Led by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the UK hunting lobby had a particularly good party conference season. First the Lib Dems pledged a manifesto commitment to shooting, Labour concurred with a renewed commitment to shooting sports and the Tories promised not compromise gun owners’ rights when clamping down on gun crime.
The BASC has proved itself a particularly effective lobbying group, achieving its goals quietly and with the minimum of fuss.
Hell, my local Lib Dem MP, John Leech, was so out of the loop he inadvertently pledged to go against his party’s manifesto. Local Labour candidate Lucy Powell shares John’s opposition to blood sports and is delighted fox hunting has been outlawed.
Lucy’s response reflects the common misconception that fox hunting has been brought to an end. In truth, hunt saboteurs are required to be as active as ever and are gearing up for a major push next month with a global anti-hunt week. They still reckon the law can have an impact, but it’s complex, difficult to enforce and the police cannot be bothered. (Although when I went sabbing, there was no shortage of officers prepared to protect the hunt…)