Have your say in the hunting debate after top hunt man is convicted of encouraging 'trail hunting' offences - Banbury Guardian letters

Is a vote on 'trail hunting' on National Trust land a waste of time or should animal lovers 'deal a blow' to blood sports? The Banbury Guardian letters page features two sides of the argument.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 10:02 am
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 10:06 am
Banbury Guardian letters this week include the latest conviction in the hunting world and the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess

Hunting - Have your say

Hot on the heels of hunt protesters reporting a fox being ripped to pieces by Kineton-based Warwickshire Hunt (September 2021), we now have a first conviction in England that marks a turning point in this perennial countryside debate.

Mark Hankinson, the Director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) was convicted last week (October 15) of intentionally encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act 2004, contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007.

The outcome proves, once and for all, that hunts continue to use so-called ‘trail hunting’ as a smokescreen for the utterly illegal torture and murder of wild animals by packs of hounds, all in the name of sport.

Fox hunting was outlawed in England and Wales in 2005 but, in the 2019/20 season, the League Against Cruel Sports’ research revealed 485 separate eye-witness accounts of suspected illegal hunting, including several alleged instances near Banbury.

Meanwhile, anti-hunt teams have been active in Banburyshire this autumn, canvassing for National Trust (NT) members to vote, at the Trust’s October AGM, to stop trail hunting on NT land for ever. Campaigners have won widespread support, the typical reaction being shock that any hunting is still going on, albeit disguised as a legal trail-chase.

The deadline for NT voting is midnight tomorrow (October 22) and the AGM is on October 30. Never before have animal lovers had such an opportunity, in a single month, to transform English animal welfare and deal a blow to blood sports.

If you’re an NT member, it takes just minutes to vote online and it’s free: https://secure.cesvotes.com/V3-1-0/nt21/en/login?bbp=30978&x=-1

Name and address supplied, Banbury

... Members of the National Trust are being ask to vote on a members’ resolution to end trail hunting, exempt hunting and hound exercise on all Trust land.

This will be the second time such a vote has taken place in four years; the previous attempt having been defeated. Even then, only 1.2% of eligible members took part in the vote. It cannot be right that during these difficult times, particularly for charities, resources are being wasted debating an issue which clearly isn’t a priority for the vast bulk of Trust members who represent a wide demographic of our society.

Hunts who use the land for these lawful activities are required to comply with a strict licensing policy.

The Trust’s Board of Trustees have stated they are satisfied with the implementation of, and the compliance with, the licensing conditions.

If you are a National Trust member and you believe Trust land should be open for all to enjoy, in line with the Trust’s mantra of “For everyone, for ever”, then please vote against this motion.

Voting can be done online and closes on October 22. For more information visit countryside-alliance.org/national-trust.

Polly Portwin, Countryside Alliance

Politics - Democracy above violence

The murder of David Amess MP is a reminder of just how important our elected representatives are.

Democracy is all about being able to change our political leaders without resorting to violence.

The deaths of Mr Amess, Jo Cox in 2016, or Airey Neave, the MP for Abingdon, in 1979, are reminders of how fragile democracy can be. Every killing is a tragedy for family and friends and a loss to the community. But ending the life of a Member of the House of Commons especially so.

I hope all Oxfordshire’s law makers, whatever their politics, will take extra steps to protect themselves.

David Amess’s politics were not mine. But give me the ballot box over the bludgeon every time.

John Tanner, Former Lord Mayor of Oxford

Charity - Send your kids a Santa letter

We all need a touch of Christmas magic this year. That’s why Santa’s workshop is open, and Santa and his elves are busy writing, sealing and posting letters that will put smiles on the faces of children everywhere!

With a letter from Santa, you’ll bring magical tales from the North Pole right to your doorstep.

There are eight fantastically festive designs, from traditional Christmas to a North Pole Safari, so there really is something for every child, or even the family pet.

Whichever letter you choose, each one is more personalised than ever this year. You can add your child’s name, age, hobbies, what they want for Christmas and your very own PS message.

Plus, it will be addressed and posted directly to your child via sleigh mail, so they’ll feel like they’re at the very top of Santa’s good list!

After sending a massive 170,000 letters last year, we’re looking forward to reaching even more children this year.

And with a donation to the NSPCC, you’ll help Childline be here for children who need someone to listen.

That’s the true spirit of Christmas.

So, what are you waiting for? Order your personalised letter from Santa by December 14 to make sure yours arrives before Christmas.

To order your letter please visit nspcc.org.uk/santa

Emma Motherwell, Local Campaigns Manager, NSPCC East of England

To have your say on the Banbury Guardian letters page, send your view to the Editor in no more than 250 words by email to [email protected]