemed so logical and right-minded:

    ‘Actually, if I’m honest, I would like the police to get a bit more
    involved with this side of their work. I would like to see them treat
    fox hunters the same way they treat other criminals, or even law-abiding
    protestors; I would like to hear the cleansing swish of the nightstick
    and the jangle of handcuffs. Yes, I’m an extremist; I believe in taking a
    tough line with offenders.’

  • Alan Kirby

    The RSPCA only felt impelled to take this case on them because the group of volunteer hunt monitors who, at very great personal effort, expense and endangerment, collected the evidence and took it to them had presented similarly compelling proof of breaches of the Hunting Act by the Heythrop and other local hunts to the police and CPS on no fewer than 30 previous occasions. Usually the police/CPS had either dismissed it out of hand or just sat on it until the 6 month time limit expired. The one time the CPS did bring charges – against the same Heythrop huntsman who has now admitted breaching the Act at least twice – they found a legal excuse to delay and then drop the prosecution. This pattern is replicated in many areas of the country. The CPS now appear to have reacted to criticism of their repeated failures to prosecute Hunts, when they are given clear evidence of infractions by them, by threatening to bring the evidence collecting activities of monitors under the restrictive provisions of the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act, legislation which was specifically designed to apply ONLY to public authorities. They have even admitted that this move has been at the prompting of one Simon Hart MP, who before he was elected as a Conservative at the last election was for several years the CEO of the Countryside Alliance [aka the British Field Sports Society]. In this role he presided over the ‘Declaration’ campaign in 2004/5, under which tens of thousands of hunt supporters were incited to pledge to disobey the incoming Hunting Act – arguably one of the most blatant and large-scale acts of sedition seen in this country for centuries, albeit cunningly designed to avoid falling foul of conspiracy legislation.
    Various factors already make the collection of adequate evidence against organised Hunts to secure convictions both very difficult and dangerous for hunt monitors, whether they be the few professionals employed by animal welfare organisations or, the great majority, ordinary, concerned members of the public dedicated to the attempt to protect defenceless wildlife against unlawful persecution and slaughter in the name of ‘sport’. Probably the greatest of these impediments is the manifold and manifest weaknesses of the Hunting Act itself, which provides numerous loopholes through which Hunts can gaily gallop, and inadequate sanctions, which may or may not be connected to Mr.Blair’s assertion in his autobiography that he had ‘sabotaged’ the Hunting Act. The need for significant strengthening of the Act to make it both easier to enforce and a greater deterrent is obvious. But possibly of equal import is the fact that monitors are frequently subject to assaults, threats, obstruction, vicious abuse and property damage and theft by thuggish hunt supporters and even hunt staff and officials. In the six years prior to the recent Heythrop convictions, followers of that Hunt were convicted or cautioned no fewer than 14 times for such offences against monitors – the victims mostly being late middle-aged women. Details of this can be found at .

  • David Jones

    Well done Rod. I agree with everything you say. How can any right minded person not?

  • ilpugliese

    “we should abide by the law of the land, no matter how absurd we consider it to be”.
    7/6/2012: “Spectator fined £3,000 over Rod Liddle article about Stephen Lawrence”

  • Ralf Janssen

    I’m not an English toff (or even English), but this article appears
    to be complete twaddle. And I couldn’t be bothered to read the whole thing. The
    suggestion that these laws deserve the same enforcement and control as laws
    against mugging is absurd. And everybody knows what happens to laws that are
    not or selectively enforced. On a side note: “conservative publication”? James
    Forsyth, Alex Massie? Even I know who Julie Bindel is. I’ve seen her on BBC
    flattening punters. English tories are more pathetic than I thought.

  • Philip E. Jones

    At last I find I can wholeheartedly agree with the fearless Rod!

  • Chuck White

    “If society passes a law saying we shouldn’t do something, then we shouldn’t do it.”

    So gay people shouldn’t have had gay sex 50 years ago because the law prohibited it?

  • PattieB123

    Thank you and huge respect

  • rosamund

    Excellent article. I never supported the RSPCA before all this kerfuffle but I see them in a new light. I’m off to write them a cheque right now.

  • Elizabeth Lean

    totally agree with superSO1 – it is the law and these arrogant pyscopaths need to learn they are not above the law

  • Patricia Betty Brilliant Piece Please sign this petition in support of the RSPCA and please pass it on. The only red coats I want to see in the countryside have four legs and bushy tails

  • James Masterton

    I’m proud to defy the hunting law every time I assist with the hounds. When it is repealed at the end of this year, I’ll have played my part in righting an injustice. Simple as that really.

  • Freeuk Militia

    The RSPCA is an extremist organisation and should have its charity status revoked